Last weekend, I was whisked away on a surprise mini break. I had no idea where I was going.
I was simply told to pack a bag, was picked up, and driven through the country.
We drove for hours (bar a couple of coffee stops)! And I was pretty surprised when the signs became bilingual… We were in Wales!
If you’ve never been, you must. Wales really is a beautiful country.
Once we’d driven our way through plenty of countryside, and even stopped to let sheep cross the road (!), we turned a corner to experience a view that literally took my breath away. We arrived at Lake Vyrnwy.
We were staying at Lake Vyrnwy Hotel. We drove up the winding path to the hotel which is nestled on a hill overlooking the lake. We parked up, checked in, and grabbed our bags.
The hotel is lovely, and my photos really don’t do it justice. It has a rustic charm, the decor is twee, and all the staff and guests were very friendly. There’s something about staying in a hotel that’s pretty remote – we literally felt like we were in a little bubble, and it was just what we needed.
Talking of bubbles, there were some chilled ones waiting for us in the room…
Which I sipped down very happily in the bath with even more bubbles!
After a bit of R&R and a little explore, we both got ready and headed down to the hotel’s restaurant for dinner.
But we couldn’t possibly go inside without experiencing this incredible sunset over the lake…
It really was something very special!
And then we got pretty hungry, so bustled in to the restaurant.
We were handed menus whilst taking in the beautiful remainders of the sunset.
We went for the hotel’s Tower Restaurant’s 5 course menu. Priced at £39.95 per person – or £34 pp if you book during your room reservation, I thought it was pretty good value.
The restaurant promises ‘the finest North Wales and the borders could offer’, so we thought we’d put it to the test.
We ummed and ahhed over some nibbles and a glass of wine about what to pick, before deciding on two starters we’d share…
We started with possibly the world’s smallest portion of soup, which can only be described as an espresso shot. It was – I guess – minestrone, although it would have been nice to have been told this when it was placed before us!
The bread basket was pretty tasty.
We then moved onto the starters.
A sort of rabbit terrine wrapped in bacon, which was pretty tasty.
And a pigeon pithivier (or pie!) with lentils and oyster mushrooms, served with a game jus and apple puree.
The pie itself was gorgeous, but the pigeon was quite tough. To be fair, I’d never tried pigeon before so it could just be that I don’t like it anyway!
The staff informed us that due to a party, there would be a fireworks display at 10pm, so we watched outside whilst we waited for the next course.
Before we were each given some lemon sorbet, as a bit of a palette cleanser. Quite peculiar, I thought, in between a starter and a main! But tasty, nonetheless.
Next, the real deal: the mains. We’d both picked the same, and there were absolutely no regrets.
It was wonderful. Welsh fillet steak, served on a bed of mash with a bone marrow gravy and crispy fried onion on top.
We ordered – and shared – hand cut chips and beans with bacon to accompany it. Utterly gorgeous!
Before more wine!
By this point, we were feeling a little tipsy. And quite full.
But bravely (!), we soldiered on.
Chocolate fondant with vanilla custard and ice cream for me…
…and a Welsh cheeseboard with chutney and the trimmings for him.
We both tucked in and shared.
That is one happy face!
We were (naturally) the last ones left in the restaurant. After another bottle of wine, we tipsily walked back to our room. I loved having such a short journey to bed from the bar!
Waking up with slightly fuzzy heads, we sadly missed the breakfast slot. But we headed out to find some other food, and for a little explore.
It was a beautiful day.
We had a drink outside before heading to the Tavern Bistro (the hotel’s pub) for an early lunch.
I had an amazing Welsh rare beef and horseradish sandwich, and he had a prawn and chilli wrap. After a bit of sharing, we concluded the lunches served there are bloody good!
With full bellies, we cracked on the Hunters and Barbours and went for a drive and a bit of a walk in true British style.
We found this little spot overlooking the lake, with the biggest picnic tables I have ever seen. One thing I loved about this place is just how quiet it is.
I tried skimming stones and failed miserably.
Everywhere you look, the views are just stunning…
Ok, maybe not THAT stunning (!)
We had a great time just wandering, and stopping for tea breaks.
Before hopping back into the car for a quick drink before the drive home…
And one last look at that amazing view!
We had a fantastic time!
Certainly not bad for a surprise, and I would highly recommend it for anyone looking for a quiet weekend break, some incredible scenery, and good food.
You can book your stay here.