My recent trip to North Wales

Just after Easter I organised a small family get together with the grown-up children and their partners to celebrate Mr Husband’s sixtieth birthday. Yes the big 6O and he is still able to dig holes! (something yet to come on the blog, so stay tuned). I picked Conwy in North Wales, UK as I’d been to Conwy before so knew there would be more than enough to keep everyone occupied for a weekend regardless of the quality of the weather over-which I have no control. If you’ve never been to North Wales then I recommend you give it an explore as the combined scenery of the coastline against backdrop of the mountains of Snowdonia National Park is stunning.

So what did we do to keep us occupied? That’s apart from eating and drinking, which I won’t go into.

Bodnant Gardens

On the way to Conwy we took a short detour and called into Bodnant Garden, managed by the National Trust. It was a damp and foggy day, so the pictures aren’t great, but the gardens at Bodnant still looked spectacular with its impressive collection of trees lining the valley with the water running through from the lake down to the old mill. The daffodils where just finishing but there were plenty of other plants budding and sprouting.

In addition to the garden there is an excellent adjoining craft and garden centre so you can have a bit of retail therapy. Both the plants selection and local Welsh crafts are very extremely tempting, jewellery, pottery, paintings, textiles… I could go on. Did I buy anything, well yes I did.

Conwy Harbour

Conwy harbour is small and gently paced estuary harbour where you can just sit and watch the world go by, which is exactly what I did. Conwy River estuary tidal so when the tide is out the river bed is exposed, making the view ever changing throughout the day. There’s a tour boat running trips up and down the Conwy estuary and a few fishing boats bring their catch to the harbour-side fish stall.

conwy harbour 2

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Conwy Castle

Now as I’d mentioned I had been to Conwy before, in fact for a whole week. But I’ve never been to the Castle, so decided it was time to pay it a visit. The Castle wall surrounds the town and you can walk, for no cost at all, almost all the way around the town giving you a birds-eye I view of Conwy. But it’s also worth while handing over your money to go in the Conwy Castle ruin itself and climbing up even more towers to get that extra view. Conwy Castle is managed by Cadw and we got the joint ticket which for a little extra gave entrance to the Elizabethan Plas Mawr.

conwy harbour

Plas Mawr

For me this was the surprise of the trip as I on my previous visit must have walked past Plas Mawr many a time as it stands proudly next the butchers on the high street, however I’d never noticed it. Too busy gazing into the butcher’s shop I think. Plas Mawr is a little gem and with the audio tour to our ears we were able to wander freely around the many rooms and into the tranquil court yard.

I hope that gives you a snap-shot of what you might see in Conwy and I haven’t mentioned the other building you can visit in the small town including Aberconwy House the medieval merchant’s house and the Thomas Telford suspension and bridge and toll house. Oh and there’s the walking opportunities around the surrounding area. Why not give it a try. I certainly intend to explore North Wales a little more over the summer.

Coming up next (I think) my garden makeover – the digging has begun!

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Rufford Old Hall, Lancashire UK

A bit of a deviation from my usual home decor blogging but I thought I’d start to share my occasional days out as visiting places often brings inspiration you can transfer into your home.

Last weekend I had a particularly delightful trip to Rufford Old Hall, Lancashire UK partly because of the history and partly because it was a gorgeous sunny day.

Rufford Old Hall , National Trust

Where I live, we don’t get the best of the weather so I’m an expert at making the most of every last drop. With that in mind we arrived (Mr Husband was there too) as soon as the Hall opened and before looking around the gardens and house we made a direct line to the tea shop. Here we enjoyed coffee and a scone sitting outside in the cobbled court yard…..well it would have been rude not to.

Now the National Trust, who manage this building, are far better placed to dispense the history of the Hall and gardens. However, to give you a flavour Rufford Old Hall is a fine Tudor building, which for 500 years was owned by the Hesketh family. There is also some suggestion William Shakespeare spent a few months of his teens at the Hall. If you want to read more about the history then follow the link to Rufford Old Hall.

Here are my pictures, bearing in mind no photography was allowed in the House

The bluebells and the flower boarder, which looks luscious even in May

Some decorative features around the garden; the birds, the frog and the sun

Rufford Old Hall Garden

Follow the path to reach the perfect seating area

….and the House

A highlight of the visit was viewing the Great Hall, where we joined a regular talk about the history of the Hall given by one of the knowledgeable volunteers.  We were able to admire the carved oak screen (and take photographs).  The thought is that the screen is made from bog oak.  It was a huge structure and although described as movable it would have taken some effort.

Oak screen

Impressive don’t you think?

So, all in all if you’re in the area it’s well worth a visit, it would make a great place for a friends & family picnic as there are plenty of picnic benches in grassy secluded areas. Also the house was children friendly with a little trail to keep them engaged.

After the Hall we travelled up to Lancaster and then on to Keswick in the Lake District but for now I hope you enjoyed sharing my day out 😊. If you follow me on Instagram you will see of my outdoor escapades as they happen.

And in case your wondering where Lancashire is, here’s a map.

Rufford Old Hall Map