Inspiration


 
Caffi Castell Opens Its Doors!
 

Caffi Castell Harlech Opens its doors!

The August bank holiday saw Caffi Castell Harlech open its doors to a great reception! The cafe is part of the fantastic new information center directly opposite Harlech Castle. With lots of glass and metal, this modern take on the old hotel works really well and has given Harlech a great injection of life. The cafe has been taken on by my good friend Freya. But this article isn’t biased, honest! It really is brilliant. Ask anyone. 😉 So what to expect from a visit to the new establishment? Firstly the views are quite simply breathtaking. Not only are you up close to an incredible view of the castle, but the surrounding Snowdonia landscape is stunning. The food is all based on good, wholesome home-cooked fare which, where possible, is all made from locally sourced produce. The star of the menu has to be the fish platter which is a delicious mix of shell on prawns,…

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Top 5 Zen Cottages
 

Top 5 Zen Cottages

The summer holidays are over and some of us are feeling a little frazzled from having to entertain the children and other family members for the last 6 weeks! So if having a bit of down time and getting away from it all for your next holiday seems like an attractive thought, we have some fantastic cottages that are just the ticket. Whether your looking for a romantic getaway for 2, time out with a group of friends or some chilled out family time without electronics in tow (good luck with that), here are Dioni’s top 5 zen cottages:   1: CWMAIN | SLEEPS 10 Cwmain is an 18th century luxury farmhouse in a mountain location. This traditional stone built welsh cottage has been recently refurbished to a very high standard and sits in an idyllic location high up in the hills of North Wales. Modern facilities such as efficient central heating and fitted kitchen units…

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Festival No 6 Countdown
 

Festival No 6 Countdown...

“Welcome to a festival like no other, a bespoke banquet of music, arts and culture in the most stunning festival setting in the world.” It’s in the Daily Mail’s top 10 UK Festivals as well as being voted Best Festival and Most Unique Festival Site in 2014 and its 4th year is set to be better than the last. Portmierion is a very magical place in its own right, but with Festival No 6 in town that magic goes to another level. Belle and Sebastian, James Bay and Grace Jones are included in a lineup of over 500 music artists. Festival goers can also enjoy a ‘conversation with Steve Coogan’ or a Q&A session with award winning director Asif Kapadia and producer Mark Ronson following a screening of their award winning film ‘Amy’. Illuminated bands, parades and carnivals fill this most inspiring of venues with life and colour. Secret raves, pop up parties, foraging expeditions, children’s storytelling and stand up paddle boarding means…

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A Day Out At Glasfryn Parc, North Wales

In terms of what is on offer and value for money, then a day out at Glasfryn Parc, North Wales is one of the best. There were 13 of us altogether, 9 of which were children, it was cold and wet and so naturally we were expecting a challenging day! How wrong we were… The parking is very easy and the distance to the centre is minimal (all important things to consider with so many half pints in the mix). There is one central reception desk from which you buy tickets for everything they have on offer; with boys that have found a new love of karting this summer, we went for this; £6 for 6 mins. It doesn’t sound very long, but in actual fact it is a long 6 minutes and depending on how many people are there in the queue, the whole experience takes approx an hour. Once you have your receipt, head…

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Snowdonia Adventure Activities 10% Discount
 

Snowdonia Adventure Activities 10% Discount

10% discount at Snowdonia Adventure Activities if you book and go on one of their adventures between now and Christmas 2015. Book directly and quote your DIONI booking number to receive the discount. Snowdonia Adventure Activities

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Things To Do In Snowdonia When It Rains....
 

Things To Do In Snowdonia When It Rains....

Before we start, it’s only fair to point out that it doesn’t actually rain in Wales as much as you might think. The west coast of Snowdonia in particular, fairs better weather wise, than most of the UK. Met office statistics show that the number of ‘wet days’ during the summer months is less than in England and when comparing ‘hours of sunshine’ the western coast of wales again, tends towards the top of the UK table. But you’re right of course, this isn’t Spain, and yes it might rain. So here is our line up of things to do in Snowdonia when the weather is less than perfect… Underground Adventures Like the treasures of London during the Blitz, you might want to seek refuge in some of the slate caverns of Blaenau Ffestiniog. In 1940, on the orders of Winston Churchill, Manod Quarry was used to store all the pictures from the National and Tate…

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wild mountain goats
 

Barmouth Walking Festival 2015

The Barmouth Walking Festival 2015 is fast approaching. It’s a great event organized by the Barmouth Publicity Association and runs from the 12th – 21st September. For £8.50 you can join a group of like minded enthusiasts for a guided walk along some fantastic routes in Snowdonia. The walk leaders have all been carefully selected and can really add to the experience with their local knowledge of the landscape, history and nature. There are over 30 walks to choose from over 10 days and ticket options are available from 1 to 10 walks. The brochure gives a comprehensive breakdown of all the walks, offering routes for all abilities. That said, I would suggest most are best suited for people who have done some walking before; 10 miles through the Rhinog Mountains is not for everybody! We’ve had a lot of guests in the past that have really enjoyed the experience despite some sore feet, highly recommend…

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Things to do in Llanberis
 

Rib Rides Diary - Anglesey

After hearing a lot of great reviews on the Rib Ride experience in Anglesey, we went to see what it was all about and it certainly didn’t disappoint… Apart from the obvious thrill of racing down the menai straits at high speed by boat, the trip also includes an insight to a lot of interesting facts about the area; not a dull list of dates, but great stories of the past and all the shenanigans that went on in that neck of the woods. Having gone under Menai bridge, we entered into the swellies, its a section of the straights where the currents are particularly strong where you’ll see whirlpools – don’t worry, they aren’t going to swallow the boat up, but none the less give you an understanding of why Nelson called the Menai Straits the most treacherous stretch of water in the world. Carrying on under Britannia bridge, we then did a fly by…

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Cwm Ysdradllyn, The Most Beautiful Valley in Wales?
 

Cwmystradllyn, The Most Beautiful Valley in Wales?

Some people might try to persuade you that Cwm Pennat is the most beautiful valley in Wales. But we’d like to nominate her neighbour, Cwmystradllyn. Located in the Snowdonia National Park this picturesque valleys and place of serenity has not always been so quiet. In 1886, the Prince of Wales (future King Edward VII) opened the Gorsedda Slate Quarry in the valley. The village of Treforys was built to house the quarrymen and consisted of 36 houses set in 3 streets. A sophisticated slate mill, Ynys Y Pandy, was also built to dress and finish the slate before being transported on a newly laid 3ft gauge tramway down to the harbour town of Porthmadog. But this flood of activity was short lived. After a short 20 years of excavation, the quarry was closed down as quality slate became more and more scarce. As the local paper reported, “everything that could facilitate the works was produced, nothing…

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Byrdir's New Self Catering Holiday Cottages
 

Byrdir Farm's New Self Catering Holiday Cottages

So Louise has finally hung up her oven gloves and the former Byrdir Farm B&B has now been renovated into 3 self-catering cottages. All three properties have been beautifully designed in line with the existing cottages on the farm; Nant and Moelfre offering a cosy, yet modern feel using the quirky features of the original cowsheds alongside a high spec interior. Whilst Louise’s breakfasts will be sorely missed, the stunning views across cardigan bay will certainly make up for it as will the fact that they are offering short breaks over the peak season. So lets see what Byrdir Farm’s New Self Catering Holiday Cottages have to offer…. TY-GWAIR-BYRDIR This open plan studio cottage has a double bed up in the ‘grogloft’ or eaves of the barn accessed via a fixed ladder. A lovely little kitchenette with fridge, combination oven and hob plus dishwasher is set against the back wall of the cottage. A luxurious leather sofa sits facing…

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Nigel Mansell Opens Restaurant Near Barmouth
 

Nigel Mansell Opens Restaurant Near Barmouth

The 29th June 2015 saw the official opening of a brand new restaurant & bar, Nineteen.57 in Tal Y Bont, Barmouth. Having undergone a £700,000 refurb over the last 6 months the restaurant brings a fabulous fine dining experience to the area. A 40 cover restaurant offers a great bistro style menu and the bar light bites, a children’s menu & play park. To celebrate the opening, our headline ‘Nigel Mansell Opens Restaurant Near Barmouth’ gives the game away! Having been a regular visitor to the area for the last 58 years, he was more than happy to give his time for the opening. Guests included local residents and business owners who relaxed with a complimentary glass of prosecco and homemade canape’s whilst enjoying the sun and soaking up the atmosphere. If you want some pointers on the menu; its Mum’s homemade lasagne (Nigel’s favorite), the homemade slow roast shoulder of lamb and of course shepherds…

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Bilberry Exchange Rate Is At An All Time High!
 

Bilberry Exchange Rate Is At An All Time High!

A bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) is a close relative to the blueberry but the difference being that the bilberry is smaller, more tart in flavour, has a red flesh and native to Europe whilst the blueberry is bigger, sweeter, has white flesh, and native to the America’s. They are delicious berries that make wonderful pies and tarts whilst also having great healing benefits for treating digestive and circulatory issues. Back in the day, they were a great source of income in the area for those who would head to the hills and pick bucket loads for market. Today, we still like to exchange our bilberry pickings, but instead of for money, we do it for ice cream….. Hufenfa’r Castell ice cream shop in Harlech make bilberry ice cream during the picking season and as it always sells out, they welcome fresh bilberries in exchange for ice cream. So once you’ve picked your punnet / bowl of bilberries,…

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Snowdonia Gold Is Fit For A King
 

Snowdonia Gold Is Fit For A King

Since 1911, Welsh gold has been used to decorate the crowns and hands of the British Royal family. At the investiture of Edward 1 as Prince of Wales, his coronet, rod, ring, sword and robe all incorporated pure Welsh gold from North Wales. In 1923, the late Queen mother started another tradition by having her wedding bands crafted out of Welsh gold from the The Clogau Gold Mine in Bontddu. Some 88 years later, this tradition continues and this small village situated between Barmouth and Dolgellau in Snowdonia has been providing the gold for Royal wedding rings since including; Queen Elizabeth (1947), Princess Anne (1973), Princess Diana (1981), Prince Charles (1981 & 2005) and Camilla. More recently in 2011, from an ingot of gold given to the Queen on her 60th birthday from the Clogau mine, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding bands were made……you see Snowdonia gold is fit for a King! Sadly the…

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Pick Your Own Mussels In Snowdonia!
 

Pick Your Own Mussels In Snowdonia!

If you have ever fancied trying your hand at collecting and cooking mussels, then a trip to Llandanwg beach just outside Harlech is where you need to go. Even if you do it just once in your life, it’s one of those things you wont forget. So come on, get involved and pick your own mussels in Snowdonia! YOU WILL NEED: A bucket 2 blunt knives A grill to put over the open fire A large pot to cook in An onion Garlic White Wine Cream (single or double) Wooden spoon firewood WHAT TO DO:   COLLECTING Check the tide times. You need to collect mussels at low tide. Go to the furthest left hand side of Llandanwg beach where you will see lots of rocks. You need to make your way down to the waters edge to the rocks covered in black seaweed. The mussels hide under this black seaweed; both on the rocks and…

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Snowdonia Offers Top Whitewater Rafting
 

Whitewater Rafting In Snowdonia

Whitewater rafting comes up on many a bucket list and many of us think that in order to do experience it properly, we have to go far flung places across the world. Not the case. The National White Water Centre, located here in Snowdonia, is the only commercially rafted stretch of water in the UK. A mix of natural resources and dam controlled rapids, make it one of the best places in the world to enjoy the sport. Depending on what you are looking for in your whitewater experience, its all covered here…. the Tryweryn river mixes the intensity of an Olympic-grade whitewater course with a gentle journey through the Snowdonia National Park. The grade 3-4 rapids on the upper Tryweryn will offer you the full thrill of whitewater, but if admiring the beauty of the area is more you’re thing, you might be tempted by the grade 2-3 rapids on the lower part. However, if…

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Dylans Restaurant Opens in Criccieth
 

Dylans Restaurant Opens in Criccieth

North Wales’ top fish restaurant, Dylans opened the doors to its second establishment in May and it hasn’t disappointed. It is set in the stunning beach front Morannedd building, an art deco style building designed by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis; the visionary of Portmeirion Village. It’s a really beautiful experience; wonderfully cooked and presented fresh fish, incredible views through the surrounding floor to ceiling windows all bought together with a modern, rustic yet traditional interior – we love the menu’s! So what did we have…The Ffrwythau’ R MOR (welsh for Fruit De Mer) was out of this world, the whitebait was the best I’ve ever had, the crab cakes were a real hit and the oysters were so fresh they definitely deserve a mention. The Samphire is amazing – if you haven’t tried it before, this will be a good place to give it a go. All bread is baked daily on the premises and needless to…

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ROCK ARDUDWY
 

ROCK ARDUDWY | Harlech's Mini Music Festival

June 13th sees the Harlech and Ardudwy leisure centre play host to Rock Ardudwy | Harlech’s mini music festival no less! Local bands including: Jambyls, Ratz Alley, Old Steel Spurs, Session, Swnami and Strapless will be playing everything from good old rock n roll, ballards, a bit of blues and the all important covers that really get you singing and dancing along. So come on, the summer is here, grab your bandana and make your way to Harlech. It starts at 2pm and runs until midnight – there will be food stalls and a bar so make a day out of it and really let your hair down! WHEN: Saturday 13th June WHERE: Harlech and Ardudwy Leisure Centre TIME: 2pm – Midnight TICKETS: Adults £20, Children 11-15 £15, 10 and under go free.

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How To Be Happy
 

How To Be Happy | The Answer Might Be in Snowdonia

50% of happiness is determined by our genes, 10% is from our circumstances, job, house, status etc, leaving the remaining 40% down to us to manage. Whats the secret? The chemical in our bodies that promotes happiness is dopamine and from our teenage years onwards, if we do not actively try to create it in our bodies, it will naturally decrease and not be reproduced. If you don’t use it, you loose it. How do we create it? There are 4 recognised ways in which to increase dopamine levels: Close Network. Having a close and supportive network of family and friends. Spending time with them is important and those that do tend to me much happier and fulfilled. New Experiences. Changing the way you do things or going on adventures is a high dopamine releaser. It could be as simple as a different running route every morning or the big adventure. But either way, variety being…

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NEW QUADCOPTER FOOTAGE SHOWS SNOWDONIA AT ITS VERY BEST
 

New Quadcopter Footage Shows Snowdonia At its Very Best

We’ve all heard that Snowdonia is a stunning part of the world, but its not until you actually see it can you believe how mesmerisingly beautiful the area is…. So Gwion has been out making use of his quadcopter to show some of our properties in all their glory. Where photos simply cannot capture the true beauty of the sweeping mountains and landscape, it is now possible to see the real Snowdonia with the use of Gwion’s new toy! New Quadcopter Footage Shows Snowdonia At its Very Best…enjoy! https://youtu.be/fhbW_suMfkM

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Music Festival Line Up For North Wales 2015
 

Music Festival Line Up For North Wales 2015

The music festival line up for North Wales 2015 is looking bigger and better than ever before. So if you’re into music festivals and want to get involved, here is a comprehensive guide as to whats happening this summer: JUNE GOTTWOOD, ELECTRONIC MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL WHEN: 11th – 14th June WHERE: Anglesey WHAT’S IT ABOUT: The mystical little party hidden in the middle of the woods. Gottwood is a critically acclaimed, independent, boutique, and intimate underground electronic music festival. Strictly for 18 and above. JULY WAKESTOCK WHEN: 11th, 12th, 13th July WHERE: Abersoch WHAT’S IT ABOUT: Wakestock is a music and wake boarding festival attracting the best wakeboarding talent in the world to this tiny corner of North Wales. The festival crowds enjoy watching the action during the daytime and enjoying some chill time on the stunning beaches before returning to the festival site for more music action with some of the UK’s top performing…

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