Discover Wales Culture, Tours Of Wales

A Winter Welcome in Wales

It’s time to discover your perfect winter break in Wales. We offer small group tours, private bespoke experiences and self-drive packages so that you can explore Wales – your way.

Here at the Cambria Tours offices, the Summer season is over and scarves are officially in. Winter is coming. With so much to see and do this winter in Wales, we thought we’d share our Winter Welcome in Wales guide with you. 

We have accommodation packages to suit all budgets and if you book with us soon, you can snap up a great deal around one of Wales’ fabulous winter events. 

Where to spend winter in Wales.

North Wales

If food and drink is your thing, then you’ll find a host of festive markets and fairs that illuminate the small towns and bustling communities of North Wales as we head towards Christmas. 

Welsh hospitality is famous all year round, but in the wintertime, as the nights draw in and the cold winds start to bite, the focus turns to cosy evenings by the fire and plenty of quality local food and drink.

We can recommend the best cosy fireside pubs to warm your cockles after a day in the great outdoors or at one of our many Winter Fairs. 

It will come as no surprise that we’re good at Panto’s here in Wales. We’re game for a laugh and we love to get involved…loudly. The Panto at Venue Cymru – North Wales’ brand-new theatre, conference centre and arena, is set to be Sleeping Beauty with a showstopping cast including Sherrie Hewson from Loose Women and Emmerdale, and West End star Kieran Powell. 

After all that magic, you can make your loved one’s dreams come true with a stay at a fairy tale French-style castle. Enjoy a traditional Welsh breakfast overlooking one of arguably the best view in Anglesey – over the Menai straits and across at the silver-tipped mountains of Snowdonia in the distance. 

Chateau Rhianfa mixes high-class elegance and a touch of quirky novelty (one of the bathrooms is in a circular turret!) to create a truly unique and memorable stay, like something out of a storybook. We can even arrange a fabulous 3-course meal at their brilliantly named Le dragon rouge restaurant, well known across the region for its excellent local seafood.

Mid Wales

If you want a truly magical family adventure this winter look no further than mid-Wales. 

Visit the spectacular Abbey Cwm Hir where every single one of the 52 rooms in this Grade two listed Hall is decadently decorated to a unique Christmas theme. Take a special, personal tour conducted by the owners themselves, who pride themselves on their fabulous festive spectacle! 

Aberystwyth comes alive during the colder months with a lantern parade, Santa steam train rides, a winter fair and one of the best indoor Christmas craft fairs in the country at Aberystwyth Arts Centre.

If you add a stay at Nanteos to your Mid-Wales break this winter prepare to be off that naughty list all year! This luxurious 18th century grade 1 listed country house has been beautifully restored to the highest quality thanks to its sympathetic owners. The rooms are sumptuous and expensively decorated, perfect for some r & r after a busy day of Christmas shopping! 

The showstopper at this venue however (apart from the chandelier on the stairs!) is most definitely the food. The Eos Restaurant serves fresh, local produce delightfully presented and deliciously flavoursome, it’s only a matter of time before this fine dining restaurant hits the big time, so book in while you can!

Pembrokeshire

For a winter break with a difference, why not choose a long weekend in Pembrokeshire. 

Visit Laugharne, a favourite of Dylan Thomas, and experience the weather and atmosphere of his famous poem “A child’s Christmas in Wales”. Spend an afternoon in Pembroke Castle, take a boat ride through dramatic sea caves and narrow rock gorges around Ramsey Island, or wrap up for a walk to St David’s Cathedral to experience a choral evensong resonating up to the ancient Irish oak ceiling. The possibilities in Pembrokeshire are endless.

Twr y Felin is a former windmill turned luxury boutique art hotel. It’s totally unique and located on the tip of St Davids peninsula. Why not enjoy afternoon tea in the Oriel lounge. Oriel means gallery and this ambient space is indeed a gallery showcasing local artists talents. 

Choose Twr y Felin and you can expect sweeping sea views, stunning cuisine and a winter break you’ll be talking about for years to come. Did we mention it was The Good Hotel’s 2019 Guide’s Editor’s Choice Hotel? 

Its sister hotels, the dramatic Roch castle and the opulent Penrhiw Priory offer premium luxury accommodation on one of the most beautiful coasts in the world. We’ll be talking more about them later on in our blog post series.

At Cambria Tours, we build fantastic relationships with our suppliers because we believe they are the best in Wales, so, you won’t find inflated prices when you book with us. Our winter breaks are bespoke packages with special added touches. We will make planning your winter getaway to Wales as simple as possible and ensure your stay is everything you want it to be.

These are just 3 Welsh Winter Welcome packages we love – there’s plenty more to see, do and experience throughout our beautiful country – all you have to do is ask.

So, why not treat yourself and a loved one this winter – get in touch with our team now, for itinerary ideas or to book!

Discover Wales Culture

10 Welsh foods you definitely shouldn’t eat when you visit Wales…

The delicacies of Wales are a foodie’s dream. Are you the type of person that will leap in and take a bite? Would you enjoy the Welsh foods you shouldn’t eat when you visit Wales?

How often do you hear this comment in conversation just before you head off on holiday? 

“Oh, it’s amazing in *insert beautiful country*, but when you ask whether they sampled the local delicacies, the answer is often “…no”

But if you don’t get out of your comfort zone you might miss out on the most incredible meal that you’ve ever had. You might miss a party on your palette and a celebration of all things tasty.

In the world of taste adventures, there’s everything to play for.

One man’s delight is another man’s poison. 

This couldn’t be truer.

If you’re the type of person whose favourite food for breakfast, lunch and dinner is a dry, un-buttered piece of toast with a glass of water, then you absolutely shouldn’t try any of the beautiful Welsh specialities on this list.

However, if you are ready to tantalise your taste-buds with flavoursome treats passed down through generations, then our list of wonderful Welsh food is for you.

So, here is our list of Welsh foods you definitely shouldn’t eat when you visit Wales (if water-biscuits are your desert island dream).

Laverbread

This tasty and traditional delicacy is found clinging to the rocks along the Welsh coast. That’s right, it’s seaweed. The fresh seaweed is minced and boiled for several hours until it forms a deep green salty paste. 

Mix it together with a good helping of porridge oats and fry it up in bacon fat, serve with bacon and eggs, and you have the breakfast of kings.

Cockles

Ok maybe not exclusively Welsh but ours are bigger, juicier and tastier – go on just try one. To be eaten the true Welsh way, all these seasonal gems need is a sprinkling of white pepper and a good splash of malt vinegar.

Cawl

Move over shop-bought tomato soup. Forget Grandma’s chicken broth. It’s all about cawl Mamgu in Wales. Cawl is essentially a lamb and vegetable stew with big chunks of veg and plenty of meat. There is only one way to eat cawl, and that’s with a big chunk of cheese and lots of spongey bread to soak up all the juices. The veggie version is no less delicious.

Welsh Rabbit

Or as Rarebit as it’s now known, is the best cheese on toast that you will ever eat. It’s actually cheese because, well, it’s cheaper than rabbits. It’s like a cross between a rich fondue and a bechamel, served on the biggest doorstep of bread you can find.

There is a medieval joke which states that St Peter wanted to lock the Welsh out of heaven because they were too rowdy. The only way to get them out of the pearly gates was to stand outside and shout cheese on toast, and they all ran out. 

We like cheese. Always have.

Oggies

Okay so we might have pinched the idea, but Welsh Oggies are our own twist on the Cornish pasty. They are also often the size of your head! Picture a Cornish pasty but filled with the amazing flavours of Wales like lamb and leeks. We think they taste better than the originals to be honest (just don’t tell Cornwall we said that).

Rissoles

Step into a Welsh fish and chip shop and you’ll typically find rissoles on the menu – delicious deep-fried pockets of potato and corned beef, or cheese and onion, breadcrumbed and served with fresh chips. Try a rissole instead of traditional battered cod, you won’t be disappointed (and you’ll earn yourself an approving look from the chippie too!).

Faggots 

Every Welsh person remembers when they first found out what a faggot was. But it’s too late by then, you’re already hooked. These offal enriched meatballs are designed to be eaten with lashings of rich onion gravy, buttery mash and mushy peas. Don’t let the inclusion of liver or heart put you off, once you’ve tried them, you’ll be a convert for life. Just tell the kids it’s mincemeat – that’s what our Mothers did!

Glamorgan Sausage

Another Welsh trick to throw you off the scent of what you’re eating – this sausage is actually not a sausage at all! In fact, it’s not even meat! If you haven’t got the memo by now, we love dairy here in Wales, which is why these amazing little sausage-shaped bites of cheese; leeks and herbs, deep fried in breadcrumbs have been popular here since the 12th century.

Bara Brith

Yes, it’s a bit of a mouthful and no we didn’t just sneeze (eye roll). This is simply the best fruit cake ever. The fruit is kept moist by being steeped in tea overnight before it’s added to the mix. Perfect spread thickly with real Welsh butter and a proper cup of tea.

Bonus! You may not eat it, but it’s certainly drinkable!

Welsh whisky

Easily as good as the Scottish, we now have 3 distilleries in Wales, 2 are currently working on their first batches, but it officially makes Wales a whisky producing nation. Making whisky in Wales can be dated as far back as the middle ages, however, it died out in the late 1800s. Our newly revived whisky industry incorporates our heritage and h won plenty of awards, leading to a huge surge in popularity.

We offer some incredible culinary tours and adventures in Wales. If this list has got your mouth watering, get in touch with us and tell us your foodie fantasies and we’ll do the rest. Whatever you do, don’t try any of these foods the next time you visit Wales…leave them for us instead.

Discover Wales Culture

Immerse yourself in Wales and the Welsh language at our annual cultural festivals

What do you get if you mix a big top, with a beautiful hand-carved wooden chair and one of the oldest spoken languages in Europe? An Eisteddfod of course!

With this year’s Eisteddfod Genedlaethol drawing to a close, it’s time to start planning for next year. If you’re thinking of booking your next holiday to Wales why not arrange for it to coincide with one of our festivals of song, language and culture so you can experience what this exceptional spectacle has to offer.

Welsh Eisteddfodau always include plenty of fabulous food and drink too, along with a friendly Welsh atmosphere – that famous Cymru Croeso.

So, start practising your singing in the shower, dust off your dancing shoes and get ready to join us for an Eisteddfod in 2020.

The National Eisteddfod (Eisteddfod Genedlaethol)

Held every August, this Eisteddfod is the Big Mama, the Glastonbury of Eisteddfods, around which all others orbit. The location changes each year as the travelling extravaganza makes its way around our beautiful country, giving everyone in Wales an opportunity to experience the magic of the Eisteddfod being held in their hometown.

You don’t have to be a Welsh speaker to enjoy the eisteddfod – if you’ve ever wanted to give the learning (Dysgu) and free translation equipment is available so you can enjoy the competition action in English!

Be sure to catch a Gorsedd Ceremony. Time your visit right and you will have the opportunity to watch Wales’ Best Poet or writer honoured on stage in the Pafiliwn (Pavilion) It’s quite the spectacle. Flower girls dance to the harp in their emerald green dresses. You can join in as the crowd cry out ‘Heddwch’ (meaning ‘Peace’) when the Archdruid pulls a sword from its sheath, before the bard takes his place on the wooden throne.

Guto Dafydd, Eisteddfod Crown, Visit Wales
The winner of the Crown at Llanrwst Eisteddfod August 2019 was Guto Dafydd

When the day is over, be prepared to experience hiraeth – a unique welsh term for ‘longing’ which will likely mean your first visit won’t be your last!

The 2020 Eisteddfod Genedlaethol is being held in Tregaron, Ceredigion – Mid Wales.

To the North is Devil’s Bridge and the seaside town of Aberystwyth.

To the East are the Brecon Beacons and the Black Mountains.

To the West, Cardigan Castle – the home of the original Eisteddfod; and Pembrokeshire National Park, one of the best coastlines in the World.

To the South our capital Cardiff and the rich mining history of the Welsh Valleys.

Llangollen International Eisteddfod

What do Status Quo, Grey’s Anatomy and Luciano Pavarotti all have in common? Llangollen Eisteddfod!

Status Quo has played, Pavarotti won first prize with his choir in 1955 (and now has a competition in his memory) and the Swingles – who have been featured on Grey’s Anatomy and Sex and the City – competed for the Pavarotti Trophy this year!

Ever wanted to do an around the world trip but never had the time?

Now’s your chance.

A visit to the Llangollen Eisteddfod will take you all over the globe as more than 4,000 performers from over 50 countries descend onto one of the most stunning riverside towns in North Wales to sing, dance and compete. Thailand, Ghana, Russia, Italy, USA, Costa Rica, India, Sweden and Ireland made up just a handful of the 2019 winners.

It’s Wales’ biggest street party – A lively, carnival atmosphere with a big scoop of Celtic magic thrown in for good measure.

2020 Llangollen International Eisteddfod promises to be the best eisteddfod yet as more countries than ever take part.

Llangollen is in the North East of Wales, near the UNESCO World Heritage site of Pontcysyllete Aquaduct, and the gateway to Snowdonia National Park.

Urdd Eisteddfod

The Urdd has been around for almost 100 years, as a National Voluntary Youth Organisation allowing for children and young people the opportunity to meet and socialise in Welsh.

Urdd literally means Welsh League of Hope and its annual Eisteddfod is a massive celebration of youth, Welsh language and culture. So, be sure to expect very high standards in the competitions.

Explore the ‘Maes’ (the field) and immerse yourself in the vibrant, colourful future of Wales – you’ll be smiling all day long.

The 2020 Urdd Eisteddfod is being held in North Wales, where we’d recommend adding a couple of day trips to the region whilst visiting this week-long event. Why not Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch on Anglesey, a train ride up our highest mountain, Snowdon and the seaside town of Llandudno with its extravagant Victorian Pier.

Eisteddfodau and festivals run throughout the year in Wales, in schools and communities across our country. Get in touch with us if you would like to know what events are happening while you are visiting.

Our expert team can advise on your itinerary and make all the arrangements you need for your dream trip to Wales.

Come to Wales and immerse yourself in the music, dance and poetry all around you – we’re not known as the Land of Song for nothing!