As much as travel opportunities are limited right now, I’m thoroughly enjoying having the chance to explore and plan a few overnight breaks closer to home. For Adam’s birthday this year, his mum had kindly gifted us a hotel stay in Beaumaris, Anglesey. The timing was ideal; we were both getting fed up after a heavy start to the year, with lockdown and the monotony it brought and were ready for a change.
For someone who’s usually pretty organised and likes to plan ahead where possible, I didn’t research Beaumaris before we set off on the two-and-a-half-hour drive, so had no idea what to expect. After navigating through Welsh villages and windy coastal roads, we crossed the bridge into Anglesey and found our hotel in the centre of Beaumaris.
The Bulkeley Hotel is a Grade 1 listed hotel located opposite the pier, with climbing ivy gracing its charming, fairytale rear exterior. It was everything you’d expect a seaside hotel to be. With its traditional yet immaculate decor, dotted with eclectic details (the taxidermied goat with pipe, featured below, being one example), winding staircases, and single glazed bedroom windows, The Bulkeley Hotel was certainly unlike anywhere I’ve stayed before.
We decided to find our bearings and explore the area on foot. The Red Boat Ice Cream Parlour lured me in immediately. After struggling to choose from all the gorgeous flavours, such as mango, chocolate hazelnut, Madagascan vanilla, and more, I left with a sprinkle cone of cherry bakewell gelato. It was so good that we went back again that evening for seconds.
The castle was a five-minute walk away, however, was only accepting guests with pre-booked tickets due to COVID restrictions. Luckily, we checked out the website and managed to secure a pair of tickets for that afternoon. Adam paid for this but I think it was about 8 quid each. Beaumaris Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The castle build wasn’t ever completed after Edward 1 began this project back in 1295, however, it does feature an impressive, water-filled moat.
The ruins were much bigger than they looked from the outside, and we spent the majority of the afternoon exploring the nooks and crannies. If you do visit, I’d recommend wearing sensible shoes and making sure you investigate every set of stairs and corridor you can; one set of concealed steps that we almost overlooked led us to the most beautiful hidden chapel.
We also visited an unusual place next door, The Castle Garden. I think it was a privately-owned space and the owners had chosen to open it up to the public and made for a pleasant walk around, boasting fragrant flowers, botanicals, and rare plants. When it came to food, the hotel restaurant had been recommended to us, however, the vegetarian options were limited so we opted for a classic chippy tea, can of Vimto, and walk along the seafront before sunset, making for a serene and simple end to the day.
Sleep was lacking due to an apparent Saturday night seagull party in full swing by the hotel bins outside our window. The Welsh breakfast and freshly-brewed coffee on offer the next morning redeemed the four hours sleep though and set us up for a day wandering the town further. Rows of pretty, quaint pastel houses lined the coast and despite the clouds, we got a beautiful view of the Menai Strait.
On the main street lay ‘one of the oldest houses in Great Britain’ dating back to 1400, and a few doors up was a traditional tea shop where we stopped for cake, sandwiches, and tea. We saw families crabbing on the pier, and we popped into the various antique, gift, and crafts shops along the way. I came home with a fridge magnet, crystals, and insense, naturally.
We didn’t have time to take a boat trip over to Puffin Island, or venture out to see more of Anglesey, however, our much-needed, welcomed night away gave us a small taster of the area, and would be great to go back again one day.