A weekend in the Conwy Valley
Published: Sunday 2nd Jul 2017
Written by: Kate Pierce
With so many cottages to choose from along the Conwy Valley we were spoilt for choice but we made our choice and checked in our weekend residence at Maenan, a small village just 4 miles from Llanrwst and 3 miles from Eglwysbach. It felt like we were away from it all but less than 8 miles from the A55 and 14 miles from the ever popular seaside town of Llandudno. The kids were excited and after an initial explore of our cottage, picking their bedroom, having a first run around the garden and unpacking the essentials we headed out to explore the local area.
On a Friday night we were unsure where to eat and headed to the little market town of Llanrwst. The pretty local shops with local crafts and produce were closing so we headed straight to local chip shop, Tir a Mor, selling impressive, locally sourced fish, meats and pies. There was seating upstairs but the children's excitement was still running high and with the sun still shining we headed over the Pont Fawr bridge, a narrow 17th century three-arch stone bridge, and sat by the fast running river to eat. With the sun fading we headed back to our cosy cottage.
Saturday was a full day of activity! With Surf Snowdonia, Zip World, Bodnant Gardens, Ffin y Parc and the Conwy Valley Rail Museum we knew the children would be kept busy whatever the weather. We headed to ZipWorld and as a family we all did the Fforest Coaster, a toboggan run based on a traditional run but on rails. The journey starts in the heart of the woodland leading up through the forest then we whizzes 1km down the twist and turns flying through the forest at considerable speed! Re-fuel by a latte, sausage bap and slice of exquisite malteser cake from the excellent cafe we headed next to the Treetop Nets! For nearly two hours, suspended 60 feet above the forest floor, we ran, bounced and leapt on Europe's longest net walkway, with large trampolines, tunnels, slides and connecting floating tree houses.
With much energy expended we jumped in the car and headed to Swallow Falls and Betws y Coed. Swallow Falls was as stunning as I remember as a child with the multiple streams of cool sparkling water dramatically rushing downhill and downstream. The sound had equal familiarity and a calmness only found it the Snowdonia mountains.
We grabbed an ice cream in Betws y Coed at Spinnakers (too many flavours to choose from so we had double scoops!) then headed back to our cottage for dinner and a well-earned rest. Not surprisingly, the children slept well whilst we enjoyed the complimentary wine!
We woke up to bright sunshine and the sound of hens and cockerels. We joined them outside on the patio for a light breakfast before packing our rucksacks for the next adventures: Surf Snowdonia.
Lying in the heart of the Conwy Valley, modern yet sympathetically blending into its surroundings this impressive Worlds first commercial artificial surfing lake is breath-taking and invites excitement. Our children were able to book in for a Little Rippers Lesson, a great start for 5 - 7 years olds to get used to the surf. There are lessons for all ages and abilities or free surfing available for those who can already ride those continuous waves! With great instructors, great lifeguards and clear safety rules we could relax and enjoy a coffee in the cafe. Once dried off and warmed up we enjoyed sharing platters in the restaurant and recommend the sweet potato chips!
In no rush we took a long route back to cottage taking in the fabulous scenery of the Conwy Valley before arriving back to our cottage. We packed up and set on our way home. As we made our way back to the A55 the daylight dropped and on came the lights of the Conwy Castle. 'Mum, we haven't been in that castle! Can we go?' came a tiny voice from the back of the car. I guess we have more to explore and we will be back again to see what else the Conwy Valley has to offer.