Category Archives: Wales

The Alyn

This month we’ve picked a welsh pub for lunch. We went out with work stuff and we’ve stopped by The Alyn, in Rossett, North Wales. We were hungry, so we’ve decided to have lunch too and not only a couple of coffees. The Alyn Riverside Country Pub is close to river Alyn, hence the name. It was a sunny day, but warm enough to stay outside. I imagine is great in the summer to have a pint of beer or a coffee outside and looking at the river.

The decor is lovely. There are so many nice pictures on the walls, a few old beams. During the Victorian era, the building was a hotel. In the 1870s the hotel was licensed to Edward Babb, a local councillor. He was a member of the Wrexham Board of Guardians, the board ran the local workhouse.
In 1894 Edward Babb was one of four charged with serving alcohol to two policemen who were on duty. At least technically, because policemen at that time were never off duty. The magistrates thought the law was too harsh, and decided to fine the landlords only a token one shilling each.

 The Alyn

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Wrexham

Yesterday we went to Wrexham for the day. I’ve been to the area before. I visited Erddig, a beautiful stately home and Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. This time we went in the town to see the city centre and that was a great idea. I ended up buying a lovely coat and a book.

Wrexham is the largest town in north Wales. Its history can be tracked back before the Romans. Nowdays is a lovely city with lots of shops and tearooms where you can spend a few hours wondering around.

 Wrexham

Enjoy the pictures.

02 Pub

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Electric Mountain

In our trip to Wales, we’ve been to Electric Mountain. The name is pretty much self explanatory, as it’s a guided tour of the Dinorwig Power Station. The power station is in Elidir Mountain and it’s one of the largest man made caverns in Europe. The power station converts the power of water into electricity and its main objective is to supply a short and high energy boost if required.

01 Electric Mountain

Dinorwig is made up of 10 miles of underground tunnels. For the construction of the tunnels, 1 million tonnes of concrete, 200,000 tonnes of cement and 4,500 tonnes of steel were used. It was amazing to hear that the station was built because the traditional stations can’t cope with the increase in energy demand when people are making their tea after a football match. Turning on so many kettles at the same time needs a lot of extra electricity for a short period of time. It’s also interesting that we want to think we are so different, but in reality we all use the kettle at the same time, quite predictable.

02 Electric Mountain
The tour started with a short movie about the power station.

After the introductory movie, we all had got our hardhats and we took a seat in the special bus that took us to the center of the power station. We’ve made a stop and the guide explained different aspects of the power station. It was fascinating to hear all the details and there are plenty of opportunities to ask questions.

The station is in a disused slate quarry. Most of the workforce is local and that was one of the aspects taken into consideration before the project started. The protection of salmon and trout stocks was another issue and there is a small video about the environment at the end of the tour. It’s amazing these steps were taken many years ago to protect the fish.

This power station works with pump storage. So the water is stored in a high lake, when it’s used the water goes through the plant and it gets to a lower lake. During the night, when the electricity is cheaper and the demand is lower, the pumps are set on reverse and the water goes from the bottom lake to the top lake, through the same system. The energy required for this is higher than the one it produces, but this happens at night time as I said, when the electricity is produced, but it’s not used.

It was a lovely tour, very informative and interesting. Both my husband and I enjoyed the experience very much.

The prices for the tour are £8.50 for adults and £4.35 for kids, it’s an unique opportunity to see into a working power station and I think it’s worth it. It’s not suitable for small children as they would get bored and kids under 4 are not allowed. On their website it’s mentioned booking is required. We didn’t book, but it wasn’t exactly the high season and we took the last 2 tickets available at that particular tour or we would have had to wait for a couple of hours. I suggest booking to avoid any issues on a busy day.

Have you been to Electric Mountain?

Rex Whistler

Rex Whistler was a British artist born in 1905. He had an amazing talent, but he died in the Second World War, at only 39. He was commissioned at the age of 23 to paint a mural at Tate Gallery restaurant, quite impressive I might add. He also painted a few murals.

The most renowned mural is the one at Plas Newydd, home to the Marquess of Anglesey. The mural he painted is 56 foot long. He and the daughter of the Marquess were close and he was in love with her. I first saw his mural a couple of years ago, when I went to visit Plas Newydd. At that time the copyright laws prevented me to take pictures, as it was less than 70 years after his death. I was keen to visit the stately home again and take pictures of the mural, so I can share them on my blog.

01 Rex Whistler Plas Newydd Anglesey

I looked through all my pictures and I chose 10 to share. There are many more stories about details he painted on the mural. If you get the chance to visit Plas Newydd, ask a member of the staff or volunteer, they will tell you his stories.

01 Rex Whistler
This is a self portrait. He included himself twice in the mural.

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Caernarfon Castle

Last month, on our holiday in Anglesey, we’ve been to Caernarfon Castle, it’s an World Heritage Site and part of CADW.

01 Caernarfon Castle

The Castle is built like a fortress. One of its features are the polygonal towers, not round like most castles. The site of this castle had previously been the location of a Norman motte and bailey castle. Before that it was a Roman fort. It was built during the reign of King Edward I. It was finished in 1330. A couple of hundred years later the castles weren’t as important and it felt into disrepair.

02 Caernarfon Castle
The views from the towers are amazing and it’s worth the effort to climb those narrow stairs to the top.

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Holy Island, Anglesey

In our holiday to Anglesey, we’ve been to Holy Island. We’ve been there before, at South Stack Cliffs and it’s a beautiful place. This time we’ve explored the island a little bit more. The main city is Holyhead, located halfway up on Anglesey’s west coast. The Island was a landing point between Ireland and Britain for almost 4,000 years. The name Holy Island comes from the incredible amount of standing stones and burial chambers found on the island.

01 Holy Island, Anglesey

My favourite location on Holy Island was Porth Dafarch Beach, owned by The National Trust. It opens out to the Irish Sea. We found it by chance, while we were driving around the island. The sand is beautiful, the water was warm, it was a wonderful surprise.

02 Holy Island, Anglesey

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Powis Castle

Medieval castle with gorgeous gardens makes the perfect spot to spend a beautiful day. Powis Castle is in Wales, an hour an a half from our home, an easy option for a short day trip.
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The Castle is beautiful. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, so I have pictures only from the courtyard and the gardens. On the NT website there are some pictures with the interior.

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Having a picnic on the lawn near a beautiful castle it’s so romantic, isn’t it?

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As we usually do when we go to NT properties, we had a cream tea.

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Hubby’s scone was assaulted by bees.

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There was a sign that the visitors are allowed to pick apples for a small donation, so I took advantage to pick one for my boy.

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