I work as a freelance designer, and I’ve been busy with work recently. I like being busy, and I like my job, but sitting at a desk staring at a computer screen isn’t the greatest. So I decided to get in my car and go for an adventure.
My mum had recently had an operation on her hand, so I asked her if she wanted to come with me. We set off from my house in Llanddulas and headed up into the rolling hills of North Wales. We decided to go on a magical mystery tour and drive inland using just small country roads. At some points, the roads were more like mud tracks. Great if you’re in a 4×4 vehicle, but I was in a Skoda Citigo.
The first part of the journey didn’t go according to plan. Using only my spider senses and no maps, I managed to navigate in a perfect circle and ended up in nearby Llysfaen. I have a great sense of direction and can usually find my way around with no problem. Everyone has an off day.
I then began to follow signs for Dolwen, and we began to relax into the journey. The scenery was stunning, and I had to fight myself to keep my eyes on the road. Around every bend was something new to feast your eyes on. Rolling hills, beautiful cottages and forests with trees that had been recently felled during storm Doris.
Amazingly I’ve been working on the website for the Welsh Ornithological Society along with a new logo for them. Their logo symbol is a red kite, a bird that I had recently been told could now be found in the Conwy Valley. To my surprise, I saw a red kite flying close to my car over a lush green field. It was much bigger than I thought it would be and it was a beautiful flyer. I believed at the time that was as good as it could get, but I was about to be proved wrong. As I rounded the next bend, I saw another Red Kite about 3 yards from my car window perched on a fencepost. I couldn’t believe my luck. I got to see the bird take off and fly away at such a close distance, it really was a privilege to see. Maybe it was a reward for working so hard on the website.
We carried on along the country roads until we reached Llanrwst, a beautiful little town on the banks of the River Conwy. It’s a lovely place to stop and explore, the Pont Fawr is a great photo opportunity. It’s a narrow stone bridge built in 1636 said to have been designed by Inigo Jones a notable English architect (of Welsh ancestry). The bridge is a beautiful landmark but is only big enough to take one vehicle at a time. There is also no real footpath, so caution has to be taken when crossing on foot and in a car.
My mum didn’t want to stop yet as she had decided she was hungry and wanted to stop for something to eat in Betws-y-Coed. I’d been wanting to go to Ty Gwyn in Betws for some time, so I headed there.
The Ty Gwyn Hotel is a 17th Century former coaching Inn. It’s a well-respected hotel and restaurant, with some great reviews for its food. It’s set on the main road (A5) just on the way into Betws-y-Coed. The bar and restaurant area is a cosy, inviting area, with a large open fire at the end of the room and an old fashioned well-stocked bar at the other.
The menu is one of those that causes lots of confusion. Everything sounds nice and is unusual enough to be something you want to try. I opted for the Ty Gwyn fillet mignon roulade, which consisted of a battened welsh fillet steak that was cooked to perfection, rolled around pate and wild mushrooms accompanied by a Hafod Cheddar Roulade with wilted spinach and cured bacon and a delicious creamy peppercorn sauce.
My mum ordered the Ty Gwyn Sheppard’s Pie. As the Marks and Spencers advert says, this wasn’t just any old Sheperd’s Pie. The meat in the pie was melt in the mouth and full of flavour, it was 24 hours slow braised Dylsasau Farm organic lamb shoulder. The mash was Cheddar and Parmesan mash, the flavours combined were amazing.
After a few oohs and aaahs and mmmms we swapped plates and tried each other’s choices. It really was good locally sourced food well cooked. We both enjoyed the meal and said we’d be back again soon. The place had a really homely, friendly atmosphere that hugged you as soon as you walked through the front door. It’s highly recommended for a place to stop and eat if you’re in the area. The prices were pretty reasonable too for the quality of food on offer. I’ve included a photo of the menu on the day, but I’m sure this will change so best check before you go if you see something you like on the menu.
Let me know if you’ve been here, or if you’ve enjoyed any other good meals around Betws-y-Coed area.