Last weekend, Ruth from RocknRollerBaby and I headed off on a whirlwind road trip to Wales, sans bebes, which was a bit of a treat.
The thing I love most about Wales, aside from the lovely people and the amazing food (laverbread! Welsh cakes! Nick Tonkins Wild Welsh Honey - which, I have to inform you, is THE BEST HONEY IN ALL THE LAND!) is the breathtaking rugged coastline and the beautiful rolling countryside. I've travelled around the British Isles a fair bit and the west coast of Wales really takes some beating. Yes, there are plenty of towns and cities (which I also love) but the vast majority of the coast and countryside is raw, unspoiled perfection. Whenever we visit our family in South Wales, we literally spend all our waking hours outside - on the beach, hiking, visiting castles (bar a couple of hours here and there which we spend in the pub, of course). When the sun shines in Wales it is absolutely incredible, but I love it equally (possibly even more so) when its blustery and grey.
So last Friday, Ruth and I set off on our epic road trip and headed to Pembrokeshire. We were booked in to stay at Glebe House B&B in the village of Nolton, and had plans to hike on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, before going beach riding on Saturday afternoon.
Four and a half hours (and two numb bums) later, driving through the picturesque village of Nolton was like arriving at the gates of heaven. Dating back to 1352, and overlooking the ancient and picturesque church of St Madoc, Glebe House is, without doubt, the prettiest house in the village.
It has four bedrooms, each named after local islands, and Ruth and I were staying in the Caldey room which was beautifully decorated, with thick black-out curtains, sumptuous bedding and lots of gorgeous finishing touches, like a big old fashioned cast iron radiator and a digital Roberts radio. There was also a huge claw foot bath in the en suite (as well as quite possibly the best, most powerful shower I've ever had in my life - and goodies from The White Company!) and a gorgeous view of the churchyard.
After dropping our things off and having a quick freshen up, we decided not to waste any precious time and so headed straight out. We had a table booked at The Druidstone Hotel for dinner, which was half an hour's walk away along the coastal road.
If you're ever passing through Pembrokeshire and want a brilliant, beautiful, awesome, quirky place to eat/drink/stay then PLEASE promise me you'll call in at The Dru. It's a big old house on the edge of a cliff, with a cosy bar, a beautiful dining room and seriously impressive views across the Atlantic.
Getting wrapped up warm and drinking chocolate stout whilst watching the sun go down over the Atlantic was one of my favourite parts of the weekend.... we even saw dolphins swimming a couple of miles out! Eating steak and salted caramel chocolate tart in this beautiful restaurant was up there too...
The hotel had a ceilidh planned for the next night, which meant we got to listen in on the band rehearsing after our dinner. It was brilliant - and made us wish we were staying longer!
The following morning we were up bright and early to make the most out of our day. After nursing our slightly delicate heads with cups of tea, and filling our bellies with eggs and bacon, and jam on toast, we headed out on a coastal hike. I've spent the last six months planning a road trip of the west coast of Wales for this summer, and if the rest of it is anything like the teeny tiny bit we explored this weekend then I know I won't be disappointed.
Then, for the main event. Horse riding on Druidstone Beach!
I rode regularly as a child, but the last time I was on a horse was back in 2001. Turns out it's just like riding a bike, and everything comes flooding back to you, even after fifteen long years ;)
The ride was organised by Nolton Stables, who also offer countryside rides and one to one lessons. They have a large selection of horses and ponies so they can cater for riders of all ages and levels of experience.
Ruth was paired with Thunder, and my steed for the afternoon was Phantom!
We set off on our hack in a group of twelve, with six staff spread throughout the ride to give us a few pointers and to assess our abilities. Once we reached the beach we split into groups and spent almost an hour trotting and cantering across the sand. I've never been on a beach ride in my life and to say I Found My Epic would be an understatement. It was incredible! An hour and a half wasn't enough, although my butt and thighs will probably tell you otherwise ;)
Ruth and I had an absolutely wonderful weekend in Pembrokeshire and are already planning on returning with the kiddos in the Summer. Special thanks to Penny at Glebe House for her hospitality (and amazing cooked breakfast!) and everyone at Nolton Stables for a wonderful ride xo
This post was written in collaboration with Visit Wales.