Having spent a wonderful 3 nights at The Trefeddian Hotel in Aberdovey, Wales, last year, we decided to return this May to celebrate my mum’s 70th birthday.
By a bizarre coincidence, when I told my mum last year about our trip to this fabulous hotel, she told me that she used to holiday in Aberdovey with her parents as a girl, and they would look wistfully at The Trefeddian from behind a windbreaker on the beach. She took her own father when he was in his 80s, so this was a really special weekend for all of us.
Although the rooms aren’t normally ready until about 2pm, when I called a few days before to say mum would be arriving early on the train, the hotel staff said they would do their best to let her check in early, and she would be welcome to use all the facilities as soon as she arrived. By early evening when we arrived from Manchester, mum had already had a lovely swim in the hotel pool, been down to the beach and enjoyed a G&T in the bar!
Mum had a single room and we had a large family room, both of which had wonderful views of the sea and both were very spacious, with ample storage.
One of our favourite things about the hotel from our last visit was the dining experience. Included with the room is a 5 course dinner every night from 6.45pm, which children are welcome to have (or they can choose from a more typically kid-friendly menu, or mix and match the two – the hotel were very flexible). Younger children can eat earlier from the extensive children’s menu which included things like fish pie, meatballs, homemade fish goujons and pasta. The dinners did not disappoint this year, in fact I thought the standard of the food was better and the service was still first class. Our older two children are very adventurous eaters, so ordered everything from soup of the day, to sticky pork ribs, to Gressingham duck – Mimi even had dressed crab one evening!! Rosie is the opposite, so struggled a little with the ‘adult’ menu, but loved the fish pie and pasta from the kids’ menu.
The hotel is really kid-friendly, and a lot of thought has gone in to keeping children entertained. As well as the brilliant games rooms (with snooker, pool, air hockey and table tennis), there is a lounge for younger children with books, play houses, a slide and ride on toys, and a TV room. There were booklets on display near reception with a treasure hunt for children. There were about 20 questions, about things you could find in or around the hotel (e.g. how many chandeliers are there on the ground floor, how many stairs from ground floor to 4th floor), which my girls loved doing. The booklet also contained word searches about the area – a great way to learn some local history – and other puzzles and games. The kids and I played tennis on the hotel’s tennis court and they enjoyed playing on the small playground.
There are a stack of beach games and buckets/spades for guests to borrow, so we headed down to the beach with boules, a kite and fishing nets. Granny gave us all a masterclass in boules – apparently she doesn’t believe in letting children (hers or mine) win! The beach is just over the road from the hotel, and is one of the most beautiful beaches we’ve ever been too. It stretches 4 miles, with sand dunes to play in and tons of shells to collect. My kids are usually keen to swim in the sea whatever the weather, but were put off by the giant jellyfish that had been washed up on the shore- never seen anything like it and apparently it’s not the norm! Luckily, they got their swimming fix every day in the fabulous hotel pool, which was usually deserted.
Although the children would have been happy to stay in the hotel all weekend, we did manage to prise them outside into the sunshine, as there is lots to do in the surrounding area. One highlight of the trip was crabbing down at the jetty in Aberdovey village, just as the tide was turning. We bought some crabbing lines at a little shop on the sea front which also sold raw bacon (genius), and we must have caught about 50 crabs! Granny took us all on a walk through the village up to the bandstand, for lovely views over Cardigan Bay and the village. Continuing her trip down memory lane, we went to Dolgogh Falls. You head to the Dolgogh Falls Guesthouse, where you can park for £2, and you can either walk 10 minutes through rainforest to a lovely waterfall, or carry on for another 40 minutes up to where the waterfalls start. The Guesthouse has a tearoom which is a real suntrap on a nice day, with lovely views of the hills – Ed judged the coronation chicken sandwich the best ever. We then did a walk from the Penhelig Arms pub just outside Aberdovey, to ‘Picnic Island’, along limestone cliff paths and a roman road, with fabulous views of the sea and coastal villages.
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