Five Special Places and Cake!
So where is your favourite place in Wales? The National Trust has been asking this question over the last couple of months and a winner has been announced. Before the final vote however there were five different category winners to find and I must say that I consider each one of them worthy victors.
In the Wild Open Spaces category Snowdonia came out on top. The home of the tallest mountain in Wales and England and being the biggest National Park in Wales with stunning scenery, plenty of opportunities for a huge range of outdoor activities along with the new attractions of zip wires and inland surfing, it would have been surprising if it hadn’t won!
Again not much of a shocker that Rhossili triumphed when it came to our Glorious Coast. This three mile long sandy beach, protected by cliffs, is no stranger when it comes to accolades and is often named among some of the best beaches in the world.
For Quirky or Urban the Dolaucothi Gold Mines attraction was the winner. Take an underground trip deep into the hillside and experience the conditions of a miner 2000 years ago under Roman rule and 200 years ago when the mining environment could be just as harsh. You can also try your hand at panning for gold if you think you have what it takes.
Gladstone’s Library beat the rest in the Historic Buildings category and it is not difficult to see why. For book lovers the reading rooms in this gorgeous old building look so inviting and silence is a hard won luxury it seems sometimes in our busy lives. With a bistro restaurant for lunch or afternoon tea it would be easy to spend a whole day here and more!
Finally, Dyffryn Gardens won in the Parks and Gardens group. With 55 acres of varied restored gardens, including an arboretum, a rose garden and a working kitchen garden, produce of which is served in the café and can be purchased from the shop this is a little oasis of calm just 20 minutes from Cardiff.
And the overall winner is…….Dyffryn Gardens! Attracting over one third of the votes in the final there is no doubt that those who have been to these magnificent gardens obviously think very highly of them. I haven’t been myself but looking at all the pictures and reviews it looks great, the majority of people return and the lemon drizzle cake comes highly recommended.
Talking about cake, it’s not just our marvellous locations bathing in appreciation. As part of the UK Great Taste Awards 2015 10 Welsh products achieved 3 stars – the top mark that could have been awarded by the panel which included renowned critic Charles Campion (I love him in Masterchef!). For the full list click here for the BBC news page but the one that appeals to me most is Mrs O’s carrot cake. Although whether it could possibly be as tasty as Laura’s (our office manager) moist and scrumptious carrot cake muffins is yet to be decided. We will have to make our way down to Mrs O's pop-up tea room in Ystradowen, near Cowbridge, and conduct our own taste test!
So do you agree with the final five best places? I would love to hear what you think and any recommendations for great Welsh produce would also be warmly welcomed!