Aberystwyth – another Welsh gem – we spent one night in this relatively undiscovered small town on the far flung edges of the Welsh coastline and were enthralled by the outstanding natural beauty. With the Cambrian Mountains to the east and a jagged coastline it was unspoilt and just gorgeous. Lying on the long sweep of Cardigan Bay the curving promenade and two lovely sandy beaches did it for Son, for me it was all about those colourful seafront Regency terraces.
An internet trawl for accommodation just before we left was starting to look fruitless. Plenty of places to stay, but everything looked just a bit “seasidey” old fashioned/faded/dated. Then, at the last minute I stumbled upon the website for Gwesty Cymru. Lucky find. This place ticked all my hotel boxes and looked perfect. A lovely old house on one of those gorgeous terraces, inside it had been renovated and promised all mod-cons. We were not disappointed. It was charming – those renovations had been sympathetically done, it had slate floors and loads of natural materials and you just got the feeling this had been a labour of love.
There are only eight rooms, we booked very last minute so didn’t have a choice and didn’t have a sea view. That didn’t matter we spent very little time in the room. The very friendly owner helped us drag our bag up the spiral staircase to the first floor – no lift here. The room was small but perfectly formed, everything was top quality from the radiator to the light fittings to the bed linen. A bit hot during the night, the owner had left two fans and we kept the window open which cooled everything down with a refreshing sea breeze. The room had tea/coffee making facilities, free WiFi and a huge bathroom – actually almost twice the size of the bedroom with lovely tiling and an enormous shower.
We set out to explore the town – the hotel was slap bang in the middle of everything so full marks for location too.
Right at the edge of the promenade is the cliff railway – the largest one in Britain. We just made it for the last train up the hill before closing time and could have taken it right back down again but decided against this, opting to make our way back to the bottom on foot. We were the only passengers and the only people at the top. The railway opened in 1896 and was originally water balanced. It climbs steeply to the top of Constitution Hill where we gushed over the views of the coastline. We found a Camera Obscura (closed) and a cafe (closing) but managed to squeeze in just before they shut for scrummy sherbet ice-creams. The walk back down was a little steep and a little rough underfoot but worth it for those vistas.
We walked right to the opposite end of the town – great views back to the railway – to check out the castle ruins. A Norman castle, once the finest in the land but now crumbling, we found lots of interesting stones and places to clamber over and explore. Husband remarked we have often paid to see lesser ruins – this is an Aberystwyth must-see. The views over the sea are none too shabby either.
A student town, during our visit it was the start of the summer holidays so things were fairly quiet. We discovered a reasonable choice of places to eat but decided to dine in our hotel. The basement level had a bijou restaurant with a small number of tables, quaint decor, friendly service and outstanding food. We feasted on gingerbread rack of lamb – fabulous presentation and mouth wateringly delicious, in fact we were in agreement this was the best food we’d had on our Welsh trip. Husband spied the man next to us with the restaurant’s take on a Scotch egg and was intrigued. When he spotted that on the breakfast menu next morning it was a no brainer. Filled with black pudding and other goodies it was unusual and super tasty. The full Welsh breakfast was tasty too and came with laverbread. Curious to try this Welsh speciality it was an experience, let’s just say I don’t think we’ll order it again.
We headed back to our car – no parking at the hotel but there was ample space on the street and it was free overnight. We did a double-take when we saw it had virtually changed colour from blue to white. The seagulls had been seriously busy all night and had pooped every car in sight – I’d never seen anything quite like this. Still, a small price to pay for a lovely stay in a great little seaside town.