Snowdonia’s national park is the rural heartland of North Wales — think mountains, glacial valleys, and sparkling waterfalls. But there’s also plenty here for families, history buffs and Sunday strollers.
Recommended place to stay:
Bala, Wales, United Kingdom (UK)|www.palehall.co.uk|
Official star rating:
It’s the full Downton Abbey experience at this luxurious, stately pile in the North Wales countryside.
Think sumptuous rooms, sumptuous food, and the kind of unobtrusive service that only comes naturally to a first-class establishment.
There’s a sense of history, too, including the Victoria Room, where Queen Victoria stayed in 1889.
If you can drag yourself away, then country pursuits include walks in the wilder, less-visited Berwyn Mountains on the doorstep.
Notably, this is Wales’ first Michelin Green Star-awarded hotel for its environment-first ethos. For example, expect free electric vehicle charging points and a menu based around seasonality.
It may only be four miles to the rustic town of Bala but Palé Hall feels gloriously lost in time. The Victorian manor house is set in its own 50-acre estate – a throwback to its former life as a shooting retreat for the Duke of Westminster.
Nearby Bala Lake, the largest natural lake in Wales, is, according to folklore, home to Teggie, Wales’ answer to the Loch Ness Monster. It’s a relatively modern tale with sightings of a dinosaur-like creature from the 1920s onwards.
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