TRAVEL REVIEW: Perfect spot for trying the best Snowdonia has to offer
Nestled in the southern end of the Snowdonia National Park, surrounded by rolling hills, the Macdonald Plas Talgarth resort in Pennal is an ideal spot from which to explore this beautiful region in mid-Wales.
Or, equally so, stay on site and do as much or a little as you desire.
Location: It is not often easy to find a place that satisfies all requirements when it comes to a family’s varied holiday needs but Plas Talgarth manages to do so; for those who fancy mountain climbing, that is on your doorstep, with some wonderful hikes nearby as well as riverside walks.
However, just 15 minutes away in the car, lie some stunning beaches and spectacular coastline including Aberdyfi and Tywyn.
Ambience: Although it has the grandiose mansion house as its central point, everything around the resort is relatively relaxed and casual, befitting the tranquil setting. Guests can laze away days next to the roaring fire in the cosy Y Garth Bar, treat themselves to a spa, enjoy a swim inside or out - the heated outdoor pool is invigorating on a winter’s evening! - or simply enjoy a stroll in the rarefied country grounds.
Accommodation: Plas Talgarth offers all sorts of accommodation including apartments and studios within the mansion house itself. However, away from the central area, we enjoyed a neatly-appointed two-bedroom lodge which included a balcony that opened up onto picturesque views of the Dyfi Valley, overlooking sheep-dotted fields and down towards the river.
With an open-plan kitchen, dining area and living room, it was like a home from home and acted as a perfect base.
With an en-suite master bedroom - and even our own sauna in the main bathroom - it was spacious and well-equipped.
Food and drink: We dined at the Y Garth Bar which, with its log fire, wooden beams, warm welcome and selection of guest ales, was perfect. Indeed, rarely have I seen a pork chop as large or as succulent as the dish served on our visit, topped with rarebit crumble and served on sweet and sour leeks it comes well recommended. There is a sensible approach to the kids menu, too, with children offered the choice of two side dishes from a selection of seven.
Upstairs, the Y Garth restaurant gives people the chance to dine with the mountains for a backdrop.
What to do: There is so much to do in and around not only the Plas Talgarth resort but, of course, Snowdonia as well. However, for this family, the highlight was a two-mile trip on the miniature steam railway from the coastal village of Fairbourne, slipping in between the sand dunes with mountains on one side and the sea on the other, to Barmouth Ferry railway station. The ‘ferry’ is a tiny boat - no more than seven passengers per trip - which then motors a short distance over the Mawddach estuary to the delightful resort of Barmouth.
Worth writing home about: Just as the Broad Acres have the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors to marvel at and embrace, Wales has Snowdonia as one of its areas of outstanding natural beauty - and Plas Talgarth is right in the thick of it. Just over three hours away from Leeds, the travelling is easily manageable with a young family and with such attentive and welcoming staff on hand in all areas of the idyllic resort, it makes for a relaxing break.
For more information, contact resorts.macdonaldhotels.co.uk
Prices start from just £47 per night and there is a Winter Warmer 20 per discount until December 19 as well as from January 2 to March 31.