Europe

Off-the-Beaten-Path: Day 2 in Southern Wales

Note: Don’t miss day one of my Northern Wales adventure here.

After a jam packed first day, I was eager to see what else Wales had to offer, despite how exhausted I was, we woke up bright and early for our included breakfast at The Angel Hotel and headed out for day two.

Booths Bookshop

Our first stop was Hay-on-Wye, my favourite of any of the places I visited in Great Britain or Wales. Known as The Town of Books this town has to be the cutest one I’ve ever laid my eyes on. The streets are lined with little shops selling antiques, artsy homeware and art, and you guessed it—books! There are so many book shops, it’s impossible to not find something that will tickle your fancy. One of the most notable shops being Booth’s Bookshop which is supposedly the world’s largest secondhand book store, and believe me, you can seriously spend weeks in it.

Gospel Pass
After our visit to Hay-on-Wye we hopped on the Gospel Pass. The road in which our guide, Shan, told us was one she absolutely hated but needed to take us on because of the gorgeous views you won’t get elsewhere. (A note to the wise, if you aren’t a local or with a local, don’t drive on this road!) The Gospel Pass was a windy and narrow road that barely had enough space for one car to drive down it, but despite that fact, it was a two-way road. The road brings you among the countryside for sections, sometimes you are hanging rather close to the edge with no guardrails, and other times it is surrounded by gorgeous hedges and trees that cross over the road like a tunnel of green.

Church Wales

On route through the Gospel Pass, we stumbled across this tiny little local church and graveyard. It made me wonder who goes to church in the middle of nowhere but it was the cutest church that was built in 1762. I love stumbling across little gems like this, it’s part of the beauty of going off-the-beaten-path.

Llanthony

Our next stop was to Llanthony Priory where we planned to have lunch. Sadly, the pub that is on the grounds was closed on Monday’s which was unfortunate because it looked like the cutest traditional pub in a cellar. Llanthony Priory itself was built in the twelfth century and although not as big and fancy as other priories we visited like Tintern Abbey, this priory is actually now a hotel that you can stay in and is definitely worth a quick stop.

Skirrid

Although we were famished from not getting to eat lunch as expected, we had an appointment at 3pm to visit the Skirrid Inn which is usually closed on Monday’s (Thanks to John for opening up just for us to take a look!). The Skirrid Inn is said to be one of the oldest inns in Wales, dating back to 1100. On top of being the oldest, it obviously comes with a lot of history, and in this case, a lot of dark history. This inn was also used as a courthouse back in the day and many people were said to be hung here, and when you walk into this place, you don’t even have to believe in ghosts to feel like this place may be haunted.

Skirrid Inn

The Skirrid Inn has claimed its fame on shows like Extreme Ghost Hunters and Most Haunted and ghost hunters have come from all over to spend a night in this place. We personally couldn’t even envision ourselves spending anymore then the time we did in this place as it was extra eerie.

Gliffaes Hotel

After getting spooked at the Skirrid Inn, we headed on to our hotel for the night in hopes it wasn’t even half as haunted as the inn we just came from. As we pulled up to our hotel located in the Brecon Beacons National Park (basically the middle of nowhere), we felt like we were pulling up to a castle. The Gliffaes Hotel was huge, and sat among the most gorgeous countryside views. The hotel was built with a big terrace and little sun room that you could sit and admire the scenery. Despite our room being super small and in an attic, it was cute, clean and very country-like.

Gliffaes Room

Once we arrived at the hotel we immediately had high tea as we were starving and that was the only thing they were serving at that time. We enjoyed a variety of tea, cute little finger sandwiches and sweets. Thankfully we had scarfed down a lot at high tea, because the dinner menu was a bit out of our budget, so we headed out for a walk instead around the trails that surrounded the hotel.

Brecon Beacons

When we got back to the hotel, we ordered some chips (their version of French fries) and sat in one of their big seating rooms next to the fire (yes, it was rather cold when I was there). Then off to bed we went in our tiny room at the top of the hotel to get a good night’s sleep before day three of our Wales road trip.

Costs:
Llanthony Priory: FREE
Skirrid Inn: N/A
Gliffaes Hotel: Starting at around £150 a night

Map of the places covered:

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