I am ALL for a UK mini break. Sure a lovely long weekend abroad is lovely, but you can’t beat the UK and what it has to offer. A few months back (I know, oops), Alex and I headed to the gorgeous Brecon area of Wales and we had a gorgeous long pre-weekend. You just can’t beat the countryside, a big hill, fancy food, a massive hot tub, amazing scenery, lots of Welsh rain, wine and good company.
We were lucky enough to be reviewing Peterstone Court, a stunning Grade II listed house. And with the Brecon Beacons as the backdrop, you could not fault the location. The hotel is home to 12 luxe rooms, a gym, jacuzzi area, sauna, outdoor pool, bar and restaurant. Our stay was probably the poshest one we’ve done yet! Our room was one of the Deluxe rooms with a country view and was decadent, the furnishings rich and luxe, and the bed massive. You know one of those hotels with old heavy furnishings that just feel old school classic fancy? A few of the furnishings looked like they could do with a little zhuzh up, but nothing that spoilt our visit. You bet that as soon as we had checked in we grabbed our robes and slippers and headed down. The jacuzzi area in in quite an intimate little cove underneath the old house, complete with some lovely furnishings and some loungers. There was another couple in there having a snuggle (ew) when we first went down, so we had a little loiter about, exploring the beautiful outdoor gardens, terrace and pool, which the weather wasn’t quite warm enough for yet! After we went back the jacuzzi area was clear, so we popped in for a bit of relaxation before getting ready for dinner – the perfect way to chill out after a pretty long drive!
We particularly enjoyed our dinner as it involved lots of fancy food and wine, which every now and then is a fun experience. Included within our stay package was a £50 dinner voucher, so we thought as we don’t do fancy dinners often, lets go all out. We started with some bubbles and a pint beforehand in the bar area, before one of my fave 3 course veggie dinners i’ve ever had! Sometimes Vegetarian menus can be a bit boring but this one was delicious, and the starter was my favourite part. Aside from the pretty pink plate that I wanted to smuggle into my bag and take home with me, the starter was delicious, and pretty generous as far as starters go! I went for the Winter vegetable tagine, a yummy medley of Chickpea falafels, couscous, aubergine caviar – and it was yummy, I didn’t want it to end. I followed this up with a spring green risotto, with the most delicious parmesan crisp on top, I can’t stop thinking about it! And it wouldn’t be a deluxe night away without completing 3/3 courses, so we both went for a classic sticky toffee pudding for pudding, which was the perfect end to our lovely meal.
After we’d gone all out on dinner, pudding and wine, we decided to get a gin from the bar to take to our room as a little night cap to go along with some Netflix. Don’t judge. We were super looked after during our stay, there were always lots of staff on hand, and the girl on reception was particularly helpful! We were pretty sad to check out the following morning, but after a lovely breakfast where you could choose an item off of the menu, as well as a continental buffet, we had stuffed our boots ready for our morning climb of Pen Y Fan!
Things to see and do
I’ve known The CSI Girls since the start of Sophie Rose (or Sophie Rose Hearts) as it was, and they’re a Cardiff based blogging duo who know a lot about great things to see and do in Wales, so of course as soon as our hotel was booked I sent them both a message! They recommended a hike up Pen Y Fan, as well as a trip to Big Pit and Raglan Castle.
We decided to visit Raglan Castle on our way into the Brecons, and although the weather was pretty horrendous, it made the experience a little more atsmospheric. Tickets were pretty reasonable, with adult tickets costing £7.30, and student tickets coming in at £4.40 and it was a lovely stop off about 40 minutes away from our hotel to just stretch our legs and get some fresh air alongside a pretty castle and some lovely views.
Our hotel was situated just a 20 minute drive away from Pen Y Fan, the highest peak in South Wales, so we thought we would have to give it a go. Well, it was certainly a bonding experience. The climb is 2 miles up, and 2 miles down, with a pretty steady elevation. The weather however was awful, we got so drenched we had to totally strip off in the car afterwards and change clothes, using my emergency car blanket as a towel. Might’ve scared some tourists, sorry. But it was a laugh. Not that Alex would agree, after having to put up with my whinging for a few hours.. Apparently on a clear day the views at the top are unreal. I can’t comment on that, as our view on the day was thick grey cloud, delightful.
After we’d changed our clothes and blasted the heating for a good while, we made it to Big Pit, a National Coal Museum. Yes it sounds like a dry year 5 school trip, but we loved it, and what made it better is that it was totally free – we just had to pay £3 for the parking. We arrived at Big Pit not expecting much really, but both Alex and I really enjoyed our trip. There are the usual museum type exhibitions, but the main attraction of Big Pit is the guided tour of the actual underground coal mines. It was really fascinating, and a touch scary, but super interesting. We couldn’t take any phones or electrical items down (bye bye Garmin), so I have no photos, but we had a great time, and our tour guide was an ex coal miner so he was really passionate about the tour. After our 30/45 minute tour, we headed back up in the cage lift to civilisation, and since then i’ve raved about Big Pit to everyone and anyone who is heading to Wales!
We decided to make the most of our venture to Wales, so we came the long way home the following day, with a night in Guiting Power at The Hollow Bottom, followed by a slow drive home stopping at stunning Cotswold Villages such as Bibury, Bourton on the Water and Cirencester.
Now to decide where in the UK we should visit next! Where is your favourite place in the UK for a mini break?