Slipping silently into this quiet town during late evening, devoid of anyone roaming the streets, I would soon realise that this most Welsh-speaking town called Caernarfon would become my favourite destination in the province of Wales.
Dropping our bags off at Totters Independent Hostel (nicknamed Totters independent Traders of Only Fools and Horses fame), a charming and super friendly hostel situated yards from the town’s 2 most gorgeous attractions – Caernarfon Castle and the Menai Strait that separates mainland Wales to the Druid-lore island of Anglesey, we desperately needed a pint. It had been a long day driving full of laughter and banter in front of a wealth of absolutely stunning views particularly in Snowdonia National Park, and we absolutely wanted a Welsh Ale to quench our thirst. The sun was out reflecting on the Menai waters’ calm and dazzling tide and Tom and I thought no better than to sit alongside the Strait on the Promenade and sup a beer with a ‘leek’ in it!
The weather was absolutely amazing to be sat on the seafront overlooking the dominant Menai Strait with mysterious Druid-laden lore Anglesey peeking over the horizon. Sunlight glazed along the silent and seemingly non moving Menai and as Tom and I took our first sip of our locally brewed Welsh Ale, we were fully rested after the antic sightseeing of Snowdonia National Park and Brecon Beacons. Just gazing across this stretch of water made your cares of the world slip away. Perhaps it was the beer…but the view helped.
It may be said by many visitors that the town is just…boring. I disagree. Completely. 100%. And add infinity squared on top of that. You get me? Just to make it clear. It’s NOT Boring! I’ll happily punch people who say Bangor, 10 miles away is better. So instead of resorting to violence, let me tell you what I think of the most welsh speaking town of Wales.
It’s a town full of surprises.
Unarguably, the best feature is Caernarfon Castle (see below for more) closely followed by the Menai Strait but as you hit the High Street, the old City Walls snakes through leading tempted passerbys to explore many services and establishments listed around.
The Black Boy Inn has the best food around. WELSH FOOD. Helping ourselves over the 3 day stay in this charming town, our stomaches were filled to the brim from Welsh Pork Belly, Leek and Potato Pie, Welsh Cheeses and even more copious Welsh Ale.
As you can see, we enjoyed our selection of food there! But it’s not the only place I went to eat Welsh food. Blas, a lunchtime option restaurant also serves a fantastic selection of Welsh Seafood as I helped myself to Menai Mussels. One word. YUM.
It may seem that all we ever did was eat food in the town of Caernarfon, but believe me, it’s all you’ll ever do when you arrive here…
You cannot absolutely miss this medieval castle wherever you are in Caernarfon. Like a bad uncle photo bombing (okay, It’s usually me!), you are constantly surrounded by the old castle walls and if you follow-up the ‘Hole in the Wall Street’ you are greeted with the almighty splendour of Caernarfon Castle.
Built in 1283 By King Edward I (not me, I know I look like a ruggedly handsome King) to quell the Welsh Lords, he created his son, who would become King Edward II (still not me) who was born here, the Prince of Wales. This then became the tradition to this day that the oldest son and heir would become Prince of Wales. Prince Charles, the oldest son of our current reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth II, is currently Prince of Wales and in 1955. He was invesitured here as Prince and presented to the Welsh people. Notably past Prince of Wales includes Edward, the Black Prince; George IV, the Prince Regent; Edward VII, son of Queen Victoria; and Edward VIII, the King who abdicated and also our current Queen’s uncle. You would think after all these Edwards, I should have a fair shot at being Prince of Wales. But as I enter the castle, I pretended that I was. After all, I’m called Edward.
Okay, history lesson over. But you’ll love this castle. Regarded as one of Europe’s most intact castles, you’ll get yourself lost in the many towers that intertwine with the walls. A big surprise was the Museum of the Welsh Fusiliers, a place I really got in-depth knowledge since their creation. but for me, it was all about the architecture and the views.
Amazing Castle isn’t it? I felt like a kid in a sweet shop in the middle of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. I love Castles.
Since my recent travels in Britain, I’ve often thought about the ‘endgame‘. The time when I truly give up travelling full-time, you know…be responsible and get a settled job etc, and I can never see myself moving out of Britain. So I often think which places on this sceptred isle I envisage myself living. Lately, the top spot has been Brighton, after my Traverse Conference there, but you know what? I think Caernarfon challenges that. Charming, friendly, steeped in history, like in another country with the Welsh being spoken around me, I think I could live here…