When it comes to Great Britain’s Royal Couple, Prince William and Catherine, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as Americans let’s admit it, we’re all a little fascinated and curious about what their daily lives are really like. To find out more on how you can follow in the couple’s foosteps for a truly Royal Travel Therapy vacation, I traveled to North Wales to the the beautiful Isle of Anglesey, where the couple has been living for the past few years while William has served in the Royal Air Force that has a base on the island.
What I found in my research for this Travel Therapy segment is that Will and Kate live a pretty laid back “normal” life on the island where the locals have truly embraced them and have given them their much deserved privacy.
From the moment I arrived on Anglesey I was charmed by the island and could see why Will and Kate have enjoyed living here so much. I found this to be an ideal destination for a family trip because there are so many unique historic and cultural things to do and of course there’s the cool factor of being able to follow in Will and Kate’s footsteps. Check out the Travel Therapy video to find out more!
For my trip, I made the small town of Beaumaris my home base because who could resist staying in the Ye Olde Bulls Head Inn dating back to the 1400’s where Charles Dickens once stayed. An added bonus, the Inn is right next to the stunning Beaumaris Castle that’s also hundreds of years old, talk about history!
I found one of the prettiest places on the Isle of Anglesey is Llanddwyn ( pronounced Cla-Dwin) Island. It’s about a mile and half walk on the beach to get to the island and the scenery is stunning so it’s no wonder this is where Will and Kate apparently like to walk their dog. I pick this stretch of beach as one of the top 10 things you shouldn’t miss in Wales! Here’s a look at the other nine.
Another stop not to miss is the village in Anglesey with one of the longest names in the world with 58 characters…you have to see it to believe it!
After exploring Anglesey I ventured back to the mainland to discover more about North Wales where I found the people to be so warm and friendly. Besides speaking English they also have their own Welsh language and they’re eager to share what makes this picturesque part of Wales so special.
One highlight in North Wales is all the beautiful castles. A Travel Therapy favorite, Conwy Castle, pictured below, that’s more than 700 years old and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It looks like something out of a fairy tale. I stayed in the town of Conwy where I had a view of the castle from my hotel room at the lovely Quay Hotel & Spa that’s right on the river.
Another castle not to miss in North Wales is Caernarfon Castle, where Prince Charles was officially named the Prince of Wales back in 1969 and is featured at the top of this blog post.
Another beauty is Penrhyn Castle where inside you’ll find a slate bed made for Queen Victoria, along with priceless pieces of art, an impressive doll museum and an industrial railway museum.
Probably one of the things that surprised me most about North Wales is the thriving culinary scene with local specialties including Welsh lamb and beef and seafood like mussels and fish and chips. With farmers and food producers I talked to, like award-winning Cwt Caws goat cheese maker Nigel Jefferies, I found a real commitment to producing the freshest most natural food without using fertilizer on the land or chemicals on the animals.
A new innovative Welsh Food Center called Bodnant Welsh Food has just opened up that has a lovely tea room and restaurant dishing up locally produced products and using traditional recipes. They offer some great cooking classes here as well. I tried my hand at making the delicious Welsh Cakes and have included the recipe below for you. Just a word of warning, they’re addicting!
There is so much to see and do in North Wales stretching from the Irish Sea to the Mountains, where gorgeous Snowdonia National Park is a favorite for walkers, hikers and climbers. So watch the Travel Therapy video and see what calls out to you and then get ready to fall in love with North Wales.
How to Get There:
It’s a lot easier than you think! I flew a new great non-stop flight on American Airlines from JFK International Airport direct to Manchester, UK (MAN). The flight only takes about seven hours and then it’s about an hour and a half beautiful drive to the Isle of Anglesey and North Wales.
How to Get Around:
Because there’s that whole drive on the ‘other’ side of the road thing, I found the best way to get around North Wales was to hire a private driver/guide with Special Group Tours
because SGT specializes in customizing trips just for you and their guides, like the fantastic one I had, Simon Baldon, have the knowledge and access to take you off the beaten path for a truly authentic experience.
Favorite Travel Therapy Finds in North Wales:
Ye Olde Bulls Head www.bullsheadinn.co.uk
The Quay Hotel & Spa www.quayhotel.co.uk
Hawarden Estate Farm Shop www.hawardenestate.co.uk
Dylan Restaurant www.dylanrestaurant.co.uk
White Eagle Pub www.white-eagle.co.uk
Cwt Caws Cheese Farm www.ycwtcaws.co.uk
Pantdu Vineyard www.pantdu.co.uk
Bodnant Welsh Food www.bodnant-welshfood.co.uk
Castle Hotel Conwy www.castlewales.co.uk
Pen-Y-Bryn Pub www.brunningandprice.co.uk/penybryn
St. Asaph Cathedral www.visitbritain.com
Penrhyn Castle www.visitbritain.com
Beaumaris Castle www.visitbritain.com
Caernarfon Castle www.visitbritain.com
Conwy Castle www.visitbritain.com
Wales Coast Path www.visitbritain.com
South Stake, Holyhead www.visitwales.com
National Slate Museum www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/slate
Snowdonia National Park www.visitwales.com
Llandudno Victorian Promenade www.visitwales.com
Trefriw Woolen Mills http://www.t-w-m.co.uk/
Tree Top Adventure www.ttadventure.co.uk
Welsh Male Choir- Colwyn http://www.cormeibioncolwyn.co.uk/
WATCH Wales Featured on Travel Therapy TV Segment on WPIX-TV, the CW Network Flagship in New York City.
WATCH Wales Featured in Travel Therapy Online Editorial Videos Syndicated By AOL, Blinx, YouTube, Blip.TV
TRAVEL THERAPY VIDEOS WITH KAREN SCHALER
A Royal Vacation In Wales: Watch CLICK HERE
Top 10 Reasons to Visit Wales: Watch CLICK HERE
Filed Under: A BLOG! • Adventure Trips • Affordable Finds • Best Beaches • Best For Romance • Best Solo Travel • Family Friendly • Featured • Recipes: Cuisine • Travel Therapy Favorites • Travel Therapy Videos • Travel Tuesdays
About the Author: Karen Schaler is a three-time Emmy award-winning TV correspondent, author and creator and host of the globally syndicated TRAVEL THERAPY online & TV video series featuring top places to visit based on what you're going through in life.