Introducing: Menai

There's a special place in our hearts for North Wales at The Rural Travel Guide.

I'm a 'Megan' for a reason and I remember the first time I drove along the A55 from Chester, passing the area where my Grandpa grew up and feeling like I was the first person to ever discover its wild beauty. With rolling waves thrashing to the right and castles on craggy hills jutting out of the landscape to the left, it's no wonder tourists have been attracted to the area for centuries, inspired by its strange familiarity - it's Britain, but not as you know it.

So, without further ado and for the first of our 'introducing' features for 2018, we bring you Menai with huge thanks to Menai Holiday Cottages menaiholidays.co.uk for their help.

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North Wales is a place of spectacular, unchanging beauty in the fast-paced age in which we live.

Menai - RTG

North Wales

- Rural Travel Guide

The tourism industry started with visits from well-known artists, inspired by its vast landscapes, in the 16th and 17th centuries; capturing enticing views that remain relatively unchanged to this day.

Whether you want to wander sandy beaches, gather shells along the tide line or enjoy the rugged beauty of the mountains, the area surrounding The Menai Strait offers glorious sunrises and sunsets, wonderful night skies and the occasional sighting of the Northern Lights.

Famous for its wildlife, Anglesey has approximately 130 miles of coastline and is enjoyed all year round with wonderful scenery, flora and fauna and plenty of interesting things to do.

Slightly further down the coast and beyond the Snowdonia mountain range, The Llyn Peninsula, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, offers spectacular views, coastal walks and some great places to eat.

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Wild swimming

- Rural Travel Guide

For the adventurous, Snowdonia itself is home to Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, and also boats the lesser known Cadair Idris in the south, which has an abundance of tracks for mountain bikers, lakes for wild swimming, or if you prefer a more sedate affair, you can seek out some of the most magnificent vistas in the country from the comfort of a steam train railway carriage as it chugs along its nineteenth-century tracks through magnificent countryside.

Whatever your passion, you will find a way to indulge, relax and unwind in North Wales.

The Rural Travel Guide's Top Three:

Places to stay:

1) Rockside
An iconic design, breathtaking views and modern living combine in this cliffside house in Trearddur Bay. Rockside has been completely renovated. Each and every detail has been carefully thought out to give you the perfect holiday or weekend home, offering amazing views across the Bay and out to sea.

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Min Y Mor

- menaiholidays.co.uk

2) Min Y Mor
Dog-friendly and in a spectacular location, Grade II listed Min Y Mor in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch was once home to artist Sir Kyffin Williams and sits on the Menai Strait, with views of Snowdonia in the background.

3) Y Cerreg Fawr
Sleeping two, this beautiful, cosy little cottage is full of character, perfect for a romantic getaway.  It has a traditional wood burning stove to warm you up and a roll top bath to relax in after a day in the hills.

Places to eat/drink:

1) The Outbuildings
Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner are all covered at The Outbuildings in south-west Anglesey, which also has five bedrooms and further reception rooms for special occasions.
Chefs, Wayne and Rod, make use of the natural resources that Anglesey provides – from oysters harvested in the Menai Strait, beef grazed on nearby pastures or asparagus grown locally.

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Let off steam

- Rural Travel Guide

2) The Wavecrest
Specialising in local seafood, The Wavecrest is a real catch. It reopens in February and serves delicious fresh dishes on Friday and Saturday from 11am to 5pm and Sunday lunchtimes throughout the Winter and 11am to 5pm every day throughout the Summer.

3) Pot Jam
Taking local produce to the next level, Pot Jam Cafe in Menai Bridge even serves Welsh tea and coffee, as well as a selection of bread, cakes and cheeses. It'll be hard to find anywhere else where you can get a real taste of Wales from such an abundance of products.

Things to do:

1) Llechwedd Slate Mines
It's impossible to visit an area like North Wales without connecting to its heritage and that's exactly the kind of experience you'll get at the Llechwedd Slate Mines. With tours ranging from a walk in the footsteps of the miners, to a deep mine adventure via the cable railway, take a step back 160 years to find out what life in North Wales was like for the community. Then finish off with a well-earned pint in the onsite pub (open from Easter).

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SUP!

- Rural Travel Guide

2) Ffestiniog and the Welsh Highland Railway
The Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways stretch for 40 miles through the glorious Snowdonia National Park, allowing you to experience the magnificent scenery in comfort whilst savouring the romance of gleaming steam engines and carriages. A wide range of full or half day journeys are on offer; children travel for free; dogs and bikes are welcome; and all trains feature buffet service at your seat, making it an ideal day out for all the family.

3) Psyched Paddleboarding
Take a tour with a difference with Psyched Paddleboarding which runs courses from beginner sessions to coastal safaris to help you see the Menai Strait from a different view. They even run night paddleboarding sessions for explorers with a sense of adventure.

    Megan is the owner of Rural Roots PR & Journalism, specialising in rural tourism, where her passion for travel, heritage and a great visitor experience inspired her to start 'The Rural Travel Guide'.

    Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.