Sculpture heaven

Best romantic places in Ceredigion

We’ve looked at the top 9 romantic places to visit in Ceredigion, a chance to explore the area with your loved one.

There’s nothing like a romantic mini break for spending quality time with your other half. To give you a dose of inspiration, we’ve rounded up our top romantic places within easy driving distance of The Falcondale.

 

1.      Vale of Rheidol

Book a ticket for two on the narrow-gauge steam railway that wanders through the Rheidol valley. Hop aboard in the seaside resort of Aberystwyth and the engine will pull you up 700 feet along the hillside heading towards Devil’s bridge. At the final stop learn about the legend of Devil’s bridge, or should you be brave (and physically fit) take a walk down Jacob’s ladder and into the gorge.

An episode of tv’s Hinterland was also filmed at this location. Following your return journey take a romantic stroll along Aberystwyth’s seafront.

Vale of Rheidol railway

2.      Mwnt beach

There are numerous beaches and coves along the Cambrian bay coastline, but we believe that Mwnt is the most romantic. It’s remote location on the headland has only one building – a small white washed church. The golden sands of the beach is it’s own private cove with crashing waves and rock pools nearby. Watch-out for porpoises and dolphins that can often be seen from the shoreline.

Mwnt on the Cardigan bay coastal path

3.      Bwlch nant yr arian

The visitor centre is located at the head of a dramatic valley with walking trails and mountain biking trails leading you to the hilltops – where you can see the Cambrian Mountains up close and Cardigan Bay in the distance. Should you not be too adventurous stay in the coffee shop and view the red kite feeding spectacle (2pm GMT; 3pm BST), follow the easy barcud trail to get closer to the feeding centre. Expect to see over 150 red kites with their forked tails and swooping action.

Red Kite

4.      Sculpture heaven

A hidden gem near Rhydlewis with themed and sculpture gardens within a two and half acre plot. Wander amongst flora and fauna and discover sculpture made of wood, stone and resin from the resident artist as well as contemporary British sculptors. Smaller and larger pieces available for sale within the gallery and take advantage of their tea room with homemade cakes and a sneak peek at the workshop.

Sculpture heaven

5.      Rhiannon Gold Centre

A centre for genuine Welsh gold with unique hand-crafted designs. Their workshop creates fabulous Celtic designs using the well-regarded Welsh gold mined from the area. The centre features local Welsh artists within the gallery and has a collection of historical Celtic artefacts demonstrating the progression of visual Celtic designs. A perfect stop should you be looking for a unique gift for your partner.

Rhiannon gold centre

6.      New quay honey farm

A fun few hours can be had exploring all things “bees” at the Newquay honey farm. From watching the bees at work, exploring the hives and cold-pressing for the finished product. Before grapes were pressed for wine honey was fermented to produce mead, sample various types during your visit.

New quay honey centre

7.      Cambrian safaris

A highly recommended tour of the Cambrian Mountains via your very own guide and his trusty Land Rover Discovery.  Get collected at The Falcondale, or a pre-arranged spot and discover the wild tranquillity of Mid Wales in comfort. The area is beautifully diverse, has Instagram worthy landscapes, local history and wildlife. Whatever your particular interest your guide will take you to the very best spots!

Elan valley

8.      Adventure Beyond

How adventurous are you both? How about a leisurely canoe trip for the two of you down the river Teifi, where your professional and knowledgeable guide will not only give guidance on the activity but tell stories of sea pirates and smugglers. Picking-up the pace you could try out sea-kayaking, gorge walking or even coasteering! A most memorable and magical adventure could be arranged for the both of you to share.

Stand-up paddle boarding

9.      Twm’s Treks guided walks

What better way to explore the ruggedness of the Cambrian Mountains than with a guided walk from someone who has spent many years on it’s hills, valleys and marshes. Options include iron age hill forts, summits, coastland, nature, heritage, waterfalls and dark skies. We would suggest contacting Dafydd directly and he can make suggestions based on your interest and walking level ability – which will very possibly include welcome stops for lunch.

Bedroom 23 with bottle of Champagne

These 9 places are just our recommendations based on feedback from other guests and our own experiences. Maybe you can surprise your loved one by arranging a trip without their knowledge and bask in the envious cries of “I wish my partner was more romantic” from friends and family.

Get loved up on your next romantic trip and treat yourself and your special someone to an unforgettable couples’ getaway at The Falcondale.

ROMANTIC GETAWAY

 

Tony 2AA rosettes 2018

Into the frying pan with head chef Tony

Weddings from a chef’s point of view

Our head chef Tony has been in his current position at The Falcondale since October 2017 and has over 20 years’ experience within hotels / restaurants and event catering. We thought we’d fire some questions at him and share his experience of the industry with you – especially when it comes to catering for weddings.

Weddings at The Falcondale

Your advice to brides and grooms when choosing their menus?

Prioritise your desires. If the food element of your wedding is high up on your list, then allocate your wedding budget accordingly. It could be that you’d prefer to spend more on “the dress” and that 8-piece band you absolutely love. Let us know, as we can alter dishes and presentation to suit your day and budget. This does not mean that the quality of the food or service will be compromised, only the realism that an Oyster bar will more expensive than standard canapes.

Choose a menu for you, what you like to eat, and let your guests know your reasonings for your choices. They are far more likely to get on board your train of thought and accept that the day is about you, and not them.

 

Canapes

 

What are your biggest likes and dislikes when it comes to catering for a wedding?

The most amazing feeling is receiving feedback from the bride and groom after the event is over. By the time we get to the wedding day itself we would have spent hours fine tuning and preparing – including taster sessions / pictures of the dishes / reading and re-reading the menu etc. etc. To hear that the effort was worthwhile is amazing.

My biggest dislike (which I’m sure many other chefs would agree with me), is guests not telling the bride and groom or even the venue about their dietary requirements. There are many situations involving people’s health that require a specific diet and I have no problem in accommodating these requests. However, trying to conjure a vegan dairy free dessert at the 11th hour whilst feeding 120 guests is quite a tall order. I kindly request that we are made aware of these dietary requirements in advance (at least a week in advance – please).

 

What are your thoughts on the latest trends of Grazing or Feasting tables?

For me it’s just fancy words for a buffet, would you agree? Maybe I’m being a little harsh on this point.

With a buffet you’ll have a selection of options from a buffet table which include carved meats, bowls of salads, dressings, dips, coleslaw, maybe some hot options and a bread roll – all individual elements which when brought together makes a complete plate of food.

A grazing table would be a large display table full of dishes, such as mini fish & chip cones with tartare sauce, mini brioche buns filled with a Welsh beef patty and red onion marmalade, softly poached quail egg with an asparagus sprig, falafel and cous cous food bowls. Portions that are a little bigger than canapes and be picked up by the guests haphazardly over a longer period of time.

A feasting table is what you’d expect to see at Harry Potter, all the food in the middle of the table where the guests are sat with platters of food to share in the middle. Kind of like a private buffet for each individual table, which gets people talking and mingling with each other naturally.

What I like to do (especially for the evening part of the weddings), are food platters. Such as Welsh cheese with oatcakes, chutneys, apples, celery and grapes. Alongside this serve a charcuterie platter of salami’s, pepperoni, bresaola with olives, gherkins, roasted nuts and artisan breads.

Afternoon tea wedding

 

What is your food philosophy?

Local & seasonal – whenever and wherever possible.

No matter your budget or what dishes you choose I try and source these locally to The Falcondale. There is such a vast array of producers within the county of Ceredigion and its neighbour’s in Carmarthenshire / Pembrokeshire and Powys that we would be amiss to ignore them.

There is an expectation to provide menus within a wedding brochure, which is quite ridiculous really when at that stage you don’t even know what time of year the wedding will take place. This results in generic menus that sounds the same as any other venue. When I have the opportunity, I would prefer to offer specific seasonal options to brides and grooms that could also strengthen their vibe and hopes for their day.

 

Anything else you’d like to add?

Come up for a tasting of your dishes before you make your final decisions on a menu. I make a judgement call on what I think would look good dependant on your choice. This may not always match with your expectations and so please be honest about your feedback. Do you want it to look differently? Maybe it wasn’t what you thought? Do you want a different garnish on the side?

Once you are happy and you’ve made your decision we will put the wheels in motion and start planning the ordering of produce.

Wedding tables

 

Weddings at The Falcondale

Our aim has been to offer suggestions that could be applied to The Falcondale hotel & restaurant, a four-star country house hotel located just outside Lampeter in Mid Wales.

 

Peek at our Wedding page for details on packages.

 

To book a showaround give us a call on 01570 422910 or email weddings@thefalcondale.co.uk

 

WEDDINGS

Wedding receptions

Alternative Wedding breakfast ideas

Wedding dining with a difference

Are you trying to avoid the same dining experience that you get from most weddings you’ve been to, and are looking to do something a little bit different? There are alternatives available, whether it be a more casual dining experience or go all out with extra courses and a refined menu.

Whatever you choose it is important to express your personality as a couple and include your favourite food. Don’t get too worried as to whether everyone else would like the food, since it’s your day. Your guests will be more than happy to go along with your choices.

Wedding room layout

STREET FOOD

There are many markets and food festivals around that have now popularised “street food”. Many different stalls specialising in one specific food product, i.e. pizzas, panini’s, burgers, sushi etc. etc. Should you be booking your wedding in a location such as The Falcondale, you could emulate this by having food stations. Rather than a traditional buffet table, food stations would be in various locations and offer a specific type of food or dish. Here are a few ideas: –

  • Cheese and biscuits. This could be represented with a tower of different cheeses, decorated with apples, celery and grapes. Various crackers, oatcakes and water biscuits could be arranged in baskets with butter scrolls, honey and olives available as accompaniments.
  • Burger bar. Provide quality homemade burgers with the best quality extras. Guests can add whatever they would like to make their own unique burger. Include beef tomatoes, local cheese, crisp lettuce, streaky Welsh bacon, gherkins and caramelised red onions. Of course, you would need the ultimate sauces, so why not try mushroom ketchup or scotch bonnet chilli jam.
  • Croque-en-bouche. Having made recent fame in the Great British Bake Off the croque-en-bouche is a stack of profiteroles filled with crème patissiere and drizzled with caramel. Imagine having 5 of these stacked on a table with jugs of warm chocolate sauce and pouring cream for guests to help themselves.
  • Pimp your cupcake. An effective way to keep any children at your party entertained and fed at the same time. Provide plain cupcakes with the various hundreds & thousands, chocolate strands, silver balls and buttercream icing that you can find topped with miniature bride and grooms.
Pimp your Prosecco

VINTAGE AFTERNOON TEA

An afternoon tea with vintage crockery and cake stands set out on crisp white linen on a warm summer’s day. What could be more than British?

Should you be replacing your main wedding breakfast with an afternoon tea you would need to provide more sandwiches and savoury options for hungry guests. Our experience shows that its best to serve the sandwiches first and then follow these with the cakes.

As an alternative to alcoholic arrival drinks, or alongside, tea and coffee could be served within vintage crockery.

Vintage wedding tea

DRINKS

Pimp your Prosecco – this is not a new fad but can be quite effective in adding a little pizzazz to your day. Your guests will be provided with a glass of bubbly which they can add to from a selection of options. This could include elderflower cordial, strawberries, citrus fruits, rose blush etc. etc.

A barrow of beers – An old wheelbarrow from your shed could be dusted off and filled with ice before placing your chosen beers in there to keep cool. Attach a bottle opened to the barrow handles and let guests help themselves. Simple yet effective.

Wheelbarrow

Costs

Be aware that the “alternative” does not mean it will be cheaper, in fact its likely to be more expensive. This is because the venue may need to hire specialist equipment, more staff members may be required to undertake your request, or possibly there could be a minimum spend put in place. You may need to ask these questions before booking anywhere.

Wedding receptions

Weddings at The Falcondale

Our aim has been to offer suggestions that could be applied to The Falcondale hotel & restaurant, a four-star country house hotel located just outside Lampeter in Mid Wales.

Peek at our Wedding page for details on packages.

To book a showaround give us a call on 01570 422910 or email weddings@thefalcondale.co.uk

 

WEDDINGS

Top 6 Parks in Mid and West Wales

Heading off to Wales for a short break this Summer?

Take advantage of The Falcondale hotel & restaurant Summer Dining offer and escape to many of the National parks, valleys, National trust and forests within driving distance of this central Welsh location.

Mid and West Wales takes in the counties of Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Powys.

National Parks

The big National parks are well known and can easily take a whole week to explore. Here we have a few places and smaller less-known areas that you can explore within a day. Whether you are staying on a short break or a whole week there’s something for everybody to walk / cycle / hike or even a leisurely drive.

These Top 6 parks are located near the towns of Llandovery and Llandeilo in the North of Carmarthenshire, the middle (Tregaron) and North (Aberystwyth) of Ceredigion, and to Rhayader in the county of Powys. No more than 1 hour driving from The Falcondale hotel & restaurant in Lampeter.

Top 6 parks to visit in Mid Wales

All 6 destinations are within driving distance of The Falcondale hotel & restaurant – a 4-star country house hotel within a central location.

1.      Dinefwr park and Newton House (National Trust)

The estate of Dinefwr is on the outskirts of Llandeilo in the Tywi valley just half an hour from Lampeter. A destination consisting of a parkland with rare breed white cattle, an historic 1912 mansion called Newton House and a medieval castle associated with the princes of Deheubarth.

2.      Llanerchaeron (National Trust)

Located on the Lampeter to Aberaeron road, Llanerchaeron is a National Trust property which was self-sufficient in its heyday. It has its own farm, walled garden and lake that sustained 10 generations of the Lewis/Lewes family from 1634 to 1989.

The early John Nash Palladian style Georgian villa is particularly interesting, with its simple looking exterior hiding complex design features including a hidden courtyard towards the rear of the property.

Get involved on the working farm with rare Welsh breeds, or maybe take a stroll through the pleasure grounds and gardens. Either way you could spend all your day exploring this estate.

 

3.      Dolaucothi Goldmines and surrounding forest walks (National Trust)

Only 15 minutes from Lampeter the forest walk at Dolaucothi estate takes you past the river, showing off the old gardens where you can imagine ladies of the house taking a turn round the garden filled with exotic plants which can still be seen today. The walk is a round 1-mile starting from the main entrance of the gold mines, taking you past the visitors centre where you can find out more about the history of the house and goldmines, and enjoy a cup of tea and homemade cake in the tearooms.

Throughout the walk you might be able to spot kingfishers and otters along the river Cothi. Step over the bridge that was once used as the entrance to the Dolaucothi mansion and see the remains of grotto’s showing the grandeur of the gardens that once surrounded the mansion.

 

4.      Cors Caron (National Nature Reserve)

Head for the B4343 from Tregaron where you will stumble across the main car park to the side of the road. Cors Caron covers 800 hectares of wetland, raised bogs, reedbeds, woodland, streams, rivers and ponds.

Route 82 of the National Cycle Network runs alongside the reserve and with the help of some local cycling routes a circular bike ride can take you around a large section. For those on 2 legs the reserve offers signposted paths through the marshland.

It’s wild birds and animals are an attraction for twitchers amongst us with Goshawks, Red Kites, Sparrowhawks and Merlins alongside water voles, otters and aquatic plants. Remember to take your binoculars with you!

5.      Elan Valley Reservoirs (Welsh Water)

There is a total of 6 dams to visit when at the Elan Estate just 5 minutes from the town of Rhayader. Five of these are viewable from your car, therefore no matter what the weather you’re in for a treat!

Part of the rugged Cambrian Mountains an idyllic location for driving, walking or cycling. Book a ‘Ranger tour’ for and inside peak at Pen Y Garreg Dam and a guided tour of the valley and its secrets.

6.      Hafod Estate (National Resources Wales)

From Lampeter head north to Tregaron through Pontrhydfendigaid on the B4343, which is not far from Strata Florida (with its Cistercian monastery). Take your time heading northwards on this winding road with spectacular view points, through Pont-rhyd-y-groes and turn right onto the B4574, signposted to the Hafod Estate. It will take approx. 50 minutes to drive to the estate from The Falcondale and takes you through the Cambrian Mountains.

The estate covers around 200 hectares of the Ystwyth valley, including rushing streams, a chain suspension bridge, rocky gorges, gentle open parkland and narrow wooden valleys. We would recommend that you make full use of the maps found in the car park (2 x £1 coins required). They will direct you through 5 different way-marked walks of varying length and difficulty.

The predicament is knowing which to do…

Escapes and Offers at The Falcondale