As a North Walian I'm probably biased, but I do think North Wales is just bloody brilliant. One of my favourite days out is blasting along the coast (well, usually - if the A55 and its persistent roadworks will allow) to Anglesey and hunting out a beach to wander along, or heading to South Stack to admire the view from the lighthouse. There's plenty of places to stop along the way, too - Talacre, Llandudno, Conwy, Beaumaris to name a few, with other places such as Betws-y-Coed, Caernarfon, and the Snowdonia National Park not too far from the coast either. There are also some great 'driving roads' around North Wales too, the most famous being the 'Evo triangle' near Llyn Brenig, so-called because it is one of the locations Evo magazine use to test the cars. If you'd rather not do battle with hardcore petrol heads though, just head off on any random B road and you're pretty much guaranteed to love it!
Another lovely part of North Wales is Ruthin, a gorgeous little town that is also home to Ruthin Castle, now a hotel but some of the castle ruins are still there for you to explore. Mike and I stayed there over the Bank Holiday weekend which was a fab Christmas present from my Dad and step mum. We got to stay in the Lillie Langtree royal salon, which was beautiful, and I managed to scare myself silly by reading about how it is one of the most haunted hotels in the country...
Anyway, just outside Ruthin in a small village called Rhewl is the SugarPlum Tea Room. I've been 3 times now and have been meaning to blog about it every time, so as Mike and I went for lunch there on our way to Ruthin Castle, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to blog about it at last since Mike is always armed with his camera!
The SugarPlum Tea Room opened just over a year ago and can be found within Homewood Bound Collections, a beautiful interiors shop selling new and restored furniture, aswell as gifts and homewares from the likes of Cath Kidston and Emma Bridgewater and many more unique finds! I especially like some of the Welsh products they have!
The tearoom is in such a lovely rural setting with breathtaking views of the rolling Welsh hills. I worked in Ruthin a few years ago and loved my drive to work every day down into the Vale of Clwyd, there really are some amazing views and great 'driving roads' in the area. The tearoom is a lovely, light and open room with patio doors and an outside seating area. It's not your old fashioned tearoom with lacy tablecloths - I love the modern feel to the place with wooden floors and tabletops contrasted with brightly coloured chairs. There's a vintage twist though - the food is served on vintage or Cath Kidston china, and the room is filled with the lovely accessories and decorations that you can find in the shop. I think my favourite touch is the Scrabble 'reserved' signs!
The food is also pretty good too! I had a cheese and chutney sandwich, while Mike went for the Patchwork Platter - toast with a selection of chutneys and pates served on a pleasing board (somehow, stuff served on boards is always better to me!). We loved that the chutney and pates are from a local stockist and you can buy them in the shop too.
Of course, we followed this up with some sweet treats - Mike predictably going for the chocolate cake and me making a rather reserved choice - the caramel and nut slice. The past two times I've been I've gone for the strawberries and cream cake, which I can honestly say is the lightest, fluffiest sponge I have ever eaten and now I'm writing this I'm not sure what possessed me to bypass it at that visit...! Having said that, I demanded that my best friend pick me up another caramel & nut slice when she was there this week, so it looks like I have a new favourite.
I honestly can't recommend this place enough - there is such a friendly buzz in the tearoom and it's lovely to hear Welsh being spoken by the locals, too. It is such a popular place that you would be advised to book yourself a table in advance. You could combine a visit with a trip up the gorgeous afore-mentioned North Wales coast, or a walk up nearby Moel Famau, or around Loggerheads if you're after something less strenous. Check out the website here and if you want any North Wales tips get in touch, didn't realise quite how patriotic I was until I wrote this post!