Yesterday we spent the morning exploring a few more of the Cotswold villages, including Bourton-on-the-Water and Chipping Camden. Bourton has a canal that runs through the middle of the village, with lots of arched bridges and ducks – it’s very picturesque! Chipping Camden was most notable for the thatched roofs, but can’t say we really understood what all the hype is about. Overall, we liked Stow-on-the-Wold the most.
After a quick look at Ironbridge Gorge we headed northwards to Wales! I didn’t really have any big expectations for Wales but I’ve been pleasantly surprised. We spent the night at a campsite in Betws-y-Coed and from the little we saw of the village it was very quaint. Then we headed west to Llanberis, passing lots of crazy trampers on the way. I’m certainly not opposed to hiking, but it was far too cold and windy for my liking!
We stopped in a park-and-pay area, but were unwilling to pay the 2.50 minimum. So we tag-teamed it up to Dolbadarn Castle, a ruined keep that overlooks the hydro power station (Craig, Julian took a photo just for you!). I loved this part of the day. There were almost no people around, you had the keep to yourself. No cover charge, no guides, nothing but a small sign telling you that the round keep part of the castle was built in the 13th century. You could walk around the keep and up the winding stairs to the different levels. The building is a ruin, so you have to use your imagination to picture it as it once was, but that’s exactly what I enjoyed doing!
From Llanberis we headed off to Caernarfon, which has a wonderful castle, originally built by Edward I in the 13th century. The castle is huge, and again, you can walk right up and along the walls, and up into the towers. The castle had fallen into ruin over the years, but a restoration program was begun in the 19th century and you get a real sense of what the castle was once like. Prince Charles was invested here as the Prince of Wales in 1969.
It was a wonderful day, filled with history. And we were interested to learn from a brochure that Wales has the most castles per square foot of probably any country. Glad to know they did their research.