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Get ready for an amazing autumn with Visit Wales

October 2014

Whilst most of us are still trying to cling to the last days of summer, Visit Wales is already looking ahead to autumn, with an exciting season of events and new openings. A brand new, luxury hotel has just opened in Cardiff; a new Wildlife Trust cottage means families can escape to the country and get to know some friendly water buffalos and the whole of Wales is getting ready to mark the culmination of the Dylan Thomas centenary celebrations. Here is the Visit Wales’ pick of the best up and coming news and events.

Cathedral 73 - luxury, boutique hotel opens in Cardiff

Cathedral 73, a small, luxurious yet informal hotel, has opened in Cardiff. Specialising in personal service, this restored Victorian townhouse offers a butler service, a personal chef and a chauffeured classic Rolls-Royce. However, if guests prefer to look after themselves, three of the nine individually and elegantly decorated rooms and suites have their own kitchen. Tea at 73 showcases Cathedral 73’s signature afternoon teas, including a gentleman’s afternoon tea specifically designed for gents who prefer the fine things in life. Guests can also enjoy cocktails in the piano bar during the evening. Rooms start from £150 per night including breakfast.

New stops on Back-Roads Touring’s ‘Wonders of Wales’ Tour

Small group tour specialist Back-Roads Touring has announced four new stops on its 2015 ‘Wonders of Wales’ Tour - Aberaeron, Castewll Henllys, St Davids and Tenby. With maximum groups of just 18 people, Back-Roads Touring take its guests off the beaten track along hidden, back roads to the medieval villages and the smallest town squares full of stories and character. The seven day tour of Wales allows guests to learn the ancient Welsh language, listen to the dulcet tones of a Welsh male voice choir and explore many historic Welsh attractions. The Wonder of Wales 2015 tour costs £1,395 per person and includes transportation, accommodation, daily full Welsh breakfast, three evening meals, entrance fees to attractions and multiple activities.

Water buffalos – the latest in Welsh wildlife management

Wales has always been known as a wildlife haven but on the Teifi Marshes an altogether different type of animal can be seen. The Wildlife Trust for South and West Wales has enlisted the help of some special land managers - water buffalo! The buffalo now live on the Teifi Marshes and use their horns to tear at bramble, nettle and young blackthorn which threaten to encroach upon the marsh, whilst their wide hooves and bulk trample and suppress bracken, which usually makes these areas inaccessible for other animals. They also keep pools and streams open, essential not only for resident and migratory birds, but also amphibians such as frogs and toads, and the huge population of damsel and dragonflies. Visitors can walk the marshes on specially constructed boardwalks to view all this beautiful wildlife, including the buffalo, as they work away at keeping the marsh in good shape for everyone.

Visit the buffalo and stay in the new Oak Tree Cottage

The Wildlife Trust for South and West Wales has just opened Oak Tree Cottage, a fairy-tale self-catering cottage set in the Welsh Wildlife Centre & Teifi Marshes Nature Reserve. Stays at this cottage are all about relaxation and getting back to nature; there is no TV or Wi-Fi and instead children can play in the Cherry Tree Adventure Park, discover the Willow Maze, explore the nearby nature trails on foot or two wheels, and meet the resident water buffalo. The cottage is a haven for nature and wildlife enthusiasts, star gazers, walkers and cyclists with numerous bird hides on the reserve allowing for the opportunity to see a diversity of wildlife in a range of habitats. Oak Tree Cottage offers guests a cosy open plan living and kitchen area, one double bedroom, one twin room with bunk beds, a bathroom with shower, and off road parking. A three night break at the cottage starts from £250.

Get a taste of life as a pro-cyclist with Drover Holidays new tour

The Tour of Britain in early September saw pro-cyclists fight out the 112-mile Stage Three with one of the toughest climbs in the UK - The Tumble near Abergavenny in South Wales. A new two or three day self-guided cycling break from Dover Holidays now means cycling enthusiasts can ride the entire Stage Three route but at an altogether gentler pace. The route starts in Newtown, heads south to the Black Mountains and onwards to Monmouth before ending with the Category 2 climb up The Tumble. The two day itinerary will split the route to include an overnight stop in the world-famous book town of Hay-on-Wye. The two night tour starts from £245 per person and the three night package is £345 per person. This includes B&B accommodation, bike hire, a detailed route description and map, and pick-up and drop-off from the nearest train or bus station at the start and end of tours.

Wales Millennium Centre celebrates 10 years of success with an ambitious powerhouse vision

The Wales Millennium Centre, the national centre for the performing arts, has announced the first elements of its 10th anniversary celebratory programme. Graeme Farrow – the man behind the hugely successful Derry-Londonderry City of Culture programme – has been appointed as the Centre’s Artistic Director and his vision is to develop the Centre into an international cultural powerhouse sitting alongside other globally significant arts centres. The Centre has also announced an extensive partnership with Lloyds Bank, which will support a rich and diverse mix of productions including return visits from Matthew Bourne and the Mariinsky Opera. Since its opening in 2004, the Wales Millennium Centre has welcomed over 13.5m visitors and has grown to become Wales’ most popular attraction and one of the most visited cultural destinations outside London.

Celtic Manor unveils convention centre plans

The Celtic Manor Resort, following its successful hosting of the September 2014 NATO conference, has confirmed plans for a new International Convention Centre. Designed to attract major events from across the world, the state-of-the-art auditorium, exhibition hall and associated facilities will have capacity for around 4,000 delegates, making it the largest facility of its kind in Wales and the south west of England. A further 15 meeting rooms will cater for all sizes and types of meetings and events, and will complement the existing convention centre facilities at Celtic Manor, which have already made it the Best UK Hotel at the Meetings and Incentive Travel Awards for the past four years running.

Dylan Thomas centenary celebrations

The Dylan Thomas Festival: 27 October – 9 November 2014

The centenary of the birth of infamous Welsh poet Dylan Thomas has been celebrated throughout 2014, culminating in the Dylan Thomas Festival which opens on 27 October, Dylan Thomas’ actual birthday. Now in its 17th year, the festival, which takes place in Dylan’s birthplace of Swansea, will take on special significance, featuring an eclectic mixture of events and very special guests. Events will include talks, workshops, exhibitions and performances – including Bob Kingdom’s acclaimed Return Journey –and a weekend festival focusing on war poetry, marking the centenary of WW1. The Festival also celebrates the opening night of the new Dylan Thomas Exhibition at the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea.

Dylan Thomas in Fitzrovia: 25-26 October 2014

On his centenary weekend, a special festival will take place in Dylan Thomas’ London stomping ground, Fitzrovia. A series of performances, concerts, dance, interactive walks, readings, film showings, exhibitions and installations will all be taking place in the Fitzrovia area. The festivities kick off at the start of the week when Laugharne comes to London in the shape of the pop-up Dylan’s Writing Shed which will be journeying from Carmarthenshire to Store Street, accompanied by an exhibition specifically created to go alongside it at the nearby Buildings Centre. In the iconic Saatchi Building, one of the most famous series of photos of Dylan and his wife Caitlin will be displayed alongside never before seen images of Dylan. The Enitharmon Gallery will also present Sir Peter Blake’s illustration and vision of Under Milk Wood. Honorary patrons of the event include Griff Rhys Jones, Sian Phillips CBE, Jonathan Pryce CBE, Owen Sheers and Sir Patrick Stewart.

All images are credited to © Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales


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