View of inside Illtud's restaurant

Illtud’s 216 Restaurant Review

It’s a few years since we last visited Illtud’s 216 restaurant in Llantwit Major but we popped along on the spur of the moment for my birthday last week.

Even though it’s been 3 years the restaurant hasn’t appeared to change much. Although fairly non-descript on the outside the inside has a medieval feel to it (click on the photo for a better view). Even though it has a high roof in the main part of the restaurant the use of drapes and banners gives a warm cosy feel. The front of the restaurant has a wood burning stove which enhances the ambience – especially when the owner Georg Fuchs managed to fill the room with smoke! read more

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Some things to do in the Gower (beaches)

The Gower is one of South Wales’ big tourist attractions. It’s a peninsular just west of Swansea and was the first area in the United Kingdom to be designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  It’s a real mix of rugged coastline, glorious beaches, great views and castles.

I was lucky enough to fly around the Gower last summer so some of the photos in this post will give you a great view of some of the great beaches.

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View of Mumbles village and Swansea Bay

Review – Patricks with Rooms, Mumbles

Last week we stayed in the excellent Patricks With Rooms in Mumbles.  Mumbles is one of our favourite seaside destinations in South Wales.

Patricks is an excellent hotel with a great restaurant. It’s located right on the main promenade only yards from the sea. The hotel has 16 individual bedrooms, the renowned restaurant and a relaxing bar area.  There’s also a small gym and weights room for residents. read more

Brecon Beacons National Park Visitor Centre

We visited the Brecon Beacons National Park Visitor Centre today just south of Brecon.  The centre gives you some background information on the National Park and best of all, as you can see, gives you a great view of Pen y Fan. Pen y Fan is the highest peak in South Wales (886 metres / 2,907 ft above sea-level).

The visitor centre also has some nice tea-rooms with seating outside which is great when it’s sunny – just watch out for the hungry sparrows and chaffinches which pester you for crumbs!

Plenty of car parking if you’re travelling by car though there is a small charge. You can find a location map below.

Cardiff Bay Barrage Art Illusion

A walk across the Cardiff Bay Barrage is a great way to spend a few hours in Cardiff. If you’re in a car then access the barrage from the Penarth end where there’s a large carpark.  If you’re on foot then either walk from the Cardiff Bay visitor centre near the Norwegian Church, or catch a boat across the Bay from Mermaid Quay near the National Assembly Senedd building.

There’s lots to see, there are 3 boat locks between the Bay and the sea that operate every 30 minutes.  From the sea-ward side of the barrage there’s a great view in clear conditions across to Penarth pier, Flat Holm and Steep Holm and the English coast across the Severn. read more

Cardiff International Whitewater Centre, Cardiff Bay

We visited the new Cardiff International Whitewater Centre in Cardiff Bay yesterday.  This is part of the Sports village that is being developed on the west side of the Bay.  Nearby is the Cardiff Arena Ice Rink and the Cardiff International swimming pool.

The pumped river is about 250m long.  It looks lots of fun, you can either try the kayaks or go white water rafting as a group.  Each white water raft has a “captain” on board who ensures that everyone is safe.  It’s not cheap, between £250 and £300 for 6 people but you’re on the water for about 2 hours which is about as long as most people can last for!  It’s pretty tiring!! read more

St David’s 2 Shopping Centre, Cardiff

View of the St David's 2 shopping centre

St David's 2

St David’s 2 is a prestigious new shopping centre in the centre of Cardiff. It builds on the existing St David’s shopping centre that houses Marks and Spencer, Debenhams and Boots.

With the opening of the new shopping centre in November 2009 it is now possible to shop totally under cover from Cardiff’s main shopping street Queen St. right through to the Cardiff Marriott Hotel on Mill Lane.

Building on Cardiff’s shopping arcade history the centrepiece is a large 2 storey glass-topped arcade that runs from Debenhams through to a massive new John Lewis store. read more

New Cardiff Bay Restaurants Website

Cardiff Bay Restaurants websiteI’ve been busy setting up my new Cardiff Bay Restaurants websitehttp://www.cardiff-bay-restaurants.uk/.

It’s still a work in progress, as all websites are, but it’s well under way.  There’s a lot of interest on where to eat in Cardiff Bay and it was clear that a specific site was needed. There are lots of sites listing Cardiff Bay restaurants, but it’s obvious that not many (if any) are based on up-to-date personal experience.

I work in the Bay and eat out quite a bit so a personal view of the best restaurants is quite easy to do.

Hope you find my new site useful.

Blue Anchor Pub, Aberthaw damaged by fire again

Blue Anchor in 2004

Unfortunately the Blue Anchor Inn in East Aberthaw has caught fire again last weekend.

This is a great local pub with a huge amount of character.   The building dates from 1380.  It has caught fire a number of times in its history – a thatched roof and log fires don’t mix very well 🙂

You can read the BBC News story here – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/south_east/7985050.stm
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Red Fox Inn, Penllyn near Cowbridge

Last night we fancied avoiding cooking and decided to go out to a local pub.  We wanted to avoid Cowbridge since we guessed that it would be very busy on one of the last Friday’s before Christmas.

A friend recommended the Red Fox Inn in the village of Penllyn just off the A48 near Cowbridge.  The pub used to be owned by Peter Karrie of Phantom of the Opera fame.

The pub has always had a good reputation and is now run by Georgina and Richard who have lots of experience behind them in the hotel business. read more

Illtud’s 216 Gastro Pub, Llantwit Major

View of Illtud's 216 from outsideI was looking for somewhere local for my special girl’s birthday last Sunday.  A friend suggested “Illtud’s 216” in Llantwit Major.  Of course I knew it, but had never been.  For me it was famous as where Pugsley went after leaving the well known Plough and Harrow in nearby Marcross.  I quickly discovered that Pugsley had sold up and the place was now owned and run by Georg and Einar Fuchs.  Georg had previously been executive chef in the St David’s Hotel in Cardiff Bay.

I booked a table of 12 in advance for Sunday lunch.  A couple of days before I had to drop the numbers down to 10 and then 9, but they were nothing but accommodating every time I spoke to them. read more

Lunch at the Newbridge Inn, near Usk

We went a bit further afield today to the Newbridge Inn in Tredunnock, near Usk (map). The Newbridge Inn is a pub / restaurant and hotel owned by Chris Evans of Radio and TV fame. The head-chef is Iain Sampson. We had booked for lunch, but there wasn’t any need as it was very quiet. It’s in an ideal location right next to a wonderful bridge over the River Usk. read more

Signor Valentino’s Restaurant, Cardiff Bay

We had a great meal in Cardiff Bay last night in Signor Valentino. The restaurant is a very good Italian with great food and good Italian service from what appear to be native Italians. Though some of my colleagues had suspicions that some of the waiters originated from Splott 🙂

We were lucky to have an excellent evening with a clear, sunny view over the Bay. The restaurant had their big doors open and some of the tables were located out on the veranda. Even on our large table inside we had a great view of the Bay across to Penarth. You couldn’t fault it. One of my friends suggested that it reminded him of being in Monterey. Impressive!

Thoroughly recommended. Make sure you book – tel. no. 029 2048 2007