Visit Wales has declared 2016 a ‘Year of Adventure’. Their definition of adventure is – to use the touchy, feely jargon of the caring, sharing 21st-century – an ‘inclusive’ one.
It has bundled all kinds of ingredients into its adventure bag, ending up with adventures of the mind and well as body, and adventures for softies as well as scary, capital-A challenges.
Visit Wales wants to make Wales a ‘place where you can stretch yourself – mentally, physically, culturally’. Fine, inspiring words. But what does it all mean in practice? The news is reassuring, for the Year of Adventure includes wildlife watching, foraging for food (all the rage, you know), taking food safaris (yes, it’s good to report that there’s a big foodie element in it all), brushing up on your arts and crafts, and taking in cultural events and festivals. As well as – if you must – jumping off cliffs, riding 100mph zip wires, and generally scaring yourself to death.
Like some of Wales’s extreme sports, ‘sleeping under the stars’ – another Year of Adventure aspiration – is perhaps an activity too far, especially for Rarebits readers. But Rarebits does score heavily when it comes to providing the right type of accommodation for your own personal adventures, with a network of properties that covers every conceivable corner – and potential ‘adventure experience’ – in Wales.
I can’t possibly go through the entire network here, but I can guarantee that every single Rarebit will allow you to get out there and participate. Here’s a flavour.
Many Rarebit Collection guests love to walk (as opposed to climbing mountains). In 2012 Wales became the first country in the world to have its own, continuous coastal path. Llŷn Retreats in the north and Gardeners Cottage in the south are just two of many Rarebits where you can pick up the path almost outside the front door.
For country lovers, there’s everything from the rolling borderland Offa’s Dyke Path (Brandy House Farm is within shouting distance) to the Snowdonia and Brecon Beacons National Parks, served well by hotels such as Plasglasgwm, Bryn Adda, Y Felin, Plas Gwynfryn, Tŷ Mawr Collection, Hall Farm Barn and Glanusk Estate.
Fancy a spot of wildlife watching? Previously endangered red kites have made a big comeback in central Wales. If you stay at Banceithin Farm, Parc-yr-Hebog or Awel Môr on Cardigan Bay you can take boat trips to spot bottlenose dolphins.
Foodies can go on ‘Fungi Forays’ in the Elan Valley (stay at Harp Cottage), discover artisan Welsh cheeses made down on the farm (Penwern Fach and Troedyrhiw are good bases) or book in with TV presenter Kate Humble for a ‘Humble by Nature’ food or cookery course in the Wye Valley (stay at one of the Hunter Lodges at The Celtic Manor Resort). If you simply want it all on a plate go to Michelin-starred Tyddyn Llan (Welsh Rarebits), where Bryn and Susan Webb will take you on a culinary adventure.
Let’s not forget Wales’s many festivals (Portmeirion has its very own, the highly regarded Festival No 6). Plus personal adventures of the mind and spirit, aided perhaps by soothing spa treatments (Rarebits Collection members include most of the best spas in Wales).
And if all of that sounds too tame, you can always jump off a cliff or two.