With more and more Covid restrictions lifting day by day, and all rules expected to end next month, the world is officially back on the menu for many. Here at So Cosy, our love for travel is well-known and we spent some of 2021 (when Covid lockdowns and rules would allow it) doing just that.
Our 2021 trips may have been a little shorter than in previous years but they were just as sweet. We explored locations new and old across Wales and France to enjoy some much-needed respite, be out in nature, and gather the inspiration that really is all around us.
Here we share just a few highlights from our 2021 travel diary, including our recommendations for holidaying on home turf and across the English Channel.
With an abundance of historical architecture and natural beauty, Portmeirion is a fantastic destination for a weekend away or a staycation that’s a little longer.
Based in Gwynedd, North Wales, the village isn’t your typical Welsh hamlet. In fact, its Mediterranean vibes are more reminiscent of the Italian Riviera than the Welsh coast. We’ll let Historic UK explain more about the roots of Portmeirion’s unconventional style:
“In 1925, the famous architect Sir Williams-Ellis began designing the tourist village, incorporating elements of Italian architecture and design in his buildings and constructions of squares and gardens. Whilst some have speculated that his design was based on the famous and exclusive fishing village of Portofino on the Italian coastline, Sir Williams-Ellis was said to have simply wanted to capture the atmosphere of the Mediterranean…”
Outside its colourful piazza, and away from the rest of its quirky Italianate architectural designs and stunning gardens, you’ll find the remains of more traditional Welsh relics, including Caernarfon Castle, Harlech Castle, Dolwyddelan Castle, Dolbadarn Castle, and Criccieth Castle.
The area also features a long list of beautiful places to hike and absorb natural beauty, and from the peaks of Cadair Idris to the depths of Gwydir Forest, there’s a lot to love.
Snowdonia National Park
If you want to escape it all, head to Snowdonia National Park in Wales. We took multiple trips to this truly awe-inspiring region during 2021 and are planning many more outings to the area in the coming months.
The national park is a rugged mixture of mountains, rivers, lakes and coastline, and offers beautiful scene after beautiful scene as well as endless places to hike.
We took on one of the best Snowdonia National Park walks during our last trip. Ominously named ‘The Devil’s Kitchen’, this trail offers almost otherworldly scenes. Located in Wales’ first ever nature reserve (Cwm Idwal) and a favourite haunt of Charles Darwin, the Devil’s Kitchen is a rocky, steep trail that’s so worth exploring.
There is a selection of 4.3- to 5-mile hiking routes to choose from, each of which delivers some brilliant scrambling and the most magnificent views.
Another area that is known for its natural beauty and incredible hikes is Pembrokeshire in Wales. Its most famous route is the Pembrokeshire Coast Path but be warned, this 186-mile walking route isn’t for the faint-hearted.
Whether you’re taking on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in a series of short stints or going big by walking the 12-day route all in one go, its clifftop paths reveal beautiful scenes every step of the way.
If you’d like to take your love of hiking across the English Channel, there’s no better place to do just that than in Maisnières, northern France.
From the beautiful and hugely welcoming Château d’Harcelaines – a property that has been in the Lardemelle family for some two centuries – we had the most fantastic break hiking, cycling and relaxing in the most stunning surroundings.
There are tons of hidden gems to explore on foot or by bike in the local area, whilst Château d’Harcelaines is a charming, historic local landmark that boasts plenty of facilities. Explore the property’s park and its abundance of greenery, riverside scenes, and farm buildings by day, and enjoy a candlelit dinner by the hearth in its 17th-century dining room by night.
With a new year comes a host of new travel plans for us, and we hope you’ll join us for the journey! Find out more about what to expect from us in the months ahead right here.