Summer of Stories and more… our guide to what’s on in North Wales this Summer

Legends are written over hundreds of years but, this summer, North Wales gives you the opportunity to write a legendary story of your own. With a packed schedule of events taking place, there’s never been a better time for you and the family to explore our epic landscape while enjoying world-class unique entertainment and attractions.

Music, sport, family-fun, food, animals, stories, history, heritage… here’s our round-up of what’s in store this summer across the North Wales region.

June

CADW Summer of Stories – various dates

Throughout June, Welsh poetry and literature will be made accessible to the masses, with stories about King Arthur and other Welsh heroes and heroines brought to life in truly epic surroundings.

Denbigh Castle, Beaumaris Castle and several other historic sites across North Wales will play host to storytellers, who will enchant with imaginative, half-hour retellings of some of our best-loved myths and legends.

The Tournament – 24 – 25 June

If you enjoy hands-on historical experiences, this is not to be missed. The first event of its kind to be held in the history town of Conwy, the Tournament promises to be one of the highlights of Wales’ Year of Legends. Take a unique journey into the past, to a time when knights were bold and chivalry was very much alive.

For one thrilling weekend, lords, ladies, knights, merchants, fools and jesters will take over the town in a colourful display of medieval pageantry and celebration.

There will be jousting sessions, sword fighting displays, an archery competition and an authentic medieval market. The highpoint of the weekend is a sumptuous medieval banquet to be held on Saturday 24 June. It will take place in a grand, tented pavilion fit for a king and banqueters are encouraged to enter the spirit of the occasion and dress up in period costume.

The Tournament will feature knights, vikings, kings and queens.

July

Llandudno Jazz Festival – 28 – 30 July

Everyone’s favourite jazz festival returns to Llandudno this July. Taking place on the picturesque Bodafon Farm, on the outskirts of the town, visitors will enjoy good music combined with great views.

This year, the festival boasts performances from accomplished jazz artists including A Grimsby Fish Tale, Sara Oschlag and the Mark Nightingale Quartet among others. The highlight of the weekend is a special tribute show to jazz legend, Thelonius Monk, on Sunday night.

Electric Wave Festival – 14 – 16 July

Following on from the hugely popular Su Casa Festival, Surf Snowdonia is hosting another show-stopping musical event in July! Celebrating all that’s best about surf and music, this family-friendly festival promises to cater for all musical tastes.

From uplifting reggae to thumping electronic beats, and glittering disco to the finest indie artists, Electric Wave has an impressive line up of performers ready to get your feet tapping.

If all that isn’t enough, there’ll be a climbing wall, a silent disco, a skate ramp and slacklining to try your hand at. To keep energy levels up, there’ll be plenty of street food and drink from local suppliers to refuel with.

Love music? Listen to something different at Llandudno jazz festival.

August

Anglesey Show – 15 – 16 August

Agricultural shows are fabulous occasions that bring together locals and visitors in celebration of the bounty of our landscape. From thrilling sporting events and agricultural machinery displays, to the region’s best food and drink and locally-crafted art gifts and homewares, the Anglesey Show is North Wales’ leading county show.

Conwy River Festival – 19 – 26 August

Conwy’s annual river festival takes to the waves with a packed schedule of boat and yacht races, plus the much-loved family-friendly Quay Day. Taking place on the Conwy Estuary – between Conwy and Deganwy – visitors will be treated to a weekend of thrills and fun.

Don’t worry if your not a ‘boat person’, there’s still plenty to see and do. Live music, kids entertainment and the shops of Conwy are guaranteed to keep landlubbers happy!

September

Festival No. 6 – 7 – 10 September

Festival No. 6 really needs no introduction; the phenomenal success of this boutique festival over the last few years speaks for itself.

With all the ingredients for a memorable weekend – magical venue, all-star line-up, stunning surroundings – this bohemian celebration has become a must-visit for festival goers and performers alike.

This year, the Flaming Lips, Bloc Party, Rag ‘N’ Bone Man and Kate Tempest headline, backed by a plethora of talented artists and performers. Beyond the music stages, there’s a whole host of things happening, including the annual torchlit processions, hot tub parties, the much-anticipated Sgt Pepper’s Carnival and the mysterious Saturday Night Spectacle.

By day or night, Festival Number 6 is a magical experience!

So, this Summer, why not write your own story? With so much happening across the region, it’s guaranteed to be a hit bestseller with all the family. It’s going to be epic!

Images courtesy of © Crown copyright 2016 (Visit Wales).

Food to try in North Wales: Menai Bridge

In the second installment of our blog mini series we’re headed across the Menai Strait to the picturesque waterfront town of Menai Bridge on Anglesey.

With lots to see and do, including the historic Suspension Bridge, the beautiful gardens of Plas Newydd and some lovely private shops, Menai Bridge should be on your must-see list. Add into the mix some fabulous local food and drink and you have all the makings of a memorable day-out.

Known as the ‘bread basket of Wales’, Anglesey is a flat and fertile island, idea for all types of food production. With fresh seafood straight from the sea, locally-reared meat and poultry, homegrown fruit and veg, plus some truly ingenious culinary creations, you’re in for a treat!

Events

Anglesey Farmers’ Market

If your visit falls on the third Saturday of the month, you’re in luck. At this monthly farmers’ market you can sample of taste of Anglesey, all in one place.

You’ll find a huge selection of tasty local fruit and veg, freshly-baked goods, and irresistible seafood (including – our favourite – crab from the Anglesey coast). Those with a sweet tooth are particularly well-catered for here. Browse stalls of homemade cakes, puddings and ice cream – perfect for a picnic afternoon tea on the beach!

Menai Bridge Food Slams

The next food slam takes place this weekend – Friday 2 June, 5pm – 10pm!!

Food slams make an appearance in Menai Bridge in both summer and winter! These Far Eastern inspired night markets are a must-visit for entertainment, fun, and, most importantly, great local food. With locally-brewed craft beer and spirits and delicious street food, such as Welsh lamb burgers and Celtic-style tapas, we guarantee there’s something to whet even the most discerning of taste buds.

During the winter months, proceedings take on a seasonal slant with Menai Bridge Christmas Food Slam. Expect more of the same but with lashings of mulled wine, festive produce and a good sprinkling of Christmas cheer. Choirs, a brass band and Santa are on hand to provide the entertainment, making this a truly family-friendly event. Dates for this year’s Christmas Food Slam are yet to be announced. Keep an eye on the website for updates.

Restaurants

Dylan’s

Boasting an enviable position, right on the water’s edge alongside the Thomas Telford bridge, the name Dylan’s has become synonymous for good eating in North Wales. Serving delicious, locally-sourced and seasonal produce, it is a firm fixture in the Michelin guide and a destination restaurant that attracts locals and visitors from miles around. Menu highlights include Dylan’s famous wood fired pizzas, seafood sharing platters, and the house speciality – Menai mussels served a variety of ways.

Sosban and the Old Butchers

Charismatically located in an old Butcher’s Shop – complete with original hand-painted tiles and Welsh slate – Sosban rewards foodies with a unique dining experience. At Sosban, diners sample dishes from a 7 course surprise menu! Ever-changing to make the best of local and seasonal produce, it promises ‘distinct flavours’ and ‘boldly-flavoured modern dishes’.

Locals have described it as fine dining ‘without all the fuss’, claiming you won’t find better food for miles – this might explain how it’s won itself a Michelin Star! It’s essential to book well in advance as there is a lengthy waiting list.

The Straits

The Straits is a well-established Menai Bridge restaurant that offers a really popular fixed-price menu. To keep things interesting it changes every three weeks and uses fresh local ingredients, many with a Creole twist. Head chef Phil was born and raised in New Orleans and the passion and heat of the city is reflected in many of the dishes.

Freckled Angel

The place to go for tapas in Menai Bridge – yes, you read right, tapas! Rated number one on TripAdvisor with only excellent reviews, this small and friendly restaurant is a hit in the town. Imagine if you will, refined tapas-style dishes made with excellent quality Welsh ingredients. Head chef Mike, only 24, has been dubbed a Michelin contender of the future – so best get there quick!

Pubs

The Bridge Inn

Recently under new management, this is a classic Welsh pub serving good food and real ales. On the menu you’ll find all the pub classics plus some quirky new dishes, a nod to head chef Ashley’s background in local fine dining establishments. With an outside terrace boasting a fine view of the Menai Bridge on sunny days and a cosy, real fire for inclement weather, it’s a family-friendly pub at the Gateway to Anglesey.

The Liverpool Arms

Known locally as ‘The Livvy’, this recently refurbished pub has a nautical theme, in keeping with its location close to the Porth Daniel Boatyard. They serve pub meals made with the finest local ingredients and this combined with a packed schedule of weekly events makes it a great destination pub. Oh, did we mention it features in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide 2017 so the booze is good too!

Local food producers

Benjamin Lee Chocolatier & Patissier

For those of you with a sweet tooth, a stop off at Benjamin Lee’s chocolate shop is a must on any food tour of Menai Bridge. It’s located in the heart of Menai Bridge and is so easy to find – just follow the enticing aroma of chocolate! Here you can sample (and purchase) delicious handmade chocolates and truffles, and view some of Benjamin’s amazing celebration cakes. We defy you to come away empty handed!

Bonny Confectionery

The Bonny ideology is simple: take a traditional and, let’s be honest, dull confectionery and reinvent it for 21st century tastes. Run by sweet-loving mums, Jackie and Cordie, Bonny’s produces a rainbow of flavoured gourmet marshmallows, hand made in Menai Bridge. From marshmallow melts to dip in your hot chocolate to bags of fluffy mallows, these sweet treats are enjoying a revival – all thanks to two passionate Welsh foodie mums!

Halen Mon Sea Salt

If you’ve enjoyed your culinary sojourn of Menai Bridge, why not take a memento home with you? We suggest some Halen Mon sea salt, because food doesn’t come more local than this. The salt is made from Anglesey seawater taken direct from the Menai Strait. The award-winning family-run business believes that people who appreciate good food should season with good sea salt and this Welsh condiment ranks among some of the finest in the world.

The next stop on our food tour of North Wales takes us to the historic town of Conwy – be sure to keep checking the blog so you don’t miss it! In the meantime, mwynhewch eich bwyd! (enjoy your food!)

Image courtesy of © Robin Drayton (cc-by-sa/2.0)