The last time I embarked on a road trip from London to Wales I was an excitable pre-teen on her coach-virginal way to visit her Welsh grandparents. Since then, over ten years have passed and two of my Kiwi friends have purchased a giant red van with the intention to travel the country. A celebratory road trip was in order.
After naming said van Clifford and filling all seven seats, we left London for an impromptu road trip to Rhayader.
No, I hadn’t heard of it either. The beauty of Airbnb discoveries.
After crossing borders and slipping into a post-drive coma, the Scooby Gang and I woke up on Saturday morning and headed straight for the nearest spot with caffeine on the menu. The fateful cafe/restaurant – The Old Swan Tea Rooms – was an absolute gem, serving everything from bara brith to Ultimate Sandwiches to welsh cakes (just like my Nana used to make).
For the rest of the day we wound the mountainous roads of Elan Valley (a stunning and time-stopping spread of Victorian engineering), Devil’s Bridge, Cwmystwyth, and Aberystwyth with a number of spontaneous stops stippled between singalongs.
Eight hours later, we returned to our temporary home for shenanigans galore and decided to commit to spend the following morning refuelling at The Old Swan before homeward pit-stops in Builth Wells (my departed grandparents’ town) and Portishead (for obvious musical reasons).
I never expected to feel so proud to be Welsh.
(Don’t miss the travel vlog at the end of this post!)