Group Holiday in Mid Wales

Testimonial report on 5 day break to Llandrindod Wells | May 2012

46 members left Sandy Car Park on Monday 30 April 2012 with local coach company Saffords Coaches of Great Gransden. En route to Llandrindod Wells we stopped at a service station for a comfort and refreshment break and then on to Worcester for a spot of lunch and sightseeing.

Our hotel in LLandrindod Wells was The Metropole Hotel. A 4 star privately owned hotel that included a superb health Spa. Porters took all of our cases to the rooms direct from the coach. The car park was sufficiently large to allow the coach to park there.

At The Metropole we were on bed, breakfast and evening meal. The buffet breakfast was superb with freshly cooked food and a wide variety of other items. The evening meal was a choice of three starters, main courses and deserts that were ordered at the table. The service from the smiling staff was very efficient.

It was noticeable during our stay that in all areas—bars, restaurants, reception and cleaning staff—that there were sufficient on hand to ensure prompt service.

On Tuesday morning the rain prevented some from going for a walk but a few ventured a few yards to The National Cycling Museum to view some interesting displays. Of those that stayed in the hotel some made use of the excellent swimming pool.

At lunch time we set off for the short journey to The Hall at Abbey-Cwm-Hir and were met by the owner Paul Humpherston, who gave some brief outline details of this 52 roomed house. We had been warned that we would need to take shoes off for the tour of the house and some of our members were well prepared by bringing slippers. Our party was then split into 2 groups and were taken on a conducted tour by Paul and another guide, Val. As we went from room to room they gave detailed descriptions of the interior furnishings and the contents of each room, giving numerous humorous anecdotes on the way. It was pleasing on the tour that we were allowed to sit down where we liked and could touch any objects—unlike a lot of houses that we visited. The weather prevented us going outside in the garden but everyone looked out of the windows and was impressed by how well they had been kept.

To finish our afternoon we were served with tea or coffee with a large piece of home-made cake (5 different types were available!!).

On the coach back to the hotel and in the evening everyone said it was one of the best houses they had ever visited and it would be virtually impossible to fully describe the house to their friends.

On Wednesday we returned just over the border to Leominster where we had a free morning looking round the shops and had lunch. Some found the Mousetrap Cheese Shop and any purchases were stored in the coach refrigerator until the end of the break.

In the afternoon we made the short journey to The Judges Lodging at Presteigne. The group, with the aid of audio guides made their way round the Judges Quarter, the Servants Rooms, the Kitchen, The Cells and then into the Magistrates Court, listening to a 20 minute tape of a trial. The tour concluded with tea and biscuits.

On Wednesday evening The Metropole Hotel mad available a room, complete with microphone, and a quiz run by our President was thoroughly enjoyed.

On Thursday we made our way to the coastal town of Aberystwyth. Here there was free time in the morning and some visited the Ceredigion Museum, some went on the Electric Railway and others went to the National Library.

After lunch we joined the Vale of Rheidol Railway, where we had seats reserved on the 12 mile steam train journey from Aberystwyth to Devils Bridge. The group enjoyed some spectacular views from the train. We were met at Devils Bridge by our coach for the return journey to the Hotel.

On the Friday we made our way home, stopping at Evesham for an enjoyable lunch.

The bedrooms at The Metropole were a very good size and spotlessly clean. All the staff at The Metropole were pleasant and extremely helpful. Our members felt this was the best hotel we had ever had on our Annual Break.

All of our members remarked how they had enjoyed such a sociable and friendly break. This was achieved with the service provided by The Metropole Hotel, our local coach company , Saffords Coaches, together with all the places we visited.

Nigel Westhorp, Social Secretary, Probus Club of Sandy and District

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Events in Mid Wales | May Bank Holiday Weekend

●5th May at 11am; Official opening of the Welsh Coastal Path at Aberystwyth; the World’s first continuous coastal path around a country and voted best in travel 2012 by Lonely Planet. Click to visit website.

●5/6th May; The International Antiques & Collectors Fair of Wales at Royal Welsh Showground; expect the BBC Bargain Hunt crew to be there too. Click to visit website.

●4/5/6th May; The Mach Comedy Festival at Machynlleth; in its 3rd year of growing popularity. Click to visit website.

●5th May; Brecon Toy and Train Sale at Brecon; many top dealers and 60 plus tables. Click to visit website.

●5/6/7th May Painting workshop at Erwood Craft Station 10am to 1pm for £20 including materials with Amanda Skipsey. Pre-booking required. Click to visit website.

●5/6th May; Elan Valley Outdoor Activities weekend; a range of adrenalin activiites near the Caban Coch reservoir. Pre-booking required. Click to visit website.

●5th May; Wildlife tracking and field skills with a countryside ranger at the Elan Valley visitor centre. Pre-booking required. Click to visit website.

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Tourism Award Winner 2011

Tourism Award 2011 Powys Business AwardsThe Metropole Hotel in Llandrindod Wells was the winner of the ‘Mid Wales Tourism Award’ at the Powys Business awards which took place at Theatre Hafren in Newtown, Tuesday 27th September. The judges commended the Metropole for it’s continued investment in both the facilities of the hotel and staff training.
Managing director Justin Baird-Murray who accepted the award on behalf of the staff of the hotel was accompanied by sales and banqueting coordinator Adele Davies. Mr Baird-Murray said:
“Winning the award is a tremendous achievement for the staff and management of the hotel. In the current difficult economic environment I’m delighted that the Metropole continues to prosper and improve the product and services we are providing.”

The Metropole which has been owned by the Baird-Murray family for over 110 years employes 80 people in Llandrindod Wells and has invested over £5 million in the last 8 years. This award is the 2nd prestigious award won by the hotel on recent years having previously won the Wales conference hotel of the year.

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Small animal park | Wonderful local attraction

Grace | Reception TeamTaking a break from my duties on reception, my family and I recently went on a day trip to Small Breeds Animal Park and Owl Centre at Kington. We had a wonderful day. My five year old son really enjoyed feeding the goats, chickens, horses, donkeys, water fowl and many more animals, especially the alpaca’s who roam freely around the park. There are so many different species of owl at the park, and the information about them is quite fascinating. We were very lucky as the sun was shining, but I noticed that they provide umbrellas if it rains and there are plenty of indoor activities for the children to do such as board rubbing, colouring and quiz’s. There are also animals to see under cover including mice, chipmunks, domestic pet’s and my favourite, chicks and ducklings hatching.
The park is very clean and well maintained, it is easy to get to, parking is free, it is very reasonably priced and the café facilities are lovely. There is a little gift shop where I bought some homemade jam and chutney, and my son got an owl teddy. I would highly recommend visiting Kington Small Breeds Animal Park and Owl Centre Park to anyone, not just families, to all ages as there is something there to cater for everyone. Brilliant day out!

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Latest films at Wyeside Arts and Cinema Centre this Summer 2011

Set in the heart of mid Wales and perched upon the brink of the picturesque river Wye 7 miles south of The Metropole, Wyeside Arts Centre has very friendly welcoming atmosphere with a broad programme of arts and entertainment. During July and August sees the last Harry Potter film, X-Men, Larry Crown, Cowboys and Aliens and more.

Get free tickets when staying on our Summer Attractions Package – Click here

See below summer film programme or visit www.wyeside.co.uk for further info.

29*, 30*, 31* July

  • Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows: Part 2
  • Cars 2

2*, 3, 4 August

  • Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows: Part 2
  • Cars 2

5, 6*, 7*, 9, 10, 11 August

  • X-Men First Class
  • Bridesmaids

12*, 13*, 14* August

  • Larry Crowne
  • Zookeeper

16, 17, 18* August

  • Zookeeper
  • The Tree of Life

19*, 20*, 21*, 23*, 24, 25, 26*, 27*, 28*, 30*, 31 August

  • Cowboys & Aliens
  • Spy Kids 4

*Donates two showings, afternoon and evening otherwise one showing on evening showing only; with exception 12th August there are 2 showings of Zookeeper and 1 showing of Larry Crowne.

Dates and times subject to change.

For more information ring the Wyeside Box Office 01982 552555

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Enjoying an activity in Mid Wales | Black Mountain Activities

We were due to do a bit of shopping just south of the Brecon Beacons so decided to enjoy the morning honing some new skills in the form of archery at the Black Mountain Activities centre located in the heart of Mid Wales just on the northern doorstep to the Brecon Beacons.

After a picturesque 30 minute drive south from The Metropole Hotel running parallel with the River Wye we arrived at Black Mountains activities 10am to find the car park already busy with people bustling around everywhere enthusiastically preparing for the day. Most of the adults and some children were about to board mini buses to transport to a well known river location for white water rafting. Initially the group were canoeing but due to the heavy rain the night before, the rivers had risen quite high.

We were greeted by friendly staff and taken to a meeting room to complete a brief questionnaire for health and safety. Our instructor was Hayden, who has been working for Black Mountain Activities for nearly 5 years and knows the area very well. We gathered our archery gear from a room resembling Aladdin’s cave, every piece of outdoor safety gear you could imagine which explained how the rafting group boarding the mini buses were so well kitted up.

The archery range was a few minutes from the centre and along the walk you see a brief view of the Black Mountains in the distance. It was quite a breezy day but the archery range was in a very sheltered area cleverly surrounded by trees and wood chippings covering the whole range. There was a shelter to sit in too in case the skies burst open.

Hayden was very helpful in explaining the safety elements and correct use of archery. We progressively learned tips and advice on how to hold the bow and aim and it was great fun shooting the targets from different ranges with our instructor introducing various games throughout the morning plus shooting balloons and bottle (plastic of course!) targets.

Behind us in the distance we could see a group of young men scaling a climbing wall and precariously negotiating a ropes course with various ropes, pulleys and swing elements while shouting “treemen!” before finally hurtling down a zip wire out of sight through the trees into the distance to arrive back at the centre. Everyone we could see at the centre was clearly having a great time.

The Black Mountain Activities centre is an extremely well organised centre with friendly and professional staff. Archery is just the arrow tip of the iceberg and there is a feast of available activities such as kayaking, gorge walking, caving, clay shooting and more.  For an activity in Mid Wales I would recommend visiting their website http://www.blackmountain.co.uk/ or give them a call on 01497 847897 to plan a fantastic day out.

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Challenging and tasty treacle pudding

During a recent telephone conversation with a guest last month, as part of a return visit to the hotel this year, she wanted to know if they could bring their dog ‘Satin’. While in conversation we talked about food and all the chefs that had worked with us over the years and the variety of food that appears on our menus. They particularly enjoyed treacle pudding and still had the recipe we had sent them 12 years ago. They kindly returned the favour and sent me the recipe back to post below:-

Makes one treacle pudding (24th March 1999)

10 oz Breadcrumbs
1 lb – 1 1/2 lb syrup
1/2 lb treacle
5 eggs
1 grated apple
1 lemon zest and juice
1/2 pint cream

Unfortunately, there was no preparation method provided, hence ‘challenging’ in the title. Good luck to all those keen sticky fingers out there.

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Things to do in Mid Wales Easter Weekend

22-25 April Dragon Artists and Makers Festival at Brecon Beacons Visitor Centre
22-25 April Easter Egg Hunt at Cantref Adventure Farm
22-25 April Easter Egg-citment at Elan Valley visitor centre
22-24 April Easter Fun at Dolaucothi Gold Mines

source www.visitmidwales.co.uk

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Happy Saint David’s Day | Dydd Gwŷl Dewi Sant hapus

As promised in our monthly newsletter, Head Chef, Nic Edwards has produced an exciting recipe to enjoy on this special day.

Welsh Mussels in Thai Spiced Leek Sauce | starter | serves 4

2 lb Welsh mussels, debearded
2 oz butter
1 large leek, finely chopped
2 garlic onions, crushed
1 chilli, chopped
1 inch cube ginger, fine diced
1 stick lemon grass, chopped
1 tin coconut milk
salt
pepper
chopped fresh coriander

Sauce…
Melt butter and add leeks, cook until soft. Add garlic, ginger, chilli and lemon grass cook for 4 minutes. Add coconut milk, sat and pepper. Cook for a further 6 minutes, then set aside.

Mussels…
Heat a large saucepan until smoking. Add clean mussels, place lid on and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until mussels have opened. Add sauce to mussels, cook for further 2 minutes. Place in warmed serving dishes, sprinkle with coriander.

Done…
Eat with some crusty bread. Enjoy.

Fact or fiction | You decide

According to legend, St.David ordered his soldiers to wear a leek on their helmets against Saxons in a field of leeks.

Daffodils and Leeks have similar Welsh translations, cenhinen (leeks) and cenhinen pedr (daffodils) which would explain why they have both become national symbols of Wales.

The United States officially recognised St.David’s Day in 2003 by lighting up the Empire State Building in the national Welsh colours.

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Testimonial | Day Spa Package | February 2011

“Wondered if you could pass on my gratitude to the relevant department for one of the most relaxing days I’ve had in ages, myself and Jayne have both undergone major ops
and I decided to treat her for Xmas and her birthday (which happen to be one and the same).   We had an amazing time in the pool and fantastic meal, we walked round the shops and then back for coffee and more wine.   We felt so chilled out – we struggled to leave our comfy seats …..

Amazing and thank you to all involved -

Cheers

Kara”

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Feefo | Independent Customer Feedback

Feefo is an independent customer feedback website that enables The Metropole Hotel to gain genuine and honest feedback. As a hotel in Wales, website reviews are one of many sources for assessing how good our customer service is. We realise a customer sometimes feels uneasy to give feedback during their stay if something has gone wrong and alternatively use a third party website to post a review and retain anonymity which does not always help us identify where an issue might have occurred and be resolved. If something has gone wrong during a customer stay, we want to know so the issue can be resolved. Some third party review websites can not authenticate every review as a valid customer that stayed at the relevant accommodation provider. Feefo is an independent company which contacts genuine customers and the Metropole Hotel finds this extremely useful. Feefo enables any customer, starting a potential new booking, to initially look at reviews (with no annoying advertisement and pop-up windows) from genuine customers via Feefo as an independent customer feedback system. After departure, the customer is then invited via email to submit a Feefo feedback reply, reviews are posted via the Feefo feedback for Metropole Hotel website immediately and customers and hotel staff can view all reviews which management and the hotel owners can respond quickly to. Feefo has a lot of useful tools for hotel management to help identify any recurring issues, measure honest customer feedback and ultimately improve customer service.

Visit Feefo – Independent Customer Feedback

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Samuel Griffiths family reunion weekend

A few months ago we had a telephone call from Alan Edwards, a return customer, enquiring to book accommodation and redeem with a voucher he won as a prize in 1975. It developed into a family reunion weekend. Justin Baird-Murray is pictured below, delighted to redeem the voucher 35 years later with Alan Edwards.

Alan Edwards gives Justin Baird-Murray 1975 accommodation voucher

What a success!

What a great time was had by all – and in no small measure to the excellent service provided by you and your staff.

From the point of arrival for Jill and I on Saturday until the farewell to family members late on Sunday morning we all had a great time. Your excellent staff and super facilities provided us with just the sort of accommodation we needed for our get together – it suited the 5year olds and the 85 year old.

My cousin Anne produced a family tree for those present going back to 1354 with Brecon and St.Harmon being prominent but a third cousin from Swansea whom none of us had previously met produced evidence of ancestors from 300 A.D. – frightening!!

Would you please pass on my thanks to Justin and his fellow directors for accepting the very cheeky request to honour the voucher for the weekend break that I won in 1975! I am even more pleased that he re-presented the prize so that my wife and I can celebrate our 100th birthdays at The Metropole in another 35 years time !!

Now that would be a story wouldn’t it?

Yous sincerely

Alan Edwards

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