Unlocking Potential…

Coleg Llandrillo opened it’s doors for a Meet the Employer event last Wednesday, a vibrant gathering aimed at connecting students with the real heart of industry. As we navigate a world where practical skills are just as important as academic achievements, apprenticeships stand out as a beacon of opportunity.

The event was more than just a meeting point, it was a bridge to the future for many aspiring young minds. Local and national companies were in attendance, each presenting an unique set of opportunities that extend beyond the classroom and into real-world experience in the form of apprenticeships.

Of course we had to take cake – in fact our Head Chef insisted upon it. He said if we were to showcase the business then where better than with our current cohort of apprenticeships’ learning on the pastry section!

Apprenticeships – The Pathway to Mastery

We really believe this & we are always on the lookout for the next genertaion of talent. We believe nurturing potential & providing a platform for growth is exactly where our next set of innovative leaders will emerge from.

As well as earning whilst you learn you get a real hands-on experience. Apprenticeships give you an insight into how the working world works but with support from experienced mentors and at a pace which suits you.

Want to join us? Check out our Apprenticeships brochure on our People page.

We’re really proud to have been a part of Coleg Llandrillo’s event & look frowards to meeting our new joiners at the start of their apprenticeship journey!

Snowdonia Art Competition: “Inspired by Eryri”

We are thrilled to announce a brand new Art Competition, on behalf of the New Betws-y-Coed Outdoor Painters Group, inviting local artists from across Eryri to express their awe and admiration for the natural beauty of the Snowdonia National Park. The competition seeks to celebrate and showcase the inspiring landscapes and rich cultural heritage of one of the UK’s most cherished natural environments as well as bringing together a group of inspiring creatives.

Competition Details:

  • Theme: Inspired by Eryri – Snowdonia
  • Location: Betws-y-Coed
  • Submission Date: Entries must be submitted by September 1st, 2024
  • Categories: Painting
  • Eligibility: Open to professional artists, 2 submissions per entry, must be over 18

Awards:

  • Prizes will include a Grand Prize of £500 for the best overall entry, a meal for two at the Royal Oak & a £50 Voucher for Jackson Art Supplies. Alongside a special mention category from each individual judge’s favourite
  • Selected works will be featured in a special exhibition at St Mary’s Betws-y-Coed following the competition.

Judging Panel: Our panel includes distinguished artists and local art enthusiasts who have a deep connection with Eryri’s landscape and culture.

David Morgan – Artworks2 Gallery
Sara McKee – Life: Full Colour Gallery
Alison Bradley – Alison Bradley Gallery

Entry Fee:

  • free

This competition is a fantastic opportunity for artists to gain recognition for their talents and for art lovers to experience the Eryri National Park through diverse artistic perspectives.

How to Enter: Please download the entry form here with further detailed submission guidelines. For any enquiries, contact debbiebaxter@yahoo.co.uk

Our Artistic Heritage

The hotel has been at the center of the village’s social and cultural life since the 18th century and it provided a base for travelers and artists who came to capture the natural beauty of the surrounding Snowdonia National Park. Its picturesque setting and traditional architecture have made it a subject of interest and depiction in various artworks itself. It was prominent artist David Cox Jnr, a contemporary of Turners who bought Betws to Coed to the art worlds attention by setting up an Artists Colony in 1844, establishing it’s base & meeting place at the Royal Oak.

The group included notable painters who were drawn to the area’s exceptional natural beauty. Their works contributed to the Romanticism movement, which emphasised awe in nature. The ability to capture the dynamic and sublime natural elements of Betws-y-Coed resulted in a significant body of artistic work being produced by the group.

The village and its surroundings are steeped in Welsh culture and history, adding layers of depth to the artistic interpretations of the area. The integration of local culture, history, and landscapes in art has helped to preserve and promote Welsh heritage.

The Artists Group led to the setting up of The Royal Cambrian Academy of Art, often referred to as the Royal Cambrian Society, which was founded in 1881. It was established to create a center of excellence for artists working in Wales and to promote the visual arts within the region.

We look forward to seeing how Eryri inspires you and the evolving art of the New Betws Outdoor Painters Group

Golden Peacocks and new colours

Our corridors have had a heritage makeover to match our Victorian past.

Initially, wallpapers were made & block printed or painted by hand, but during the 19th century, advancements in printing technology led to the mass production of wallpapers. Being our original building was once a coaching inn, transformed in the Victorian era to a larger hotel, means we’ve found snippets of historical layers and colours during more recent renovations.

Peacocks and paint

This flamboyant, vibrant golden peacock design though, a beautiful example of late-19th century wallpaper printing, was found on a lobby wall at Erddig Estate in east Wales. Hung in the 1870s, it has the painterly finish of a traditional Chinese silk, a fabric coveted by the Victorians. Showing peacocks perched on branches, accessorised by flowers, leaves and birds, the subject is typical of wallpapers and fabrics produced in the late 19th Century to satisfy the western elite’s interest in Chinese design.

Why did we chose Little Greene?

Well apart from their eco-factory being just up the road at the edge of the National Park, Little Greene is  family-run business who design & supply eco friendly paint and wallpaper.

Their sustainable wallpapers are created with a low environmental impact & responsibly sourced from sustainable forests. For every tree used, another four are planted. The pigments used to print the eco wallpaper designs are completely non-toxic.

Their eco-friendly practices extend to packaging and manufacturing also – they recycle paint Tins & have achieved a 57% rate of waste reduction in the last three years. They look to local manufacturing solutions with all their paint & wallpaper made in the UK.

We’ve had some fabulous feedback about the peacoks from design enthusiasts and historians alike, who appreciate the craftsmanship and historical significance of the elaborate designs & rich colours that adordned interiors in the 19th Century.  We love that we can reflect our heritage but in today’s modern interior – the Victorian’s certainly knew how to create eye-catching wallpaper that has stood the test of time!

you can find out more about our rich heritage on History Points or on Our History page

Royal Thai Journey

Our chefs are renowned for their love of culinary travel & being inspired by new flavours they find on their trips

Last November whilst travelling in Thailand Sam (our Group Catering Manager) took a traditional cookery course at Phuket Old Farm and bought back authentic new recipes and a heap of inspiration!

Following on from our Indian Fusion evening last November showcasing the kitchen team’s diverse food knowledge & culinary skill we have another experience evening not to be missed…

Join us in the Llugwy River Restaurant on Friday 2nd February 2024 where Sam & her talented culinary team will take you on a Royal Thai Journey……

Plastic Free Communities

Did you know it takes 2-300 years for Plastic bags to fragment but they stay in the environment indefinitely… that’s why we send out our packed lunches in brown paper bags, it’s also the reason we swapped from plastic to paper straws 5 years ago & we use bamboo cutlery at our outside catering events.


In fact were so passionate about campaigning for a plastic free future we signed up to the Surfers Against Sewage campaign for Plastic Free Communities and last week at the Plastic Free Betws & District launch, at the Waterloo, we were awarded Plastic Free Champions status.  

Here’s our fabulous Waterloo Hotel Duty Manager Zoe who collected the award for the company and helped make sure the night was a huge success!

To find out how you can join the campaign and make a difference to all our waterways sign up at https://plasticfree.org.uk

Highlighting Albert…

As a member of David Cox’s Betws-y-Coed artist’s colony based at the Royal Oak in the 1870’s, Albert Glendening’s paintings of Eryri’s (Snowdonia’s) mountains were strongly collected.

Paul Holberten Publishing has kindly sent us the latest copy about Glendening’s work and the man himself and what an extrodinary time he lived through with the changes the Industrial Revolution had bought to Britain.

From humble origins, Glendening was still working full-time as a railway clerk when he made his London exhibition debut at the age of twenty. That would have been almost impossible before the Victorian era, an extraordinary period when social mobility was a real possibility. Although his paintings show a tranquil and unspoiled landscape, his environment was steadily being transformed by social, scientific and industrial developments, while advances in transport, photography and other technical discoveries undoubtedly influenced him and his fellow painters.

The book is available to view at reception or to purchase your own copy at www.paulholberton.com

Find out more about David Cox’s Art Colony and the fascinating history of our building here

on the food trail

lets start with gooey stuff...

The Edwards family from Pen-y-Bryn Apiary have been keeping bees since the 1930’s when a swarm landed in their plum orchard!

In August their bees collect pollen from the flowering hillsides of Snowdonia making the September harvest one filled with heather scented nectar.

Available to buy direct at the Snowdonia & Local Producers Market or online at

www.penybrynhoney.com/shop

sweet dreams are made of cheese…..

It maybe a little out of the ordinary to find a hill of cheese maturing inside Llechwedd Slate Caverns but that’s exactly what co-operative South Caernarfon Creameries do with their reserve Cheddar . They make their delicious Dragon’s Cheddar using milk from mid and West Wales, before before taking it down to the mines to mature for a minimum of 11 months. Our favourtie place for it? Topping the Draig Burger at Y Stablau

As well as being an International Cheese Judge (she really has the best job) Jackie from Castell Gwyn makes soft cheeses from North Walian Jersey-crosses. Using a traditional method by warming the milk, cutting and hanging the curds over three days she then adds er favourite flavours such as cracked black pepper, Welsh honey, fresh chives and one of our faves – Penderyn Whisky! A regular favourite at our Christmas Market or buy online from her at www.castellgwyn.com

We’ve all been to PYO strawberry farm but Pumpkins?

Take a trip out to Hootons in October and pick up seasonal squashes that are not only totally tasty but fab colour for your #picoftheday

every Sunday from 10am in October – take your wellies!

www.hootonshomegrown.com

on the Road again..

heading back towards Betws make sure you detour to Abergwyngregyn to visit the AberFalls Distillery. Renowned for their spirits using water from the falls and seasonal ingredients, our favourite at this time of year has to be the Orange Marmalade Gin, sweet and bitter orange flavours, with the pine flavour of juniper and a final warm citrus hit – great from warming up around a bonfire!


We asked our chefs for their favourite Autumn foraging foods

one of our sous chefs swears by Rosehips for Winter colds and their best way to consume them? In a syrup – pour it over ice cream, add into cocktails, or use in your trifles!

To make a litre of RoseHip syrup you need: 

  • 1 kilogram of rosehips
  • 3 litres of water 
  • 450g of sugar (or honey)

Method:

  1. Remove any leaves and the green ends of the rosehips, roughly chop or blitz them and add to a saucepan with the water. 
  2. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes before straining with a muslin into a clean bowl. Once the juice has been strained, re-strain in a clean muslin cloth. This ensures that all the hairs inside that cause irritation have been removed. 
  3. In a new saucepan add sugar to teh syrup and simme until dissolved & thickened.
  4. Transfer to a sterilised jar and keep in a cool place. 

And with the last word one of our favourite Market Producers….

Celtalan of Conwy have a fab tip for jammers and chutney makers – with global warming making first frosts unpredicable those berries that require a ‘pick after first frost of autumn’ there’s a simple solution before jamming – freeze them!

Paddle & Pedal

Did you know Snowdonia has over 250 Llyn’s – that’s lakes, tarns & big ponds and over 438miles of river so there’s always a stretch nearby to enjoy some watersports on!

We headed up to Llyn Geirionydd after work last Tuesday so that Jack & Han could test out their balancing skills on the paddleboards – by the size of their smiles we think they’re hooked!

Llyn Geirionydd was reputedly the home of the 6th century poet Taliesin and a stone monument to him stands by the lake’s north bank.

no Paddleboard? no Problem!

Local company Ride North offer SUP hire for up to 3 days – so you can paddle a whole raft of our Llyn’s!

Alternatively – take a hike! There’s also a waymarked trail over to Llyn Crafnant a 5mile circular with a stunning viewpoint over Crafnant before descending back to Geirionydd.

on yer bike…..

Not so easy with the hilly terrain in Snowdonia…….. that is of course until you hire an electric bike from Beics Betws!

WIth half or Full day hire availble and a range of 60 miles there’s literally no where you can’t get to on these amazing machines!

with front suspension, disc brakes and 1 by 11 gearing our team took their EMBikes up for a whirl to Llyn Elsi via forestry fire roads – with some steep curves and tricky paths they breezed it up in no time!

Traditional pedal power MTB’s also availble for hire at Beics Betws via their webiste or give them a call on 01690 710766 to book your next pedalling adventure!

Keeping it Local

Snowdonia & Local Producer and Makers Market 

Following on from the success of 2021’s showcase seasonal markets 2022 Markets are bigger, better & showcase even more local micro & macro businesess

When? First Saturday of the month from April through to September and 1st weekend of December

Location – Royal Oak Hotel Front Car Park , Betws-y-Coed

Marchnad Cynhyrchwyr Eryri a’r Fro 

Yn dilyn ymlaen o lwyddiant y Farchnad yn 2021 rydym bellach yn cymryd mwy o naid ac yn symud lleoliad a niferoedd i 2022!

Dydd Sadwrn cyntaf y mis yn cychwyn Ebrill 2022 tan Mis Medi – ac wedyn Marchnad Dolig penwythnos cyntaf yn mis Rhagfyr

Lleoliad – Gwesty Royal Oak (Maes Parcio), Betws-y-Coed

Chymuned – Community

It’s all about community – every time you buy produce from someone other than a local producer your money leaves the local economy. Buying local produce helpshelps to sustain local economies and create local jobs. Buy local wherever you go!

Mae’n ymwneud â chymuned – pob tro da ni’n prynnu cynnyrch gan rhywun heblaw cyflenwr lleol mae’n arian yn gadeal y’r economi leol. Newid i brynnu yn lleol ac da’n ni’n gyd yn helpu i gynal cynhyrchwyr y fro!

Our Goals & Values

To offer good quality fresh, seasonal produce which is local to the Snowdonia National Park. Giving producers a direct route to market & cutting out any unnecessary middleman fees. Which in turn means a reduction in food miles, packaging, welfare standards and transport costs. We’re supportung traders by hosting a launch platform for start-up & micro businesses so they can innovate and deliver new products direct to market. We are passionate about the benefits of environmental factors within food production and want to enhance seasonality values with consumers. We also love promoting Welsh culture and products as well as discovering new makers who make our area so unique! 

some of our regular traders;

Merywen Gin – the original – Merywen was the first gin to be distilled in Wales for over 100 years!

Bragdu Lleu – award winning craft brewery from Dyffryn Nantlle

Snowdonia Farm & Butchery – nature and farming working together to create a sustainable landscapes

Celtalan – home grown orchard & foraged fruit jams from the Conwy Valley

Grandma’s Cupboard – cocktail flavours steeped in tradition but with a modern twist

PenyBryn Apiary – Carys’ family have been keeping bees for nearly 100 years, this truly is authentic local honey

Kirsty Williams Ceramics – Kirsty’s unique range of pottery showcases her aesthetic and gorgeous textures

Lief – for lots of recycled cashmere goodies handmade by Anna

Just Moo – Soaps are made with milk fresh from Katy’s own herd of freerange cows 

We also have jewellry makers, bakers, picklers, glass blowers, coffee afficianados, mead makers, photographers and woodcrafters making guest appearances!

The Real Living Wage

March 2022

Celebrating our Commitment to the Real Living `Wage

Snowdonia Hospitality Ltd has today accredited as a Living Wage Employer. Their Living Wage commitment will see everyone working at The Royal Oak Hotel, The Waterloo Hotel, Stables Lodge and Y Stablau receive a minimum hourly wage of £9.90, significantly higher than the government minimum for over 23s, which currently stands at £8.91 per hour.

As we’re based in Wales, a region where almost a fifth of all workers (17.9%) earn less than they need to get by, with around 223,000 jobs paying less than the Real Living Wage.

The real Living Wage is the only rate calculated according to the costs of living. It provides a voluntary benchmark for employers that wish to ensure their staff earn a wage they can live on, not just the government minimum. Since 2011 the Living Wage movement has delivered a pay rise to over 300,000 people and put over £1.6 billion extra into the pockets of low paid workers.

Glenn Evans, Managing Director, Snowdonia Hospitality “We’ve always valued the contribution that our team bring to the business. We felt the time was right to formalise this commitment and encourage other businesses around us to follow suit. Tourism and hospitality in Wales is a thriving and dynamic industry offering the perfect opportunity for those living around us to live and work within the communities they were raised. By becoming a Real Living Wage employer, we are looking to build upon this relationship whilst enabling a career in hospitality to be a career of choice. “

Katherine Chapman, Director, Living Wage Foundation said: “We’re delighted that Snowdonia Hospitality & Leisure Ltd has joined the movement of almost 9,000 responsible employers across the UK who voluntarily commit to go further than the government minimum to make sure all their staff earn enough to live on. “They join thousands of small businesses, as well as household names such as Burberry, Barclays, Everton Football Club and many more.

These businesses recognise that paying the real Living Wage is the mark of a responsible employer and they, like Snowdonia Hospitality & Leisure Ltd, believe that a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.”

Copyright 2023 Royal Oak Hotel Betws y Coed.