We’ve always been passionate about working with local designers and makers.
Cefyn Burgess’ work has been influenced by his trips to Patagonia and Pompeii and by his love of Welsh Chapels. Bought up in Bethesda, he studied textiles in Manchester and completed his MA at the Royal College of Art. He now works from his studio in Ruthin which is where our interior designer first came across his exceptional textile range.
Following on from buying some of his stock items for our standard rooms last year, 2019 has seen the commission of a bespoke design for our newly refurbished Superior and Deluxe rooms.
Taking inspiration from our logo, Beth and Cefyn trialled various sizes and layouts with the image before deciding on the final design. The colour-ways were chosen alongside Beth’s room scheme and influenced by the heritage of the Royal Oak and the soft natural greens of the Snowdonia National Park.
Beth said ‘it never occurred to me how much there is to weaving, such an art it’s like magic to see it appear on the loom’
And as for the finish – well it had to be wool! As well as being a natural fibre choice, wool yarn is also flame resistant – eliminating the need for treating our new bedspreads with any nasty chemical substances. In turn making them a healthier and more sustainable choice for everyone. We can’t wait to see the finished item’s in pride of place in our new bedroom schemes
as the season of giving approaches here are five of our favourite Welsh flavours – perfect for giving, tasting and sharing!
One of the most prestigious craft producers in the UK, the Dyfi Distillery, has just released its first new gin for two years. Navigation Gin, bottled at 57% alcohol, which is traditionally the strength at which the Navy could test that their barrels hadn’t been tampered with! Navigation Gin is an alliance between seafaring tradition and maritime botany, brought together through the medium of umami. Strong and delicious…
This duo of Halen Môn Sea Salt in pretty seaside coloured branded ceramic jars come filled with their award-winning flakes. It’s been served at the London Olympics, political summits and royal weddings – enjoyed around the world by chefs, food lovers and even Barack Obama!
The perfect gift set for the spiced rum lover in your life, or simply keep it all to yourself! Their gift sets include Barti Spiced with a lovely little tin cup perfect for a cheeky hot toddy or for taking with you when you’re out and about exploring – it’s always the right time for a glass of Barti Spiced!
Pure Snowdonia Shiitake, professionally dried by Ardd Fadarch/The Mushroom Garden – who grow organic mushrooms in the heart of Snowdonia. Wonderful in cassoulets & soups and you can use the liquor left from soaking for some wonderfully inspired Asian cooking – use it like soy sauce to add salty umami flavour.
When we were researching for a new bean we opened a bag of Espresso Beans roasted by Teifi Coffee and were bowled over by the rich chocolate flavours they have roasted to perfection. There was no going back, we now serve it at all our sites!. They also do a subscription service for domestic customers – for £6.99 a month it’s the gift that keeps on giving (they also donate 50p per kilo sold to charity). We love the way they do business ❤️
Chose the gift that gives you a taste of everything – our new Plåt Bach/Tasting Plates Menu in the Llugwy River Restaurant lets you sample lots of flavours form Wales – chose a Restaurant Experiences Gift Voucher or include it in one of our Accommodation Stays Packages
For a low level stroll in Betws-y-Coed it has to be the Artist’s Walk…
From the Pont-Y-Pair Bridge follow the boardwalk along the river and through the trees until it terminates in a wooded dell. It’s a very pretty stroll suitable for pushchairs, wheelchairs, and those unable to walk far.
From the end of the boardwalk you can pick up the track down to the river and walk through the meadows towards the Miners’ Bridge where you can cross over the river and return to the village alongside the A5 . It’s about a three mile walk & is uneven in places.
Task a more strenuous walk and hike up to Llyn Elsi
This idyllic mountain lake is hidden amidst the mixed fir and broadleaf woodlands of the Gwydyr Forest and lies high above Betws-y-Coed. Head for the crescent around St Mary’s Church and take the forestry track at the back following the black/white foot way markers which are sporadically placed along the route. The walk climbs steeply through the woods until you reach the lake. If you turn right at the water towards the Ancaster Memorial you are rewarded with wide ranging mountain views of Snowdonia.
The Dramatic Mountainous Scenery One
Beautiful ice-sculpted Cwm Idwal – a bowl-shaped hollow filled with the crystal clear waters of Llyn Idwal. The site is world famous for its rock formations and its rare and fragile plant life.
Head on up the A5 for approx 8 miles – you’ll see Ogwen Lake on your right and parking is just at the head of the lake to the left. Snowdonia National Park Visitor Centre building marks the beginning of the trail with steps to the left of the building which ascends steeply at times for approximately 56 yd (50m) through verges of heather, towards the mountain gate.
Continue through the gate and over the oak bridge. The bridge provides an excellent opportunity to photograph the peak of Y Garn, with Afon Idwal in the foreground. Follow the footpath to arrive at Llyn Idwal where you can choose a clockwise or anti-clockwise route around the nature reserve.
Our favourite is clockwise – as you set off along the eastern lake shore, look left, a few yards above the footpath. Here you’ll see a collection of large fractured rocks known as Darwin Idwal Boulders.
Further on and you’ll approach the famous Idwal Slabs, a training ground for many pioneering mountaineers including Everest conqueror Edmund Hillary and his Welsh team mate Charles Evans. An alternative high level route can be taken at the junction – whichever you chose make sure to gaze up towards the sheer cliffs at the head of the Cwm – known as The Devils Kitchen .
As the trail manoeuvres around rock and heather clad hummocks you’ll eventually wind down again towards the lake and onto it’s shingle shores. Follow the lake shore until you arrive at a gate in the wall this i share the circular ends and you’ll join the path back on down to the Visitor Centre.
The Challenging One
which mountain to chose – with 87 official mountains in the Snowdonia National Park and 15 of those over 3,000 feet choosing our favourite hasn’t been easy!
so we chose two – Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr! The walk starts at Llyn Ogwen on the A5 by Idwal Cottage where parking is available in al the lay-bys or in the car park at the Visitor Centre. You then climb towards the pretty Llyn Bochlywd and then on to Bwlch Tryfan. Continue to the peak of Glyder Fach, the second highest of the Glyderau range and the sixth highest in Wales. There is a challenging section over the spectacular Bristly Ridge where some scrambling is required. It’s a stunning ridge with truly awe inspiring views over Nant Ffrancon and Cwm Idwal. At the summit of Glyder Fach you will find the precariously positioned Cantilever Stone. The climb then continues to the high point of the Glyderau range at the 1000m high Glyder Fawr. Passing the magnificent Castell y Gwynt with its series of tall spiky rocks on the way (it’s featured in Disney’s film Dragonslayer) the views towards Snowdon on this section are quite astonishing. The descent back passes by Llyn y Cwn and Llyn Idwal with wonderful views back over the Ogwen Valley.
For full details of this route from Mud and Routes Editor Dave Roberts – click on the link Glyderau
on the 2nd of August Forager’s Gin launched their new gin liqueur exclusively available at the Royal Oak during Eisteddfod week.
Back in 2015 Forager’s Gin launched a small range of premium gin: the world’s first limited-release range. Founded on the premise that great quality can only be achieved in small quantities, Forager’s Gin is now synonymous with the pursuit of uncompromising quality over quantity. Flavours derived from the finest freshly foraged botanicals and cut with the purest waters that flow from the mountains to their copper distillery in the foothills of Snowdonia.
Forager’s have taken their time and been purposefully slow in launching a gin liqueur under the Forager’s brand. Following on from their mantra of good things take time, they spend months of each year foraging the finest, freshest botanicals that grow in the Snowdonia mountains and along coastline of North Wales, before being carefully and slowly craft distilled in copper stills. There new addition had to be the epitome of what a rich, luxury spirit should be….
FORAGER’S SUMMER HAZE
A medley of apple, blackberries and elderflower on a backdrop of the ever-wonderful Foragers Black Label Gin.
Our favourite ways to drink it are;
simply over ice topped up with soda Or a squeeze of fresh lime & topped with ginger ale
try one out at the GinBox where it’s always gin o’clock….
Congratulations to all the winners at the A&B Cymru Awards 2019 which was held at the Wales Millenium Centre last week.
Celebrating Creativity and Excellence in Partnership – for over a quarter of a century, A&B Cymru have encouraged, acknowledged and celebrated exemplary and innovative partnerships between the private sector and the arts that benefit communities across the country.
The team works across Wales with a range of arts professionals, from individual practitioners to flagship organisations, and the private sector from micro businesses through to multi national corporations.
A&B Cymru’s work has proven value in the current economic climate of Wales. The impact it has can be felt on children, people in the workplace, communities large and small.
A&B Cymru role is to support business and the arts to work together in truly mutual partnership, both become stronger with the results benefiting our society in far reaching and tangible ways.
Back in 2003 our first project with A&B Cymru was sponsoring a young artist named Shelly Hocknell to establish her art practice and a gallery in Betws-y-Coed.
what a day it was – a fabulous celebration of all things Welsh and Patagonian!
The community came together to support our joint venture with Ysgol Bro Gwydir’s Dance and Clog Team’s fundraising event called -The BespOAK Clog.
The team who have been invited to perform and teach dance skills to the local community and schools in Patagonia, were not only raising funds to support their trip but also wanted to showcase a slice of Welsh culture ahead of the National Eisteddfod, which takes place in Llanrwst, in the first week of August.
Ok so the weather turned a little drizzly in the afternoon and we had to decamp from the terrace into the drier atmosphere of Y Stable’s stage area. But the Gaucho Grill Chefs continued on under their smoky canopy dishing up authentic style asada cooking!
A fantastic response from visitors and locals alike to seeing an extravaganza of traditional dance and folk music. The dance teams even had a box of spare clogs available for anyone who wanted to have a go and join in!
The day raised just under £400 for the school fund and that was matched by a very benevolent donation a day later which doubled the total! We’re really looking forwards to seeing and hearing about the Team’s experiences in Patagonia – if you’d like to help them on their way you can donate via Just Giving ; Clocswyr Y Bont
The traditional dance and clog team of Ysgol Bro Gwydir, Llanrwst have been invited to perform and teach their skills to the local community and schools across Patagonia. In order to accept this exciting invitation, the children need to raise funds towards their travel expenses.
So we’ve decided to host an event to help them raise funds and showcase their immense skills
Get ready for a BespOAK Popup event like no other – join us for an afternoon celebrating all things Welsh & Patagonian… The BespOAK Clog – Betws’ very own mini Eisteddfod!
Sunday 23rd June from 3-8pm
Y Stablau will host our Argentinian Black Ox Grill – flame, barbecue and adasa style cooking from our gauchos out on the lawn
The Clocswyr y Bont perform traditional clog dancing on the terrace
Also on the menu
live folk musicians – a cake bake – dance lessons from the Award Winning and legendary Hannah Rowlands – pisco sours – alpaca drawing – traditional folk dancing – laughter – joy – community and fundraising!
Some of our Standard rooms have recently had a makeover and during our search for Welsh influenced design we came across the wonderful work of Cefyn Burgess.
Born and raised in the slate quarry village of Bethesda, Cefyn graduated from Manchester with a BA (hons) in woven textiles. He then went on to gain an MA in textiles at the Royal College of Art.
Leaving London in the late 1980’s he became the first weaver in residence at Paradise Mill Silk Museum in Macclesfield, giving him the opportunity to develop his original range of fine hand woven silk fabrics. Since then he has been designing jacquard woven fabrics and quality interior products including his range of Welsh tapestry blankets, quilts, throws and cushions.
He currently works from his studio shop at Ruthin Craft Centre which is where our interior designer stumbled upon his work almost by accident on a day out. Cefyn’s work mesmerised her with it’s connection to both the landscape and it’s earthy natural tones and she immediately went about incorporating his work into the new room design.
You can find Cefyn’s work at his Studio in Ruthin, in Storiel Bangor or Plas Glyn y Weddw in Llanbedrog. With such strong links to the community he grew up in his work is sure to become a firm favourite of ours and of yours.
To book one of our newly refurbished standard rooms give our reservations team a call on 01690 710 219.
Thank you for exchanging gifts, spending time with family and sharing food here with us at the Royal Oak during the festive season. For the last 10 years we’ve been donating our Christmas card and postage money to Plan International UK.
Plan International UK is a children’s charity who strive to advance children’s rights and equality all over the world. They recognise the power and potential of every single child. Often suppressed by poverty, violence, exclusion and discrimination.They are taking action to see a world that values children, promotes their rights and ends injustice. Continue reading “Good Gifting”
We’re starting to feel a little bit festive now the nights are drawing in…
…it led us to thinking about sparkly festoon fairy lights, log fires, hot chocolate, warm cinnamon rolls, spiced apples and mince pies… so to kick off our Christmas feasting season here’s our first menu a scrumptious daily festive lunch menu being served from the 1st to the 24th of December in the Grill and the Llugwy River Restaurant – bookings essential on a Sunday Continue reading “Festive Lunches”