Holyhead, Wales, United Kingdom
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Approximately 4½ Hours
The North Wales landscape has a dramatic quality reflected vividly in its history. In prehistoric times, Anglesey was a stronghold of the religious elite known as the Druids. The 1st millennium AD saw Roman and Norman invasions concentrated on the coast and this is the territory you'll venture into today.
As you travel through the rural landscapes you notice that all road signs are shown both in Welsh and English. Welsh is one of the oldest surviving languages in Europe and has its roots in the ancient Celtic language spoken throughout Britain prior to the Saxon invasion.
Anglesey is well-known for its 100 miles of coastline -- most of it classified an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. As you continue along the east coast, there are glimpses of long sandy stretches of beach and small harbors. You pass through the village of Aberffraw, once a port but now separated from the sea by dunes.
The fifteen-mile-long Menai Strait separates Anglesey from the mainland, and your itinerary takes you alongside the tree-lined roadway bordering the waterway. The strait is subject to fierce tidal currents, which can reach up to 8 knots, and offers glimpses of the peaks of Snowdonia. You will pass close to the Victorian Menai bridges, built from Anglesey's own Penmon limestone. After a short stop in Beaumaris with its majestic castle and pretty harbor, continue through lush wooded farmland to the hillier northern end of the island and Bull Bay.
Fabulous baking skills lie at the heart of traditional Welsh cooking and, during a stop for a Welsh Tea, you will be reassured that tradition is being faithfully upheld. This fine snack includes succulent slices of Bara Brith -- the famous speckled bread of Wales. Made from an old family recipe, sweetened with sugar, and with raisins and currants pressed into the dough, the best Bara Brith is still made with yeast. There are also Welsh cakes from the griddle, evocative of another era when time was spent around the hearth of a Welsh country cottage.