Short Break - Olde Bulls Head Inn, Beaumaris, Anglesey
Chic modern comfort and superb dining make a stay at the quaint Olde Bulls Head Inn in Beaumaris, Anglesey, an ideal getaway location. Review by David Richards
When searching for inspiration for a weekend in the country, there’s a real gem close to home. Anglesey thoroughly deserves a place on your quick getaway list.
It’s a long time since I’ve visited this small island in North Wales. In fact Edward I’s castle at Beaumaris - his last and largest- was probably in good working order at the time. However, I soon discovered that, in the best way possible, not much has changed. Anglesey and its higgledy-piggledy assortment of small towns, villages and hamlets remains largely untouched and unspoilt. Hardly any huge retail stores, coffee houses or fast-food chains here.
The journey sets the scene for this Celtic coastal idyll. The A55, which takes you from the heart of Cheshire to the Menai Straits, skirts its way around imposing scenery. When you cross the bridge between the mainland at Colwyn Bay and Anglesey, the island looks beautiful.
A picture of the aforementioned Beaumaris can probably be found under ‘quaint’ in the dictionary, similarly ‘spectacular’ would do well to commandeer an image of the lighthouse at The Stack. Elsewhere, the Holyhead Breakwater Country Park provides the expected lush, rolling Welsh countryside and, of course, many unspoilt beaches complete the set.
We headed for the comforts of Ye Olde Bulls Head Inn in the centre of Beaumaris. With its satisfying mix of the traditional and modern and its superb food this transformed old-style coaching house is the perfect base to explore Anglesey’s charms.
Outside the hotel, Beaumaris offers plenty to do. The castle ruins, somewhat oxymoronically, are well preserved and worth a visit as are any one of the quaint teashops. Beaumaris is also a good casting off point to explore the rest of the island. There are boat rides along the Menai Straits to Puffin Island, beautiful beaches and delightful countryside within easy reach by car. It’s best just to get in and drive until you find something of interest. It won’t take long. For the hardier souls there are several rambles around the coastline.
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After a hard day’s relaxing you’ll undoubtedly need re-energising. The Bulls Head’s fine dining – but not stuffy - restaurant is ideal. The aptly named The Loft bridges the gap between the traditional style of the original building’s rooms and the modish boutique-style of its Townhouse annexe. Service is friendly, attentive but not overbearing and in pleasant surroundings with an elegant ambience.
The menu - which changes frequently - is excellent and the wine-list is extensive. The best regional produce is used and you’ll go a long way before finding such a superb blend of flair and cooking skills applied to popular dishes. All the food we enjoyed was presented beautifully and, importantly, tasted good. If you want to eat more informally, try the Bulls Head’s Brasserie. You’re spolit for choice here.
If by this stage of your visit you’re craving a retail fix and you really, must shop, Holyhead does a decent job of replicating a moderately sized town’s high-street experience. However, it would seem churlish to ignore all the countryside you missed on previous days and of course, no visit to Anglesey is complete without a stop at the famous Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch!
David Richards was a guest of Ye Olde Bulls Head Inn, Castle Street, Beaumaris, Anglesey, LL58 8AP.Tel 01248 810329wwww.bullsheadinn.co.uk