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A Wales of a time; Beautiful lakes, towering peaks, cosy places to stay - and you don't have to leave the UK. MARK WILLIAMS takes a break in North Wales.

Byline: MARK WILLIAMS

IHAVE to admit that eyebrows were raised when I announced I planned to take a short break in rainy North Wales out of season.

But Snowdonia is a place blessed with some of the most beautiful scenery you can imagine whatever the time of year, and whatever the weather.

The area is noted for its rugged beauty and is scarred with numerous slate mines, lakes and hills. This is the reason tourists, climbers and walkers all appear to meet in Llanberis - an impressive place steeped in history that still retains an air of tranquillity.

It was with this in mind we found ourselves heading to the Plas Coch Guest House, a spacious and elegant Victorian house built around 1865, standing in its own grounds on the High Street at the south end of Llanberis and only 500 yards from the Snowdon Mountain Railway, the Llanberis Lake Railway, and the entrance to Padarn Country Park.

Jim and Eryl, who only took over the establishment earlier this year, are wonderful hosts. They demonstrate a great deal of pride in their guest house, which shines through and makes the place truly homely and comfortable.

It has recently been renovated and decorated and is maintained to a very high standard. We were shown around the seven en-suite rooms and family rooms, which can be adapted for use as a twin room. Our boutique style room was modern, tastily styled and individual.

We were left chocolates and cup cakes on our return to the room, which was a thoughtful touch.

For families with young children, there was a microwave in the dining room and toys and books available. The guest lounge is equipped with a TV with a built-in DVD player and daily newspapers are provided.

The back garden has a patio area plus a summer house next to a small river, which is charming. There's also a secure bike shed.

There are no shortages of walks in the area - such as the tracks up Snowdon itself.

We strolled around Llyn Padarn, which is one of my favourite walks. If it's a glorious day, the colours can be brilliant, and the views from the far side of the lake are alone worth the ef-f fort. Plas Coch also has a boot drying room on the ground floor, equipped with a sink and boot cleaning equipment, which may be why it's a very popular stop over for experienced walkers.

We later went out for an evening meal and there were several places to eat within yards from our door. What better way to relax after a strenuous walk than with a glass of wine, decent food and good company? After a luxurious sleep in a most comfortable bed, we made our way to the dining room for breakfast - meat, fish, egg, vegetarian and vegan dishes, including award-winning local premium sausages and home-cured bacon.

The Welsh Tourist Board has rated the breakfasts as excellent - and I certainly agreed as we tucked into a freshly made cooked breakfast, one of the best we'd ever tasted.

We left feeling totally refreshed and relaxed - and with a couple of cakes for the journey kindly donated by the owners, who can certainly add us to that growing list of return visitors.

FACTFILE Double rooms at Plas Coch Guest House, are from pounds 60.

Llanberis Call 01286 872122 or click www.plascochsnowdonia.co.uk ? For Llanberis Lake Railway see www.

lake-railway.co.uk and for general tourism advice on the area visit www.visitwales.co.uk

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LUXURIOUS: One of the Plas Coch Guesthouse, Llanberis, in North Wales.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 29, 2012
Words:600
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