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Welsh restaurants set for Christmas boost

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welshrestrauntCONSUMERS in Wales are returning to the dining table and increasing the number of meals they enjoy out, as their financial situation improves, according to the first Barclaycard ‘Where’s Britain Spending?’ report into consumer spending trends. This is matched by findings that almost a fifth (19%) of UK consumers are planning to spend even more on dining out in the next few months, suggesting restaurants in Wales will see a bumper Christmas. Year-on-year growth in Welsh restaurant spending of 19% in the third quarter of the year is the highest in the UK, and above the national average of 15.8%, however Wales offers some of the best value for money dining in Great Britain, with savvy consumers spending £19.02 per meal.

In comparison, East and North East of England spending is up 18%; and in the South West it has grown 17%. Diners in Northern Ireland are spending 12 per cent more on eating out. This may be attributed to the culinary boom taking place across the UK. In The Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland 2015, 14 restaurants across the country were promoted to one-star status, eight of which were outside London – including two in Wales, two in the Scottish isles and one in the South West. Meanwhile, the increasing popularity of local food events is creating new culinary critics keen to try out their local restaurant. Interestingly, despite Londoners being spoilt for choice, they’re avoiding the notoriously expensive eateries and are spending the least on their meals of anyone in the country at just £17.81 per sitting.

The Barclaycard data also shows that restaurant visits climbed 23% in the third quarter of the year, and the amount spent each time has declined 6.2%, averaging £20 per sitting, suggesting that families are able to make more frequent visits by cutting the cost of their meals down when they dine out. When asked about their financial situation, almost two-thirds (64%) of UK consumers said they are confident in their ability to live within their means each month, and over half (57%) say they feel confident about their household finances.

The combined result suggests that consumers are planning on loosening their purse strings and splashing out over the festive season. Chris Wood, Managing Director, Barclaycard said:“The UK’s restaurant industry is enjoying a mini-boom with spending in the last twelve months jumping by a fifth. With the office party season just around the corner, this is likely to give restaurants in Wales a very merry Christmas. Dining out is one of the first things to be cut when we tighten our purse strings, so the fact that we’re spending more is a sign that consumers are feeling more confident in their financial position.”

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Ice cream van breathes new life into Nolton Haven – and offers change for car park

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HAVING a well-stocked ice cream van in Nolton Haven has been a great boost to the area, locals have said.

Already with one ice cream van stationed at Broad Haven owner Martin McGeown has now been keeping local and holiday markers alike happy over recent months, at Nolton Haven as well.

Draw for tourists: Pembrokeshire ice cream (Image: File)

Mary White, who lives in the area, said that she felt the ice cream van was now necessary for the success of Nolton Haven as a destination beach.

“Its great to have a lifeguard here, but if people can’t even buy a bottle of water, it’s a problem.”

“We’re much more likely to get visitors to Nolton Haven If there are facilities here for them.”
John Lee, whose family come from Nolton, and is back visiting the area said: “One of the joys of spending childhood summers in Nolton was getting an ice cream or cold drink from the shop.

“Now that the nearest shops are in Newgale or Broad Haven, it’s a valuable service that can only boost tourism.

“If this is a decision by the council then this is fantastic,” he added.

Another resident said: “To be honest the car park is a nightmare, and without the ice cream van many would be stuck. There is no signal for the card payment machine, so everyone goes to the ice cream van to ask for change for the car park meter from the Pembrokeshire Super Whippy van.

Martin McGeown told The Herald that he has been doing well in the spot, but said he’s never had to give out so much change now that the car park is chargeable.

“I always bring extra on the van, he said, otherwise it would be chaos down here in the car park.”

So why not visit Nolton Haven, located within the sweep of St Brides Bay, Nolton Haven is a small, fairly sheltered cove, facing south-west, the beach is made up of sand and shingle with rock pools and cliffs on either side.

The beach is quiet and unspoilt although in the past, like Little Haven, this was an export point for coal and a hive of activity.

The flat grassy terrace above the beach was the coal storage yard and a walk along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in both directions reveals remnants of old coal workings.

Beach side facilities are limited although there is a pub and a slipway allowing launching.
The beach is popular for watersports as well as swimming and boating.

The coast here is designated as the Pembrokeshire Marine Special Area of Conservation in recognition of its valuable marine life.

And of course, after your visit, stop for an ice cream and support a fantastic local trader!

Tons of change for tourists: Ice cream van is keeping car park going, as there is no signal for online payments (Pic: Herald)
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Pembrokeshire camping sites named among the best in UK

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BRITISH camping has boomed in the last two years, with 4.5m Brits going camping or caravanning for the first time since the start of the pandemic, according to Mintel. And new research has now revealed 10 of the best secret camping destinations Britain has to offer, with Abereiddy and Havefordwest in Pembrokeshire amongst the top locations.

To uncover the country’s hidden gems, tyre and vehicle services provider, ATS Euromaster, researched the top camping destinations social media doesn’t know about, by revealing the number of positive reviews on online camping sites with fewer than five Instagram tags.

These stunning sites won’t break the bank either, with prices starting at only £8 a night for two adults.

The highest reviewed UK locations that have flown under the social media radar are: 

 1. Wareham, Dorset

1. Trigon Farm

Wareham is a pretty riverside town, close to the South coast in Dorset, 8 miles from Poole. The thriving market town is situated where the rivers Frome and Piddle meet and offers lots to do.

Hidden gem: Trigon Farm is set in a rural field near Wareham, with views of Trigon Manor house and arable fields to the left and beyond. This is a great site for families, with great facilities. It’s also dog friendly.

Prices from: £17 per night, for a tent or trailer pitch.

2. Dorchester, Dorset

2. Dewflock Farm

A historic market town on the banks of the River Frome to the south of the Dorset Downs, Dorchester is a vibrant place ideal for sightseeing. Some of the UK’s best-preserved Roman ruins are situated moments away from the thriving high street.

Hidden gem: Dewflock Farm is a working farm where people can camp and glamp, just 5 minutes from Dorchester. It’s a great base for people to explore Dorset, including the lovely beaches nearby.

Prices from: £100 per night in a Shepherd’s Hut.

3. Winnats Pass, Peak District, Derbyshire

3. Newfold Farm

An impressive limestone gorge in the White Peak area of the Peak District, Winnats Pass is a perfect spot for camping. The limestone is full of fossils of sea creatures which lived here over 350 million years ago.

Hidden gem: Newfold Farm is a family-run campsite at the start of the Pennine Way. It’s great for hikers and cyclists. It’s also half a mile from a pub and railway station.

Prices from: £20 per night, tent pitch.

4. Truro, Cornwall

4. Callestick Camping

The only city in Cornwall, Truro is a foodie destination surrounded by beautiful gardens and rivers. The cathedral city offers a perfect blend of historic charm and modern retailers, while tranquil camping among pristine nature is never far away.

Hidden gem: Callestick Camping is a dog-friendly wild camping field with spectacular views over the Cornish countryside, and only 10 minutes’ drive from the beach.

Prices from: £17.50 per night, tent or trailer pitch

5. Abereiddy, Pembrokeshire

5. Eco Caerhys Wales

Abereiddy, a small hamlet in Wales, is a perfect place to get away from it all and immerse yourself in the beauty of the Pembrokeshire coast.

Hidden gem: Eco Caerhys Camping in St Davids offers wild meadow camping at an organic farm on the Pembrokshire coastline. It’s a great place for active people, with surfing nearby.

Prices from: £30 per night, tent pitch

6. Dodd, Cumbria

6. Dodd Newlands

A fantastic place to get stunning views of Cumbria’s lovely Lake District, Dodd is just a few miles north of Keswick.

Hidden gem: Newlands Valley Campsite is close to Keswick and Derwentwater. It’s a great place for outdoorsy people, with mountain biking, boating and quad biking offered nearby.

Prices from: £23 per night, tent pitch.

7. St Austell, Cornwall

7. East Crinnis Cornwall

A striking curve of spectacular coastal scenery and an area rich in cultural heritage, St Austell is one of Cornwall’s biggest towns, boasting many gorgeous beaches.

Hidden gem: East Crinnis Camping in Heronbank is a working farm and wildlife haven half a mile from the Cornish coast with easy access to destinations like Fowey, Mevagissey and the Eden Project.

Prices from: £16 per night, tent pitch

8. Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire

8. Harefordwest three fields

Haverfordwest is the attractive and ancient county town of Pembrokeshire, steeped in history with a castle and museum, which used to be the prison governor’s house.

Hidden gem: The Three Fields Campsite is a spacious site with a private toilet, shower and firepit at each pitch, situated just 10 minutes from Haverfordwest.

Prices from: £26 per night, touring pitch

9. Skegness, Lincolnshire

9. Skegness Birchwood

Skegness is a seaside town in the East Lindsey District of Lincolnshire, offering lots of family-friendly attractions.

Hidden gem: In a countryside setting but only two miles from Skegness, Birchwood Fishing and Camping offers fishing on a large lake in the lovely Lincolnshire countryside.

Prices from: £8 per night, tent pitch

10. Chester, Cheshire

10. Kings Acre Chester

Arguably the richest city in Britain for archaeological and architectural treasures, Chester boasts the most complete city walls, the oldest racecourse and the largest Roman Amphitheatre in the UK.

Hidden gem: Kings Acre Glamping is deep in the Cheshire countryside, yet only 10 minutes’ drive from Chester. Barbecues are allowed, with firepits and professional pizza ovens available to hire.

Prices from: £25 per night, tent pitch

And for those looking to get away on a camping trip, experts at ATS Euromaster have compiled a list of five things to do to your car before setting off on a camping holiday:

  1. Check your tyre pressure and tread depth – make sure it is at the recommended depth. The legal limit is at least 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tyre.
  2. Make sure you have a spare tyre and that you know how to change it. You don’t want to get stuck in the middle of the English countryside with no phone signal and a flat tyre.
  3. Check your engine oil and vehicle coolant levels and fill up if needs be.
  4. Ensure that your battery is not going to run flat while you are on your trip. If your engine seems slow to turn over or your lights are flashing, it may be running low.
  5. Check your windscreen for cracks and ensure that wiper blades are functioning properly.
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Hotel and restaurant chain announce purchase of ‘Cornstore’ in Pembroke

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WELSH company, Seren, are pleased to announce the acquisition of the ‘Cornstore’ in Pembroke.

Cornstore is in an incredible location on the quayside, with an inspiring view of the historic Pembroke Castle.

The Cornstore will house “Routescape,” Seren’s bespoke luxury travel agency. Seren also intends to grow their café venture by opening a second café at the Cornstore.

Routescape was founded in 2019 and the devoted team of travel advisors provide outstanding experiences across Great Britain, Ireland and France for guests from all around the world.

They offer an unrivalled service, giving an authentic luxury experience with a genuine feeling of place.

Moving to the Cornstore is a significant step in the growth of this fascinating young firm, providing it with a setting as inspiring as the tours it offers.

The Seren team has also been looking for its next café venture for some time and is delighted that their search has led them to the beautiful Pembrokeshire.

The Routescape team will move into their new space in August, while the Cornstore Café will undergo a renovation later in the year.

Managing Director, Neil Kedward, said: “We have been looking for a second café location for some time and the Cornstore is in an outstanding location right on the quayside in the truly historic Welsh town of Pembroke, overlooking its iconic castle.

“We hope that adding a second venue will help enable improved quality levels we are achieving in our wider café business.

“The early success of our Routescape Travel Agency and the expanding team will also be located at the Cornstore.

“Our business is growing quickly, and this location could not be a better fit for our team of Wales specialists.”

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