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Last week, I rounded up the various shows and books I’ve been watching and reading with British connections. Heather reviewed two books: A Gentleman Never Keeps Score and Unfit To Print. Gaele reviewed three books: Plaster Sinners, Ghosted, and The Single Mums’ Mansion. Sim shared the extended trailer for Christopher Robin (opening in theaters today!).
As I mentioned last week, I’ve been watching Hinterland. All three seasons are available now on Netflix. It’s a police procedural with a new mystery every episode, but there’s also a long story arc that takes all three seasons to complete.
The series is set in and around Aberystwyth, a coastal town in Wales. Much of the filming happened in the winter with bare trees and cloudy skies. The color palette for this series is often brown and gray, with occasional blues and greens. Oh, and Mared Rhys, the detective inspector, wears a red coat.
I enjoy seaside settings that aren’t swimming beaches — crashing waves on rocks, walks in wool sweaters, and long vistas where it’s hard to tell where sea meets sky. All of this is fantasy for me, living about as far from an ocean or large lake as it’s possible to be in the Americas.
So, I thought I’d plan a fantasy trip.
Train. Aberystwyth is four and a half hours from London and over four hours from Cardiff because there isn’t a direct route. It’s about three hours from Birmingham, a city I really like and was thinking about recently. Did you know that Ready Player One was filmed in Birmingham? They erased identifiable buildings and replaced them with CGI to create a dystopian Columbus, Ohio.
Hotel. There’s a five-star hotel on the seafront. Since money is no object for fantasy travel, we’ll stay at Gwesty Cymru. Both the accommodations and the restaurant are rated highly on TripAdvisor. There are only eight rooms. I think I’d choose Room Six, with a second-floor view of the sea.
Things to Do.
- Walk along the seafront and on the beaches.
- Explore the downtown shops, including Ystwyth Llyfrau, a secondhand bookshop.
- Take the Aberystwyth Cliff Railway to the top of Constitution Hill for the views and the camera obscura.
- Hike the Clarach Walk, a cliff-top path from Constitution Hill to the resort village of Clarach Bay.
- Visit the remains of the 13th-century Aberystwyth Castle.
- Climb to the top of the Iron Age hill fort, Pen Dinas.
- Visit the Ceredigion Museum for local history and art.
- Check out the National Library of Wales, which has special exhibits including a permanent display of the Nanteos Cup, said by some to be the Holy Grail and others to be a healing relic.
- Explore the smaller seaside villages along the Cambrian Railway Line running north out of Aberystwyth, with stunning sea views along the way.
My favorite thing to do, given my enjoyment of Hinterland, might be to take the steam train on the Vale of Rheidol Railway to Devil’s Bridge, which is featured prominently in the television series. There are three bridges, in fact, all over a striking series of water falls.
Have you visited this part of Wales? What would you suggest for a first-time visitor?