With restrictions lifting on both sides of the Border, we look at some great things we can get up to in Wales and the Borders this April
Let’s face it, the Covid laws have been confusing for everyone this past year. But if you live anywhere near the Welsh Border, it’s been even more of a head scratcher as the devolved governments have followed their own, very different, paths.
As we hopefully wave goodbye to the last ever lockdown and return to a simpler life, April will see certain freedoms reintroduced. For instance, at the end of March, the Welsh ‘stay local’ travel restrictions were lifted, meaning people within Wales can travel anywhere within the country, while a maximum of six people from two households can meet outdoors, including in private gardens.
This rule of six also now applies to England, so prepare to dust off the barbecue, while some outdoor visitor attractions, garden centres, libraries and cafes and restaurants serving takeaways are open on both sides of the Border.
Outdoor team sports, including tennis and golf, are allowed in England, but confusingly only for under 18s in Wales. You can also now get a haircut in Wales and self-contained accommodation is open, including over Easter, but not to people from England until the 12th April.
So what does this mean in reality? Here are a few suggestions of activities you can do without upsetting Mr Drakeford or Mr Johnson. Socially-dstanced, of course...
Some National Trust Gardens have started to welcome back visitors, including Bodnant Gardens in North Wales (see our Beautiful Bodnant feature), as well as Lyme Park, near Cheshire, which has its own large parkland and is hosting Easter egg hunts for children (www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lyme). Further south, Dyffryn Gardens in the Vale of the Glamorgan has also reopened (www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dyffryn-gardens). These Edwardian gardens were designed in 1906 by Thomas Mawson and have a vast array of plants and an enormous manicured lawn.
You can also visit garden centres on both sides of the Border now. If you want to support your local independent business rather than the big chains (and why wouldn't you?), Derwen Garden Centre, near Welshpool in Powys is a great day out for all the family. As well as thousands of plants, there’s a maze, a farm shop and the chef is running a BBQ for takeaways. For more info, visit www.derwengardencentre.co.uk.
One thing we have been allowed to do for some time is view properties for sale and move house. So if you have itchy feet, check out our properties of the month on our Homes and Gardens pages. Not least your chance to invest in a boutique luxury resort lodge.
While we can all make a coffee at home, it never tastes as good as when made by someone else. One great cafe, at beautiful Lake Vyrnwy in Mid Wales, is Artisans, which has just reopened for takeaway hot drinks and food, as we report here. Aside from a snack, Lake Vyrnwy makes for a superb day out, what with its RSPB reserve and 11 miles of flat road around the lake to walk, cycle or jog. And from 13th April, you'll be able to stay there too, at Lake Vyrnwy Hotel, which offers some of the best views in Wales.
If it's coffe and a cake on the coast that you're after, then head for Rhos-on-Sea, where Coast Cafe & Gift shop is open for takeaway food and drink to die for. Who can resist an Oreo cream egg chocolate cake? Not us. But if you're more into savoury, the bacon or breakfast baps and Scotch eggs should fit the bill, all to be enjoyed amid the charm of this understated resort that's more coastal village than seaside town. For all the latest from Coast Cafe, visit their Facebook pages here...
Beauty of the Beach
Alternatively pack up a picnic and head to one of Wales’ beautiful beaches, such as Cardigan Sands, Aberdyfi or the stonier shores of Llandudno. And if you want to stick around longer than a day, and you live in Wales, you're now allowed to book self-catering accommodation in Wales: Find somewhere to escape to by browsing our Holiday Cottage, Holiday Park and Camping pages here.
A Walk on the Wild Side
Walking is not only free, it's been one of the few pastimes we've been allowed to partake in since the start of Covid a year ago. But now you needn't stay local, a whole host of walking opportunities have opened up to us. To find the perfect walk for you, peruse our comprehensive coastal and country walking pages here.
Lay a Lawn
Now is also a great time to spruce up your garden, and the perfect time to be laying a lawn ready to host those garden parties you've been planning for all winter. Not sure where to start? Let award-winning gardening writer June Cynthia help you on our gardening pages.
Many of us went baking mad during lockdown, so put your skills to the test and cook up an alfresco Easter delight for your allotted friends and family. Here’s a chocolatey recipe idea for you to treat everyone to, but we've loads more for you to choose from on our recipes page. Alternatively dust down the barbecue and show off your true culinary skills. Weather permitting!
May The First Be With You
And finally, keeping one eye on the very near future, here's a great day out to be planning for, as we present news of the reopening on 1st May of one of Wales' favourite attractions. It's full steam ahead if you click here...
Whatever you do, wherever you go, enjoy, but please act responsibly. Take your rubbish home with you if the bins are full or absent. And if anywhere seems too busy, turn around and find somewhere less congested instead. We don't want to be giving those politicians any excuse to curtail our freedom any more!