Holiday at Hotel Metropole, Llandrindod Wells, Wales       

Monday 23rd - Friday 27th December 2013.

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Diary of the holiday

Monday 23rd December.

Picked up from home at 10.15am, a civilised hour, by a feeder minibus.  Transferred to holiday coach at operator's yard and departed at 11.30.  The weather was appalling - rain, blustery wind - so lunch was taken at a garden centre near Tenbury Wells instead of in Ludlow. This saved traipsing round the streets of Ludlow like drowned rats. Arrived at hotel at 3.15pm, where tea and welsh cakes were on offer whilst we waited for the luggage to be unloaded and delivered to the rooms.  We had time for a rest, explore the hotel, use the swimming pool, or whatever, before meeting in the ballroom for a welcome from the owner and management team.  Dinner was good with three choices of each of the three courses. Service was brisk and efficient.  Entertainment, later in the evening, was provided by the Rayader and District Male Voise Choir and Frindii Ladies Choir, singing a variety of music including some carols and other Christmas songs.

Tuesday 24th December

During the morning we were taken to visit Abbey-Cwm-Hir Hall, a Victorian gothic revival grand house. Originally converted in 1869 from a much smaller house by the Phillips family, a rich family who had made a fortune in the Lancashire cotton trade, the house had had only four owners since. The present owners have been there about 15 years and have opened the house to the general public for about 6 years. Each Christmas the house is decorated for the season.  52 rooms containing 57 Christmas trees are busrting with seasonal decorations, each room having a theme. The house is also a family home. There are stories attached to many of the furniture items and collections and the owner, Paul, related many of these during the tour. A most interesting and enjoyable visit.  After a celebratory sherry and mince pie on the coach we returned to the Hotel for lunch.  The afternoon was spent walking around the town to explore and a swim in the pool. The entertainment during the evening was a disco and a rather indifferent entertainer.  We stayed outside the function room in the lounge area chatting to other guests.

Wednesday 25th December - Christmas Day.

During breakfast the rain outside turned to snow. The morning was spent relaxing and taking a dip in the swimming pool. At 12.00 Santa Claus arrived and distributed Christmas presents to the guests - a mug for the gents and a telescopic umbrella for the ladies.  Johnsons also distributed a Christmas present to each of the guests in the party - a jar containing sweets. A typical Christmas lunch followed.  After lunch we took advantage of the snow having disappeared by going for a walk in the fresh air. The walk was up to the Lake - quite a large 'corrie' lake with a trail around the edge.  There was also a 'Nessie' type sculpture in the lake. Evening meal was buffet style.  Entertainment was a gent with an accordian. 

Thursday 26th December - Boxing Day

The day started misty and damp and never really improved. After breakfast we went by coach to the visitor centre at the Elan Valley dam complex. The dam just up the valley was a dramatic sight with water cascading over the entire face of the dam.  After a close visual inspection and photographs, we hurriedly returned to the visitor centre as it started to rain.  A coffee restored us. The coach then took us on a road tour of the rest of the dams and lakes, with stops for photographic opportunities. There was still plenty of snow over the high hills and it made driving down off the hills rather tricky for the driver. Lunch was followed by a rest, a walk and a swim.  After dinner the entertainment was again a disco plus the same entertainer as Christmas Eve with the same standard of singing.

Friday 27th December

Day to return to Stratford.  We left the hotel just after 10.00am for a relatively short journey.  However, due to problems with having to coincide with the feeder routes from the Johnsons Depot at Henley, we spent the whole day wandering round Mid and South Wales before arriving at Henley at about 6.00pm.  We spent an hour in Hay on Wye - a nice town with loads of bookshops, before stopping at a shopping outlet near Ross on Wye.  We had lunch and mooched around the shop until it was time to get on the coach.  It rained heavily whilst we were in the shop.  We then continued on up the A50, M50 and M5 before stopping at a Services on the M42.  There we remained for 45 minutes until it was time to head into Henley.  The changeover to the feeder bus went OK and we eventually arrived home.  Quite the most useless day of the holiday.