January the 25th is a very special day in the Welsh calendar, especially for those with romantic intentions. Dydd Santes Dwynwen or St Dwynwen's Day is the feast day of Dwynwen, the patron saint of Welsh lovers. Just like St Valentine's on the 14th of February, the day is deemed extremely lucky for those in love!
On this day, Welsh lovers exchange gifts, pop the question and generally spread the love with wishes of Dydd Santes Dwynwen Hapus (Happy St Dwynwen's day). Being less commercialised than Valentine's, St Dwynwen's Day feels that bit more intimate and special, making it the perfect occasion to whisk your loved one away for a romantic Welsh getaway!
The legend of Dwynwen
The real-life Dwynwen was a fifth-century Welsh princess, the daughter of King Brychan. Beautiful and loyal but also romantic and idealistic, Dwynwen dreamed of marrying for love. Unfortunately her father had other plans; he had promised her to a local lord for a politically advantageous union. But Dwynwen's heart was already spoken for. She had fallen in love with the dashing young prince, Maelon Dafodrill.
When Dwynwen begged her father to release her from her betrothal he refused. On hearing the news, Maelon turned on Dwynwen too, angry that she could not be his. Dwynwen, heartbroken at being betrayed by the men in her life, fled to the forest where she prayed to God that she would forget she'd ever met Maelon. Unfortunately God's retribution went a bit further than that, as he turned the unfortunate young prince into a block of ice!
Horrified, Dwynwen begged God to reverse the curse, promising Him that if He did she would dedicate her life to Him, offer protection to all lovers, and never marry.
God and Dwynwen were good at their word. Maelon was restored to his former self and Dwynwen founded a convent on Llanddwyn Island, a tiny island off the coast of Anglesey. After her death, Llanddwyn became a place of pilgrimage, with lovers from all around visiting the site in the hope of being blessed with a happy life together.
While Dwynwen didn't have the best start in life, we can hope that she found peace and fulfilment in the service of God. Her legacy has lasted down the centuries and is today a day of celebration and happiness for the people of Wales and beyond.
POP THE QUESTION?
Have we inspired you to pop the question the Welsh way? To help, we’ve picked our favourite romantic spots to propose to your other half in North Wales.
1. Dolbadarn Castle, Llanberis
Dolbadarn Castle, built by the legendary Llywelyn ap Iorwerth, is actually situated within our grounds here at the Royal Victoria.It is a fascinating relic, with a tower built by the Welsh princes of Gwynedd. Dating back to the 13th century, the castle is considered to be one of the finest of Wales native castles due to its simplicity and endurance. The rugged beauty of the Llanberis pass with the added bonus of incredible views makes this a charming and peaceful spot for you and your partner to enjoy.
2. Llanddwyn Island, Anglesey
Llanddwyn translates to ‘The Church of St.Dwynwen’ making this the ultimate Welsh lovers spot. Dwynwen lived on the island in the 5th century after a sad end to a romance in her life. While there, she wished that all lovers who visit Llanddwyn island would be happy together forever. It is said that Dwynwen’s dying wish was to be taken up to watch the sunset through a cleft in a rock, which still stands on the island to this day.Full of Celtic romance and rich in it’s history, Llanddwyn is a great little spot to declare your love. Once you’re there, you can explore the church ruins, a lighthouse, and enjoy the view of Snowdonia and the mountain ponies grazing in the distance.
3. Portmeirion, Porthmadog
Portmeirion is a fascinating, unique village which is perched on an estuary in Porthmadog. It’s often described as a fantasy village, just like stepping into a fairytale. Built between 1925 and 1975 in the style of an Italian village, it’s sure to leave you and your loved one feeling enchanted. There’s restaurants, gardens, beaches, plus 70 acres of wild woodland walks. Portmeirion feels incredibly romantic, said by some to have been inspired by the Italian Riviera, making an unforgettable place to propose.
4. Plas Newydd, Anglesey
Plas Newydd is set on the banks of the Menai Straits in Anglesey. Surrounded by breathtaking scenery, the 1930s house features impressive regal interiors and rooms for you to explore. You’ll be dazzled by the amazing views over the Menai Straits and Snowdonia - and it’s easy to get lost in the romantic woodland, which is beautiful in all four seasons. We’re certain that by taking a walk in the stunning gardens, you’ll stumble across a spot which just feels ‘right’ for that all important moment.
5. Swallow Falls, Betws-y-Coed
Swallow Falls is hard to beat for pure romance. It is the highest continuous waterfall in Wales, two miles west of Betws-y-Coed, in the spectacular Gwydir Forest. There are numerous different viewpoints which are easily accessible to the public. If you’re feeling energetic, you could even take a challenging walk through the oak woods which will lead you to a more dramatic view. This area of outstanding natural beauty is a must-see, surrounded by beech, conifer and birch trees. Definitely a memorable destination for the start of your new adventure together!
Celebrate St Dwynwen's Day at The Royal Victoria Hotel
We’d love you to visit the Royal Victoria Hotel for your romantic getaway. Proposing can be one of the most daunting things you’ll ever do, but the dazzling North Wales scenery could help to ease those last minute nerves. We’re sure you’ll find the perfect location for that much anticipated, special moment. To book your romantic getaway today, click here.