Welcome to the first in our new series of spotlight features, to highlight some of our long-standing MWT members, in celebration of MWT's 30th year.
Claire spoke to Anne Jones from Hendy Farm Holidays. Diolch, Anne.
Q. Please tell other members a bit about you and your business
A. At Hendy Farm holidays we provide 5 star self-catering and 3 star Bed & Breakfast facilities in Tywyn, Southern Snowdonia. Myself and my husband have been running the business for almost 50 years. We started the B&B first, then had a caravan club site, and now have the self-catering cottages. We must have been in MWT membership for the full 30 years the organisation has been running! I have also been a Director of MWT and was MWT Chairman for over 15 years.
Our present house, built in 1905 for my husbands grandparents, was rented out in the summer for many years up to the second World War whilst the family moved back to the old farmhouse. My mother-in-law, having come from Borthwen, her family's farm in Llwyngwril, which had a long established campsite, probably one of the first in Merioneth, continued the tourism tradition. Having helped her mother on the campsite and established a B & B on the farm, where Clem Attlee, the Labour P.M. of the post war period was a regular visitor. Her mother once memorably remarking that she couldn't see how he could run the country and his cabinet if he couldn't control his own children. We all sometimes make mistakes!
Q. How has the industry changed from your perspective over the years?
A. When I first started, people would see our sign on the road and come to stay. Now computers have taken over. Most of my bookings are repeat guests; we have children of children coming to stay, which is lovely. Also a much clearer understanding of the inter-dependency of other tourism enterprise. We benefit hugely from our proximity to the Talyllyn Railway. A number of good restaurants in the area, an excellent well stocked small garden centre and a number of interesting shops, help to enhance the tourism experience along with of course our stunning environment. Operating within one of Wales's three national Parks is an immense advantage.
Q. What have been your biggest challenges over the years?
A. Foot and Mouth and Covid, without a doubt. We didn’t open for B&B last year and probably won’t this year; we will probably do room-only.
Q. What do you enjoy most about running your business?
A. We love meeting people; our guests have become old friends over the years. Many guests have been attracted here by Talyllyn Railway. Some guests stay six times per year. We are quite fully booked from May onwards with repeat bookings. Every customer is important to us, and we have welcomed some high profile guests over the years too. Peter Hendy, the Chairman of Network Rail, came via a special train. There have been lots of memorable moments.
Q. Why do you think it's important to be a member of MWT?
I have always valued the up-to-date information and support.
Photos with Sir Peter Hendy at Hendy Halt station and by Edward Thomas cottage.
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