On Wednesday 20th June I headed to Caerphilly with some friends to celebrate a birthday. For the last 3 years we have gone to Bryn Meadows near Ystrad Mynach for their Royal Ascot or Ladies Day event, for a day of drinking, lots of food and live horse racing.
This year the event was held in a brand new building at the resort called the Fairway Suite. It was completed at the end of last year, but has been designed for big events and weddings. The walkway is beautifully tiled and leads into a very large reception area. The main room is huge, and can hold up to 350 guests. The whole of the back wall is glass windows and looks out onto the golf course and scenery. There is also an outdoor terrace, perfect for sitting outside on a sunny day. Bryn Meadows is only a 30 minute drive from Cardiff, but the stunning countryside views make it feel like you are so much further away from home.
Pre-drinks in Winners Bar
We arrived a little bit early (I know, surprising for me) and headed to Winners Bar, where we were warmly welcomed by the team. After getting a round in, we headed to the sun patio and sat in the sunshine to enjoy the drinks before the event started. The bar and outside was full of ladies dressed to impress, ready to start the days festivities.
Time for the event
One of the resort managers came into the bar around 11.30am and made their way to each table, saying that we were welcome to come next door to the Fairway Suite. The serving team handed us an ice cold glass of Laurent Perrier champagne before showing us to our table. Once everyone was seated the DJ explained the format of the day; lunch, followed by showing the live racing on the TV screens, and the fun betting system, and much later on an afternoon tea buffet.
Food glorious food
Soon lunch was served, a piping hot plate of a roast chicken breast wrapped lovingly in parma ham, a crushed new potato and herb cake, with vegetables and a rich white wine and mushroom sauce. I really wanted to lick my plate it was that good! But I was dressed like a lady, so I needed to pretend to act as one. Dessert soon followed which was meringue, strawberries and cream followed by tea and coffee.
Giddy up! Race time
Now too full to move, it was time for the horse racing. The big TV screens were dotted around the room, so everyone attending could see the live scenes from Ascot. Pontllanfraith Rotary Club administered the fun betting. Unlike the totes and bookies you did have to play to win, and the horse was selected by picking a number from a bag. The number you selected would be your corresponding horse. The minimum bet was £2 and the maximum of £20. The sound was turned up during the races and the room, often very enthusiastically, would cheer their horse over the finishing line.
More food! Time for tea
After all of the excitement, an afternoon buffet was served. I was shocked by how high some guests pile their plates with sandwiches – how could they be hungry when only a few hours ago we were served a huge chicken dinner. I even saw one lady take a whole platter to her table of 4 people! It did mean that some guests were left without, and a Chef had to quickly make more. Annoyingly, I later saw so many being thrown into the bin when the team were clearing up because they were so greedy – such a waste. There were also plenty of cakes including Welsh cakes, bara brith, and a very rich moist Victoria sponges. We choose to eat this on the patio terrace and make the most of the beautiful weather.
Winner, winner after the chicken dinner
The staff also awarded some fantastic prizes including an afternoon tea for two and a spa day for two for best dressed and best hat. There was also a bottle of prosecco for the best dressed table. Shockingly we did not win, haha!
After this live music had been arranged in Winners Bar, for the ‘official’ after party. It was the perfect way to round off the evening, with popular party favourites and sing along classics being performed by Sion Rees. We were up stamping our feet and dancing along all evening. (A good way to try and burn off those cake calories!)
The day ended with a spectacular sunset… I can’t wait to do it all over again next year!
Events in Caerphilly
Read reviews of other events in Caerphilly here: