Hawarden is most definitely the place to visit if you like a challenge. It is an historic village situated not far from the border between Wales and England. It has a wide range of facilities near it, although there is fairly little to do in the village itself.
As far as accommodation is concerned, there is also very little available. This fact should not deter you from visiting as you may well be able to find a room in one of the local public houses, or at the 'St David's Park Hotel' situated in the next village. If neither of these two options are available or within your budget, many local residents will be happy to put you up.
Places to Visit
There is no shortage of entertainment to be had in the village. The options range from a few hours spent in one of the local parks to an entire day wandering through the grounds of the two castles in the village.
The older of these two castles, now a ruin, was built by William the Conqueror to hold the Welsh 'rebels' at bay.
The other, more modern, Hawarden castle is more like a stately home, built to house the Glynn family, the local landowners, later to become the Gladstone family. To the historians among you, the name Gladstone may be familiar, it is of course the surname of the famous Liberal Prime Minister, Sir William E Gladstone who was Prime Minister in the years 1868 - 1874, again in 1880 - 1885, for a short while in 1886 and with his final term of office in the years 1892 - 94. Gladstone's statue stands in the village. It was originally supposed to be shipped to Ireland to stand as a monument to the deeds he achieved, but the Irish refused it and it now stands in its own right on the corner of one of the main routes through the village.
Other forms of entertainment in the village can be found in the local parks. There are two of them - one at either end of the village. There is also a residential library which houses the Gladstones' personal collection of books along with many rare articles.
For those of you who class entertainment as consuming vast amounts of alcohol, there is something for you as well. No less than four pubs are situated around the village, all serving perfectly good food and drink depending on your preferred level of hygiene. A popular choice is the Fox and Grapes, a recently refurbished old coaching inn that serves good food, reasonably cheap ale and always has someone in there ready to talk or listen to you.
If neither of these things particularly appeal to you, then why not take a trip a little further afield to one of the many retail centres in the area. The newly opened Broughton Shopping Park contains many big name stores, including Tesco, Woolworths, WH Smiths and JJB Sports. All of the above sell suitably overpriced merchandise if you like spending money, be it yours or other people's.
Just slightly further along the road is the Roman city of Chester1. It is one of the few walled cities left in the UK, although the walls now serve a different purpose. In the days of Caesar and the Romans, the walls were there to keep any unwanted people out. Nowadays, because the walls are protected from developers, any transport routes have to be built through the existing openings, creating numerous bottlenecks and traffic jams, all this serves to create the impression that, at different times of the day, the walls are in fact trying to keep people in, rather than out.
Inside the city, there are a number of shops that sell surprisingly acceptable goods, although it is advisable not to complain about an item that you have purchased. Once you have let go of your money in Chester, the shopkeepers suddenly become immune to any form of argument.
There are also many places to eat including no less than four burger joints and two pizza places with enough fat and animal products to satisfy even the most hardy of travellers.
Sports around Hawarden
For the sport enthusiasts among us, there is the Deeside Leisure centre with its newly constructed ice rink. It also has a serviceable gym, large sports halls, and dark squash courts, one with a rather worrying bloodstain on it.
For exercise inside Hawarden, there are the two parks. The larger, Gladstone Park, has a wide open section complete with football pitches. The other, smaller park, has swings and roundabouts for the children, young and old.
Hawarden does seem to suffer from a mysterious disease though - cricket pitches. There is one in the village, one nearby in Northop Hall, one in Northop, and numerous others around the region. One thing is certain though, you will have no trouble wasting a day at any of them watching a group of old men swing and dive desperately at a ball moving at over 60mph.
Overall, Hawarden is a nice place, to live, work and play. The local people are, on the whole, welcoming, the surroundings are pleasant and there is plenty to do. So come on down and see what delights it has to offer... or just snigger at the inhabitants for leading an unexciting life.