Rather than dwelling on the fact that we couldn’t go on a holiday abroad this year, we looked at where we could get away in the UK instead and, after a lovely break in the Lake District with extended family earlier in the month, we decided to look at the coast for a second break away. Living in Bournemouth, we weren’t really looking for a tourist spot, and when I stumbled upon the Cardigan Bay holiday park, which is by Poppit Sands in South Wales, it looked perfect for us.
We decided we couldn’t miss out on a bit of a detour to visit the setting of Gavin and Stacey – Barry Island, on the way to the holiday park, and I would love to go back for longer as it looked lovely there. We were so lucky with the weather during our stay, the sun was shining and we enjoyed an ice cream overlooking the sea before getting back in the car and heading back on the road.
Recent National Trust members, we also chose to stop off at Aberdualis, which is around an hour and a half away from where we were staying. It was really pretty, with two waterfalls joining together and I am so glad we decided to make the diversion to go there. The children did some brass rubbings, and there were spots to take photos whilst learning more about the mill.
When we arrived at the holiday park itself, it was fairly late and the pool was due to close in less than an hour, so we quickly got changed and headed across. The pool was one of the things that drew me to the park as it is lovely – really spacious, with two hot tubs and a mini waterfall. Plus the whole thing is under a retractable roof for when the weather is good. One of the best pools I have been in and the children loved it – they would have happily spent the entire trip in there if we had let them.
Entertainment wise, the complex isn’t really set up for it. My mum took the kids whilst Ed and I went to get some supplies from the local supermarket, and she said it wasn’t brilliant, so we didn’t bother going back the following evening. A member of staff on reception I discussed it with, when handing in my end of stay questionnaire, admitted it wasn’t really what they were about, and that they don’t prioritise it, which is fair enough. It was nice to have some time together as a family in the evenings, watching films in the caravan and there was a nice playground and the pool for other times.
The caravan itself was nice – a little cramped with the six of us inside, but only really when the doors to bedrooms and toilets were being opened and closed. The lounge was a big enough size, and the kitchen was really well equipped, especially compared to the previous caravan we had stayed in, which had absolutely nothing in it (honestly, that place was extremely poor, so our standards may have been a little low). I liked how fresh and modern it was inside, and it was a nice base to come back to after exploring the area each day.
We spent one day visiting Cilgerran Castle, which was nice but didn’t have a lot there and took less time to look around than we had anticipated so we headed over to Mwent afterwards, where we had our picnic and spent some time exploring the beach and a little church up on the hill by the car park. Both were run by the National Trust, so we had free entry and parking, which really helped us to keep the costs down. I would highly recommend becoming members if you aren’t already.
The next day we drove out a bit further to Llanerchaeron, which was brilliant. It had so much more to do for the kids, and it was a lovely day out for us all. I think the best bit was the gardens – they were so beautiful, and I was in my element snapping away on my camera. The lake was really picturesque too, and the kids enjoyed borrowing the free bikes to explore on. We stopped off in the cafe as well, and enjoyed some fresh cakes and ice creams, and they were really tasty.
That evening, after another swim in the pool, we headed out to the local village for Fish and Chips, which we enjoyed on the beach opposite the holiday park, along with a camp fire to toast s’mores on. It was the perfect end to our short stay, and it was so nice to watch the sunset before we went back to bed.
The holiday park is so popular that they have already sold out for next summer, and I presume that they had this year as well and we were able to book due to a cancellation as it was last minute. I do hope we can return again at some point, as it is in a lovely area and was a fantastic place to stay for a short family break – the pool is brilliant.