Get ready for Summer
Published: Tuesday 24th May 2011
Written by: Llion Pughe
Wales has 1680 miles of coastline
Holidaying at home is set to rise in popularity this year with more than a third of us choosing to holiday in Britain instead of overseas. If jostling for space on a crowded beach isn’t for you, seek refuge in Wales.
From scenic cycling on country roads and fishing adventures on the Pembrokeshire coast to a stress-free option for those with toddlers in tow, here’s our pick of the best cottages for summer.
Family friendly holiday in the Gower
Stress free summer – in the Gower
This relaxed, family-friendly bungalow on Gower Holiday Village is brilliantly located for Rhossili Bay, which was recently voted Britain’s best beach. Fully equipped and comfortably furnished, this detached bungalow has an open-plan lounge/diner with satellite freeview and DVD player. Outside, there are picnic tables and chairs for the lawn and there’s a swimming pool, games room, adventure playground and soft play complex onsite. FREE 2 day pass for Tumble Town included for up to 3 children and for a small additional charge, you can also take the family dog!
Swansea’s peninsula – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – has long, golden beaches and dramatic limestone cliffs. The 19-mile long peninsula has some of Wales’ cleanest and most beautiful beaches, including Rhossili and Llangennith, a surfing hotspot. Summer sees a riot of festivals take place in Swansea and Gower, from the Gower Folk Festival and Gower Rock Festival to the family-orientated Gower Show at Penrice Castle and many more besides.
Walking holiday in Snowdonia
Summer walking – North Wales setting
Wales if perfect for exploring on foot with plenty of safe, scenic traffic-free routes. One of the best summer walks is the Mawddach Trail, an old railway line from Dolgellau to Barmouth. Stay in Cae Merllen, a luxury barn conversion based on a working sheep farm two miles east of Dolgellau. The cottage enjoys beautiful countryside views and has a lawned area with picnic bench, outdoor toys, barbecue and chimenea.
Being in the Snowdonia National Park, there are plenty of other walks, too, and most are within a few miles of the cottage.The Torrent Walk is a moderate leisure walk along the river. Cadair Idris, the mountain, offers three main routes of varying difficulty and length, and there are two precipice walks. Cyclists should throw in their bike, too. The cottage has lockable bike storage and is very well placed for Coed y Brenin, one of Wales’ finest mountain bike centres. The sandy beaches of Barmouth and Fairbourne are a half hour’s drive away, and attractions include the Centre for Alternative Technology and the majestic Harlech Castle, now a World Heritage site.
Cycling holiday in the Brecon Beacons
Summer cycling – Brecon Beckoning
With more than 520 square miles of high mountains, the Brecon Beacons has a lifetime of great cycling routes to discover. Around every corner there’s a mountain, reservoir or wildlife on view. The 16-mile Shore of Llangors is great for bird-lovers. Pack a pair of binoculars and enjoy the view from the bird hide overlooking Llangors Lake. On the pretty circular route of Talybont Reservoir, which takes in Taf Fechan Forest, it’s customary to round off the day with a pint in the pub garden of The Star in Talybont-on-Usk. You can also ride along the River Wye from the source, through the Brecon Beacons National Park.
Abereithrin Cottage, partway between the traditional market towns of Brecon and Llandovery, is a traditional Welsh cottage set in a small hamlet consisting of eight dwellings, one of which is a traditional country pub. Everything about the place is relaxing and cosy from the comfortable lounge with its board games, books, log-burning fire and exposed beams to the sink-into beds and peaceful gardens. The cottage is very pet friendly, too. In the Brecon Beacons there are as many reasons to get off your bike as there are to stay on it. If history is your thing, Carreg Cennen Castle, near Llandeilo, is well worth a visit. Llandovery, Crickhowell, Tretower, Hay and Bronllys also boast impressive castles. The traditional market towns of Brecon and Llandovery are both about 12 miles away. And cultural highlights include The Royal Welsh Agricultural Show in July, Brecon Jazz Festival and Green Man Folk Festival in August.
Fishing holiday in West Wales
Summer fishing – West Wales calling
Ceredigion has facilities for many types of fishing. In and around New Quay there is beach and boat fishing, also coarse and trout fishing in both rivers and lakes. Bait and tackle is available locally and several fisheries can also provide equipment. Stay in Yr Onnen Holiday Cottage, set on a working farm near Mydroilyn village – half way between New Quay and Lampeter in the gorgeous West Wales countryside. The recently converted cottage, just seven miles from Cardigan Bay, has its own fishing lake. There’s also an outdoor play area and a games room, great if you have children or grandchildren in tow.
Home-made Welsh delicacies greet you on arrival. This is part of the warm Welsh welcome offered by the owners – a young and traditional Welsh-speaking family. During June and July, the county of Pembrokeshire, about an hour’s drive down the coast, holds its annual Fish Week. The annual festival, which runs between June 25 and July 3, has more than 250 events, including eco-fishing adventures, evening boat trips, angling competitions and earn-to-fish sessions for the family.