Updated: Sep 16, 2020
We finally went away on our family break, and it was without a doubt some of the most fun we’ve had on a family getaway, not to the southernmost reaches of a sun kissed Mediterranean destination, but right here in the UK, in South Wales.
Why? With only a few hours drive away from London, you can be in a picturesque setting with amazing coastal views and heaps of fun things to do for the whole family.
We’ve been in two minds about what to do when we had to cancel two planned trips this year, admittedly one was a family visit but the other was going to be a short-haul for a few days in the south of Europe somewhere. It seemed increasingly likely that a European trip was on the cards when the government introduced travel bridges. So called bridges or travel corridors as it's widely referred to, offers “a reduced risk to the public health of UK citizens” We thought, this is right on the money, we may have been stuck indoors for months, but at least we can get a decent holiday this year! It didn’t exactly all go to plan, when we found out that one of our favourite holiday playgrounds, Spain was removed from the exempt list, meaning that if you return to the UK from Spain you’ll have to self isolate for 14 days, plus the increased restrictions in Spain, meant that perhaps a quick flight over to Europe was probably going to be unlikely - who knows what other destinations may follow suit.
"With 3 beautiful beaches to choose from, each with its own character, you are absolutely spoilt for choice."
We then decided to have a family staycation instead and we quickly set about finding a holiday closer to home. We’ve been to some amazing places all over the U.K. and we needed to secure something pretty sharpish, we also noticed that prices were increasing as we’re hitting peak holiday season. We contemplated some of the popular choices, like Butlins and Centre Parcs as we’ve previously had some great times, but we’ve left it a bit late, so we thought to check Hoseasons and surprisingly, found some tasteful options to choose from with plenty of availability too. We knew where we wanted to be - we collectively decided to book in South Wales as it ticks so many boxes and I’d heard great things about it from work colleagues. New places to explore, great beaches, especially further west towards Pembrokeshire, lots of choice holiday parks, cottages or lodges to choose from as well.
For us it was going to be a simple decision based on family activity, sightseeing, fun for the kids, being close to the beach and we found everything we needed through Hoseasons, what’s more, is that they are offering a full refund if they have to cancel your holiday. This is key for so many people, including us that have yet to receive a refund from a holiday booked at the beginning of lockdown with a different travel company.
So we booked 4 nights at a holiday park in Porthcawl, 25 miles west of Cardiff and it was fantastic. As you would imagine, many of the public spaces like swimming pools and games areas had restrictions in place or closed altogether, but there was lots of other entertainment on offer. The first day we arrived, it was in the high 20s so we spent the day at the beach, which was a 3 mins walk from our beachfront caravan. We spent a little extra to get a 12-ft wide caravan for additional space, many have wheelchair access too if that is required. We always make sure we take our favourite family games along to play in the evenings, but other activities we did have access to at the park were the football & basketball courts, mini-golf, fun buggies as well as kids entertainment like the magic shows, arts and crafts, among other things to do, although reservations were required to secure limited spaces, it was great to have those options - you are given a list of things on arrival.
"Caldey Island is an oasis of calm where you can watch seabirds or relax on a secluded beach."
While the park offered enough entertainment to keep us occupied every day, we also enjoy doing sightseeing, so we decided to head west towards the Pembrokeshire coast. Slightly more than an hour’s drive from Porthcawl was probably one of the most magical discoveries we made when we arrived in Tenby. You can absolutely lose yourself here and I wish we’d spent more time. It is one of the best seaside towns I’ve visited in the UK, let alone Wales. The beaches in Tenby have won countless accolades and it’s no surprise, with 3 beautiful beaches to choose from, each with its own character, you are absolutely spoilt for choice.
Castle Beach was probably our favourite spot to spend time on, playing games and making sandcastles, which is what it’s all about. Just 20 minutes away by boat, Caldey Island is an oasis of calm where you can watch seabirds or relax on a secluded beach. The holy island is owned and run by a community of Cistercian monks and it’s open to the public on summer weekdays and Saturdays. Other things nearby we’d have loved to sample but simply didn’t have the time was the National Park where you can enjoy long walks, Tenby Museum & Art Gallery and if you’re keen, fishing is also available in designated areas along the beach.
We will be going on another staycation before the summer ends and before the kids head back to school as we’re itching to explore other local delights. If you have any great family staycation ideas, please let us know!