Sunday 15 August 2021

A Week in South Wales

We have been wanting to visit Wales for a long time, but there always seemed to be somewhere a bit further away that got prioritised so it has taken until 2021 for us to get here.  Covid has made international travel more expensive and more difficult and there has never been a better time to explore the United Kingdom.  I found the dates I wanted to travel and we knew we wanted to go to Wales but that was about as far as we got, so I went on Airbnb and looked up the prices and availabilities of different areas.  Merthyr Tydfil came out the cheapest by far, and whilst I could see that it wasn't the most pretty or interesting part of the country, it also looked like a well positioned base for exploring and so I booked a three bedroom house near the high street and started looking at what we could fit into a week there.

South Wales with Kids, exploring Wales, Cardiff castle

It turns out, a week isn't nearly long enough for exploring South Wales and choosing what to miss out on became harder than picking what to include.  There was so much we wanted to do and I wanted to get a feel for how much the country had to show us.  I booked a couple of attractions and came up with plans for the rest of the week knowing the weather (specifically the rain) can mean flexible plans are the best.  We actually ended up sticking to our plans pretty closely and were so lucky with the rain, that our raincoats were used mostly to protect us from waterfall spray than anything else.

South Wales with Kids, exploring Wales, Henrhyd falls

I have always associated Wales with rolling green hills and so spending time in the Brecon Beacons was something we couldn't miss.  We ended up doing two full days there spread across four different areas.  We booked the Brecon Mountain Train for our first day thinking it would give us great views and a bit more awareness of the size and beauty of the area and the views were pretty spectacular.  Due to covid restrictions, we couldn't actually go out and explore at the destinations though, so we drove over to Garwnant Visitor Centre afterwards for lunch and to explore the area on foot.  The children loved being able to roam freely and as much as they enjoyed the animal sculpture trail, it was the wildness and getting off the paths that really excited them.  I saw the energy that they had for this beautiful part of the country and knew we had to spend more time here.

South Wales with Kids, exploring Wales, Brecon Beacons, Brecon Mountain Train

South Wales with Kids, exploring Wales, Brecon Beacons, Garwnant

Our second day in the Brecon Beacons came later in the week and we headed up to Waterfall Country.  Last year they climbed up to see Canonteign Falls in Devon and I remembered the amazement so I wanted to fit in some of Wales' offerings.  First up we visited Henrhyd Falls where the Batcave was filmed in the Batman movies.  They couldn't have had bigger smiles as they scrambled over rocks and got the chance to walk behind the falls, getting soaked as they did.  After a quick picnic we drove over to the Four Falls Walk which takes in four waterfalls and is a much longer walk.  I was impressed at their stamina and energy and they loved being compared to mountain goats as they took in the more challenging climbs with ease.  It was about 7.30pm before we got back to the car and everyone had tangled hair, rosy cheeks and muddy legs but big smiles.  

South Wales with Kids, exploring Wales, Brecon Beacons, four falls walk

South Wales with Kids, exploring Wales, Brecon Beacons, four falls walk

We couldn't visit this part of the country without checking out the capital city.  I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Cardiff but we had booked Techniquest the Science Museum to start the day and it was a fantastic hands on museum that was perfect for my little whirlwinds who don't cope so well in a traditional museum.  Walking round the Mermaid Quay was pretty and then we walked up to the city centre, not realising it was actually quite a stroll! (We got the bus back down the other way).  The city is vibrant and colourful and full of lovely places to eat.  We visited the castle right at the top of the High Street but stuck to the grounds rather than going inside.  Back down at the Bay, we admired the brilliant Millenium Centre from the outside and spent money in the funfair just in front of it.  I would love to revisit Cardiff without the children and explore the shopping arcades and bars more.

South Wales with Kids, exploring Wales, The Mumbles, Mumbles Pier

South Wales with Kids, exploring Wales, The Mumbles, Mumbles Pier

With my maiden name being Gower, it was important that we made it to the Gower Peninsula at some point during the week, but we decided to stop at The Mumbles on the way and almost didn't make it any further.  We walked down to The Mumbles Pier for some lunch and to play on the arcades and got stuck enjoying the crocheted wonders all around, playing on the rocky beach and searching for Joes Ice Cream which we had heard so much about (and didn't disappoint).  The Mumbles was such a lovely town and we could have spent all day there.  It was later than I was hoping for when we left and headed to the Gower Heritage Centre so we could park up and find one of the famous beaches.  It was around a 20 minute trek to Pennard Castle ruins at the top of the hill and then we clambered down the cliff to find the most stunning and completely deserted beach.  It was a little windy and cloudy but still warm enough to run around (and for the kids to get fully in the water).  Our beaches at home are full of man made structures, piers and shops so it was different to find the beauty so raw and untouched.  There was so much space to run and explore and we had to drag them away at the end of the day, using the light on our phones to safely get back to the car.  I had hoped to get to Rhosilli but that will be something for another trip, for now, I can't imagine much better than Three Cliffs Bay.

South Wales with Kids, exploring Wales, Gower Peninsula, Three Cliffs Bay

South Wales with Kids, exploring Wales, Gower Peninsula, Three Cliffs Bay

Our week was adventurous, outdoors and focused mostly on the natural beauty of the country.  Our final full day saw everyone a bit more tired so we decided to stay closer to home and spend some money in Merthyr.  We did crazy golf, the arcades and the cinema and the kids loved it all.  They were so used to late nights because we couldn't stop exploring though, so we drove to Dare Valley Country Park because we heard the park there was great and it gave them some space to run out the last of the day's energy.  To keep up the pattern, we were dragging them away as the sun was going down.  I don't think I have ever had such easy bedtimes with them as they were asleep within seconds each night!

South Wales with Kids, exploring Wales, The Mumbles

Our week in South Wales gave us a taste for what this part of the country has to offer and my list of places that we didn't make it to is at least another week, so I imagine we will be back before long!  The people are friendly and welcoming, the scenery is beautiful and all the adventuring tires out the children.  There were lots of adventurous activities that the children were either too young for, or I wasn't able to do pregnant that I would love to come back for too.

South Wales with Kids, exploring Wales, Merthyr Tydfil, Heart of Merthyr
The 'Heart of Merthyr' was a few metres from our Airbnb

Merthyr Tydfil may not be a classic holiday spot but it proved to be a great location as everything we wanted to see was an easy drive and our airbnb was perfect for accomodating us.  If you are looking for family accomodation in Merthyr then this was our location 

1 comment:

  1. I'm just so happy that you and your family had such a great adventure in South Wales Becky. Your photos capture the beauty of it all.Im so lucky to live in an industrial town with such beauty on my doorstep. Thank you for booking Ty Calaerig.


I love comments, so please let me know what you think!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...