Self Catering in Wales – Us Style… (with @OwnersDirect)
That cottage there? That was where we headed off to a few weeks ago, for a long weekend in the little slice of heaven that is the Brecon Beacons National Park. It’s one of our very favourite places in the world to visit for family holidays – wide open spaces for endless exploring, glorious beaches within reach and always something beautiful to see.
The holiday was provided by OwnersDirect, which was about the best offer we’ve ever had… we’re keen on self catering holidays, and although we’re incredibly demanding so it always takes us a while, OwnersDirect have yet to fail us. This time we plopped in our requirements ( 2 adults, 4 children, 1 dog, no neighbours, remote location) and we very quickly found Glan Clydach. Looks gorgeous, doesn’t it?
But we’re old pros at this cottage-from-a-website game, so we looked extra carefully – you need to not presume anything, look at all the photographs very carefully, and actually read all the information, even the boring bits, not just skim read it thinking ‘yes yes, this’ll be GREAT’. When holiday cottage hunting you need to understand that if they’re not mentioning the washing machine, it’s highly likely it isn’t actually there, it’s not just glossed over.
So – we double checked all the details, and everything fitted. It looked beautiful, the dog was welcome, the beds worked (just – two of the boys had to share a double), the kitchen was excellent, and the position sounded perfect.
So – Huzzah’s all round, and away we went.
The Brecon Beacon National Park is just over 3hours from us – far enough to feel like a holiday, but not so far you arrive exhausted. The directions were good, and we found the cottage with only one wrong turn (we were one left turn too soon as we’d actually ignored the excellent directions and gone the more exciting route straight across the moors to approach the cottage from the other direction).
Stepping inside the cottage didn’t disappoint – it was fabulous! The kitchen was huge and really well equipped, the living room was snug and comfortable, the bedrooms were pretty and the bathrooms suitably luxurious to have the boys leaping with excitement to try out the space-age shower and the enormous bathtub.
As we were only there for three days we had taken all of our food with us, which meant no loss of time shopping (pre-cooked tray baked meals like lasagne and sausage casserole are easy to take, and just pop in the oven to warm though when you’re tired and hungry), and we knew the area so we knew exactly what we wanted to do.
The few days we had zipped by too fast, filled with fresh air and Outside-ness. We had a totally brilliant walk on the first day in amazingly lucky weather – a 6.5 mile circuit around one side of the Usk reservoir.
The next day we took the children to the Ystrafeldte waterfalls – last time we visited Sigwd Yr Eira was closed off as there had been a rockfall, so this was the first time they had the opportunity to stand behind the waterfall curtain. Totally amazing, and DEFINITELY worth the walk down in the lashing rain and the climb back up again…
Our last day everyone was pretty pooped, so we simply visited our favourite valley, played stick races in the river, and muttered against the chilly dark clouds which spoiled our plans for some river dipping.
The evenings were filled with large quantities of hot food, and raucous card games in the kitchen until far later than was sensible for three tired boys.
But what a wonderful way to recharge those batteries and just spend some time being us.
The cottage was pretty perfect – it would have been nice to have some outside space to enjoy (the gardens are currently very overgrown and neglected) but we know that it is all a ‘work in progress’ and have no doubt that they’ll be as idyllic as the house is soon enough. The owners Steve and Nadja are nearby every weekend, incredibly lovely and very very helpful – and also adept at keeping to themselves and not disturbing your stay.
It was just fabulous to find a place so welcoming of the children and the dog, which was so comfortable and well-equipped, as well as so perfectly placed for ease of access but with peace and quiet by the bucket load. We didn’t really need to go out, there was plenty of exploring to be done right on the farm. We can’t wait to go back!
(We were asked to review a short break with Owners Direct, but the choice of property was left to us. We can’t recommend either Glan Clydach or Owners Direct enough if you’re looking for a Family Friendly Self Catering holiday – there’s still plenty of bargains to be had if you fancy a last minute get away this summer…