Whilst we were staying as guests of Bridgend Bites, our home for those hectic few days was Ty Maen (http://www.ty-maen.co.uk/ ) converted cow byre on a farm about 5 miles from Bridgend itself.
The directions were detailed, and we soon followed the past-the-school, past-the-pub instructions (it’s funny how they always look confusing before you set off, and then when you’re in place it all becomes clear), and we found ourselves driving up the track, past the magnificent viaduct, round the hairpin bend and Ty Maen came into view.
The cottage is attached to the owners farmhouse, but has its own entrance, garden and parking.
The situation would be idyllic, we’re it not for the fact that Llangynwyd as clearly grow a lot over the years, causing an unfortunately big nightglow, and the constant noise from the main road which can be clearly heard from the garden. If you stand at the side or behind the property, you would think you had stepped back 100 years, looking out over hills and moorland and wild open spaces.
First off I have to say that the cottage itself was probably the cleanest I have ever stayed in (and I’ve stayed in a few over the years!); it really was immaculately clean. There’s a mix of styles in the decor – contemporary bright and clean walls and laminate floors mixed with rather dated furniture and plates on the walls.
But it was comfortable, warm, and the six of us were able to sleep and eat and sit.
The kitchen/diner was snug – it’s a fairly small kitchen to start with, and having the table and 6 chairs in there really made it rather cramped when we were all eating.
It’s also a bug bear of mine when a holiday property sleeps 6, but doesn’t provide comfortable seating for everyone in the sitting room. A 3-seater sofa and two armchairs means that someone always had to perch on the footstool, or stretch out on the floor.
There are no carpets in the property, it is laminate throughout. Whilst this meant the sitting room lacked a certain cosines, even with a rug in front of the log fire, it was easy to keep clean, and there were no worries about a muddy dog hurtling after a day out in the rain. I started off not loving the floors, but by the end of a few hectic days in very wet weather, I grew to love their practicality!
The two bathrooms we more than enough between us, and the showers were amazing – always a Good Thing when you’re on holiday, I think. The cottage was well-equipped with basic kitchen essentials, and washer, dryer and a small table-top dishwasher (which isn’t really big enough to cope with a meal for 6 so we treated the children to lessons in washing and drying. They were thrilled!). Towels, bedding and fuel are all included – and nothing quite beats curling up by a log fire after a cold wet day crammed with activities, does it?
Ty Maen is a great place to explore this area of Wales – we were only 20minutes from surfing at Porthcawl, half an hour at the most from Swansea and Cardiff – but head North for 15 minutes and you’re in the Brecon Beacons. I’m not sire I could names. Better ovation for touring and exploring This amazing region. We’ve often stayed in the Brecon Beacons in the past, but never the Bridgend area of Wales – it always seemed just that bit too far to reach.
But during our four days we really did fall in love with the area and the people, and we fully intend to go back for a much longer visit, to see and do all the thigs we wished we’d had time for on this trip.
7 Nights in Ty Maen costs from £450, and there’s a £25 supplement for the dog.
The last of our activities in our packed few days in BridgeEnd was a morning of Bushcraft skills with the amazing Sasha at CwmTawel, a luxury Yurt and Tipi camping site near Bridgend in the beautiful Llynfi Valley.
Of course, we weren’t there to try out the yurts (sadly… we did have a good nosy though, and have promised the children we will return and camp properly; it was the first time we’d actually been inside one, and they are amazing!) – oh no. We had much more serious tasks afoot.
We were there to Build Fire.
Sasha greeted us at the car, and gave us a quick guided tour of the site, ending up at the Bushcraft meadow. The solid structure keeps the rain off, and is the perfect place for a spot of survival skill learning, nestled in a quiet valley with beautiful views all around.
First task was to decorate a ‘wooden cookie’ – and once we’d done so we had to make our own string from the variety of natural resources Sasha had available to string them around our necks (ho knew you could make string from nettle stalks? We’re determined to try it for ourselves).
Name tags complete, we got on to the good stuff – making sparks.
We were each handed a flint and steel, and had a practice at just making sparks in the air. We older ones got it straight away, but the younger three struggled slightly. Bear in particular found it tricky to manage to hold the flint and the steel, and also maintain enough pressure for a really good spark.
But she persevered, and by the time I had lit my own tinder (we started with cotton wool, but we also tried thistle down), I looked up to see Sasha was sitting on the ground with Bear who was producing HUGE sparks with ease, with an equally HUGE proud smile on her face.
No.1 (the 15yr old) was the first to move on to the next step, and he managed to land his spark in a crampball (or King Alfred’s cake) – a fungus we had often seen growing, but never knew what it could be used for! As long as they’re dry, if you land a spark in them they will begin to smoulder – and keep smouldering for hours. They’re amazing, and this is another we-must-try-this-at-home thing we’ve carefully noted.
With some huffing and puffing No.1 had his bundle of dried grasses smoking away around the crampball, and then suddenly it went up in flames (and he dropped it on the floor rather than into the fire pit *eyeroll*).
The husband was the next to have a smoking bunch of grass in his hands, and his aim was a little better – one ball of flaming grass now burning rapidly IN the fire pit.
But that was a good thing, because we had also been collecting ‘snappy twigs’, the first stage of kindling, plus making ‘feather sticks’ with a sharp knife and a store of small logs.
Everyone had a go at feeding the fire, building up the size of the fuel until we had a decent fire burning some good twigs, and were ready for some small branches.
That section didn’t take long to write – but I think we had been at it for well over 90 minutes at this point!
Once we had some good logs burning it was time for a little foraging – nettles for some tea, and some willow withies for toasting marshmallows.
Boy finally managed to get a fire going himself (despite some massive spark-making, he was cursed with some fire-resistant cotton wool, and two duff crampballs. But finally he got a spark to grow, and ‘his’ fire was used to heat the Kelly Kettle. The pride in his face as the kettle boiled matched Ella’s when she made her first spark.
So as the nettle tea brewed, everyone gathered around the glowing fire and toasted marshmallows. WHY is it they taste so good? And when toasted on a fire you made yourself? Unbelievably good.
Then as we sipped our tea (or squash – certain people threw faces when I waved the tea in their direction; I admit we were all a little cautious in trying it, but I can categorically state that nettle tea is delicious!), Sasha placed a skillet over the fire.
Onto the skillet went the Welshcakes she’d made earlier.
Oh man they were good. Really REALLY good.
But the time we’d eaten and drunk, it was sadly time to leave Cwm Tawel – and we genuinely could have stayed and listened to Sasha for hours longer. The children loved her, were in awe of her fire and knife skills, and were all standing an inch taller with pride at their own abilities.
My husband and I could also have stayed and walked and talked with Sasha for hours – she has so much knowledge to share, and her deep passion and commitment to what she’s doing just shines through. We learned so much in our short time – not just how to make and build a fire, but a range of odd snippets, from how to spot Ash trees in the winter to how to ease nettle stings (and no, it’s not dock leaves!). We’ve promised the children we will return and stay in the Yurt next Autumn once dogs are allowed on the site (no dogs when the sheep are out), and I cannot imagine we would do so without spending a day learning some more from Sasha – next time we’ll make a shelter and go foraging properly!
Cwm Tawel offer a huge range of outdoor crafts and skills courses from willow basket making to wild food foraging. Prices start from £20 per child (children must be accompanied by an adult) for the Willow Sculpture course.Read More
When BridgendBites suggested we might try Quad biking during our trip, the house might have echoed with a teeny bit of cheering.
Too right we would!
So we headed off to Adventures Wales in Porthcawl (very close to Cardiff, just a bit further West along the Welsh coast if your brain can’t place it) – and this time all six of us were signed up to join in.
I mean, come on. It’s Quad Biking!
There was a little consternation about Bear when she arrived – the minimum age is 7, but they DO need to be over 4′ tall. Luckily she’s grown an inch this winter, and stands proud at 4’1″. Huzzah!
With no hanging around we were escorted to the Quad biking area, and climbed into an array of waterproofs. There were wellies available, but we had come equipped with our own. Note to any future quad bikers – if you’re going on a rainy day, double and then triple check all your fastenings. Mud will be involved in this activity.
First up we had a quick safety lesson, and then we all took a turn to drive a quad bike around a small circuit – it proved very tricky for Bear, she was on the same bike as the rest of us, and the tight corners were heavy and tricky for her. but she managed the speed magnificently, and got all the way around with no help (if very sloo-o-owlyyy).
Next came the real thing – we literally climbed on to a quad bike each, and got told we’d be called in 35 minutes time.
And we were off!
No.1 shot off straight away, quickly outstripping the rest of us who took a circuit or two to find our comfort zones and notch up the speed a bit.
Then the competitive spirit started to kick in.
Jolly (who’s 11) and Bear found cornering a slight issue to begin with, but we had two marshalls with us who were endless patient at repeatedly getting them back on the track, and keeping them going.
They didn’t even laugh (much) when I decided that a sharp corner was the PERFECT place to overtake the husband… and drove over the tyres and out into no mans land, shrieking quite a loud “Oh bloody sodding Craa-a-a-a-AP!” as I went. *sigh*
After maybe ten minutes the erratic driving settled and we all stayed on the track long enough to really start enjoying ourselves. At first I kept an eagle Mumma-eye on the two youngest – driving the same sized quad bikes as the grown ups seemed silly, and I felt sure they’d get frustrated and disheartened at not being able to control it as easily as the grown ups. nit one bit of it – they both gritted their teeth in determination, and bounced and flew around the track.
Pretty soon I relaxed and started trying to catch no.1 myself.
The weather wasn’t kind – we had slashing sleety rain as we hurled ourselves around the track, which was freezing and painful on the hands. It did however make the puddles magnificent and the slippy parts of the track totally treacherous. Which was excellent, naturally.
The noise is not to be underestimated – these things are LOUD. So loud that I was pretty sure there was no way that any noise I made from inside the helmet could possibly be heard from the other side of that roaring engine.
So I *may* have let fly with a merry warble or two.
And when I saw that the husband had disembarked to take some video, I may have roared my way down the track at him, sniggering at my fearsome noise. Sadly, my perception of how the noise would carry was a little off. If you listen on the video, the thin wailing “Raaaaar!” is me.
Yes, I am ashamed at my fearsome noise. In my defence it was MUCH more scary inside my helmet.
And when I heard this, I realised that yes, the marshalls could hear me singing quad-bike-themed opera on the far side of the track too.
When our time was up, we couldn’t believe it had gone so fast – talk about an exhilarating morning. We couldn’t stop chattering and comparing notes as we started climbing out of the protective waterproofs – and sniggering at each other’s mud spatters. We LOVED it – and would love to go again, as a family activity it’ll take some beating for pure excitement and out and out fun.
Quad Biking sessions at Adventures Wales start from only £22.50, and you get to ride Race Built 90cc fully automatic Quad bikes – so no tricky gear changes to worry about. It’s a Fully instructional session with dedicated instructor staff, and helmets and waterproofs are provided. Try it – I guarantee you’ll have a blast!Read More
As guests of Bridgend, we had a few activities arranged for us – but when they suggested surfing, I gracefully declared myself and the husband out of the invitation. Naturally I accepted happily on behalf of the children.
Oh, come on.
Surfing in Wales in February?
On top of which, there’s the whole wetsuit thing.
No, I think not, thankseverso though.
So, after a fabulous morning at Bryngarw, and a quick pitstop back at the cottage for lunch, we headed down to Rest Bay to the Porthcawl Surf School.
Initially we couldn’t find it – mostly because the area was drowning in big vans. Not surf vans, either – no; BBC vans. Dr Who was being filmed! Oh the excitement!
Anyhoo, we located the ‘surf school’ – which is actually a trailer in the car park with an enormous amount of surfboards outside, and met up with Hugh the owner and our instructor.
Hugh, and his glamorous assistant Dan, were lovely. Properly lovely.
They assessed the children for sizes, and then we whisked over to the changing rooms (fully heated, with lockers and hot showers too). Never mind the surfing, this was my workout for the afternoon – wrestling three of the children into wetsuits. It was exhausting. Then I found that the easy one, the 7yr old, had been plopped into one too big – and had to start all over again!
Eventually they were all kitted out in suits, hats, gloves and shoes, with white t-shirts on over the top. I instantly became mother to a bunch of hamster-cheeked seals, and have been sworn to protect the less-flattering photographs with my life – sorry.
First up, they had to wax the board. I loved that Hugh took them through everything they’d need – not just bunging them straight into the sea, but teaching them from start to finish. Bear, who does not like the sea and was feeling very nervous, had been so excited at the wetsuit idea, and so encouraged by Hugh that she was feeling quite confident at this stage. And then they got given a great big white crayon and got told to colour the board in… I was a bit surprised she didn’t start drawing flowers on it, but she was good and gave it a good scrub the way she was taught.
Then they had to carry their boards down to the sea, and across the sands of rest bay out to the edge of the surf.
here the first lesson too place, with safety and basic catching-the-wave principles.
Hugh was brilliant – not only providing the sharp eye and guidance the older ones needed, but also the warm encouragement and support that ensured the nervous Bear (who swims like a fish in swimming pools) felt confident in the sea for the first time ever.
We stood and watched, threw sticks for the dog, and eyed the black cloud fast approaching and blotting out the glorious blue sky. Eventually the cloud made it to us, and the heavens opened. we got utterly drenched, and entirely frozen – the sleety rain was February-vicious!
Bear lasted around 15 minutes in the water, managed to catch a wave and ride it to shore on her tummy which she seemed to feel was the signal to quit while she was ahead.
So I headed back up the beach with a shivering wreck who declared that she really loved surfing – but only in the summertime please. Shivering myself, I could completely understand that.
Once I’d wrestled her back out of the wetsuit and shoes – which, by the way, is nigh on impossible when you’re both giggling and sniggering at how pathetic you are at tugging them off – we headed back to the beach where the boys were just receiving part two of their lesson. They had all by now managed to catch a few waves whilst lying on the board, so now they had to learn how to stand up.
They quickly headed back into the waves with a determination I have rarely seen. time and agin they caught a wave, got up on their knees… and then rolled under or flipped off. Over and over and over – and yet none of them was defeated. None of them gave up and decided it wasn’t for them.
The skies cleared, the sun came back out, and they just kept trying.
Jolly came close – made it to his feet for maybe 2 seconds of exultation before losing his balance and tipping off.
But then, eventually, there was a shout. Boy had made it; he was gliding securely in to the beach, feet planted firmly on his board, shouting in triumph.
Eventually we had to call them in – all three came reluctantly, all three wanting just-one-more-go.We trekked back to the changing room, and they couldn’t stop talking, comparing and explaining. All three agreed that the feeling of catching a wave, the surge and the lift they found, was like nothing they had ever felt before, and something they couldn’t wait to do again.
Eventually, we had managed to extract all the boys from their wetsuits and shoes and gloves and hats, and we returned all the gear to Hugh and Dan with the hugest and most heartfelt thanks I’ve ever heard my children exclaim.
So thank you Hugh – whatever it was you put in the board wax, it worked. My children are now officially surf addicts, and cannot wait to get out and do it again. And again. And again.
I cannot recommend Porthcawl Surf enough – I never felt that they were in anything but the very best of hands, but not only was I confident in the safety and the teaching – Hugh was an excellent teacher. He lowered his level to be warm and reassuring for a nervous 7yr old, but managed to engage and enthuse a 15yr old in the same lesson. That’s no mean feat.
Plus, of course, Rest Bay? well, as beaches go, it’s pretty damned stunning…
A beginner lesson at Porthcawl Surf School costs just £30, and includes tuition, wetsuit and surfboard. Best of all for me, this isn’t the start of a hideously expensive exercise – with that one afternoon’s surfing under their belts, the boys now have all the basics and we can simply hire them the equipment next time we go. Board and summer wetsuit will cost just £15 for the day.
Even better value (and more fun for the whole family) for learning is Porthcawl Surf School’s Family Weekend Surf:
We know how costly it can be if you have a family and want to spend a weekend surfing so we’ve done our best to keep the cost as low as possible.
This is based on a family of 3,4 or 5 sharing a room.
A weekend of 1 Learn to Surf Lesson, and 2 Surf Hire sessions means you can surf for 2 full days.
Cost is just £65 per person, and the Accommodation is right on the beach at Rest Bay.Read More
Our recent trip to Bridgend started off with a visit to Bryngarw Country Park, and a sneaky peek at their coming attraction for this year, the ‘Keepers of Bryngarw’.
I’ll be honest – the children weren’t over-excited. Let’s be honest – a walk in the woods couldn’t really compare to quad biking, could it?
But I was looking forward to it, and the dog could join in this one, so I gave them ‘the look’ and they acquiesced gracefully enough.
On arrival we were met by Ranger Dan, and the lovely Gina, who were giving us the guided tour. As the Keepers Quest isn’t yet officially up and running, we had to use a little imagination – but from the time they spotted their first Keeper (we started in the Meadow) the children were totally involved, and having a ball.
The Keepers of Bryngarw are the mythical guardians of the park’s woodlands, meadows, gardens and river. The story goes like this:
“The Keepers are the ancient keepers of the story of the land; it is they who keep Bryngarw’s flame alight. But now the Keepers have fallen asleep, the story has fallen silent and a shadow hangs over the land.
To bring Bryngarw to life once more, you must journey through the gardens and woodland, along the river and across the meadows. Using the special Star Talisman, find the Keepers and awaken them at last, and re-light the flame as their story begins to be told once more…”
By the time it launches later this year, each keeper will be an interactive totem, in which you can place your star talisman and listen to their story.
However – I think we went one better with our sneak preview, as the actor’s recordings aren’t completed yet; we had Ranger Dan (who wrote all of the stories) reading them aloud to us.
Which was pretty special – the writing is powerful and evocative, and his passionate love of the land and his enormous knowledge of the natural world shine through in every line. We were all entranced.
There’s no official route, you simply make your own quest to find all of the Keepers. In so doing you are encouraged to explore all areas of the wild and beautiful woodland and meadows of the Park (currently a shocking 70% of visitors to Bryngarw never leave the play area and tea room). You could probably whizz round and find them all in 40 minutes, but equally on a nice day I’d suggest you take a picnic and take your time – stroll around, explore each area, play for a while and just ‘stop and stare’.
Our children are used to wide open spaces – pretty manicured formal gardens don’t hold much appeal for them. But at Bryngarw they were itching to play in the stream, explore the woodlands, and the meadows were just made for rolling down.
We had a genuinely fabulous morning – we loved the Quest idea, and it wasn’t just the youngest who went dashing off to try and be first to spot the next Keeper. The stories from the Keepers made all the children stand still and genuinely listen to what they had to say; and look around and notice with fresh eyes the things they talk about with such love. The Keeper of the Woodland was big, powerful and eery, but I wanted to make the Keeper of the Gardens a cup of tea and sit with him a while. The (very well-endowed) Keeper of the River had the most powerful story, told to the backdrop of the rushing river beside us, and the Keeper of the Meadow was so ethereal and flighty the 7yr old had to touch her to make sure she was real.
We also loved the fact that each of the Keepers has been handcarved by a local craftsmen from a tree that has grown in the park and been blown down by a storm. That circle of life, the knowledge that these trees really have seen the story of this landscape, and are now going to remain for potentially a hundred more years to tell their story to new people, created a strangely emotional connection to the park.
We loved our time at Bryngarw, and have had to promise the children we’ll return in the summer to spend the day completing the trail when it is up and running properly. And also to try the magnificent slide in the play area ;)
Bryngarw House is set within 113 acres of parkland and amazing Country Park; yet is just five minutes from Junction 36 of the M4 motorway. I strongly suggest you stop by for a visit if you’re in this corner of Wales.
Brought to you by Cottages4you these cottages are perfect for families with teenagers!
Deco, Tregrill Farm Cottages, Menheniot, Cornwall
Property reference: TJ3 – Book through Cottages4you
These cottages are in an enclosed courtyard garden, each with its own barbecue area.
For families with teenagers, Tregrill Farm is ideally located for visiting the whole of Cornwall, South Devon, Bodmin Moor and Dartmoor with plenty of things to see and do.
The Eden Project is just 10 miles away and Whitsand Bay, which is popular with surfers, is only eight miles away. Watersports such as windsurfing, canoeing and fishing can also be enjoyed at Siblyback Lake (5 miles); Adrenalin Quarry and Karting are also less than a mile away. For indoor activities the cottages share the use of a game room with an antique snooker table (for over 16s only), table tennis, darts board and hi-fi. The cottages also have Wi-Fi.
Price: £300 for seven nights self-catering accommodation starting 14th March 2014. Sleeps four people in two bedrooms (£10.71 pppn).
‘‘Character cottages occupying a tranquil setting on Cornwall’s coast…’’
Situated in a tranquil hamlet just 6 miles from the coast, the cottages have been converted from barns dating back to 1824 and retain many original features. They are set in an enclosed courtyard garden, each with its own barbecue area.
Tregrill Farm is ideally located for visiting the whole of Cornwall, South Devon, Bodmin Moor and Dartmoor, with countryside walks accessible directly from the door. The stunning South Cornwall Coast, with its attractive fishing villages such as Polperro and Looe as well as the famous South West coastal path, is a short drive away. The fishing port of Looe can also be reached by taking the scenic train journey from Liskeard (2 miles). The maritime city of Plymouth is only a 30 minutes’ drive away with the National Marine Aquarium and its historic Barbican district. The fantastic Eden Project (10 miles), Cotehele and the Lost Gardens of Heligan are amongst the many wonderful Cornish gardens and historic houses which are within easy reach of Tregrill. The Rame Peninsula, known as Cornwall’s Forgotten Corner, is close by with picturesque villages and quiet beaches and Whitsand Bay which is popular with surfers is only 8 miles away. Watersports such as windsurfing, canoeing and fishing can also be enjoyed at Siblyback Lake (5 miles); Adrenalin Quarry and Karting are less than a mile away. For indoor activities the cottages share the use of a games room with an antique snooker table (for over 16s only), table tennis, darts board and hi-fi. Shop and pub ½ mile.
A cosy, individually-styled cottage with furnishings and decoration that have a 1920s feel. Living/dining room with open Jetmaster fire in stylised surround, large feature window and stained-glass lighting, open-plan with well-equipped kitchen with tiled floor. One step up to double bedroom with 5ft bed and en-suite bathroom with over-bath shower and toilet. Separate toilet. First floor: Twin bedroom with sloping ceiling, Velux windows and en-suite shower area.Read More
So why not Rent a Private Gozitan farm house and learn to dive as a family!
These days, Gozo basks in relative anonymity as the smaller and more discrete sister island of Malta, with diving in the island’s surrounding waters replacing sea-nymphs as the main lures for travelers. Lying further south than the northerly parts of Tunisia, the Maltese archipelago enjoys reliably hot climes, perfect for all kinds of breaks. In spite of the island’s close proximity to Malta, few people have heard of Gozo meaning that it has escaped the fast pace of development and instead is full of rustic charm, nowhere more evident than in the villas and farmhouses. Families can rent their very own very charming private Gozitan farmhouse, complete with private swimming pool and BBQ area and close to nearby restaurants and shops. The island’s close proximity to the UK make this an absolute must for keen family divers as Gozo offers some of the best diving in the Mediterranean.
Original Diving (www.originaldiving.com/ 020 7978 0505) offers 7 nights in a private farmhouse on a self-catering basis from £2,400 for a family of 4 including a PADI Open Water course each and return airport transfers and car hire. Flights to Malta start from £350 per person with Easy Jet.
To find out more: http://www.originaldiving.com/europe/gozo/private-gozitan-farmhouses
Injecting fun into the Family Holiday Process:
Original Travel’s Partnership with Sharky & George
· Last year, Original Travel and much loved children’s party people Sharky & George joined forces to insert some creativity and fun into the family holiday process. The partnership aims to improve each and every element of the holiday process; from expert advice when booking, to teasing out the tantrums in airports and on transfers.
· Every child will receive a personal fun pack of ideas and adventures for them to enjoy on their own, with the family or while bonding with dad. If need be, Original Travel are even offering parents their very own Sharky & George ‘Fun Guru’ to take on holiday, armed with Go-Pro video cameras for capturing action shots, first aid kits, ideas for spontaneous games and a desire to find the fun in everything.
· The partnership frees up valuable time for parents both prior to the holiday and at the destination, allowing them to enjoy precious moments without having to worry about the kids and whether they will be entertained.
Hands Up Holidays specialises in luxury, tailor-made family trips that combine sightseeing with giving back.
Hands Up Holidays’ family trips are all tailor-made, and are ideal for families for these reasons:
- So that children can appreciate how fortunate they are
- To provide meaningful interaction with another culture in a safe context
- To instil the values of service and giving back in children
- To bond together as a family
They do loads, but we chose this one which is for families with children under 10, wildlife conservation trip.
Elephant Encounter – Thailand
- Getting up close and personal helping elephants
- Bangkok immersion tour
- Thai traditional massage
- Chiang Mai and her temples
Your “Taste of Volunteering” Project
Elephants were historically extensively used to move and carry heavy objects such as tree logs, but with deforestation and loss of habitat, elephants in Thailand face their greatest challenges ever.
You can help care for elephants at a center in Northern Thailand; help these beautiful creatures and gain an insight into Thai culture as you get to know the people who permanently care for the elephants.
Volunteer tasks are varied according to the season and needs at the time, but you should get to:
- Prepare meals, feed and bathe elephants
- Help preserve the rain forest, and help with replanting trees
- Learn about diseases affecting elephants and how to treat them when they are sick
This remarkable volunteer project blends the stunning sights, fascinating people and delicious food of Thailand, with a unique, hands-on elephant rehabilitation mission.
You have an overview of Bangkok’s highlights and we include a traditional Thai massage to finish your day before flying to Chiang Mai.
The northern reaches of Thailand are home to the Asian Elephant. Domesticated for centuries, it is commonly used in the forestry industry and tourism. Unfortunately these magnificent endangered creatures are often mistreated. Feel the rewards of making a real difference to their quality of life and get to know the people that care for them on a daily basis.
Spend the next day relaxing back in Chiang Mai – a fabulous zip lining day is an option if you still have energy to burn!
Then fly back to Bangkok, where your trip ends, and extension trips begin.
Accommodation: accommodation will be in 5* hotels based on 2 persons sharing a twin-bedded room, except for whilst volunteering, which is in 4* accommodation.
In The Saddle Riding Holidays specialise in horse riding holidays all over the world. From ranches in the Rocky Mountain states of Montana and Wyoming, beach and mountain rides in Europe, horseback safaris in Africa and riding expeditions to remote and unexplored parts of the world. In The Saddle can find a holiday to suit just about anyone, whatever their riding experience.
Tailormade riding to suit all abilities and ages amongst South Africa’s plains game on responsive and well mannered horses. Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill are ideal for everyone with the length and pace of rides tailored to suit ability and experience. Top Tip: Combine a few days at each lodge to enjoy the best of the riding and game viewing available. The two beautifully decorated and luxurious lodges are based on their own private game reserves, offering a very personal experience. All levels of riders are catered for on excellent well-schooled horses – Non riders are very welcome!
Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill are run by the Babers, whose family have lived in the Waterberg since 1865. They have perfected the art of the luxurious and very personal safari. Activities can be tailored to suit each person in the group, making this an ideal holiday for riders and non riders alike, and both lodges offer you the chance of a fabulous riding safari.
Each lodge has a number of excellent well-schooled horses from Thoroughbreds and Arabs to Boerperd crosses. All riding abilities can be catered for with horses for experienced riders as well as steady ponies for children. Even those who have booked as non-riders may be encouraged to ride at least once during their stay since one of the best ways to get close to game is on horseback. You will be amazed at how close you can be to the animals. For those who prefer to walk, the guides will take you on guided bush walks. Vehicle game drives and cycling safaris are also available.
Each reserve has an incredible variety of game from rhino, buffalo, nyala, waterbuck, giraffe, eland, sable, oryx, wildebeest, red hartebeest, kudu, impala, zebra, blesbuck, warthog, bushpig and brown hyena as well as all the smaller animals such as African wild cat, mongoose and more than 250 species of birds. There are no elephant or lion so all levels of riders can be safely taken out on horseback. The guides can also take you to other places of interest in the Waterberg such as to see bushman paintings, archaeological sites or an elephant-back safari. For those who are a little saddle sore or in need of real relaxation, you can enjoy a massage. All these extra activities are at an additional cost.
At both lodges, great pride is taken in the delicious cuisine on offer. Enjoy bush breakfasts, starlit dinners around open fires or impromptu lunches beneath a shady tree. Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill not only offer a fabulous game viewing experience and a wide variety of activities, they are superb places to just relax and watch the sun go down for those needing a well-deserved break.
The lodge is nestled in landscaped gardens, with an expansive saline pool that blends naturally into the surroundings. There is a thatched covered chill out spot furnished with large sofa beds for those in need of a siesta or respite from the African sun.
The lodges are pen all year, and you may Arrive and depart any day and stay for as long as you wish (they recommend a stay of at least seven nights). Each lodge can be booked at an adult and child rate on a non exclusive basis or alternatively booked exclusively for a private group. Prices based on a 7-night stay in a standard room during the summer holidays start are £1514 per adult, £996 per child.Read More
Woodovis Park is a small, safe and peaceful 5 star holiday park nestled on the edge of Devon’s Tamar Valley: an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a designated World Heritage Site. It’s ideally located for exploring the West Country, with endless places to visit and things to do on your holiday. They are close to Dartmoor National Park and within easy reach of the UK’s most dramatic coastlines and beaches.
You’re guaranteed a warm, friendly welcome. Whether you’re camping, touring or staying in a luxury caravan, nothing’s too much trouble for their staff who are on hand to help and advise at all times.
Woodovis Park has won many top level awards for its superb facilities and services, but they’re most proud of “what our guests say”
Leave the tent behind…Enjoy all the fun of camping without the packing up! If you love the idea of camping but understandably want to keep dry and cosy and away from those creepy crawlies, then our cute Camping Pods & Super Pods are the answer. They’re the ideal place to build your own warm, snugly nest. Bring all of your normal gear but when you arrive you just move in straightaway! No time lost erecting or packing away a wet tent!
Live under big skies, see the stars, get back to nature. But there’s no need to stray too far from comfort: chocolate croissants for breakfast from our shop and a short stroll up the road to a superb local pub for dinner.
Two new super pods at Woodovis Park (www.woodovis.com) in Devon are the perfect family-friendly solution for kick-starting the camping season this spring. Fully insulated and complete with electric heater, the super-size camping pods offer the appeal of getting close to nature without any fear of chill and dreary weather ruining an affordable spring break. Campers can arrive and check straight in without breaking a sweat erecting a tent, and there’s no muddy canvas to pack away at the end of the stay.
The super pods come equipped with a table and two bench seats that convert into a double bed, covered decking with table and chairs for watching the world go by, double glazing, insulated walls, heater, electric socket, lighting and even a TV. Two additional camp beds can be supplied on request. Positioned in a quiet corner of the tranquil site, pod guests can awake to the sound of bleating lambs and birdsong before setting out to explore the bluebells and rhododendron of the beautiful Tamar Valley and nearby Dartmoor National Park.
Other family-friendly features at Woodovis Park include an outdoor table tennis area and solar-heated, indoor swimming pool. Kids can also sign up for archery and ‘water walking’ in the pool while adults relax in the infrared therapy sauna.
Top free Dartmoor activities include cycling the Granite Way or the new Drake’s Trail. More unusual and free pursuits include swimming wild and letterboxing – navigation, walking, running or hiking on Dartmoor amidst breathtaking scenery whilst searching for letterboxes and the coveted stamps inside. Families will also enjoy seeking out nearby film locations from Spielberg’s ‘War Horse’ or heading to Dartmoor Zoo, inspiration for ‘We Bought a Zoo’.
The super pods sleep up to four people and cost from £55 per night. Woodovis Park sits in 14 acres in the tranquil surrounds of the Tamar Valley on the Devon-Cornwall border, located on the edge of Dartmoor in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a designated World Heritage Site.
Also within a half hour’s drive of Woodovis Park, Hidden Valley Discovery Park (www.hiddenvalleydiscoverypark.co.uk) makes for a great day out, whatever the weather.Read More
Have you ever seen your children come back from their school adventure holiday residential trip and thought to yourself “I so want to do that too!”? Well, how about doing just that this year in France? NOt only are the activities for the grown ups too, but if you go with newly-launched Family Adventure Holidays you can snap up a really affordable bargain this year – they claims their family activity holiday in Normandy is the best value on the market this summer!
Ideal for families with younger children, the Normandy Adventure Holiday is an all-inclusive week based at a 200-year-old chateau near Avranches and the coast. Included are more than 20 activities for all ages – from canoeing and climbing to biking and bread-making – plus accommodation, all meals and drinks and evening entertainment.
Activities are tailored to different age groups, with circus skills, bread-making and a mini-farm for the tots, aeroball and assault courses for children, and clay pigeon-shooting and cider-tasting for parents.
The action takes place within the chateau’s 100-acre grounds encompassing woodland, meadows, lakes, rivers and waterfalls.
Normandy Adventure Holidays run from July 17 – September 13, with seven-night prices (based on two adults and two children sharing an ensuite family room) starting at £295 per adult, £245 per child aged 6-15 years, and under-6s free (prices apply for weeks beginning August 30 and September 6). Everything is included except travel! Prices for the rest of the summer are £345 per adult, £295 for 6-15s, £95 for 2-5s and free for under-2s.Read More
Finland: Winter Adventure Week with Dogs, Reindeer and Snowmobiles
The Mighty Fine Company’s Winter Adventure Week in Finland features plenty for parents and children to get their teeth into, including snowmobiling, reindeer sleigh rides and an overnight husky sled safari to a remote wilderness hut. Families can even opt to spend a night in a snow igloo!
Departures available until 19 April 2014. Prices for the Finland: Winter Adventure Week with Dogs, Reindeer and Snowmobiles start from £1,864 per person and this includes return flights from London Heathrow to Kittilä Airport; transfers; five nights’ accommodation at the Harriniva Holiday Centre and one night in a wilderness hut, all on full board basis; all the required equipment for the activities, including thermo-overalls, socks, mittens, boots, warm hat and sleeping bag; a two-day husky safari and a one-day reindeer programme; cross-country skiing equipment or snow shoes for one day; a snowmobile tour and the services of an experienced tour guide.Read More
While tales of a family cycling holiday from Fort William on the Atlantic Coast to Inverness by the North Sea is sure to impress friends and family, it is suitable for those as young as 11 – even younger, if they ride their bikes most weekends. Spending five days in the saddle, families explore the sights, sounds and activities of Scotland, with the opportunity to try out canoeing, horse-riding and monster-spotting on Loch Ness along the way.
Cycling three to five hours daily, follow trails along canal tow paths, forestry roads, easy singletrack and quiet minor roads and visit an array of Highland villages and ancient castles.
Mountain Biking – Family Coast to Coast (Self Guided)From Fort William, meander along the Great Glen Way, passing through Clunes Forest and along the shore of Loch Lochy and onto Laggan Locks. Heading north east, visit the historic Bridge of Oich and follow an easy trail along the Caledonian Canal leading to the village of Fort Augustus at the head of Loch Ness. From here take a boat trip for some compulsory monster-spotting and sample a taste of forest riding. Climbing high above Loch Ness, families will enjoy fantastic views down the length of the Great Glen, before a thrilling descent brings them to the Highland village of Drumnadrochit. There is plenty of free time here to visit the 13th century Urquhart Castle or the Loch Ness Monster Museum. The finale is a route to the capital of the Highlands, Inverness with its castle.
Price: Bike Across Scotland – The Great Glen Trail self-guided family mountain biking break costs £600 per adult and £575 per child including five nights’ B&B accommodation, high quality bike hire, baggage transfers, detailed route notes and maps, baggage transfers and emergency support, if required, with Wilderness Scotland (www.wildernessscotland.com, 01479 420020). The holiday operates between 4 April and 31 October.Read More
It’s that time of year when we all start thinking longingly of holidays – so we thought we’d help you out a bit with our ‘family friendly holidays with a twist’ series: we’ve found some of the freshest and best ideas to help you think of something beyond the ordinary. Let’s all make our 2014 trips something extraordinary, whether here in the UK or heading to wider horizons.
First up in the series is Les Petits Caravanniers – an 8 day family adventure trek on the edge of the Sahara in Morocco.
This super bi-lingual family trekking holiday starts out beyond the Atlas Mountains amongst the palm-fringed oases of the Draa Valley. Here, you meet the Berber crew and their team of camels, and set out on a 4-day trek on the edge of the great Sahara Desert. Travelling in the traditional way of the camel caravan, the route will take you across high sand dunes to isolated villages and rock ridge viewpoints.
Sleeping out in the desert, meeting Saharan dwellers and hunting for fossils, this is an enchanting experience for the whole family. This unique trip is run with a mix of English and French families – it’s a great way for youngsters to make international friends and develop or practice language skills. The trip also includes time for sightseeing in the wonderful city of Marrakech where the evening entertainment is still provided by jugglers, acrobats and story-tellers.
· Camel trekking in the desert and sleeping out under the stars
· Family adventure trek with French and English families
· Traditional camel caravan on the edge of the Sahara Desert
· The magic and mystery of Marrakech
· A unique family adventure holiday
All meals except 2 dinners, 2 nights in hotels, 5 nights camping, transfer and all land transport, English speaking local guide and all activity equipment
Price: £495 Land only – (Join in Marrakesh)
Departures: 29 Mar, 12 Apr, 18 Oct, 25 Oct, 20 Dec, 27 Dec 2014 and 14 Feb, 28 mar, 11 Apr, 17 Oct, 24 Oct, 19 Dec, 26 Dec 2015.
Suitable for children aged 6 and over – check out the details and see loads of photos and videos in the gallery on KE Adventure Travel’s site.Read More
It may still be cold and dark, but summer is on its way, and our friends at YHA want to help you and your family experience the UK for less this year with up to 50% off family rooms!
YHA have a huge variety of locations all across England and Wales, from medieval castles to country houses, even eco-friendly camping pods and shepherd’s huts! Many locations have their own cafes and restaurants, or you can self-cater to make your holiday even more affordable, and many of their family rooms are en suite.
Using code NY2014-003, you can save up to 50% on a private room at many locations for stays between 1st June 2014 and 21st August 2014, perfect for a low cost summer getaway!
Rooms are going fast and the sale will soon end, so grab yourself a bargain now! Just visit the YHA Sale page, pick yourself a hostel and see how much you could save.Read More
It used to be that the husband and I only ever had one question to answer for our holidays – where do we fancy taking the tent this time?
We ALWAYS camped. And it made us happy to our bones.
Once the children came along, the logistics got a bit harder than a couple of duvets, cooking equipment and a few clothes bunged into a bag.
But it wasn’t until I was pregnant with boy no.3, had a crawling 10mth old, and a boisterous 3yr old to fit into our tent that I decided that next year, we would be holidaying in a place with a washing machine, a tap, and a real bed.
And so we switched to self-catering – we found cottages in as remote and secluded places as we possibly could find, but we had to admit we’d softened up and gone for the easy option.
And we missed it.
We really did.
And also – we felt the children were missing out, too.
A cottage holiday is fun – but it’s just not the same as experiencing camping, with the weather, the chores, the togetherness, and the sheer OUTDOORS-ness of it all.
So a few years ago, we headed to Yorkshire to show them what camping was all about. And they got totally bitten by the bug. No, not those bugs (though the midges were shocking), the camping bug.
And now we divide our holidays – camping IS harder than an all-mod-cons cottage, that’s for sure. But also? Nothing beats it. Doing both allows us the best of all worlds, and keeps us all happy.
But there are 6 of us, plus one really very big dog, and finding a tent that fits us all comfortably enough for a two-week living space is trickier than you’d think.
So we were delighted when Outwell asked if we’d like to review the Bahia 7 (delighted? I may have bitten their arm off in my speed to say yes please).
Sadly, a now-famous argument with a lawnmower (I got lucky – one slightly shortened finger is all the damage I did in the end) put paid to our Big Camping Adventure last summer. But the Bahia 7 waited patiently for us, and we managed to get a quick weekend in it before the weather turned cold and wet (we’re lightweight fair-weather campers these days, I’m slightly ashamed to say).
So – was it all we needed?
Oh my yes! Everything and more!
It looks utterly enormous, doesn’t it?
Well, that’s probably because it IS – and it needs to be. Imagine 2 children, 2 teens and 2 adults, plus one large and bumptious dog living in one room together? Exactly.
But the Bahia 7 gave us all the space we needed.
We had the additional Storage Pod too, which meant that the bedroom space was more roomy with no bags in it.
The layout is an easy tunnel set up – bedrooms at the far end, one separate for the grown ups, two that have the optional divider (we don’t bother) for the four children.
That leaves you two ‘rooms’ for living space – which is plenty. It feels HUGE inside, and there’s bags of room on a wet morning for everyone to sprawl out and play games.
You could easily fit table and chairs in there, if that’s what you choose (we don’t – but we think that we should every time we camp, and now we actually have a tent big enough to take it!).
Most importantly there’s enough room for everyone to spread out a little, and not feel like you’re living in each other’s laps – there’s nothing more grumpy-making than being squashed up on a wet day with no space to move.
We used the front ‘room’ for cooking and eating, and the middle area for spillover stretching out and storing games/boots/dog. You can remove the middle panel and make it one large space, but we found the best option for us was to close that off as soon as the evening meal started to cook, which kept the middle area free of midges, and maintained some warmth for later – leaving it as one huge space made it feel cold and damp at that time of year quite quickly.
If you get some proper weather, the front end can be opened right up, really making you part of the great outdoors – on warm summer nights we fully intend to sleep ‘outside’ by bring the beds up to the front, and sleeping almost under the stars. But even ona dull day there are so many windows that the tent feels bright and comfortable to be in.
Honestly, there are so many great features to this tent that I want to tell you about – being Outwell it’s made incredibly well, and the design has simply been thought out by someone who actually camps; they just know the small things that make a huge difference.
As the Bahia 7 was designed with family camping in mind, there are great touches like the masses of pocket storage. And whilst we tried it out in damp old Blighty, the ventilation netting on every available door and window and wall mean this tent is going to work just as fabulously in the heat of the south of France this year.
The best price we found online for the Bahia 7 was at CampingWorld, where’ll you’ll get a penny change from £1200 – a really great price for a truly brilliant family tent with masses of growing room, and years and years of holidays.Read More
Loving the new YHA winter offer! You can choose from over 100 hostels, book by 17 November 2013 and stay between 16 September and 13 February…
from just £9.50 per person per night!
Plus, families booking a family room get an extra 10% off – that means a family of 4 can stay in a private room from just £34 a night!
I just tried it out, thinking we could use an overnight stay when we head to Bath’s Christmas Market in November. The Hostel looks lovely, doesn’t it? And for a city centre break, the discount made it an amazing bargain:
So go on, getaway with YHA and make some happy memories. Simply quote
when you book online
YHA members can also use their £3 discount! Full details can be found here http://www.yha.org.uk/special-offer/more-memoriesRead More
When those lovely people at Accor heard we were making a very lo-o-o-ng (11.5hr drive) road trip through France, they incredibly kindly offered to provide a stopover half way.
Naturally I chose the spot in a very careful and scientific manner – I drew the map on Googlemaps, and plumped for wherever appeared to be halfway on the route…
Accor came back and said that the ibis Styles in Bourges would be perfect for us. No, I’d not really heard of the ibis Styles brand either, but I was just happy to have a bed for the night, so I naturally said lovely-please-thank-you, and crossed my fingers it would be convenient and nice.
Well, by the time we arrived, we were pretty much done in – 4hrs on the ferry plus 5 and half hours driving made for a very dull family. The hotel was right on the motorway – literally – very convenient, but being in what looked like a retail park and on such a busy road we did rather sink a little at what we might find.
Idiots, we were.
We wheeled the cases into reception, and I practiced my best French on the man at reception; “Un Reservation pour Hitchcock?”
He smiled, and replied in faultless English. Cheating in the language skills, I know, but honestly we were so tired it was a blessed relief.
A speedy check in, and we were on our way to our rooms – we couldn’t have interconnecting, but we had the older boys in a double just up the corridor, and we were in one of the family rooms.
The hotel itself was bright, spacious and really welcoming. The vibrant colours and prints everywhere made it feel fresh and modern, and once we were in, we had absolutely zero knowledge of the motorway right outside. And the family room? Probably the best we’ve EVER had…
After freshening up, we headed straight out to find something to eat. There is a Restaurant Grill Courtepaille within a minutes walk – and we’d totally recommend it. We ate there twice, and both times it was fabulous. the food’s great, the service excellent, and it was the perfect choice for weary travellers.
There are no tea & coffee facilities in the rooms, but there’s a great coffee machine in reception which you can visit at any time and take back to your room. The beds were unbelievably comfortable, the bed linen great quality and we all had the best night’s sleep we’d had for ages. The following morning we wandered down to breakfast (very loose timings from 7 to 11, and checkout is not til 12) and found a typical hotel buffet breakfast waiting for us.
Tables are laid with trays, and you simply collect a tray from your table, and go collect what you fancy from the fruit and pastries, cereals, yoghurts, ham and cheese and of course endless juice tea and coffee to drink.
We stayed at the ibis Styles Bourges on the way back too – in the very same rooms, and had an equally fabulous stay. The staff are unfailingly friendly (and their English puts my French to pitiful shame), the children were not just tolerated but positively welcomed (the Monsters University welcome packs were a BIG hit!) the rooms are spacious and comfortable and the whole place is spotlessly clean, fresh and inviting. We’d recommend the ibis Styles hotels to any family – and will definitely use them again ourselves.
A family room at the IBIS Styles in Bourges is currently £97 a night, sleeps up to 4 and includes unlimited WIFI and breakfast.
With children back at school up and down the land, HomeAway.co.uk, the UK’s leading rentals site, has some super September savers for those free to go away outside the restrictions of the academic year.
September holidays are the perfect way to catch some sun before autumn sets in and at prices lower than the premiums charged during the popular July and August getaway period. Whether it is a week in Lanzarote, a city break in Rome or an active beach holiday in Portugal, the site lists over half a million properties that are perfect for a post-summer break.
Erica Chang, Regional Director of HomeAway.co.uk, says, “There is no doubt that if you can be flexible on when you go away, there are many savings to be had once the school term starts in September. Bagging a bargain onHomeAway.co.uk means you get the same great destinations and outstanding properties available in July and August but at a lower price.
She added, “This is a great time for families with babies and toddlers to travel as the sun isn’t quite so strong, the perfect time for couples to enjoy the less crowded streets of Paris and Barcelona and for those with time on their hands, the world is their oyster”.
Current options from the site include:
This is an outstanding brand new, fully furnished apartment in the exclusive Tas-Sellum development in Mellieha. The property consists of a spacious open plan kitchen, dining and living area as well as four bedrooms and sea view balconies. The development is a tranquil base for a relaxing holiday but is also just is a 15 minute walk to Ghadira Bay, the best beach on the island as well as being close to shops, bars and restaurants.
Full details can be seen at www.homeaway.co.uk/p1025556 and a week in September costs £763, a massive saving of £835 on August prices (£1,616).
Spacious and recently renovated to a high standard, this luxury penthouse apartment has two private balconies with views of tropical gardens, mountains and the marina. Spacious and bright with marble throughout, this apartment is a great getaway bolt-hole. The gardens are relaxing and there are two stunning pools as well as beach access; perfect for some September sun.
Full details can be seen at www.homeaway.co.uk/p53681 and a week September is £763, a saving of £427 on August prices (£1,190).
This spacious villa with stunning marble floors throughout offers a good standard of modern accommodation in a fantastic quiet position within the popular Faro Park area. Villa Nefertiti is ideal for groups of family and friends travelling together, offering three bedrooms, three bathrooms, as well as a sofa bed to accommodate extra visitors.
In the grounds is a beautiful pool and patio area with mature palms and cactus, whilst covered terraces provide shaded areas for guests to relax. The resort of Playa Blanca with pretty harbour, array of shops and restaurants is a five minute drive away as are several beautiful sandy beaches.
Full details can be seen at http://www.homeaway.co.uk/p448547 and a week in September costs £500, a saving of £200 on August prices (£700).
Situated in the village of Mousata, Nostos is set within lush greenery and has a swimming pool overlooking the Ionian Sea. It offers spacious, tastefully decorated air-conditioned accommodation for up to five guests. There is a furnished balcony with sea views, free sun beds and umbrellas, poolside bar and the beach is just over a kilometre away.
Full details can be seen at www.homeaway.co.uk/p1060364 and a week in September costs £238, a saving of £287 on August prices (£525).
This charming southwest facing house with a heated pool is located in between the beautiful beaches of Brittany and the city centre of Erquy. Amenities include a home cinema, wi-fi, modern furniture and fittings, private garage and outdoor parking. Outside there is a large, private terrace overlooking a gated pool and the sandy beach of Guen beach located 1.5 km from the house, where you swim and fish.
Full details can be seen at www.homeaway.co.uk/p926815a and a week in September costs £426 a saving of £214 (£640).
If you want to try to catch the last of the English sun, how about this fourth floor apartment with two bedrooms, which sleeps four? Ocean Views is a new luxury seafront development on the Isle of Portland in Dorset. The apartment has high quality flooring, wooden decked balcony and polished granite worktops. The development has a state-of-the-art health and fitness suite complete with an indoor swimming pool and is set in landscaped grounds, which are perfect for sunny autumn afternoon strolls.
Full details can be seen at www.homeaway.co.uk/p1032472 a week September costs £699, a saving of (£1,209).Read More
Group Accommodation are perfect for family breaks with toddlers. Many offer lovely enclosed gardens with play equipment, others provide a box full of toys to keep little ones entertained, or a library of children’s DVDs. Many can provide babysitting services or offer handy kids’ equipment such as high chairs, plastic crockery, stair gates, or baby monitors. Others even boast their own on-site woodland nature trails, or even friendly resident farm animals.
Here are our top picks:
This town house offers comfort, elegance and plenty of space for friends and families looking to spend time together in e charming town of Brecon in the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Full of lovely features the house is perfect for families with children who will levitate to the converted cellar den with Sky Plus and table tennis table. The first floor drawing room has floor to ceiling French patio doors, allowing you to make full use of the lovely sloping rear garden that rises up above the house to gives views of both Pen y Fan. The kitchen opens onto a sheltered courtyard beneath the garden where evenings can be spent socialising making use of the gas BBQ and out door tables an chairs – the secret to be found is historic ice-house, where there are further table and chairs if the weather is not kind! Sleeps 14 with 7 bedrooms.
The Shippon is a detached converted barn with magnificent views down to and over a completely unspoilt, building-free stretch of the navigable river Dart. You approach the property down about a half mile private tarmac drive and there is plenty of parking space once you reach the Shippon. This is a marvellous place to bring your children and their friends or your friends and their children! There is a spacious games room with table tennis and pool table on the first floor. There is also a small colour television. There are some good walks, excellent child-friendly pubs/restaurants, bird watching and badgers, foxes, deer and even an osprey has been seen. Sleeps up to 18 with 10 bedrooms.
Perfect for big families, upstairs is a roomy lounge with a Clearview wood burning stove and leather sofas where you can watch TV, listen to music, set up wist drives or relax together. All the facilities of the site are available including the indoor heated swimming pool and leisure facilities, the Big Play Barn and the outdoor play areas. There is a Big Play Barn with ride-on toys, play houses, soft play and adventure playground. They provide 2 travel cots, high chairs and bedguards. Sleeps up to 12 with 6 bedrooms.
Llys Tanwg is an absolutely top-class location for a quiet getaway or a large family gathering, with an endless amount of local activities for all ages and dispositions. There are large private and secluded gardens, including woodland areas with some great climbing trees, as well as a log cabin for table tennis, pool, darts and table football. The beach is wonderful, only a 10 minute walk away, with 4 miles of wide sandy beach and dunes in one direction, rock pools in the other, all safe for swimming. Sleeps up to 13 with 7 bedrooms.
This house will instantly grab your attention, the entrance hall leads into a large comfortable lounge affording fabulous views, with door leading out to sun terrace and gardens. The gardens offer a BBQ, seating areas, all-weather tennis court, croquet, badminton, a fish pond and an “adventure heaven” for children, ideal for hide and seek or treasure hunts. Not to mention it’s 2 minutes from the safe sandy beach and high chairs & travel cots available. Sleeps up to 24 with 12 bedrooms.