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.

small girl big bed

Small Girl. Big Bed. And rela-a-a–ax….

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.

picnic spot Usk reservoir

There are worse places to stop for lunch… (we started on a Roman Road, walked around in a loop to the right, across to the forest in front and through it down to the shores of the water of the Usk reservoir which you can just see. Then up to our left and back to the car. FAB walk!)


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.

rottweiler sleeping

There’s just nothing like the warmth of a kitchen after a day on the moors…

beautiful bathroom

Yes. Three boys actually fought over who would get IN the bath… #miracle

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…

Children hiking in mud in Brecon Beacons

The 2nd day started out too wet for our planned trip up Pen Y Fan, so we headed for the shelter of the woods near Ystradfelte instead.

raining in Ystradfelte forest

We all ended up feeling rather soggy…

standing behind Sigwd Yr Eira

No.1 and Boy standing behind Sigwd Yr Eira – the noise is simply tremendous, even though the fall isn’t anywhere near as big as we’ve seen it before.

river swimming in Brecon Beacons

But by the time we were on our way home the sun had come out, and it was impossible to resist the lure of the river…

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.

playing stick races

You have NO idea just how competitive these races got. The lengths some people will go to to win a stick race… *whistles*

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.

red kites over tractor

Red Kites wheeling and dipping over the tractor. We just stopped and watched for ages in a great big cloud of *happy*

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.

Glan Clydach courtyard

Even though there are no gardens as such, the courtyard at the front of the property is beautiful – and perfect for children to play in.

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!

crying about leaving

This is what happened as we drove away and called goodbye to the cottage. Yes, she actually really cried.

(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…


Author: Laura

A 70's child, I’ve been married for a Very Long Time, and appear to have made four children, and collected one large and useless dog along the way. I work, I have four children, I have a dog… ergo, I do not do dusting or ironing. I began LittleStuff back in (gulp) 2004. I like huge mugs of tea. And Coffee. And Cake. And a steaming cone of crispy fresh fluffy chips, smothered in salt and vinegar. #healthyeater When I grow up I am going to be quietly graceful, organised and wear lipstick every day. In the meantime I *may* have a slight butterfly-brain issue.

Share This Post On

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *