Glamping; tipis with fur rugs, log burners and wine by the hot tub. This is what I had imagined before our trip to Wales. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure that all these things are possible without three children in tow (plus a grumpy husband who had fallen off some scaffolding and cracked his ribs a few days before). He wanted to sleep in a tent (madness) but we settled for a “lodge” in The Gower. We booked through Scamper Holidays and were on a campsite about one mile from Llangennith which is a beautiful sandy beach with some of the best surf in the UK.
The lodge had been described as having plenty of space for a travel cot but the actual reality was that S was parked up by the cooker and kitchen space in between our bed and the boys bunk beds. All this meant was that when S went to sleep at night we all went to sleep (8pm), it was actually pretty peaceful all snuggling down and reading. The problem was that he woke roughly every hour for the three nights that we were there. I was going through some form of slow torture of sleep deprivation that was only made okay due to the fact that we had a TV for the 6am starts and I could lie in bed whilst coming round from what felt like 10 rounds in a boxing ring. The lodge was really good fun for the older two boys and we will go something similar once S has all his teeth through (note to self check his mouth before booking a trip next time).
D and I had visited the Gower about 13 years ago on a road trip camping round the UK. The landscape is stunning, there were wild ponies roaming across the fields, we walked along deserted beaches (first week of September and all the Welsh schools were back), we ate incredible seafood and disconnected from the rest of the world (no phone reception where we were staying and we chose not to find wi-fi).
Here are the highlights and recommendations for a trip to the Gower.
Visit The Coalhouse on Oxwich Bay Beach. The food was exceptional and this was my chosen treat for the holiday, a glass of wine at lunchtime, fresh seafood and homemade bread.
Go sand boarding in some of the many sand dunes at Llangennith Beach.
Build sand castles on one of the beautiful sandy beaches.
Go dune jumping with the whole family (I screamed pretty loudly, it’s higher than it looks).
Always remember wet wipes for beach trips (surely after five years I would remember the basics myself but I don’t).
Explore the different beaches and get into the sea (its crystal clear) there are so many and often no-one there (off season of course).
Leave the toys at home, let the children use their imagination with whatever is around them.
Take a giant rug for the beach for everyone to snuggle up in (sit on).
Take your litter home. This was the only part of the Gower that made me sad. Compared to a lot of other tourist destinations around the UK it was immaculate but in the sanddunes at one beach there were lots of beer cans and broken glass where people just couldn’t be bothered to tidy up, it made me cross (especially the glass).
Book early, there were lots of places fully booked (even when the schools had all gone back). The choice of accommodation on the Gower is vast; glamping to cottages with their own beaches and everything in between. One of our favourite places is The Lizard in Cornwall, it feels remote, wild and beautiful. The Gower was very similar and somewhere we will be visiting again and again.