Just in case you missed all the over-excited tweets and Facebook updates recently, we have been to Wales on holiday! We spent a fantastic week exploring Pembrokeshire – a first trip to this wonderful part of the world for our family.
Booking at the last minute, we hunted about for family friendly accommodation that offered a good location, value for money and interest for Roo. Best of Wales along with a couple of other agencies & accommodation providers answered my call for help on Twitter and we eventually opted for a cracker of a little cottage on a small-holding on the north cost of Pembrokeshire, all for a reasonably priced £450 for a week long stay in mid-June.
Bwthyn Ysgubor or The Barn as it is more practically known for its non-Welsh speaking visitors, is a barn conversion style bungalow located near the village of Mathry on the northern Pembrokeshire coast. With Fishguard ten minutes drive east, St. Davids twenty minutes to the west, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and Preseli hills very close and all manner of little beaches and seaside villages around five to ten minutes away, Bwthyn Ysgubor is perfectly situated for exploring the best of northern Pembrokeshire. It also has all manner of walking options within easy reach and is close to the main road down to Haverford West, making touring other parts of Pembrokeshire easy. We were lucky to enjoy glorious weather during our stay and so spent every day out and about with Bwthyn Ysgubor providing the perfect base for our explorations.
Bwthyn Ysgubor is an attractive whitewashed building with two bedrooms set in its own courtyard with plenty of vibrant hanging baskets, flower boxes and beds providing a splash of seasonal colour. The house is located on part of a small-holding owned by Alan and Margaret Foster with their pigs, cattle, ducks and other animals your nearby neighbours.
Having been a little distracted by our stop-off in the Brecon Beacons, we arrived later than expected. We found the cottage ready with key in door and a welcome pack of butter, bread, milk, sugar, tea, welsh cakes and freshly laid chicken and duck eggs waiting for us. Given the late hour, we were very grateful for the goodies and Roo was packed off to bed after enjoying some of the most yellow and delicious looking scrambled egg on toast we have seen for a long while.
Margaret popped over to say hello to us after we had had time to unpack and it was instantly clear that she goes out of her way to make everything as comfortable, easy and family friendly as possible for her visitors. What’s more, Margaret – a grandmother herself, told us she is CRB checked and available for on-site babysitting!
Inside, with its small windows, I initially found Bwthyn Ysgubor a little on the dark side. The silver lining of this meant we all slept late in the mornings, including Roo, despite us holidaying during the longest days of the year! I soon stopped noticing the natural lighting anyway – the good size of the rooms and by the continued attention to detail throughout the property more than made up for it.
The best part of staying at Bwthyn Ysgubor was that everything possible had been thought of. From boardgames, books, DVDs and other rainy day entertainment to a potty, travel cot, high chair and a child’s stepping stool for the bathroom, Margaret and Alan had overlooked nothing. There was even a small area set out with what looked like a mini local tourist board! All the leaflets on local events, walks and days out were waiting for us to plan our week with and little details like our nearest facilities and restaurants were also to hand.
The main double bedroom was a great size, with a wardrobe, dressing table and powerful hairdryer. The twin was a bit smaller but still a decent size, again with its own wardrobe. All the beds were comfy and bedding was clean and in good condition. We were also pleased to see that we had been left plenty of towels and that basics such as washing up liquid, hand soap and loo rolls had been provided.
Bwthyn Ysgubor ‘s kitchen was fully equipped, including kids’ plates and bowls. The only thing missing was a large ovenware dish for things like lasagne and some kids cutlery. Most useful of all, the kitchen also had a Bosch washing machine – handier than we first envisaged, given all the trips to the beach we took and how many times Roo managed to dribble ice-cream down herself!
Outside, there was plenty to keep us entertained. A decent sized barbeque was provided along with tools and guests have use of a storage shed for their bikes or other outdoor gubbins. Dog owners are not allowed to take their pets in the cottage but there is kennel outside for them to sleep in overnight.
As well as the private courtyard, guests to Bwthyn Ysgubor also have use of the adjoining Foster’s garden. Here Scott the dog waits patiently to play with young visitors. The dog has the patience of a saint – our dog-wary toddler was soon won round by his gentle ways and liked to kick his ball for him. Scott would trot off all 2 feet to fetch the ball before bringing it back hopefully again for the process to be repeated over and over again.
The garden at Bwthyn Ysgubor is also home to the resident ducks. This was a definite highlight for Roo. When we arrived, Margaret presented us with a bucket of duck food for our use during the stay and by the end of the week the ducks were crowding around the gate to be fed every time Roo appeared! Roo was too little to help out with the other animals, who were all of the horned variety, despite the website saying that children can get involved but she really was quite happy with sole feeding rights on the ducks and playing with the dog and cat.
Toddler toys were provided throughout the property – scooters and sit-in cars in the courtyard and mini slides and roundabout toys for tots in the main garden. There was even a trampoline!
As if all this wasn’t enough, the Fosters also have a treasure trove of an outdoor cupboard of seaside goodies for the use of guests. Buckets, spades, windbreaks, a body board… all those bulky items that take up precious boot space on a beach holiday were there to be borrowed.
All this added up to being a pretty perfect family holiday cottage. The only significant downside was the position of the cottage. Bwthyn Ysgubor is located in the middle of open countryside but also just off the main road between Fishguard and St. Davids. It is not a very busy road but the traffic does come quite fast. The courtyard through which you access the cottage though does have securely fastening gates and we felt perfectly happy letting Roo play outside without too much supervision, so its more a noise and aesthetics thing.
Another slight downer for us at Bwthyn Ysgubor was the erratic internet. It is supposedly available but my husband could not connect his phone or tablet. I’m with Three and my mobile and internet coverage was ok but Vodafone had nothing.
There are also no shops, pubs or facilities within easy walking distance of Bwthyn Ysgubor. This wasn’t an issue for us – we were happy to explore somewhere new each day, had to be back for earlier bedtimes anyway and made use of the well-stocked Spa two minutes drive away for our cooking provisions. If you’re the type that likes to wander down to the local each evening though it might be an issue.
Overall though, we had a fantastic stay at Bwthyn Ysgubor and thoroughly enjoyed exploring beautiful Pembrokeshire. It would be hard to beat such great value, warm and welcoming hospitality and such well-thought out family holiday accommodation.
For more information and bookings for Bwthyn Ysgubor, please visit their website.
Please note, this post is not sponsored and is based entirely on our family’s experience on our privately booked holiday.