With quirky gems like Portmeirion and Feather Down Farms, you can’t go wrong with a family holiday in Wales
Keep your carbon footprint to a minimum and take a family holiday right on your doorstep. Wales has something for every family, whether you fancy a boutique retreat in Swansea, a city break in Cardiff, a fairytale trip to Portmeirion, upscale farm life or new style self-catering on the stunning Pembrokeshire coast.
Head to Morgans Hotel, Swansea’s grand boutique hotel located in the beautiful maritime quarter with its sandy beach, promenade, children’s lido, leisure pool and museums. It’s also close to the city centre and stunning Mumbles and Gower coastline, which is home to parks and gardens and almost 20 nature reserves. Activities include sailing, surfing, sea angling, canoeing, rowing and hiking. The hotel is a great one for families who like funky interiors.
For an urban treat with the kids, it’s got to be St David’s Hotel & Spa located next to Cardiff’s Mermaid Quay and a close neighbour of the stunning Cardiff Bay Opera House. Children will be awestruck by the glass atrium that soars up through the middle of this landmark structure and similarly bowled over by the sea views from the floor-to-ceiling windows in your suite. There’s the Tides Bar and Grill for all the family to try high-class Welsh-influenced cuisine and an excellent Marine Spa for mums and dads to indulge.
Portmeirion was built by Welsh architect Clough Williams-Ellis from 1925 to 1973 to demonstrate that development of a naturally beautiful site need not result in its defilement. Consequently, the Portmeirion Estate includes 70 acres of sub-tropical woodlands known as the Gwyllt as well as farmland and the fabulous stylised Italianate village with a fairytale-like surprise around every corner, itself on the southern side of its own private peninsula on the coast of Snowdonia. Families can stay at Hotel Portmeirion or opt for one of 17 self-catering cottages, which sleep from three to eight people.
If you’ve always dreamed of playing happy families in a magical woodland hideaway, take a look at Feather Down Farms. There are several across the UK, but Pant y March Farm near Bala in Wales is the one that truly creates an idyllic rural existence. This 180-acre working farm overlooks Wales’ largest natural lake, Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake), with views over Arenig mountain. This is really a land of legends, giant fairies, witches and wizards and mythical creatures who inhabit the lakes and mountains. Families can make believe in their own Feather Down Farm tent, which is a bit like living in your ideal granny’s kitchen – under canvas. Interiors reflect an honest rural life of yesteryear. Nighttimes are particularly special as there’s no TV or computers. Story telling, singing and communal dining are the only things to do under the stars.
The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park encompasses one of the most stunning seascapes in the country. Bluestone is a must for families who love luxury activity holidays by the sea. Opened in July 2008, it has 355 beautifully designed lodges, cottages and studios – think timber beams, vaulted ceilings and outside decking. Activities range from pony trekking to cliff-jumping to gourmet dining and relaxing spa experiences. For kiddies, the fantastic Junior Rangers club (for children aged 5-11) offers everything from face-painting to bug hunting. For the really little ones there are Teddy Bear Picnics, Lanterns & Limpets (where they make their own paper lanterns) and the Bluestone Bash, where they create an instrument then let rip. There is also a nanny service available.