A Wonderful Week In Wales (And Six Things I Learned About Wales…)

We’ve recently got back from having a great time on holiday with N and my side of the family (12 of us in total). We went to Criccieth on the coast of Wales, and we all stayed in one house which was great.

Here’s a breakdown of our holiday…then you can see what I learned (and the famous person we saw).

Day 1 – The Journey

A great week in Criccieth
A great week in Criccieth

If you’ve got a baby or have kids you’ll be quite aware of how challenging it is going on holiday with a baby. The amount of stuff you need to take is huge! I think going abroad would actually be easier as you would be more selective in what you pack. Staying in the UK means you’re more likely to pack as much as you can possibly fit in the car.

This is exactly what we did anyway! Our large boot was rammed full of stuff, along with the space in the footwell around Nathan’s car seat base (see my review of his car seat here). We basically packed the exact right amount to completely stuff the car everywhere we could (we had Grandpa in the back too so couldn’t pack stuff on him!).

The trip over took a looonnnggg time. We left about midday when N would be tired and want a sleep. We arrived at about 5pm. A mixture of traffic and lunch delayed us but we made it in the end. It’s fair to say it’s a tiring drive, especially with a baby that either slept or whinged/cried. Poor little guy, he was in there for a long time.

The house though was massive! A huge house! Five bedrooms, large lounge, dining room, kitchen and six bathrooms! It was really well finished too to a very high spec and yet homely.

Day 2 – Rain!

Of course. We are in the UK so clearly there is going to be rain in the summer. I don’t think we can complain as we’ve had a great summer which has been really hot, just a shame it rained on our first morning.

However, we played games indoors and then the rain subsided in the afternoon so we went out to a soft play area where the nieces and nephews could run off and play, but there was also an area for N to play. He stood up a fair bit holding on to the side which was great.

After that we came back to Criccieth and wandered down to the beach. We sat outside a cafe and had a much deserved drink!

Day 3 – Portmeirion

Portmeirion is beautiful
Portmeirion is beautiful

Portmeirion is a great day out. It’s so picturesque. Essentially it’s like an Italian village situated in the hills of Wales. It was also the setting of The Prisoner if you watched that (I didn’t).

Price wise it’s not too bad. It’s £12 to get in for adults (£11 if you book online in advance I think) but you get a whole days entertainment. There’s a train ride (though really it’s a train on wheels as there are no tracks), ice cream shop, book shop, souvenir shop, cafe and a variety of other things too.

Although pram and pushchair friendly in most places it’s very very hilly. Really hilly. As such it’s not easy getting a pram everywhere.

If you’re going I’d take a picnic. There is a restaurant there but if it’s busy you’ll struggle to get in.

It’s certainly worth a visit. Very beautiful and lots to see.

In the evening we all went out for a meal together which was nice. We went somewhere called Aqua Beach Bar and who should turn up but Bear Grylls! Yep, just out for a meal here. I so wanted to go say hello but the guy was having a meal out and I wasn’t about to interrupt that, he’s allowed a private life. Needless to say it caused a bit of excitement though!

Day 4 – The Beach

Well it wasn’t the best weather to do this perhaps, but we wanted to go to the beach and it was forecasted to stay dry so we gave it a go.

We went to Barmouth beach which got great reviews. It was pretty quiet on the beach, and as it was a large beach there was loads of room for us. We played cricket, threw a frisbee (have you noticed how these are now called ‘flying discs’?!) a few times (with a proper diving catch by me!), built a massive sand castle with a moat and tried to stop N eating sand. This last activity took a lot of effort and concentration!

We also had fish and chips on the beach. I don’t know what it is about fish and chips by the beach but they always seem to be better. Maybe they use the fish caught locally, or maybe it’s just that we are in a better mood and setting to enjoy them. Who knows, but they were great!

Day 5 – Steam Train

We love a steam train
We love a steam train

On day five we went to Blaenau Ffestiniog to get a steam train to Porthmadog and back.

We decided that as we were on our holiday we would go first class on the train. Why not?! It’s not cheap by any means (£39 each!) but well worth it. We got our own arm chairs in first class with a nice carpeted floor. We were right at the front on the way so next to the engine (which was actually going backwards!). Sadly N didn’t like being so close to the front as it was a bit loud, but once we closed the window he was ok, and actually fell asleep on me!

The journey took 70 minutes. Sadly there were no baby changing facilities on board, which became an issue when N decided to fill his nappy within five minutes of setting off, in both directions! The floor became the impromptu changing table. Thankfully the carriage wasn’t too full so this was ok.

Food and drink was available, including alcoholic drinks and magnums. Sadly I was driving later on so couldn’t partake of a cheeky drink this time.

The views on the journey are nothing short of spectacular. I would highly recommend this journey. Plus of course you get to wander around the town at the other end. Porthmadog has a beautiful marina to look around.

Day 6 – Children’s Farm Park

We love visiting animals of all sorts, and this was no exception. The Children’s Farm Park is essentially exactly as it says on the tin. A farm which has been changed into an animal park. There was all sorts to do there for those with children aged about 2 to 7 but perhaps not for those younger (though we knew that before we went).

They did have though some goats, pigs, ducks, various birds and lots of rabbits. N very much enjoyed looking at them all. They had a soft play area, plus a giant wooden castle with slide, small tractors to ride on, digger and some karts, plus other things too.

There was also a cafe with some very nice people serving us. We had a burger but most of the stuff there is cold (like sandwiches). However I wanted to point this place out because if you’re there you should definitely go just for the view. It truly is spectacular.

Day 7 – The Journey Home

This was pretty horrendous. It took much longer than on the way down as unfortunately we got stuck in a lot of traffic. And I mean a lot! It seemed to be almost constant.

Normally traffic is annoying enough, but when you have a grumpy baby in the back of the car and Grandpa trying to entertain him for ages but sadly with no success, the traffic just gets to you even more.

Poor little N just wanted out of his seat and to have a cuddle, which I can’t blame him for as he is properly strapped down in his car seat and it was for so long due to the traffic.

However, we made it home, he had some tea and went to bed.

Six Things I’ve Learned About Wales

These are some of the impressions I was left with from our visit to Wales…

  • There is some absolutely beautiful scenery, much more than I appreciated beforehand
  • Lots of people don’t like driving anywhere near the speed limit. Even on a straight road you can be stuck behind someone doing 35mph in a national speed limit area. I’m not kidding, this was all the time, probably because…
  • They seem to like speed camera signs. They’re everywhere, just everywhere. I’m convinced it’s the most common sign in the whole of Wales. I think whoever makes those signs did a good deal with the government! The number of signs however is odd considering…
  • There are really not many straight roads in the middle of Wales. As such, you’d be hard pressed to break the speed limit anyway!
  • They are a very proud country and love having lots of flags flying. I think this is fantastic and made me wonder why we don’t do this more in England, but I think I’ll explore that another time
  • More people speak Welsh than I originally thought. It was everywhere which is fantastic

Such A Great Holiday

It really was a great holiday to get all of my side of the family together in one house for a week. N was the centre of attention a lot of the time, particularly from the other children there. He could hardly move without a child saying “Hi Nathan” or giving him a friendly stroke on his arm. He certainly seemed to enjoy all the attention and it’s great he got to spend some dedicated time with them all.

If you’re looking for a rural holiday with beaches nearby and beautiful scenery to walk through I would definitely recommend the Criccieth area.

Have you ever been? What did you think?


  1. Ah yes if you came to Criccieth and the Llyn Peninsula then you’ve arrived at the most Welshest part of Wales. Barmouth not so much but otherwise pretty Welsh! Portmeirion is stunning! Absolutely adore the Ffestiniog Railway although I’ve not been on it for years. It runs right by my childhood home. Love the smell of the steam.

    Oh and the reason for the speed camera signs is because the Arrive Alive vans are everywhere along the roads in North Wales. NW Police had made a big investment to reduce speeding… because people do speed along those roads.

    1. Ah that’s interesting to know. “The most welshest part of Wales”, love it! I didn’t realise this when we booked it but it was great to see.
      People must be crazy to speed along those roads. Certainly you could in some parts but not for long as there would be a sharp bend somewhere soon. The signs were certainly working then so their investment was worthwhile!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.