(28 Posts)
LegoMam Thu 15-Oct-15 16:01:44

I was wondering if I could pick your brains for some help in organising my Summer 2016 holiday?. We are taking the ferry over from Ireland and hoping to stay in Wales for one week to 10 days.
I'll be travelling with my partner and son, who's 8 years old. As he is an only child, I'd love to stay somewhere where he might make a few pals for the holiday. However, it's much cheaper for us to travel at the start of July and even though the schools are out here-I think term time in UK is a bit longer.
So is there any point in paying for a Haven Holiday Park, when there may only be toddlers/young kids there?. We were looking at Hafan Y Mor in particular.
Should I maybe try to book a holiday home instead?. Would anyone have any suggestions for a nice town to stay in..with fun activities for him and a few nice pubs/restaurants for us?. Ideally we would love a beach town but I'm open to any suggestions.
Thank you for any help smile

OP’s posts: |
Dowser Fri 16-Oct-15 12:50:10

We are going to hafan y mor next week. If you hang on till then ican tell you what it's like

Also the lady said outside of school holidays it's cheaper and often cheaper to book direct through haven

Dowser Fri 16-Oct-15 12:52:29

Porthmadog is a lovely little town. Cute little railway. Like stepping back into the fifties.

LegoMam Fri 16-Oct-15 13:06:37

Hi Dowser!
Thanks so much for the reply. I won't be booking just yet so I'd love to hear all about your holiday when you get back!
I'll look up Porthmadog and check it out. I've only been on a day trip to Rhyl and Prestatyn before. It was good fun for my boy but I'd like a more laid back, beach spot to stay in.
Have a great holiday smile

OP’s posts: |
Ferguson Fri 16-Oct-15 19:44:50

Bala has its famous Lake, and a narrow gauge train that runs the four miles or so of its length.

Snowdon can be quite easily 'climbed' by a popular path, and an active 8yr old could probably manage it, or there is the rack-and-pinion railway to the top. And the latest thing is an artificial surfing wave pool.

LegoMam Fri 16-Oct-15 20:53:56

Hi Ferguson!
I've just had a look at the Bala website..what a beautiful place. I'd love to have a go at 'climbing' Snowdon! (But it's more likely that we'd try the train-another great website). I feel a plan coming along here..thank you smile

OP’s posts: |
Ferguson Fri 16-Oct-15 23:34:38

Hi -

Pleased to help (or at least entertain!) Now I'll make you jealous . . .

When we were children, in the 1950s, our family used to rent a remote cottage for 5 or 6 weeks in the summer, four miles from Bala, in the foothills of of the Arenig mountains. A stream flowed though the garden, in which we washed, bathed and played, there being no 'mains' water; drinking water we carried from a spring nearby. The garden provided Mum with peas, broad beans and other veg, and the adjoining field had delicious fresh mushrooms. The mountainsides often provided a feast of bilberries, and the some lanes had raspberries and blackberries.

Cooking was Calor gas and oil stoves. A small generator on the stream provided some electricity; but if the weather was good, and the stream low, electric lights just glowed orange. Then if there was an evening storm, water would rush down from the hills, and in the space of half an hour, lights could return to full brightness.

Arenig was loved by artist Augustus John:

Dowser Sat 17-Oct-15 08:30:24

Yup! We are jealous!

Dowser Sat 17-Oct-15 08:36:38

We booked one of the sun holidays but the lady at haven said out of season it was often cheaper going through the company itself.

We were in n Wales in may and loved it. Beddgelert was lovely. Portmeirion a bit of an oddity. Loved Portmadog, so quaint . We rode the train to Blaenau Ffestiniog .and drove right through snowdonia.
Oh yes and had a visit to betwys y coed but it rained most of that day. Otherwise weather was lovely.

If anyone has any suggestions on where to go while we are there would be great. I hope it stays fine and dry.

LegoMam Sat 17-Oct-15 15:22:10

That sounds magical, Ferguson. I am very, very jealous!
And thank you for the link to the article about the painters. I read it this morning and it was really interesting.
Dowser, you have me curious about Portmeirion now!. I forgot to ask you earlier-would you mind checking if you can walk to the town from Hafan Y Mor next week?. Thank you!

OP’s posts: |
serin Sat 17-Oct-15 18:50:30

We don't normally do holiday camps but Hafan Y Mor was the one exception when the kids we little. It isn't within walking distance of anywhere but Pwlhelli is about a 10 min drive and has an Asda and Lidl supermarket and a couple of good takeaways.

There are some amazing beaches in the area, Abersoch, Porth Iago, Porth Or, Aberdaron, Porth Colm. But you would need a car to see them.

Hafan Y Mor has big outside play areas where the kids tend to meet up for huge games of football and there were always tons of primary school age kids whizzing around on scooters, it also has a high ropes course, pedalos, bike hire and mini golf, as well as lots of activities in the pool. I would think it would be easy to make friends.

It is much better than Greenacres, which is closer to Portmeirion but is more like a typical Haven site ie. awful!!

LegoMam Sat 17-Oct-15 20:44:54

Hi Serin..that sounds like Heaven for kids. I must bring his scooter on holidays-good idea.
It's a shame that you can't walk to the nearest town-I'd love to check out the local pubs/restaurants..still, there's always taxis, I suppose!.
I'll check out those beaches-thank you.

OP’s posts: |
Dowser Mon 19-Oct-15 20:04:25

Right we've landed.

I'm very impressed. We've got a premium caravan and it's just lovely. We are in a nice quiet area, like a little cul de sac.
the caravan is lovely and clean . Looks like new. Can't see any scuffs or scratches. Nothing major anyway. It was freezing when we got here and my heart sank but we put on the gas fire and the central heating while we popped to the on site spar supermarket and stopped by the boardwalk bar and had a drink and now it's lovely and toasty.

There's only the two of us and there are four beds made up so if desperate we can use the extra duvets but I don't think it's necessary.

There a nice set of clean stainless steel saucepans and we've got fruity turkey curry on the go.

We're not used to this kind of holiday so we have no tea towel, washing up liquid , loo rolls but the little , clean supermarket has sorted us out. 56 p for some budget washing up liquid. Two pots of hummus for a £1. So prices aren't too bad. Mine for £3 . Huge individual bake well tarts ...£2 for £2!

There rabbits munching away at the grass...ah! The site is beautifully laid out. Everything nice and clean and beautifully landscaped.

Pool looks good. Plenty in there . Rapids,slides etc.

Drinks in the boardwalk....not cheap. Tonic water and a pint....£5-20.

The children's entertainment was just starting. A big pink elephant...costume looked nice and clean. The venue was clean and tidy. Tables and chairs were all in good condition and the venue didn't have any of that damp smell I remember from holiday camp holidays in the 70s

There's burger king, a fish shop, papa johns, a Starbucks.

There's an adult entertainment venue. We might have a wander over later.

We will have a run out tomorrow but I certainly have no hesitation in recommending it.

We chose it because we had a lovely holiday in Porthmadog in April and this was the closest we could get to it.

Sounds like we made the right choice!

LegoMam Mon 19-Oct-15 20:53:10

Hi Dowser!!
It sounds like you're having a ball already!. Thanks for posting a 'live' review smile
The prices in the shop are really good. I might bring a few bottles of wine and have a sip before we head out at night.
Have a brilliant sounds fab!!

OP’s posts: |
Dowser Tue 20-Oct-15 09:00:48

Yes, good idea to bring wine.

I've looked on trip advisor and there seem to bemused reviews which mainly seems to be based on the accommodation you are given.

The sun holidays for eg are based on standard accommodation so if you go down that route then I think it's definitely worth paying for an upgrade. I don't think there's central heating in the standard vans. Reading between the lines standard vans might be older. Also I believe this was a previous butlins site and I think there are still some of the old chalets. I think it's better to go for a newer caravan because you won't have anyone on top of you, so less noise.

Newer vans are likely Tobe better insulated. This caravan wouldhav been a nightmare if it o ly had the gas fire in th living room at this time of year. When we arrived it was warmer outside than in here and the beds were really chilled, but an hour later with lots of heating on, everything was great.

Will let you know how we get on in the surrounding area.

Apparently Pwllheli has an asda!

YouBastardSockBalls Tue 20-Oct-15 09:08:11

Yes there's an Asda in Pwllheli and a tesco in Porthmadog.

The food at the Mash and Barrel in haven is really nice, and if you're driving out then Porth Oer (whistling sands) and Aberdaron beaches are nice. Abersoch has got some really nice shops, Jack Wills and gift shops etc.

I live at the foot of Snowdonia and often take the children swimming at haven so if you want any more info I'll try and help smile

Dowser Tue 20-Oct-15 18:26:18

Brilliant sock balls. I can't say you bastard lol.

You live in such a beautiful part of the country. Think we are doing Pwllheli tomorrow. Do you say pool hellee. I know i am English but I do like to have a good stab at the pronunciation. We could take in abersoch tomorrow as well. Then we only have Thursday and home Friday.
Fancied Carnarfon on Thursday. Is Anglesey worth a visit. we rather like mooching around towns and DH doesntmind a bit of shopping.

We did the mountain railway up snowdon. Gorgeous but quite pricey. I don't know how families do it.£27 an adult op on the diesel train. Steam is £35. Views were fab though. Lovely clear day till we got to the summit and the view were obscured by cloud. It was bitter cold up there. We had an extra jacket each but great fun.

Haven't seen much of the site. It's a good base though.

Came back via Llanberis pass, always worth another drive through and Beddgelert. Beautiful little town.

shattered now!

LegoMam Tue 20-Oct-15 21:25:32

Hi Dowser!
I'm loving reading about your holiday. You're like a roving reporter!!
I can't wait to hear about your trip in to Pwllheli tomorrow.
Did you eat out anywhere nice today or are you sticking to self catering?
I'm going to check out Beddgelert now. Seems like there are lots of day trips on hand-which is great.
It's lashing rain here now-glad you got a nice day today.
Sockballs..your name gave me a good laugh earlier. Can I ask what you think of Hells Moith beach?. I definitely won't be swimming there (might just ogle the surfers instead) but it looks beautiful. Would it be easy to reach it with a kid in tow?.

OP’s posts: |
Dowser Wed 21-Oct-15 11:38:58

Hello LegoMan. Sockballs. No we didn't eat out last night. In fact idid teatat all. I had a bit of earache/ toothache. Maybe. Fought on by the cold up the mountain I don't know.certainly whatever it waist knocked me off my perch a bit and still feel a bit bruised today.

It lashed it down last night.thought we were going to neede bigger boat this morning. Think it's stopped raini g now.

You get half hour free wifi here then you pay. 3 g is non existent. So it's very slow on iPad etcbut at least there's some.

Just had a quiet morning this morning recuperating. Heading to Pwllheli and then see where we go. Loving the heating in this caravan. I was a bit shivery last night so it was just the ticket.

Will update tonight. Not seen much of the site apart from key areas I mentioned.

YouBastardSockBalls Wed 21-Oct-15 13:08:10

Have you been swimming yet? The pool's quite good!

Dowser Wed 21-Oct-15 18:08:05

No. Not a swimmer. When you only have four days, well three really, the plan was to see as much of the area as possible.

When people on trip advisor say the park is huge. I thought they meant huge. In actual fact it is humongously massive.

We've just driven round it and it would take you a good day to go round exploring it on foot. There's even a tourer park at the back on one side and on the other and you think you have actually left the park there are wooden lodges in the woods and the there's also some of the older style Butlins chalets. Some look refurbed , some the outside let's them down but they are a long way from the pool and entertain me ts area.

I can see though why there is another Spar supermarket on the site. It's for all the ones at the back of the site down by the beach.

We have driven down to the old chalets at the back that are near the beach. There's a path that leads down to it.

So,yes even though the site is so massive it doesn't feel that way. It is beautifully maintained. There's one lodge I wouldn't like in the thick of all the trees but the rest look fine. There seem to be a lot of owner vans on the site too which is a good thing.

We went to Pwllheli today. The market was very disappointing. Not an awful lot there . We drove round the marina. Again lots of boats but there seemed to be an absence of nice restaurants, touristy things for the boat owners to enjoy and spend some money. Had a little drive into Abersoch which looked nice but we decided just to head straight to Porthmadog. I love to watch the trains coming in. Had some excellent pies in Jenny's.

Just passed the boating lake. That looked very nice too.

Dowser Wed 21-Oct-15 19:46:03

Thinking of Caernarfon tomorrow. Depends on the weather. Did fancy Anglesey but not sure I fancy the two hour round trip. Don't get me wrong a nice summer drive it would be fine but if it's grey and glum I'd rather go shopping.

Unless you have any other ideas sock balls?.

LegoMam Thu 22-Oct-15 07:47:40

Morning Dowser!
I'm glad you got out & about yesterday and were feeling better.
That's a shame about Pwllheli- maybe there is a better buzz in the Summer time. Did you buy yourself anything nice in Porthmadog?.
Hope you get some nice weather for your last day today and you have fun in Caernarfon!

OP’s posts: |
YouBastardSockBalls Thu 22-Oct-15 08:06:55

Pwllheli is a bit of a dive. It's improving all the time though.

Caernarfon's nice, the castle's good and the railway is nice.

Llanberis (at the foot of Snowdon) is lovely, there's a boating lake, a tour of the underground power station, the slate museum and the old quarry hospital museum (both of which are free), the lake railway, the mountain railway. Llanberis is my favourite place for a day out smile

Llechwedd Slate Caverns is good in Blaenau and also Bounce Below - which is like underground soft play trampolines for adults - Google it!

It's supposed to be nice today so beach walking might be good too.

Hope you have fun whatever you decide!

Dowser Thu 22-Oct-15 09:39:53

Gorgeous day today. Blue skies. Probably a bit cooler. It was 15 yesterday.

I thought Llanberis might have a bit more to offer than just a stop off for the train. I'm tempted To go back and also do Beddgelert again.

Could stop off in Caernarfon tomorrow on the way home as we need to be out by 10 am!

Thank you I'm feeling much better. I'm sure it was a draught from the train/ mountain which must have inflamed the nerve that supplies the area to the face.

It's quite windy today . I can hear the caravan roof rustling a bit.

Decisions! That's the trouble , four nights is not long enough. Weve never made it back to the entertainment area we've just been too tired. I think a show starts at 9-30 or 9-45. It's not late for us really but when you've been out all day in the fresh air it just knocks you.

I've brought some jewelelry with me to make so I've just been working on that. I've brought enough for four necklaces but I'll be lucky to finish one piece!

I shall let you know how today goes. I seem to have lost what little 3G/ e signal there was for the iPad so I've managed to log into the free 30 min wifi. Apparently it's £7 a day and can be a bit intermittent.

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