It has been exactly three weeks now since we went on holiday to Wales – yes, it has taken me that long to sort through all the photos for this blog post! We went with Granny and Grandpa (my parents) and stayed at St Brides Castle in Pembrokeshire. After a long journey, we arrived late in the afternoon and the children couldn’t wait to get out of the car and explore.
The first stop was the play area, and then the little ones ran down to look at the sea – the view was amazing!
After playing outside for a while, we went to check out the indoor facilities – there was a games room, a library, a mini gym and a swimming pool with sauna and steam room. We were too tired for swimming on the first evening, but we made use of the pool eight times in the following six days!
We spent Sunday morning in the games room and swimming pool, and then in the afternoon Monkey, Tiddler and I walked down to the small beach nearby with Granny, while Rabbit and Owl stayed with Daddy and played tennis.
The tide was high so the beach was small, but it had some great rock pools to investigate. I think I was more excited about that than the boys, though they did enjoy it.
It was very rocky but there was just enough sand to make some sandcastles.
I really enjoyed watching the boys work together. Monkey was frustrated at first with Tiddler’s attempts to “help” but once he managed to explain what he wanted him to do they were a very good team.
At the end of the afternoon, we took the big three swimming again, while Granny looked after Tiddler. After supper, we went to the games room for a little while, and returned just as the sun was setting.
Monday was a quiet day. In the morning we spent quite a long time in the games room, playing table tennis, pool and board games, and then Daddy and Granny took the children swimming. In the afternoon we did some food shopping with Monkey and Tiddler, while Owl and Rabbit went to the little beach with Granny. We were back in the games room again in the evening, but managed to get the children to bed just in time for Mummy and Daddy to fit in a game of Scrabble – look at that, not a laptop in sight! There’s something to be said for having a very poor Internet connection when you are on holiday.
Tuesday was our castle day. We always like to visit a castle while we are on holiday if we can, and as we were in Wales we were spoilt for choice. After much consideration, we settled on Pembroke Castle and we were not disappointed. In the morning we got everything ready for our outing, while Granny and Grandpa looked after the children. We arrived at the castle at lunchtime, and had a picnic on the grass outside before going in.
We had a brilliant time exploring the castle and admiring the views. It was a bit scary seeing the children so close to the edge, but they were very sensible.
We enjoyed looking at the exhibitions too, with waxwork models showing scenes from castle life at different times in history.
We also spent some time relaxing in the sunshine in the central area where there is lots of space to play…
… and read your Horrible Histories magazine too!
After taking a break, we continued looking round the castle as there was so much more to discover.
Next we went down some steep steps into a huge cavern where people took shelter in the Iron Age – they were the first humans to dwell on the site. (That was another of our National Trust 50 things: number 29 – explore a cave.)
Back above ground, we had another quick walk round to discover some parts of the castle we had missed earlier, but we all wished we could have stayed for longer.
We went back to look at some parts of the exhibition we hadn’t seen before, and Owl was pleased to find a room dedicated to the history of the Pembroke Yeomanry, including their part in the First and Second World Wars.
We finished up in the room in which Henry VII was born, and then left via the shop where we bought some really good books and a stick of rock each for the children. Rabbit in particular loved this treat and has been asking when she can have a “sticker rock” again ever since!
After a brilliant day out, we went back to the holiday house for supper, a late swim and a very late bedtime.
Wednesday was our big beach day, and luckily it was also the warmest day of the holiday. We dithered a bit about where to go, then decided on Broad Haven beach – and it was perfect.
After a picnic on the grass at the top, we went down on to the beach. I had fun making a sandcastle with the children – in previous years I’ve been the one feeding the baby or chasing the very small toddler, so it was nice to be able to join in with them this time. I was quite pleased with our efforts, but Daddy was not impressed. Our castle didn’t have a mound so it wasn’t historically accurate enough for him. It did, however, have the benefit of not taking too long to make, which suited the rest of us!
While Daddy set about the long task of making a perfect replica of Pembroke Castle in sand (with a little help from the team on and off), there was plenty of time for channeling water into the moat of the first sandcastle, random digging, playing football and paddling.
Tiddler enjoyed getting as messy as he possibly could, and even Monkey (who normally prefers to keep clean) soon got stuck in.
Owl and Rabbit were the most confident in the water, but after a while Tiddler and Rabbit joined in too. They had a brilliant time splashing and playing, and were all very excited when they “caught” a (dead) crab!
It was such a wonderful combination of joyful children and a beautiful beach in the late afternoon sunshine that I took rather a lot of photos…
…and then I took a few more! You can just about see that Monkey and Rabbit were holding hands as they ran in and out of the waves 🙂
We stayed for longer than we had planned because it was just so perfect.
Meanwhile, Daddy finished reconstructing Pembroke Castle to his satisfaction. Eventually we managed to get the children to leave by promising to take them to a cafe. We had some really excellent ice creams, and also ordered fish and chips which we took back to our holiday house for supper. We ended the day with another very late swim.
On Thursday we swam in the morning, and then spent the afternoon at the little beach with Granny and Grandpa.
It was low tide this time, so there were even more rock pools to explore.
This time I wasn’t the only one who got excited about it, as Rabbit was just as keen on exploring the rock pools as I was!
On the walk back up, we had a wonderful time flying our Butlins kite. Owl chose it when we were at Minehead for Spring Harvest last year and it is much better than any of the other kites we have had (and we’ve had a few!)
In the evening we went to the restaurant which was just outside our holiday house. It was a very nice meal, though it took quite a long time to arrive – so that was another late night. I quite enjoyed the lazy mornings as the children all woke up late every day, though it hasn’t been easy to get back to a normal schedule since then. We have just about managed it now, but thank goodness for the flexibility of home education, because it has taken us a while!
On the last full day of our holiday we decided to stay on site to make the most of the excellent facilities. In the morning we all went swimming together, then Daddy, Grandpa and I tried out the pitch and putt while Owl went to the games room with Granny. We joined them there and then said goodbye to Granny and Grandpa who were leaving that day, as they had arrived the day before us. We spent the rest of the morning playing pool, table tennis and Junior Monopoly.
In the afternoon we played bowls on the pitch which was right outside our holiday house.
Then we played quoits, and Owl took a photo of me just to prove I’d been there!
We went back inside – to the games room again – and Owl stopped on the way to play the piano.
We went outside again to play croquet in the late afternoon sunshine on the lawn with a beautiful sea view – perfect!
After another quick play in the games room we had some supper and then finished the evening with a very late and very long swimming session. We had the pool to ourselves for most of it, and it was lovely. And by the end of the evening, Monkey and Rabbit had both learnt to swim without armbands. Owl had also completed his self-imposed challenge of swimming ten lengths alternating front and back stroke, and Tiddler was totally confident about swimming on his own with armbands. This was definitely one of the holiday highlights for me – a very proud Mummy moment!
In the morning we had to pack up and leave our holiday house. The children were very helpful, and pushed several trolley loads of luggage to the car – as well as riding their beloved Trunkis of course.
We weren’t in a hurry to leave, so we played tennis and then visited the play area, and of course the games room one last time.
We finally set off when it was nearing lunch time because we wanted to get some of the driving out of the way before stopping. After lunch we visited some friends that we met at Spring Harvest last year, and then set off for Granny’s house. As we were leaving Wales there was a perfect double rainbow which seemed to sum up what had been a truly wonderful holiday.