Penny spent an amazing week making the most of the middle of Cardigan Bay in the county of Ceredigion, Wales, via a stay at Barbara House with Sykes Cottages. From the wild and other wordily landscape of hills, forest, remote farms and isolated chapels used for the filming of BBC detective thriller Hinterland, to brightly coloured seaside towns like Aberystwth and Aberaeron, to New Quay, once home to poet Dylan Thomas, and on to secret beaches like Mwnt, Ceredigion is a county with plenty to keep outdoor loving children and their grown ups exceedingly happy.
Aberaeron is a foodie’s paradise and a beautiful place to hang out. The colourful harbour has been described as one of the prettiest in Wales, maybe the UK. We caught it on a grey day, but still it was wonderfully cheery.
1. Decide which colour house you would live in
2. Eat in a Family Friendly Gastro Pub with a pet albatross, as recommended by Alistair Sawday.
3. Eat Welsh Honey Ice Cream, it’s the best we have ever tasted.
4. Jump the boulders while pretending to be pirates brandishing sticks as swords.
Two quiet towns but both have beaches, Llanon made a sleepy and untouristy base for us. We stayed in a great value and absolutely beautiful blue Georgian house, which was just as gorgeous inside.
5. Beachcomb, who knows what you might find and what you could make it into? The driftwood is amazing.
The first episode of Hinterland was filmed here, an incredible place full of ancient legend. The River Mynach crashes through the deep ravine of ferns and ancient oaks, so it is dramatic too.
6. Race down Jacob’s ladder, 100 crooked old steps, learn about how Devil’s Bridge got it’s name, and watch a 300ft waterfall.
A larger town with great shops, a sweeping promenade and a really big heart.
7. Have chips on the seafront in a shelter
8. Spend your pocket money in the little shops.
Owned by the National Trust and listed in The Guardian’s top UK beaches, this is a stunning secret beach.
9. Play on this glorious sandy beach.
10. Have tea and cake, you can’t beat the home-made bara brith and welsh cakes from the little kiosk.
11. Climb up the hill for the best views of Cardigan Bay.
12. Sneak into the tiniest little white 15th century chapel.
Home to Dylan Thomas this seaside town has bags of character, you can almost imagine the characters that inspired Thomas walking around it.
13. Take one of the Dolphin Boat Trips and keep your eyes peeled for these amazing creatures, sadly we went out of dolphin season, aim for April to October.
14. Tuck into Fish and Chips
15. Play on the sandy beach with your bucket and spade.
16. Buy shells, or pose with the shark.
17. Head home to your Sykes Cottage to recover by leaping onto a cosy sofa or chair.
18. Or play games and beat your parents.
19. Have a little walk to the local beach to collect more driftwood.
20. Make something wonderful with it to bring home.
Penny and family were guests of Sykes Cottages and stayed in the stunningly beautiful, blue, Georgian, Barbara House. To follow her adventures in detail visit parentshaped.
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I grew up not far from here, and I know the area quite well. All the arty cool people I knew when I was young came from the Ceredigion area! I’m not surprised you were infected by its beauty.