The Smith family from York were riding the crest of a holiday wave when they visited in July. They were blessed with fine summer weather which Jo and Richard, son Jacob 18 and Lydia 13 made the absolute best of.
They were surprised just how much family activity they could find in peaceful Monmouthshire and the surrounding area.
One of the highlights of the week was a trip to the Wave on the outskirts of Bristol. This purpose-built facility at Easter Crompton opened in 2019 and was the UK’s first inland-surfing destination. It caters for all ages, backgrounds, and abilities.
Jo, Lydia and Jacob signed up for a beginner’s lesson a couple of weeks before arriving while dad Richard looked after Finn, their golden retriever.
“We all had the beginner’s surf lesson. Wet suits were included in the fee, and we spent half an hour having a briefing on the land before taking to the water for an hour,” said Jo
“The water is 3 degrees above ambient and the waves come every 7 seconds. Jacob managed to stand up and surf and Lydia stayed up sometimes, but I stayed flat on the board. It was a fab place”
The children wanted another visit the same week, but they were fully booked, so the “booking in advance” advice is crucial if you want to have a go.
Jo did say it’s a long walk from the car park to the centre, but the farm shop and café are very good.
The wave is only a half hour drive from the farm.
The water theme for the holiday started on the Aqua Park in the National Diving Centre near Chepstow. It was great fun for the family but unfortunately the zip wires which cross the old quarry and the ponds were still closed. It’s a thrilling experience, by all accounts, for those with a head for heights and a daredevil spirit.
Other highlights were a trip to see an aunt in Swansea and a walk from the Mumbles to Caswell Bay on Gower. That was part of a walk I do every year with a friend who has a cottage at Port Eynon. The coastal path along that section is stunning so I’m not surprised they enjoyed the walk.
They visited Tintern a couple of times and like so many of our guests they enjoyed the food and warm welcome, including for dogs, that everyone gets at the Wild Hare restaurant in the Royal George Hotel.
They were delighted that Finn the dog was able to come with them wherever they went. This is a very dog friendly area.
Food wise, apart from the Wild Hare, they enjoyed a takeaway pizza from the excellent Stone Rock in Chepstow and a meal at Panevino, an Italian restaurant close to the castle. However, most days food was cooked on the barbeque we provide outside the cottage.
A trip to the River Wye at Symonds Yat was another enjoyable day out.
They did also visit Ninja Warrior UK in Gloucester which is inspired by ITV’s hit programme Ninja Warrior UK! Apparently, you can climb, balance, jump and swing across different obstacles using and developing your Ninja skills.
This is a new venue to me, and Jo said that her 18- and 13-year-olds were a bit old for the experience but it sounds like it could be fun for younger children. The website says it caters for all ages, even the under 5’s.
We are delighted that the Smiths had such a fun packed holiday with the Sugar Loaf Cottage acting as a great base. “The accommodation was absolutely fabulous. It’s been perfect”, said Jo.
Wave if you are having fun
Water fun continued at the Aqua Park
Bay watch for Lydia and Finn at Caswell
The River Wye at Symonds Yat
Ninja Warrior in Gloucester