Sometimes, a trip to the Welsh coast is all you need to switch off, recharge and enjoy some ‘me’ time. As much as I love a holiday abroad, I also love exploring new places around the UK, and if the weather is good, then Wales offers some of the most beautiful places to travel to and sight-see. And lets be honest, when you are lying on the beach with the sun beaming down on you, the sound of the waves in the background, enjoying an ice-cold drink, who could really tell if they were in Spain or Wales..Just close your eyes and use your imagination!
Personally for me, I could be absolutely anywhere in the World, and as long as it was by the sea, it would be considered as one of my favourite places to be (Oh gosh, is this the start to me new career as a poet?!..You heard it here first folks!). Growing up, my best memories made were those from my family caravan holidays at beach resorts..And even at the age of 24, I still remember the fun, the laughter and the good times that Wales gave to me over the years. With that in mind, it was time I took another trip to an Idyllic Welsh town..To one which I have not been to before!
Harlech. Located within the heart of Snowdonia National Park, it is one of the most charming seaside towns which I have had the pleasure of visiting. Just spending a brief 24 hours there was enough time to fall in love with the place. In fact, I already want to go back for a long weekend break to explore further and see more of what Harlech has to offer. Whilst my short time there was perfect to enjoy the scenery and stroll the beach, it just wasn’t enough time to see everything, unfortunately. But nonetheless, I still had a great trip and made the most of every minute!
So out of everywhere in Wales, why Harlech?
Well, the day trip down there actually came about because of Josh’s parents. They both enjoy visiting different places in Wales occasionally, and this time around, they chose Harlech. With a lovely holiday cottage booked up for the week, they invited Josh and I along to stay too. As much as we would of loved the opportunity to stay a few days longer, work commitments back home were calling. Josh finished work on the Friday afternoon, and I had to be back for work on the Sunday morning, so a short but sweet, one-night stop was sadly all we could fit in.
To make sure we got the most of the trip, we made a plan for our time there before arriving; A little itinerary, so to speak. As we were going to be arriving around tea time, we arranged to have a barbecue once we got there, followed by some drinks and a games night; Relaxing family time at its finest! We then planned to get up in the morning and have breakfast together at the cottage, before heading down to Harlech beach for the day to do some sunbathing and play some fun games. These plans made me feel very nostalgic about my family holidays in Wales, which I was lucky enough to experience every year growing up. Now, I was super excited to have the chance to do it all over again, but making memories with Josh and his family instead this time around.
We all shared a lovely night together on Friday and woke up bright and early on Saturday morning to make the most of the day ahead. All ready by 10am, we headed off on our walk down to Harlech beach. With buckets and spades, a cricket set, a badminton set, a picnic cool bag, a tent, backpacks, a kayak and two dogs all in tow, we were in for an adventurous walk! Luckily for us, the walk was only a short 10 minutes from the cottage. Unluckily for us, it wasn’t the easiest of walk ways to encounter alone, never mind when carrying half the contents of the cottage as well! Regardless, we made it down to the beach with no injuries; Although, one of Josh’s dogs definitely wanted to bite my head off, as I kept stopping to take pictures every two minutes! Sorry Dolly, but a girls got to do what a girls got to do..It’s all about getting that shot!
As it was still quite early when we arrived on the beach, it was extremely quiet. In fact, we were some of the first people on there..Clearly we were very keen that morning! I am definitely not complaining though. We got a good spot to sit in, it was peaceful, relaxing, and it gave me the perfect opportunity to get pictures of the beach without catching people in their swimming attire!
Once we sorted everything out, put the tent up and lay the beach mats out, it was time to sit, unwind and relax. However, the dogs had very different ideas. For them, it was time to get their toys and get straight in the sea; There is no rest for the wicked when fetch is involved apparently! So, whilst I sat back and relaxed with Josh’s dad and sister, Josh and his mum took the dogs down to the sea for a little splash around in the water. It was so lovely to see the dogs, Dolly and Frisbee, running around, living their best lives. You could just tell that they love being on holiday too!
After some time of seeing the dogs have so much fun, it was about time us humans started getting involved too. As time went on, we were getting more restless just lying in the sun, and it was time to get the activities started. The first activity; Sand castles. Now, I actually sat this one out as I have never been the best with building sand castles. I usually just end up destroying them. However, it was the dogs which did a pretty good job of that this time! Next up, badminton. I never realised how horrible I was at it until that moment, and now I vow to never attempt to play a game of it again in my life. Following that was another sport I am rubbish at which I have avoided since high school, Cricket. Although, this game didn’t last long because Dolly decided to take on the role as a fielder and once she got the ball, she was not giving it back. She took it hostage as her own! The only activity left to do was kayaking, and I definitely decided to leave that to the professional, Josh’s dad. As fun as it looks, you would not get me anywhere near, never mind on, one of those boats!
I am pretty sure that we went through every activity in the space of about an hour, but it certainly kept us entertained for a while! When we had finished with the games, it was getting a little too hot for us. Yes, it was time to take a dip in the sea! I cannot remember the last time I went swimming in the sea; It was probably back in Tenby when I was about 8 years old! WOW, just going to let that sink in for a minute. 16 years ago. WHEN DID I GET SO OLD?! Truth be told though, the older I get, the more I dislike the sea. I am not 100 precent sure where the fear has come from, but I believe it to be the aspect of not knowing what is around you that terrifies me. Thankfully, the sea at Harlech beach was SO clear, that it made the fear of the unknown a little more bearable. Being in such calm, crystal clear waters, where I was able to see where the jelly fish were was definitely an advantage to swimming there!
Time soon passed after having so much fun, and before we knew it, it was time to pack up and head back to the cottage. Now, if I thought the walk down to beach was hard, the walk back up to the cottage was ten times harder. I was hot, I was bothered and I was sunburnt..Three things you do not want to be when attempting a steep up hill walk! However, it surprisingly didn’t take too long and I got back with minimal moaning..Go me! When we got back to the cottage we had a couple of hours left to relax. So, we spent some time in the garden and soaked up the last few moments of seaside air, before Josh and I headed back on our journey home.
Even though our trip to Harlech was brief, it was certainly enjoyable. The weather was perfect, the scenery was beautiful, the atmosphere was tranquil and the company was great. I could not of wished for a better night away in a new place. Josh and I have even started talking about going back there sometime for a longer break, where we have the opportunity to explore around more of the town. I would really love to see the castle in particular, and learn more about the history of Harlech!
What is your favourite holiday destination in Wales? Have you been to Harlech before?