South Wales – Local Days Out

Easing out of lockdown – Local Days Out in South Wales

I don’t know about you, but I’m finding the transition from lockdown to less of a lockdown a bit tricky. One minute I’m safely tucked up at home and the next minute, I can go shopping, play group sports and go out for dinner! The rules seem to be changing so quickly that I can’t keep up.

Now that school is over (finally!), I’ve been thinking about local day trips that we can make as family, whilst still keeping to the current rules. As a Cardiff family photographer, I’m lucky to spend time with clients outside in lots of great locations, so I’ve got plenty of ideas!

I can’t wait to get out and about and back to some of our favourite places.

So, here’s my top 7 places that make great family local days out – without the crowds.

7 Local Days Out in South Wales (in no particular order)

southerndown beach local days out

1. Dyffryn Gardens

This place is a firm family favourite. We’ve been National Trust members for a few years now and so we regularly visit Dyffryn Gardens for a family picnic and stroll around the gardens. At the moment, you’ll need to pre-book an arrival slot online. It’s very straightforward. There’s a one way system to get in and out of the gardens and it’s so spacious, that there’s loads of room for families to sit and enjoy the space without going near anyone else.

The shop and toilets are now open, so you can buy an ice cream and enjoy the peaceful views. Some of the smaller gardens and the play areas are closed right now but there’s still plenty of space and things to see.

Here’s a picture of my two, in the rain, when we visited last week.

dyffryn gardens

2. Porthcawl to Rest Bay

We do this a lot. We park at the quieter end of Porthcawl, usually in a residential street and then walk, scoot, skateboard or bike to Rest Bay. Once there, we’ll enjoy a picnic or a swim in the sea. The lifeguards are now back on duty and more people are visiting the beach but as it’s such a big space, there’s plenty of room to find a quiet spot.

After the beach we normally head back to Porthcawl for an ice cream before going home. The shops and cafes are all now open and operating under social distancing rules. You can pop to Beales for some fish and chips or stop at one of the cafes on the esplanade for a coffee.

3. Three Cliffs Bay

The beaches in the Gower are some of my favourites in South Wales and this one is a stunner. We visited last weekend and it was glorious. There’s a few different ways to get down to the beach. We found a random field, advertising parking and parked there but there’s also official car parks, including one run by the National Trust. The beach is big and because it’s not so straightforward to access, like it’s neighbours, Langland Bay and Caswell Bay, it’s quieter. Make sure you check the tides before you go though and be careful that you don’t get cut off by one of the beach rivers that zig zag the bay. The walk from the car park is around a mile, so be prepared for a bit of a trek but it’s worth it.

three cliffs bay local days outthree cliffs bay

4. Margam Park

You can lose a day in Margam Park. There’s so many different parts that it can keep you occupied for hours. It’s another family favourite of ours but we haven’t been so far this year yet. It’s now open from 10am-4.30pm. The toilets and cafe are open but the children’s play area, castle, train and gift shop remain closed. They are restricting visitor numbers so it shouldn’t be crowded.

family day out

5. Southerndown beach

A bit closer to home for us but I couldn’t complete this list without mentioning my favourite local beach – Southerndown (Dunraven Bay). At the moment, the main car park on the beach remains closed but the car park at the top of the hill is open (£6 for any time longer than an hour, you can pay via your phone).

Due to the difficult parking situation the beach remains quieter than it’s neighbour Ogmore and so it’s a better option if you’re looking for a socially distanced day out. Please be careful around the cliffs though. I’ve seen lots of people sitting underneath the rocks at the base of the cliffs and it’s super dangerous. Rocks fall off the cliffs and you don’t want to be there when they do.

There’s also some lovely walks in the area. You can walk along the cliffs in both directions – heading towards Ogmore one way or Llantwit Major in the other direction. There’s plenty of room up on the cliffs for a quiet family picnic. Just keep away from the edge. Probably not the best choice if you have small children or dogs.

southerndown beach local days out

6. Hensol Forest

A little hidden gem in the Vale. The forest is big but we usually follow the same path when we visit. We park in the car park near Welsh St Donats and do a figure of 8 around the forest. There’s usually a few dog walkers and families around but it’s peaceful and quiet most of the time.

hensol forest

7. Bryngarw Country Park

With over a 100 acres of parkland, there’s loads of room to explore the area without bumping into anyone else. There’s a pay and display car park and toilets available. The children’s play area and cafe remain closed in July, but may re-open in August.

It’s a fabulous location for a family photo shoot too – especially in the Autumn time. I love this image taken there on an Autumn shoot.

bryngarw country park

Do you have any more suggestions of local days out to add to the list? I’d love to hear from you with family day out ideas that avoid the crowds!

If you fancy a family photo shoot, there’s lots of great locations that we can use, off the beaten track.

Get in touch to book your outdoor family shoot. You can see more of my work in my portfolios or follow me on Instagram for more recent shoots!

 

Comments

comments