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 in South Wales - 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!

 


Friends forever!

Group photo sessions are so much fun!

We moved to Wales in January 2005 and apart from my sister in law and family, we didn't know anyone. When I was pregnant with my daughter we duly joined the local NCT group with great trepidation. My husband and I are fairly quiet (until you get to know us!), so group meetings with a bunch of strangers in a Church hall wasn't our idea of fun but boy, I'm glad we went. The friends that we met there are our great friends now (more like family if you ask me) and our children have grown up together. We've seen them on every birthday, every Christmas, countless sleepovers and more playdates than you can shake a stick at.

The NCT group were my first ever photography clients and I've been photographing them ever since. As they grow older I'm trying to capture the milestones, turning 10 in 2015, going up to comprehensive in 2017, becoming teenagers this year etc.

Have a look below and see how they have grown from babies to teenagers. I'd love to do some more group photo sessions like this!

Follow my Instagram account to see my latest work.

Gem x

First baby photo of my daughter with my brand new camera. 2005.

Blue eyed baby

One of my first ever photo sessions with NCT friends in 2005.

Baby and parents

Meeting up for a 10 year reunion picnic and trying to recreate a photo taken the first time!

group of friends

Some added siblings!

group of friends jumping in the airgroup of friends hugging

Turning 10 photo shoot. 2015.

group of friends hugging

Just about to go up to comprehensive school! Summer 2017.

group of friends on the beachgroup of friends jumping in the seagroup of friends hugging on the beachgroup of friends on the beach

 

Gemma Griffiths is a family photographer, based in the Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales.

Book your shoot today!


Great photography locations in the Vale of Glamorgan

In the words of Kirsty and Phil - Location Location Location! One of the first things that I chat about with clients when they book a family photo shoot is where they would like to meet for their session. Sometimes people have a firm idea about where they want their images captured and sometimes they ask for a little bit of direction. Living in a very beautiful part of the world we're spoilt with lots of options. From the gorgeous beaches, to forests, to walled gardens, to castles there's loads of local beauty spots that will provide stunning backdrops. So, here's some great photography locations in the Vale of Glamorgan!

I thought it might be useful to write a post with some examples of my regular haunts so that you can see what they all look like and maybe help you make a decision on where you'd like your shoot to take place.

Of course each season provides not only different weather but also changing landscapes. In the Winter you can wrap up in hats, scarves and gloves and go for a good old walk in the forest or on the beach. As Spring arrives, you'll then have the choice of fields full of daffodils, bluebells and rapeseed as well as some gorgeous blossom trees. Onto the Summer months and then you can pretty much choose anywhere you like, the beach is always a popular choice, (especially Southerndown and Ogmore) as well the formal gardens of places like Dyffryn Gardens and the Physic and Old Hall Gardens in Cowbridge. There's also loads of local meadows to romp through too. In the Autumn the countryside looks beautiful with a whole host of gorgeous Autumnal colours. Autumn shoots are great in places like Ogmore Castle, Hensol Forest, Cosmeston Lakes, Bute Park and the countryside around Castell Coch.

Find out more about booking your family photo shoot and browse my family portfolio.

Here's just a few examples of great photography locations in the Vale of Glamorgan...

Beaches

Southerdown beach photographySoutherdown beach surferSouth Wales surferFriends on the beachFamily photo shoot South WalesFamily photo shoot South WalesFamily photo shoot South Wales

Family photo shoot on the beach South WalesFamily photo shoot South WalesDunraven BaySouth Wales beachFamily photo shoot South WalesFamily photo shoot South Wales

Sunset ballet dancerFamily photo shoot on the beach South WalesFamily photo shoot on the beach South WalesFamily photo shoot on the beach South WalesForests

Family photo shoot in Hensol Forest South Wales

Family photo shoot in Hensol Forest South Wales

Family photo shoot in Hensol Forest South Wales

Family photo shoot in Hensol Forest South Wales

Family photo shoot in Hensol Forest South Wales

Family photo shoot in Hensol Forest South Wales

Dyffryn Gardens

Family photo shoot in Dyffryn Gardens South Wales

Family photo shoot in Dyffryn Gardens South Wales

Family photo shoot in Dyffryn Gardens South WalesFamily photo shoot in Dyffryn Gardens South WalesFamily photo shoot in Dyffryn Gardens South WalesFamily photo shoot in Dyffryn Gardens South Wales

Family photo shoot in Dyffryn Gardens South WalesFamily photo shoot in Dyffryn Gardens South WalesFamily photo shoot in Dyffryn Gardens South Wales

Meadows and farmland

Family photo shoot South WalesFamily photo shoot South WalesFamily photo shoot South WalesMaternity photo session Vale of GlamorganFamily photo shoot South WalesMaternity photo session South Wales

Family photo shoot South WalesFamily photo shoot South WalesFamily photo shoot South WalesFamily photo shoot South WalesFamily photo shoot South WalesFamily photo shoot South WalesPhoto shoot South WalesCountryside photo shoot South Wales

Countryside photo shoot South Wales

Cowbridge Physic & Old Hall Gardens

Ballet in the Physic Garden CowbridgeBallet in the Physic Garden CowbridgeBallet in the Physic Garden Cowbridge

Around Castell Coch

Family photo shoot at Castell CochFamily photo shoot at Castell CochFamily photo shoot at Castell CochFamily photo shoot at Castell CochFamily photo shoot at Castell CochBluebells

Bluebell photo shoot South WalesBluebell photo shoot South WalesBluebell photo shoot South WalesBluebell photo shoot South WalesBluebell photo shoot South WalesBluebell photo shoot South Wales

Bluebell photo shoot South WalesBluebell photo shoot South WalesBlossom

Pink blossom photo shootBlossom photo shoot

 

 


Family Photo Session at Dyffryn Gardens

Autumn is a gorgeous time for a family photo session. Not only because of the beautiful colours but because it's an opportunity to wear chunky knits! I'm a sucker for a chunky jumper. For this family photo session we had a lovely walk around Dyffryn Gardens and stopped each time we saw a gorgeous tree with stunning colours. There were lots of Japanese Acer trees with fabulous red leaves, so we made the most of those!

I've photographed this family a number of times over the years, from preschool photos to school photos to a studio shoot and now they're looking very grown up indeed. It's great to capture families as they grow and change. I love seeing the sibling interaction between them but also love the individual portraits from this session. They all did such a good job! I'm pretty sure that's Christmas presents sorted for Grandparents this year... :)

If you'd like to book your own family session in 2018, find out more here and get in touch. There's also special offer Christmas Gift Vouchers available in December to offer you great a discount on a family photo session for 2018. You can buy Gift Vouchers directly through the website.

Family photo shoot with Gemma Griffiths PhotographyFamily photo shoot with Gemma Griffiths PhotographyFamily photo shoot with Gemma Griffiths PhotographyFamily photo shoot with Gemma Griffiths PhotographyFamily photo shoot with Gemma Griffiths PhotographyFamily photo shoot with Gemma Griffiths PhotographyFamily photo shoot with Gemma Griffiths PhotographyFamily photo shoot with Gemma Griffiths PhotographyFamily photo shoot with Gemma Griffiths PhotographyFamily photo shoot with Gemma Griffiths PhotographyFamily photo shoot with Gemma Griffiths PhotographyFamily photo shoot with Gemma Griffiths PhotographyFamily photo shoot with Gemma Griffiths PhotographyFamily photo shoot with Gemma Griffiths PhotographyFamily photo shoot with Gemma Griffiths PhotographyFamily photo shoot with Gemma Griffiths PhotographyFamily photo shoot with Gemma Griffiths PhotographyFamily photo shoot with Gemma Griffiths PhotographyFamily photo shoot with Gemma Griffiths PhotographyFamily photo shoot with Gemma Griffiths PhotographyFamily photo shoot with Gemma Griffiths PhotographyFamily photo shoot with Gemma Griffiths PhotographyFamily photo shoot with Gemma Griffiths PhotographyFamily photo shoot with Gemma Griffiths PhotographyFamily photo shoot with Gemma Griffiths PhotographyFamily photo shoot with Gemma Griffiths PhotographyFamily photo shoot with Gemma Griffiths PhotographyFamily photo shoot with Gemma Griffiths PhotographyFamily photo shoot with Gemma Griffiths Photography


South Wales Family Photoshoot

I had a fabulous South Wales family photoshoot with these guys recently in Dyffryn Gardens. As you might be able to guess, one member of the family was very comfortable in front of the camera (great news for me) and she also just so happened to be especially gorgeous (also great news for me!).

I really enjoyed our afternoon stroll and spending time with this lovely family. It's so nice to see such a special bond in families and especially between brothers and sisters. I hope my two are this close when they are older. :)

Check out more of my family work in my family portfolio. For the latest updates, you can also follow me on Instagram and Facebook!

Gem x