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!

 


Outdoor photo shoots near Cardiff

Cardiff Family Photographer

Come for a walk with me...

Outdoor photo shoots near Cardiff

With an abundance of gorgeous locations near Cardiff in South Wales we're really spoilt for choice of places for an outdoor photo shoot. Locations are chosen for lots of reasons - it could be somewhere that's really personal to you and your family, or it could be somewhere that looks great at the time - bluebells in the Spring or stunning colours in the woods in the Autumn.

Once a location is chosen we simply go for a walk, have a chat, take some photos and walk some more. I love shooting this way because it's informal and it allows clients to relax and enjoy the session. Plus, it means we get loads of different backdrops, providing a greater variety of images.

Why should I book an outdoor photo shoot?

I started my business when my daughter was 5 months old. She's nearly 14 now. There's so much that I love remembering about her through each different stage. Her curls, the way she walked with such purpose - shoulders hunched, fists clenched, her infectious grin and when she actually let me choose her clothes. Looking at photos of her reminds me of those times - how it felt to hold her in my arms and snuggle into her warm baby skin.

Each time I go out on a shoot with a family, I'm mindful of all the memories I'm capturing for them. Sometimes, it might seem like chaos - with kids running all over the place, hair flying in the air and the inevitable time that someone falls over in a puddle - but I know that when they look back on the pictures, they will see their love shining out of them.

Get in the photo!

After my cancer diagnosis a few years ago, one of the first things I did was book a family photo shoot. I knew there were loads of images of my kids but hardly any of me. Of course, I wanted to lose weight and have nice hair but I also didn't want to waste another minute of trying to achieve perfection when all I wanted to do was to show my kids how much I loved them - and for it to be captured.

Those images mean SO MUCH to me and I treasure them. It's so important for parents to feature in family photos! Yes, we like looking at images of our kids, but in time, they will also enjoy looking at photos of us too.

I took a walk with this family in the most incredible Autumnal setting. Their little one moved so quick, she was like a rocket! This set of images is bursting with love and I hope her parents will look back on them in years to come and remember the day we spent together capturing a little of their family magic.

If you want your own outdoor photo shoot - stop waiting for the perfect time and get booking. Gift vouchers are now available for Christmas.

Book your outdoor photo shoot near Cardiff today!

See more of my work on Instagram and Facebook.

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Cousins Photo Shoot South Wales

Cousins photo shoot! What a wonderful trip to the forest with this lot.

7 cousins, 3 families and one gorgeous Autumnal setting and I was a very happy photographer indeed. The 3 families wanted to get together to get a group photo of all the cousins as present for their Grandparents. Of course, with a location family shoot, there's plenty of time to take some sibling shots, family shots and individual portraits as well. Why not!?

The kids were all so cute with each other in this cousins photo shoot  - so lovely to have children of similar ages. They must have such a fun time when they all get together.

So, it looks like the Grandparents are in for a treat this Christmas and the parents have done alright too. Win win!

It doesn't have to be Christmas time to get the family together for a photo shoot. If you fancy sharing a shoot with your brothers, sisters or cousins then drop me a line for some more info. Family shoots can be shared amongst a number of different families.

Check out my family portfolio and pricing page to find out the details.

Follow me on Instagram to see my latest work.

Gem x

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Family Photoshoot South Wales

I offer outdoor family photoshoots all over South Wales.

Brace yourselves, this little one is seriously cute! Her parents made the awesome decision to celebrate her turning one by having a family photo shoot. What a wonderful idea to capture this perfect moment in time! As a parent of older kids I know how fast time flies. I love it when parents want to document their time as a family as the years go by. One is a pretty big milestone - she's just getting on her feet and starting to become more independent. Soon, she'll be running, skipping and jumping but for now, she still needs to hold on to Mummy and Daddy.

Now that my daughter is nearly a teenager and my son is 10 next month I'm finding that they are both changing so quickly. It's still really important to me to capture my children through all of their stages.  The little chubby legs have become skinny dancers legs, squashy tummies have become 6 packs, short hair has grown into long flowing locks, baby faces are now changed and wearing make-up. We no longer shop in children's clothes shops, we let them order adult sized meals and we don't worry that they won't be tall enough to go on rides or waterslides. For the first time last weekend, I sat in on a Saturday night worrying about the disco my daughter had gone to, how it was going and if she was having a good time - she waltzed in at 10pm, happy as larry in her new dress.

No more early wake ups, nappy changes and mashing food for me, but I know there's new experiences to come. I'm looking forward to shopping trips with my girl, watching her on stage performing, cheering her on when she tackles a sporting activity, spending day after day surfing with her in Cornwall in the Summer, planning her birthday party (and outfits!) and watching her relationship with her brother go from strength to strength. My boy, he's nearly 10 but he's still my baby. Sometimes I can't believe my eyes when I see how much he's grown (although he's still a shorty!). It seems like yesterday that I was tucking him up in his grobag and letting him have an afternoon nap. Now, I'm carting him all over the country to compete in gymnastics competitions and watching his beautiful dancing.

I started my photography business when my daughter was 5 months old and I've had the chance to capture each moment of my children's lives. We love looking at old photos and remembering experiences and holidays together and both of them really value having a house full of photos. There's so much more to come and I can't wait!

If you'd like me to capture your beautiful family - get in touch to find out more.

Check out my family portfolio and pricing page for further info.

Gem x

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Summer Family Beach Shoot, South Wales.

I love it when a family return regularly for photos. I've photographed and watched this lovely family grow over the years and it's a real honour to be able to document these moments for them. Now that their little one is on her feet and raring to go, there's no stopping her! The shoot took place at one of my favourite locations, Dunraven Gardens and Southerndown Beach. It's such a great location because you get two different backgrounds in one place. Beautiful gardens and a stunner of a beach.

One evening at the start of the Summer we met there and had good old wander up the hill, into the gardens, through the woods and back down the hill to the beach. Some of my favourite images from this session are the hand holding, laughing, nose poking ones. I love capturing families - the dynamic within each one is so unique and so special. You can see the love shining out of these pictures.

If you fancy a family photo shoot but are a bit scared - worried about being in front of the camera, or worried about the cost. Have a look at FAQ's page and see if there's some answers there for you. Or, check out my family portfolio and see if you like my style. There's no fancy clothes or stiff grins needed, just the love that you have for each other.

If you'd like to see more family shoots, then have a look at my blog to see more of my latest work.

I'm taking bookings for Autumn sessions now, so if you'd like to book one, let me know before all the dates are gone!

Gem x

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