We had never been on holiday with Lily before and at 9 months old, we felt it was about time. My sister wanted to come with us too, and it’s always fun when she’s around, especially for Tyler who is obsessed with his aunty. So it was to be a trip for 3 adults, 1 child and 1 baby. We wouldn’t fit in one car so it had to be a train trip, and I figured somewhere on the GWR line would be easiest from Slough. I got out the map, and we ended up looking at Swansea in Wales (possibly influenced by watching Tom Jones on The Voice at the time!) It’s a straight train ride from Reading at roughly 2 hours long, and that seemed do-able with a baby. With group-save, return tickets were only £50 each. Tick.
Next was finding somewhere to stay, and I knew we wanted to have some sort of seaside cottage. I looked on AirBnB, and then on a website called Baby Friendly Boltholes where I found this beautiful seaside cottage called Beach Hill Cottage by the coast at The Mumbles. It was totally kitted out for a family with a baby – with a fancy designer cot, Stokke highchair, stairgates, blackout blinds, steriliser, toys, baby bath, toddler crockery. It just meant we didn’t need to bring all the baby stuff as they had everything. Tick.
The train journey to Swansea was fine. We parked the buggy in the disabled area in the corridor and sat where we had booked a table seat. Even though Tyler is four and would be free, we still bought him a ticket to guarantee we had the table for ourselves. The table was so handy for sitting Lily on, otherwise she would have been on our laps for the whole journey.
At Swansea we got in a taxi to the Mumbles, which cost £12, and oh my god, we got a shock when we got to the cottage as it was on the steepest hill ever! And the only way into town was down this really steep hill. We had to climb these crazy steps to get into the house, but once in, it really had the wow factor. I actually gasped. It was beautiful. Every single part of the house, from the furnishings to the wall decor was in a nautical theme, exactly my style! The house felt incredible wonky as it’s on a hill, like we were on a boat, but we got used to it in the end. We found all the toys in this giant chest in the living room and that was the kids sorted. I am so happy we stayed in this house, as it forced us to try Tyler and Lily sharing a room without me. It went so well that as soon as we got home, they moved into their own room and now my husband and I have our room back – woohoo!
Now on to the holiday, which apart from a case of conjuntivitus that spread from Tyler to me to Lily and then to my sister, it was a really enjoyable experience.We didn’t bother with routines on holiday, ate whenever, slept whenever, stayed out (I think 9pm was the latest one evening) or stayed in. And it didn’t affect the kids’ moods or how they slept at night. It was truly a break from the norm. The Mumbles is small and quaint, such a lovely seaside village feel, with boutique-y shops, ice cream parlours and of course a pier and arcade games. The beach isn’t sandy, it’s more of a rocky one, but there are plenty of beautiful sandy beaches a short drive away, and we discovered one that was walkable from the Mumbles. So without further adew, here are my 10 things to do on holiday in the Mumbles:
1) Have lunch and ice cream at Verdi’s. The place was busy every time we walked past it, day and evening, as it’s right on the waterfront. We nabbed a table by the window and had pizza and ice cream. Even though it was super busy there, it still came quickly. Very efficient!
2) Walk along the Mumbles Pier, enjoy the views of the lighthouse, the old pier and visit the Lifeboat house at the end of the pier.
3) Have ice cream at Joe’s Ice Cream Parlour. Everyone says you MUST go to Joe’s when you are in the Mumbles. And, like Verdi’s, this place was packed everytime we walked past it. We visited one afternoon around 4pm, and suddenly the place was filled with schoolkids. It’s clearly the place to hang out. We tried out the ice cream, as we had to compare it to Verdi’s 😉 The verdict – hmmm, you’ll have to visit and decide!
4) Play games at the Amusements Arcade at the pier and collect tickets to win toys. Tyler and his aunty and dada had soooo much fun here. And they have baby change in here – handy!
5) Visit Oystermouth Castle and enjoy the views of the village from the top of the hill. It’s so beautiful. The castle is a proper 14th century one, mega old! It’s small, but still I was terrified climbing up these old steps to the top of the castle, and my husband was carrying Lily up and down – my heart was in my mouth. Still, Tyler really enjoyed it, this is really a little boy’s adventure. Entry is £3.50 for adults and under 5s go free.
6) Get on a bus to Swansea (20 minutes away) and visit the National Waterfront Museum, which has a kids play area inside. It’s huge and there’s lots of space for babies to crawl around. On the first floor there is a balcony area where you can look down at the boats on the marina. You can learn all sorts at the museum, such as the origins of the name ‘The Mumbles’ – it means boobs in French, as the two mounds in the sea at The Mumbles look like boobs. Yes, really.
7) Take a walk to Langland Bay Beach and have a picnic on the sand. It took us about a 20 minute stroll for our cottage in the Mumbles and it was such a beautiful walk, seeing new apartments being built and walking past HUGE luxury homes, with HUGE driveways. I can’t believe people live here, a world away from Slough. The beach is in an enclosed cove, so the sound of the waves is much more intense than usual and the sand just feels lovely to under your feet. We had it pretty much to ourselves as the Welsh schools were not on Easter holidays yet. So that’s a top tip on when to time your holiday.
8) Take a long walk along the Mumbles Seafront from Mumbles village to the pier, where you’ll walk past people eating at Verdis and loads of boats, until you get to the pier cafe and arcade. It’s a wide, flat promenade, pushchair-friendly, and such a relaxing walk with awesome views.
9) Have a coffee at the Beach Hut Cafe at Mumbles Pier and admire the view – it is beautiful. It’s especially lovely at sunset.
10) Go fossil hunting at Bracelet Bay, just around the corner from Mumbles Pier. Now I must admit we did not do this, as it’s impossible to get down there with a buggy, but we saw a mum with her two boys exploring down there and it did look lots of fun, so I’m including it in my list!
So those are my 10 things to do in The Mumbles. It’s a really, lovely family-friendly holiday, and if you are thinking of having a UK staycation, I can really recommend this seaside village.
Have you been on holiday in The Mumbles or anywhere in Wales? If so, let me know of any other must-see places to visit in the comments 😀