Last weekend we went to Trecco Bay at the invitation of Parkdean Holidays. As you can imagine over the last week or two I’ve spoken to lots of people, on and offline, about going or having been to Trecco Bay and I’ve been impressed by the obvious affection that so many people hold for the park. The burly ex-miner that we met at Big Pit on our way home seemed to encapsulate those feelings. He told how he goes to Trecco Bay each year because he and his wife love going to the Porthcawl Elvis Festival. Apparently it is so popular that he books his accommodation at Trecco Bay a year in advance. There was a wistful sound to his voice and a faraway look in his eye as he said ‘ Ah Trecco Bay’.
Trecco Bay is a very big holiday park. It’s got a great position close to a blue flag beach (a public one, but not that busy) and you can stroll into Porthcawl town centre easily enough. The central area is where all the facilities are and it’s easy to get to from wherever your caravan is. We arrived on Friday evening at about 4.30/5pm, which is probably pretty much peak time. Yes there was a queue to check in, but it didn’t take long. There was one big queue and you were called from the front to the next receptionist that was free. H quickly found some entertainment to occupy him (they have some toys and books) and happily stayed in the children’s corner while we did the boring grown up stuff.
Our caravan was a three bedroomed one with plenty of living space. The bedrooms were small, but we only used them for sleeping really, so it wasn’t an issue. We had a lot of sofa space and a generous dining area. The kitchen had all the basics, but no dishwasher or washing machine (there is a laundrette on site). We liked the fact that we had plenty of bowls, plates and cutlery to use – I hate it when you need to wash up before you eat because someone used some of the plates for a snack or something. As it was we did eat out quite a bit, all in the interests of trying out the facilities so we could report back about them of course.
As we’d had a reasonably long drive and we were tired, we got some fish and chips from the on site chippy for tea. Friday night is always a busy chippy night, but it didn’t take long to get served and we thoroughly enjoyed our fish. H had no problems putting away the better part of an adult portion of fish and chips, despite having had fish and chips for his school lunch, so it must have been good.
Later that evening we walked around the site to get our bearings and H got to try out the outdoor play area. Thankfully there was only a little rain on and off at the time and he was able to enjoy the great range of equipment. Trecco Bay also have two outdoor sports courts and an outside wet play area with water guns for warmer days.
Friday night was a little bit noisy on the site and H put my ear plugs in to help him get to sleep. I didn’t have any problems without my ear plugs (just as well as they weren’t available). In the morning we realised that it was probably something to do with Wales doing so well in the football that night and qualifying for Euro 16 at the top of group B. With such a good result for them, it’s no wonder the Welsh had something to celebrate. Certainly the other nights were actually pretty quiet, especially considering we had a hen party in the neighbouring van.
Sadly Saturday was not the lovely, dry, sunny day that we’d hoped for, in fact it had rained most of the night and was showing no signs of clearing up for long. So we decided that this would be the day to go underground and we went to visit Dan Yr Ogof, the National Showcaves Centre for Wales. It was an inspired choice as the caves were spectacular and the rain actually made the experience better as it meant that there was plenty of water coming through the caves to show them off.
We headed back to Trecco Bay mid afternoon so we could do try out some of the activities on the site. The swimming pool is always a highlight for us on holiday and the one at Trecco Bay is called Splashland and it has plenty of slides and a chute, plus a fab pirate ship. Entry is free for people staying in the park, but you do have a timed slot to use it. When we went into the pool we were given armbands and had to get out when our colour was called over the tannoy. We used the pool and got out before our turn was called, so you do get quite a long time. The only thing is that it makes it difficult to pop in and out of the pool. There is a cafe area by the side of the pool if you just want to watch. The lockers work on a refundable 20p coin basis, but they are quite small so you might need one each depending on how much stuff you have.
Another place to spend a rainy day is the arcades area. There’s plenty to do in here even if you want to avoid the machines. We just had a go on the 2p machines, but there’s a wide range to choose from: pool tables, dance mats, racing games and air hockey to name a few. Also, in this area are the dodgems and a 6 lane minitenpin bowling set up, plus the indoor play area. There’s also a few shops, in fact you don’t need to go off site if you don’t want to. For our evening meal we visited the Coast Bar & Kitchen. This is a pub style eating place where you can get a carvery on a Sunday and meals/snacks through the day. It’s kid friendly, reasonably priced and very easy.
Sunday was a much better day weather wise, so we made the most of it. H had been desperate to go on the 12 hole Adventure Golf course and had not shut up about it. We had even gone around to see if we could play in the rain the previous day, but it is only manned when weather permits. Crazy golf courses are irresistible to H and he always has to play. He had a great time and he even went back to play another round later in the day. This one is a good one with well thought out holes with some tricky obstacles to navigate around. I managed to hit my ball into the little stream at one point and there were quite a few places where our balls found their way onto neighbouring holes.
We walked into Porthcawl for lunch along the coastal path. It’s quite a pleasant 15-20 minutes stroll which takes you through the market and past the Coney Beach fairground. Porthcawl is a typical Victorian seaside resort town and there’s a nice promenade to walk along. There’s a reasonable selection of shops and eating establishments to take your pick from and you can probably find a seat with a sea view to sit back and people watch from.
In the afternoon apart from crazy golf (again!) we went to the beach at Trecco Bay. It’s a lovely beach with a lot of rock pools and plenty of sand. H loved it and did some body boarding. If we’d have had more time, I think we’d have done some rockpooling too. Despite being a sunny Sunday, the beach was quite quiet with just a few families coming out to enjoy the sea and sand.
Sadly, we had to go back home on Monday. We did go home via Big Pit in Blaenafon, which was also a great day out. There was loads more we could have done in and around Trecco Bay though. It’s well placed for lots of places because it is only a couple of miles from the M4 and we could easily have filled a week or more. H has already been asking to return and I know that we’d all happily go back there.