OK, so maybe this counts as wedding spam for some, but for me I'm firmly listing this under ADVENTURES! The Beard and I like to plan lots of mini trips to look forward to throughout the year, from super budget camping adventures to those a bit further afield that we have to consider and save up for.
For our honeymoon, we knew we wanted to do something a bit special as soon as we first started talking about it, which was pretty much as soon as we got engaged! In fact we were in a tent in the Lake District the day after boxing day.
I thought it would be nice to share where we went and reflect on each trip, mainly so I can remember everything but also to (hopefully) inspire anyone reading this who's looking for adventure ideas! So, these next few posts may be a tad longer than usual while I waffle about the trips we planned as part of our honeymoon - yes, we had more than one adventure because 'you only get married once' is a great excuse and we figured why the hell not! With that in mind, I aim to make each post (there will be three including this one) jam packed with inspiration for YOU as well as sharing A LOT of photos along the way!
This first post is about our little trip immediately after the wedding, in Colin the Campervan; a mini-moon as most people call it nowadays. The next two posts will be about what I like to call our mega-moon, as it ended up being three adventures all rolled into one mega one! But more on that next time...
Both of us agreed that it would be nice to run off for a few days immediately after the wedding and after flirting with the idea of hiring a camper again (we hired a beaut for my 30th a few years back and loved it!), we thought "fuck it" and booked beautiful Colin for our 'mini-moon'.
It took us a while to decide where we would like to take Colin at first. We knew we wanted some hills to climb so it kind of ruled out anywhere East of Cambridge - as beautiful as East Anglia is, it's not great for mountainous scenery and hill walking! We had been up to the Peak & Lake District a couple of times that year already and Scotland and the South West felt a little too far just for a few days.
After brainstorming some ideas we decided Wales would be the perfect destination. We had one of our first adventures together in Wales (the Snowdon Horseshoe) and we haven't been back much since. If we added a stop in The Cotswolds on the way and another on the way back it would break up the travelling quite nicely too.
Day 1 : Cambridge to the Cotswolds
It must have been about 2pm on the day after the wedding by the time we finished helping April pack up and she shoed us off on to start our honeymoon. We were almost packed and ready to go back at the house so all we needed to do was load up Colin, say goodbye to the kitties and hit the road.
It was a lovely sunny afternoon and after a few hours on the road we arrived at our first stop in The Cotswolds, in a little village called Charlsbury. The campsite was lovely and we parked in a little secluded spot, unpacked our picnic blanket and enjoyed the last of the day's Sunshine, while going through all of our wedding cards and presents.
Day 2 : Cotswolds to Pembrokeshire
After a bit too much cheese and one too many glasses of wedding present fizz we had a slow start the following morning but we were lucky enough to have the sunshine on our side again and enjoyed the long day's drive to Pembrokeshire.
We were treated to lots of lovely views along the way and when we arrived at Coastal Stay Campsite we still had plenty of time to go for a stroll to explore the nearby area and enjoy a cheeky BBQ back at the campsite in the evening.
It was a bit chilly up on the clifftops but we were prepared with our warm coats, shiny new Mr & Mrs mugs and some more lovely wedding presents… everyone knows gin warms your cockles!
Day 3 : Costal walks, big dogs & fish suppers
We were staying quite close to Porthgain, a little fishing village with a beautiful harbour and picturesque cottages everywhere. After exploring the village on our little ramble the day before, we decided to pop down again and follow the coastal path round from Porthgain to Abereiddy before looping back up to our campsite again.
On our walk through the village we met an incredible, giant white dog (he looked like a cloud!) and me being the animal botherer I am followed him into the most wonderful art Gallery and studio, where Alun Davies is based. Alun’s watercolours of the harbour and surrounding coastline are beautiful and we couldn’t resist treating ourselves to one of the many prints he had in his gallery.
From the harbour we climbed up on to the coast path and started the trail around to Abereiddy. We were treated to more amazing scenery as the deep blues of the sea complimented the rugged coastline which was speckled with pretty wild flowers.
As we reached Abereiddy we were greeted with a gorgeous view of the Blue Lagoon, (the place where the Red Bull Cliff diving takes place) and we took a wander down to find a spot for our picnic lunch.
After eating we walked down to the carpark and beach at Abereiddy and as we treated ourselves to an ice cream from the lovey van down there, we spied a trailer advertising Coasteering. Will has had a go at coasteering before and I remember being mighty jealous as he told me about the rock scrambling, cliff jumping and swimming so we went over to the trailer to see if we could have a go while we were visiting.
We managed to book in for the following morning and I was so excited I think I skipped part of the way back to the campsite! After a quick shower and change of clothes we headed back down to Porthgain that evening to a pictoresque (and yummy smelling!) restaurant we had passed earlier that day.
The Shed is as beautiful on the inside as it looks on the outside and the food was delicious. Will and I both had battered monkfish with chips and mushy peas, it was beautiful! I also had a cheeky G&T with a gin I’d never tried before - Brecon Seaweed Gin, also delicious.
DAY 4 : Coasteering, bluebell woods & beach bbqs
The morning after, we packed up Colin (as we were travelling to a different campsite later that day) and we headed off to Abereiddy again to meet our guide for Coasteering. We got kitted up in our wetsuits and gear and even after our guide had shown us a giant killer whale bone that they’d found on the beach, I was still excited to get in the sea and play!
The sun was out and our guide was also really excited about the calm conditions and low tide, he genuinely couldn’t wait to get us out in the water! As we splashed our way into the sea and headed for the nearby rocks, the cold water made my toes curl but once we had clambered up onto our first rock and learnt to jump in safely we soon warmed up.
We clambered around the coast line, jumped off various rocks and learnt about a smugglers cave as we swam around into it. It was beautiful and although we were warned that we might sea some friendly seals pop up around us, I was a little disappointed we didn’t meet any in there!
After the cave we swam round to the entrance to the Blue Lagoon, that we had been peering in to the day before. The water was so clear and the colour of the 25 metre deep lagoon was incredible! It was here we were introduced to the tower jumps (eek!) which are the ones that were featured on the TV show SAS : Who dares Wins. There are three altogether and I can’t remember the exact heights but I think the tallest is 12 metres and smallest is 6... maybe?
I LOVE jumping off things and into water so headed straight to the top of the middle jump. We were told that the sea level was almost 2 metres lower than usual due to the low tide, meaning the jumps were a little taller too. Although I would have liked to give the tallest one a go, when our guide said even he wouldn’t be risking going off that one we thought we’d stick to the smaller two and not break our backs!
The jumps were amazing! It’s best not to think about things too long when you’re at the top of tall drops like that but you just cannot beat the falling, flying feeling when you leap off. There was also a ‘run and hope for the best’ kind of jump on the other side of the lagoon which we tried. I was a bit unsure of this one as you had to time the running and jumping just right to avoid the rocks at the bottom and once you started running you couldn’t really stop. But I did it and I didn’t break myself! YAY!
After a few more jumps and a swim and scramble back round to the beach, our coasteering session had come to an end. We absolutely loved it! I’d highly recommend it to any water babies and sea loving adventurers if you’re ever in the area. We went with a company called Man Up and they were great!
After a quick change and another cheeky ice cream by the van we hopped back in Colin and headed off to a nearby shop to pick up some last minute BBQ supplies.
Our coasteering guide had told us about a nearby beach which you had to get to by walking through some woods full of bluebells. He also told us it was usually very quiet and one of the most beautiful beaches around so it sounded like the perfect place for a BBQ lunch.
Once we found the parking spot, we enjoyed a beautiful walk through bluebell lined woods and we were soon greeted with the stunning, (almost empty) Abermawr beach. We had it to ourselves apart from a couple of people on the other side of the bay and Storm the dog.
Grilling sausages and eating off slate 'plates' in the sunshine, on the beautiful beach was bliss. It was so peaceful and we enjoyed a bit of paddling and snoozing in the warm sun before we had to make a move to our next campsite. The perfect way to balance out our adrenaline fuelled morning in the sea.
That afternoon was the start of our journey towards home again and we were booked in to another beautiful place called Camping at Ynysfaen for the evening. We had the perfect spot for Colin, in a little shrub lined pitch, there was a babbling stream at the bottom of the field and the warm sunshine stayed with us until sunset.
Day 5 : From mountains to orchards
We had wanted to do a bit of hiking on our trip so we picked Camping at Ynysfaen because it wasn’t far from Pen Y Fan. The Beard and I had already hiked up Snowdon and Cader Idris on past trips to Wales so we thought we could complete the Three Welsh Peaks and tick Pen Y Fan off our list too!
It was a super misty, quite drizzly morning but as we walked through the clouds we saw glimpses of the lush, green valley views and soon made it to the top. Despite the cloudy weather it was a lovely, fairly quick hike and we enjoyed a packed lunch at the top before yomping our way back down again.
I’d love to go back on a clear day because the views we did manage a peek at were gorgeous, even through the cloud and mist! Plus we have to make it back just so we can go over to Ya Big Fanny (Fan Y Big) too! Yes, I'm a child.
After our mini mountain morning we hopped back in Colin and started to make our way to our final campsite back in the Cotswolds. We had booked to stay at Thistledown Farm, where we were directed to their Elderflower Orchard when we arrived. It was another beautiful campsite! Each pitch had a little stone campfire area and we were surrounded by … you guessed it… elderflower trees!
We still had a fair bit of the day left so we had a quick look at the map and realised we were quite close to Newton Park, which is a lovely National Trust house and grounds. Although the house was closed due to a recent flood, we enjoyed a peek in the one room that was open and explored the gorgeous grounds before heading to their cafe for a quick cuppa and a snack. They have amazing sausage rolls there… so amazing that one of the chickens actually came and stole the last bit of mine from my bloody hand!
That evening we cosied up by a campfire back in our Elderflower Orchard spot and enjoyed some more wedding cheese as we watched the sun go down. I was starting to feel sad that our mini adventure in Colin was almost over but that evening the rain decided to join us so it felt like the right time to be thinking about going home.
Day 6 : Rainy day journey via our fave services
The rain fully invited herself along for the ride home and as we made our way back towards Cambridge we realised we would be driving right past our favourite services (surely the nation’s favourite services?!), Gloucester! Where else could you get a bubble & squeak, haggis and bacon breakfast cob? We enjoyed our coffee and naughty breakfast whilst sheltering from the rain before we hopped back into Colin and continued the ride home.
Before we knew it we were home and unloading Colin, ready to take him back and collect our car (who I affectionately refer to as Enid but Will insists on calling Aldolf the golf!) It was so nice to see the kitties again and as much as I always LOVE travelling away from home, there’s something so comforting about seeing their little faces and hearing their purrs when we get back - that is after they’ve forgiven us for leaving in the first place!
We had such a lovely few days heading West from Cambridge and although we didn’t get long enough in each destination (it’s never long enough is it?) we really enjoyed exploring new places and just being on the road in a Camper again. Hopefully the photos I’ve shared and places I’ve waffled about in this post have inspired you in some way too and maybe… just maybe it won’t be too long before I can share some more travels with you all!
Until next time Sunshine Lovers, toodlepip!