I think by now you all know how lucky I feel to live where we do. It’s a place that we never tire of exploring so when we were invited to spend a weekend at Cartrefle in Tresaith a few months ago, we couldn’t wait.
Tresaith is about ten minutes North of us and all though it is so close it’s somewhere we don’t visit all that often. So the chance to stay in the village would provide us with the chance to spend time there and explore. The chance to escape for the weekend came at a very welcome time for us, as we had just had a very busy couple of months. Little did I know that the period following our stay at Cartrefle would be even more hectic with the younger two getting chicken pox and then stomach bugs which is one of the reason this post has taken me so long to finally write. Another reason being that I wanted to ensure I captured the essence of this fabulous house, to put into words how we felt during our short stay. So here goes …
While the children where in school and meithrin one Friday afternoon I set about packing our things ready for a weekend in Tresaith. So that when I finished work that evening we could load the car and head off. By the time we were ready to go the children were very excited, we had a quick tea so we could enjoy exploring Cartrefle when we arrived.
Tresiath is a lovely, quiet coastal village that remains mainly unchanged which is part of its appeal to many including us. It’s quite a highly village with the beach laying at its foot. Tresaith Beach proudly has Blue Flag Status and is manned by RNLI Lifeguards through the Summer months. Tresaith beach is a popular location for families, suferers and other watersports as well as Ramblers. You wind your way along a narrow road down towards the sea, half way down quite a steep hill and just before The Ship Inn, the local pub, there is a private lane which takes you along to Cartrefle. There are several other properties along the lane too which are also mainly holiday lets. At the end standing proudly is Cartrefle, first impressions of the house is that it is very large compared to its neighbours and even from the front the view down over the beach is breathtaking.
At the side of the house is room for two small cars or one large one. There is also room for a car right outside the house, however you need to be careful not to obstruct the lane and access to other properties. We went in through the back door which is through a small gate, just beyond which are two outbuildings. The boys were so eager to get in and look around that I decided to wait to unpack the car.
We went through to a small conservatory/porch and then in to the house. Trying to get the children to walk around instead of excitedly is no mean feat and lets face it who can blame them being excited. The way they see it, this is their home for the next few days, an adventure. Well I always say to them when we are heading off for the day or a few nights “let’s go on an adventure”.
We walked from room to room, starting in the kitchen, trying to take in our surroundings. We had very kindly been left a bottle of wine by the owners and a welcome note. The boys wanted to choose which bedroom they were going to sleep in so we headed upstairs. Cartrefle sleeps 12 and the bedrooms are split over two floors. Usually the older two will share a room if the accommodation allows however on this occasion I was surprised the boys wanted to sleep in separate rooms. My mum was joining us for the following night so in the for the second night the older two shared a room following a night in separate rooms. As usual Erin wanted to sleep with me so shared the master bedroom where Rowan also ended up eventually!
With Cartrefle sleeping 12 there was certainly plenty of room to accommodate everyone’s needs. On the top floor there was a lovely room with a single bed and a sofa plus additional mattresses which could be used for sleep overs if required. There was also a wii which the boys thoroughly enjoyed using during our stay. There were also two further double bedrooms on the third floor (top) and a lovely shower room with toilet. The second floor accommodation features a twin room and two doubles and then a family bathroom and separate toilet which is very handy when you’re a large family.
The ground floor comprises of a lovely open planned kitchen/dinner and a large lounge/sitting room which has two definite areas. One for relaxing and watching tv while the other end of the room has a further sofa and easy chairs with a stereo system and a fantastic collection of records. Then there is a small conservatory/porch which also houses the oil burner and is ideal for storing wet/dirty footwear and coats. There is also a lovely pantry built-in under the stairs.
Then moving outdoors there is a series of outbuilding buildings, the two closest to the house are a toilet and a utility store with showers. A great idea for washing down after time spent on the beach. Then moving up through the first lawned area there is a further outbuilding where logs etc are stored. One thing that immediately caught my attention during our first look around was the fact that the each section of garden had its own gate which you can secure to keep children safe. The other thing that stood out straight away was that throughout the whole property the attention to detail was outstanding. The owners had taken so much time to ensure that they can cater for every eventuality and individual need. It was so refreshing to know that there were high chairs, travel cot and toileting equipment along with a multitude of other things should we need them.
With our tour of Cartrefle complete we unloaded the car and I made us al a drink before we settled down for the evening. Dad of 3 had come along with us to help settle us in and then at bedtime headed home to look after our chickens and cats. But he was to return the following morning so we could explore Tresaith some more.
There are times when I’m away from home with the children that I don’t sleep that well however I had the most relaxing nights sleep while at Cartrefle and the so did the children. After the first night I was treated to a lovely lay in by the children who slept until gone 9am, something that is unheard of but was very much appreciated. We got up and had a lovely breakfast of fresh pancakes and croissants. The children then watched some cartoons while I spent some time reading in one of the window seats in the sitting room, something that happened quite a bit during our stay. The boys decided they couldn’t wait any longer to head to the beach so we got ready to go for a stroll before Dad of 3 arrived.
We decided to stick to using the backdoor as it was easier and I knew I could secure the garden and drive with the gates so the children had to wait for me instead of dashing off. From Cartrefle there are two routines down to the beach, firstly you could work approximately 50 yards down the lane to the flight of steps which runs from the top of Tresaith where there is a public car park and bus stop. This route also passes the local youth hostel and then another lane with houses/holiday lets before descending to the lane with Cartrefle and then finally down to the bottom some 100 yards or so to the beach. The second more direct route is to pass through the little gate in front of Cartrefle and down the steps which runs through the front lawn of the house to another gate. The lane below then comes out slightly further down the road to the beach than the other route. Again we used this route as it meant the children and I could see on coming traffic as we reached the bottom road and the children had to wait for me!
It was quite a blustery day but it was dry so we were wrapped up warmly and enjoyed a lovely stroll along the beach before it was time to head back up to Cartrefle to wait for Dad of 3 to return. We didn’t have long to wait, as we reached half way up the steps in the front garden dad of 3 arrived. The children were all pleased to see him and we all headed back to the house for a drink and to decide on a plan of action for the day.
Dad of 3 was hoping to have the chance to take the sea kayak out which is available to use while staying at Cartrefle and I was hoping to do a spot of geocaching as there were several nearby. As the tides weren’t right for kayaking for another couple of hours I headed out with Trystan to do some geocaching while dad of 3 stayed at the house with the others as they didn’t want to join us. Trystan and I spent over an hour walking around Tresaith, the beach and along part of the coastal footpath towards Aberporth hunting for geocaches. At one point Trystan sat down on the coastal footpath and refused to move as we had walked up and down so many steps! He did eventually move again and we managed to find three caches in total. However I think Trystan was grateful to return to the others for lunch!
After lunch I spent some time taking in the little details at Cartrefle, I love original features in houses. There’s something about them that adds character I think and makes me feel like the house has a story to tell and Cartrefle is full of them.
The children retreated to the attack to play on the wii while dad of 3 kept an eye on the tide so he would be ready to head off with the kayak. It didn’t take long for the tide to turn and dad of 3 donned his wet suit ready for the off. As the Sea Kayak was quite heavy it would need two of us to get it down to the beach safely. So once the children had put their shoes back on I helped carry the kayak down the steps to the beach with the children trailing behind us. Dad of 3 planned to head around to the next cove and come back where he would circle around so I could see him and return to help him back. So the children and I headed back up to the house, the children went back to the wii while I sat and read a book in the window so I could keep an eye out.
After about forty-five minutes I noticed the sea had become a bit choppy so I hoped dad of 3 was okay and sat watching out for him. It was so relaxing just sitting and watching others walking along the beach. Although it was overcast and blustery there was a steady stream down to the beach and I happily sat taking in my surroundings.
Suddenly I was aware that dad of 3 had been gone quite a while and the sea was now looking really rough. Then all of a sudden I spotted him coming back towards the beach. I called the children to come and put their shoes on quickly so we could go and meet dad of 3. As we approached the beach I couldn’t see him and then suddenly he was there, looking cold and very wet and without his glasses! He told us how he had been knocked out of the kayak by a big wave just as he went round towards the next cove. He had to swim with the kayak inland so he could get back on. Clearly he was shaken from the whole incident and hadn’t realised he’d lost his glasses in the process. thankfully he had been wearing a life jacket and had managed to keep his wits about him. We helped him back up to the house where he showered off in the utility room. We checked the kayak over and there was no damage done and dad of 3 had a few grazes. However the bigger issue was the fact he couldn’t see much without his glasses and he didn’t have his contact lenses with him. The only option was for me to take him car home to find his spare glasses and collect my mum on the way. There’s a lot to be said for taking a break close to home.
By the time I returned with glasses and my mum, dinner was almost ready. The boys excitedly showed Granny around the house and to where she was sleeping. Then we settled down to watch some tv and have dinner. The children spent some time watching out of the window.
Dad of 3 stayed until 9pm then headed back home to see to the animals. Granny helped with baths and bedtime then we both settled down to read for a bit before bedtime. The next morning we enjoyed a cooked breakfast and spent some time filling in the visitor book and reading the information that is left for guests. Another lovely touch at Cartrefle is the teddy bear for children to take on adventures and then they can write about them in his own book.
Like me, my mum loved the attention to detail at Cartrefle, the little touches that made you feel completely at home and so relaxed in the process. So much thought has gone into making guests time at Cartrefle as relaxing and stress free as possible.
The children wanted to go for another walk on the beach so despite the showers we wrapped up and spent a lovely hour walking and exploring every knock and cranny of the beach. Dad of 3 joined us not long after and we headed back for lunch before starting to pack up ready to head home.
I think I can speak for us all when I say that leaving Cartrefle that afternoon was so hard, we had all felt so at home there and felt so relaxed. We could have stayed until the following morning but the children had to go to school. So we reluctantly loaded the car and checked the house over before locking up and bidding Cartrefle farewell.
Even now several months on, the children are still talking about our stay at Cartrefle. I know they would love to return especially when the weather is nicer and they could spend more time on the beach. Being able to stay so close to the beach that it feels like part of your garden was fantastic and such a lovely experience. I’m so glad that Cartrefle’s owners decided to share their house on a beach in Wales with us and others.
If you would like more information about Cartrefle and to book your own stay please visit http://www.houseonabeachinwales.com/
We were lucky enough to be invited to stay at Cartrefle in my capacity as assessor for Approved Family Friendly. I was so pleased recommend that Cartrefle was awarded a very well deserved Gold Award. For more information about Approved Family Friendly please visit here
Disclaimer – We stayed at Cartrefle for the purposes of the Approved Family Friendly scheme and for this review. The content of this review is 100% my own.