An action packed adventure holiday in South Wales sounded like a foolhardy idea. Forgive the cliches but memories of miserable weekends spent huddled inside a tent hiding from the wind and the rain had tainted me for life.

Accommodation in a Victorian hunting lodge however, now converted into a hotel, was the perfect lure followed by an itinerary fuller than Henry VIII’s breeches.

Our Swansea Bay stay was to include eating out, beaches, surfing lessons, climbing, seal watching, shipwreck hunting, a private tour of a medieval castle, tree climbing, wood carving, and had me signing on the dotted line quicker than Jordan on I’m A Celebrity. And with children ranging in age from primary school to university, they were all catered for and interested enough to come.

I was a massive fan of The Gower and it’s endless possibilities already. Just past Swansea, it is a beautiful area, boasting endless coastline, beaches and countryside, hence its numerous awards, Rhossili Bay for example, having just been crowned the best in Europe, Wales’ Best Beach 2017 and one of the UK’s Top 10 Beaches for five years running in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards.

It was fairly cold when we arrived there after a three hour drive, but the weather was kind, a weak sun guiding us to Oxwich Bay Hotel where we ate in splendour overlooking the famous beach before a blustery walk to clear the cobwebs, miles of empty white sand stretching out in front of us, framed by blue skies and mountainous dunes, punctuated only by the occasional kite flyer or dog walker. I’m sure in the summer the crowds flock but on this solitary afternoon it was ours and ours alone.

Once we’d checked in at the family owned Parc le Breos, whose marvellous grounds and secluded, but useful location was near everywhere we needed to get to, we ventured out for a pub supper in The King Arthur Hotel, a welcoming local whose big portions and convivial atmosphere provided a robust evening.

The action and adventure began the next day. A day at Swansea Leisure Centre included private instruction on the only Boardrider in Wales, where the never-ending wave provides the perfect opportunity to learn to surf, a brilliant introduction for children in particular, mine clambering aboard with great confidence. The 60ft climbing wall was similarly well received; again counselled by professionals, the kids scampering up the range of heights; safe and secure in the three different zones.

Lunch was in a sweet little restaurant Welcome To Town, recently bought and renovated by an Englishman who fell in love with the countryside and found it impossible to leave. Walking off our lunch, we headed off to the National Trust’s beautifully picturesque village of Roshilli where we walked all the way down Worm’s Head to find seals perching on the rock shelves, pink clover framing the headland as the gulls swooped, cawing overhead. Wonderfully serene and undeveloped, the beach there at Llangenith is famous for its surfing and boasts its own shipwreck, whose ribs are silhouetted against the landscape when the tide goes out, a stark reminder of the power of the sea.

Dinner was eaten on the top of the tallest skyscraper in Wales, the Grape and Olive tower in Swansea’s Marina complex where millions of pounds have been poured into the new luxurious development. Reached by lift, the lights glittered magically beneath us.

Arriving back shattered at Parc le Breos, all this fresh air and exercise as getting to us, and we slept well before dining on Laverbread,

The next-day we re-launched ourselves on the seaside town of Mumbles where we walked along the pier and then met Erika Klugge who unlocked Oystermouth Castle and gave us a private tour. Recently restored and re-opened to the public, it’s historical presence is tangible, just one of Wales many, if lesser known castles, which boasts 14th century mosaics and a medieval maze of deep vaults and secret staircases.

Mesmerised until our stomachs dragged us back to the present, then dining in Italian splendour on wonderful pizzas and pasta on the quayside at the family-run Verdi’s.

Our last stop was at the Down To Earth Centre for an afternoon of adventure that saw us swinging from the tallest tree under the watchful eye of Barney O’Kane, realising a tremendous sense of accomplishment on reaching the top even if you did then still have to make you way down, which proved much harder. We also partook of some pyrography, fed the pigs and cooked some award winning sausages over the camp fire we built ourselves.

It was with heavy hearts that we left Wales and its wonderful beaches, fresh air and room to breath. Swansea Bay had not only only revived us, given us space as a family to reconnect, provided enough activities for every age range, kept us busy inside and out, but also altered our impression of Wales irrevocably.

For more on Swansea Bay: Go to

Down to Earth: from £20 per person for two hours

Parc-le-Breos: from £94 B&B (2 people sharing a room)

Swansea Leisure Centre: from £11.50 for all three activities (pool, boardrider and climbing wall)