Families Magazine Editor Rebecca Lewis reviews a family glamping weekend in Caerphilly

Great food, gorgeous views, with a little luxury thrown in for good measure is the perfect recipe for a local family nature break, discovers Families Cardiff’s Managing Editor, Rebecca Lewis…

As a family, our wish list for the perfect glamping getaway is long and, some might say, verging on the unrealistic. For the kids, there’s endless space to run around, nooks and crannies to hide in, with bonus points for animals to feed and stroke. For Dad, practicalities come first: a solid barbecue set-up, quality meat to throw on the charcoals, comfy outdoor seating to enjoy beautiful scenery, sunset views and starry skies. As for Mum (that’s me), the requirements are a comfy bed, toilet and washing facilities that minimise the need for wet wipes, and, all being well, a corkscrew and a hot tub.

Happily, Under The Oak—a trio of safari lodges spaced around a pond in the tranquil corner of Pen Y Waum Farm, high up in the Bedwas hills—delivers on all fronts.

The website promises a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle, and as we stand on our veranda, cushioned by rolling green hills, there’s already a sense of life’s worries falling away. Inside, we’re delighted to discover a spacious bathroom with a walk-in shower and (yes!) a flushing loo. At the heart of our temporary home, an indoor wood burner makes redundant at least one of the ‘extra layer’ bags packed.

Family harmony is temporarily put in jeopardy on discovery of the cwtch—a double bed tucked inside a fairy-lit cupboard accessed by a ladder. Who will sleep in this little gem? We spend a few minutes pretending this is actually up for debate before the three-year-old inevitably climbs in and declares it hers.

Hours roll by as views are enjoyed, books are read, marshmallows are toasted, and the kids’ imaginations take flight, finding endless wonder in the outdoor mud kitchen, rolling down verges and feeding the ducks. Dinner is served around the fire pit, a toast being made to the local butcher, down in the village, who supplied our feast (Buckland’s, 18 Church St).

Our after-dinner entertainment arrives: a herd of escapee cows taking up residence in the field next door. Then the kids settle in for the night with bellies full of hot dogs and the promise of a breakfast of farm fresh eggs and another day of adventures.

As the stars put in an appearance, we slip into the hot tub and add one final item to our glamping wish list: somewhere that makes us feel we’ve discovered something we want to share with others. Job done.

Safari lodges can accommodate up to 6 adults, with exclusive hire available for larger groups. Book at Under the Oak website

CULINARY CAERPHILLY: MAKE A FOODIE WEEKEND OF IT

Casa Mia Restaurant
Locally-sourced Welsh favourites and Mediterranean classics make for a hearty meal at this family-run town centre kitchen. The crowning glory is the fabulous view of Caerphilly Castle that dominates the space from every angle. The service is warm and friendly, with little ones especially fussed over. Perfect for lunch before an amble around the castle.
First Floor 4 – 6 The Twyn, Caerphilly, CF83 1JL. Casa Mia Website

Basil & Rusty’s Ice Cream
The accolades awarded to this family farm for its impressive ice cream are too many to list. Suffice to say this isn’t somewhere you pop for a 99 cone. Go on an empty stomach and you might end up with an affagato starter, waffle and ice cream main and a sundae for dessert. Meanwhile the kids will get busy in the playground and ride-on park.
Gelli Wastad Farm, Machen, CF83 8JE. Basil & Rusty’s Facebook Page

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