Cathedine Old Coach House in the Brecon Beacons
A couple of weeks ago we did a Very Bad Thing. We whisked the children out of school for a week of sunshine and exploring in the Brecon Beacons.
As you can tell, we feel horribly guilty and repentant that they spent the week doing stuff like this…
We stayed as guests of Brecon Beacons Holiday Cottages, and our home for the week was the Old Coach House, Cathedine (pronounced Cathoddin, in case you were wondering). Situated just a few miles outside Brecon, and right on top of Llangors Lake, it’s perfectly situated for exploring all that the National Park has to offer, both the Beacons and the Black Mountains.
It also happens to be possibly the best-equipped cottage for families we have ever stayed in (and we’ve stayed in a few…).
We were utterly blessed with the most perfect week of weather we could have asked for – glorious days of perfect early summer sunshine and blue skies, followed by long warm evenings just made for eating in the garden, playing games and watching the sun go down.
The Old Coach House sleeps 9 in five bedroom – bags of room for everyone. It’s a slightly upside-down house – upstairs is the stunning living room with fantastic beams, woodburning stove and French doors which open on to the balcony. Behind the living room is the master bedroom, with ensuite.
Downstairs the property feels much bigger – coming off the central hallway are three bedrooms (bunks, twin, single), utilities room (washer/dryer/extra freezer etc), family bathroom, and yet another bedroom at the far end which is a large twin and a fully-equipped child’s paradise. Buckets of Playmobil and Lego and animals and soft toys, a snooker table, an Xbox with games, stacks of books…
Back at the other end the kitchen diner is also large – we only ate inside once, thanks to the stupendously freak weather we had, but I did cook, obviously, and the kitchen is supremely well-equipped with everything we needed (and plenty of things we never realised we might need too).
Entrance to the cottage is down a cobbled path from the shared driveway – the mildly puzzling instructions immediately become clear upon arrival. Be aware that you’ll have to carry your luggage down the path and steps, so go for smaller bags rather than one huge trunk for the week!
Outside, the cottage is lovely – a secluded garden that faces onto open fields. Be aware that those fields contain a lovely cockerel, and at this time of year a flock of rather noisy sheep. We didn’t in the least mind their noise, but it’s not the utterly silent idyll it may look in the pictures.
This is also not the place to come if you’re a passionate gardener – it’s a really pretty place to sit, but very quickly you become aware that it is a once-cherished garden that has simply been overtaken by pretty weeds. It was all the husband could do to not get down on his knees and start rescuing the plants underneath all the buttercups!
It was also a shame that the garden had a rather ugly taped-off area fenced roughly with chicken wire – I know it’s only a temporary solution, but it would have been nice to have something a little sturdier, or more attractive, in place. I wouldn’t have been happy if I’d had a crawling baby, and it was certainly no barrier for the dog (it only appeared to be screening off the pile of loose stone, and for us was unnecessary as a precaution anyway).
Those small niggly details aside, we genuinely had a wonderful week. We split our time between relaxing (loafing) at the cottage and exploring the wonders of the Brecon Beacons National Park. We did a lot of walking and exploring and ice cream eating, we played, we chatted – and simply had a brilliant, rather old-fashioned family holiday spending time together. It’ll be one we remember for a very long time to come.
You can see more pictures of our trip on our Facebook page here. The Old Coach House can booked through Brecon Cottages, and from what we can see has availability from September, when rates are £773 per week. We totally recommend it for a family stay – the Brecon Beacons has masses to offer a family holiday, whatever your style of trip, and as the cottage sleeps nine it’s a great opportunity for extended family to share the trip.