Y = YHA Llanddeusant. LillBlu’s A to Z challenge.. 24/7/19
As my regular readers will know, the Bears and I have just returned from a weeks road trip around our neighboring country, Wales. By far the best experience had was at the YHA in Llanddeusant and after a conversation with the manager we learnt that there was a lack of people wanting to book with the company due to the remote location and lack of advertising. We had such a good time that I wanted to repay a little back to the guys there and get their name out a little for them, even if it is only across my small part of the internet.
A review of YHA Llanddeusant.
Visit date: 22-24/7/19.
Room option: Private room (sleeps up to 4)
The Old Red Lion was once the heart of the village of Llanddeusant, standing central in a row of three buildings on either side of the main road. The village, long since abandoned and tore down has nothing left but the old pub and the village church; situated directly behind the old pub.
The church yard itself holds a mystery or two; as was noticed first by Bear. Many of the grave stones across the site (we counted more than twenty) appear to be modeled after chess pieces; and no one can tell us why! We asked the staff and no one had even noticed before let alone heard of there being a reason. Even an internet search turned up nothing. So it remains a mystery for someone else to figure out.
The rooms were all rustic and well used but functional, although a little tired looking. The whole place could do with an injection of cash in order to bring it up to its absolute best but in my opinion this only adds to the charm of the place and certainly didn’t detract from the experience in the slightest.
The location is remote, they were right about that but in my opinion, that’s what I wanted! I cant imagine anyone wanting to go to an outdoor activity centre in the middle of a city or industrial park and for us, the location was idylic and well suited to the activities on offer.
Off site activities were all within a half hour drive of the site with transport for small groups being provided by the company. Because we were in such a large group (three families with multiple children each) we had to follow up in our own cars once the Jeep was full; perfect for a quick getaway from the kids for half an hour as they chose to ride in the Jeep with the older kids.
The views from the grounds of the property are stunning to say the least, some of the best of any YHA Ive stayed in so far if im honest. There was ample space for the younger children to run about with a picnic area directly opposite the front door. The open plan kitchen and dining area made the whole place feel like a family home rather than a hostel, only adding to the charm of the place.
The Hostel manager and owner of the activities company, Pete, was an amazing bloke to get to know; extremely open and honest about his struggles to keep the business afloat in hard economic times and his passion for the work he and his partner Claire do in partnership with The Lavender Project, for underprivileged children.
Claire ran the arts and craft session BB4 and I took part in, instead of the caving activity the boys went on with Pete. It was held up at her home and we were made to feel welcome right from the outset. I don’t think it would be unfair to say that both Claire and Pete are a little Hippy in their presentation. Claire herself is an eco-artist and Pete is master of the outdoors with dreads that reach his back and their home, and the hostel, reflects this ethos.
Arc Adventures are a separate company to the YHA that offer a selection of activities to do on a half or full day basis. We chose to take advantage of an offer that allowed us to pick two half day or one full day activities and have three meals provided for us each for a set fee. This meant that we didn’t have to think about bringing in our own food as the hostel has no cafe or restaurant and provides self catering kitchens only outside of the offers.
We chose to take part in the caving, climbing and crafting activities as part of our offer and for the four of us, with all our meals it was £160 per full day, cheaper than a theme park day out and far more memorable.
Their website has a full list of activities available but doesn’t state what age range each is suitable for. We found that BB4 was too tiny for caving and they didn’t have bikes small enough for children at all but beyond that most things were available for the kids and Pete was happy to exchange emails with me for weeks in advance whilst I bored him with questions, trying to make up my mind which activities where best.
At peak times activities will already be set for that day on a first come first served basis and I would advise a conversation with Pete prior to booking to ensure you get the choices you want. He is super accommodating and helpful.
Value for money.
I am a YHA member (£20 a year fee) and as such receive a 10% discount, and a further 5% discount on the children’s stays is standard for all bookings.
Our two night stay for the four of us cost £84, add to the cost of the activities and the total cost of a two day activity holiday came in at £244, all inclusive. (£30.50 per person, per day) I don’t think this is a bad offer to be honest, I will certainly be looking to go again.
Its worth noting that the food on offer is not buffet style and often has a rustic flair. Only one option is on offer per meal and unfortunately there are no shops in the local area to go stock up on snacks. If you have any picky eaters in your group it would be wise to bring in your own food and self cater, we found this out the hard way when Bear refused to eat a vegetable tagine and cous cous. He ended up sneaking a bowl of cereal from the breakfast cupboard as he was starving. The food was perfectly edible, I had seconds, it just wasn’t to his tastes and nothing else was available.
Another point to note is the vehicle you come in with. We drive a sixteen year old Scenic and heavy laden she struggled a wee bit on some of the hills. I am not a confident driver and really struggled to stay calm enough to drive the windiest lanes and so Bear had to take the wheel on more than one occasion. I would advise the most confident driver of the group to be the one driving in and around Llanddeusant, at least until you get to know the area a little better.
Check your kit list before you go. I was daft enough to miss this completely in the email and didn’t have any wellies for those who went caving, luckily for us other families have left some behind and we managed to cobble together enough pairs for them to take part. This could have been a disaster to our holiday otherwise so please check your kit list before you go, you wont regret it.
What an amazing place ran by the loveliest of people. The concept is great and the activities on offer suit all ages and abilities. We as a family will certainly be returning at some point in the future, possibly for a weeks residential.
We cant wait, highly recommended.