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It’s been a rough few years and holidays have been something we have only been able to dream about.

We decided to put off an overseas holiday as we are definitely the people who would end up having to isolate or getting stuck somewhere. That may sound like fun but when your son thinks you are going home on a certain date and then doesn’t, it can create a bit of an issue (understatement of the year)!

When a friend told us about her mum’s new venture, a 2 bed house in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, we jumped at the chance to stay.  In order to be transparent, we were gifted a few nights in return for a review but as you know, I am not going to BS you in a review.

Having three teenagers with a variety of special needs and disabilities, it can be a challenge finding somewhere that works for us.  I have lost count of the number of breaks we have had to cut short as one child or another wasn’t dealing with the change.

The big selling point for us was that my friend’s mum totally gets it – she has personal experience of autism and the challenges it can bring.

Getting there

We decided to head off in October for half term.  As usual, the sandwiches and snacks packed for the journey had disappeared before we even left Kent  And, as usual, the M25 was a car park for a few hours.  However, we arrived around 8 pm on Friday evening and straight away, the kids were delighted as there was a chip shop within walking distance – it had been some time since those snacks had been devoured.

Having parked easily on the road, we entered the house and the twins were thrilled to see a few Happy Birthday signs around the house.  I had been asking the owner about places to eat, etc and mentioned it was the twins birthday.  Those little banners cost very little but made a huge impact.  The twins felt welcomed and it felt like home from home.

The House

The house has a very large sitting room/lounge.  One of the sofas was enormous and unbelievably comfortable – it became a race through the door each time we returned to grab a space.   I was happy to claim the other sofa – all to myself, something I don’t get at home. Normally all three forget they are not toddlers now and squash in together on my sofa while Dad lounges in comfort.

The kitchen was great; a really good size and well equipped.  Microwave, fridge, freezer, water dispenser, coffee machine, washing machine, tumble dryer and to the kids’ delight a nice selection of biscuits!

In the sitting room/lounge, there is also a pull out sofa bed.  My daughter claimed that as she didn’t want to share with her smelly brothers (her words not mine).

With a flat screen TV, Wi Fi and an Amazon Firestick, the set up was perfect.

Upstairs there were two bedrooms (one double and one twin) and a lovely large bathroom.  As my youngest son is blind, small bathrooms can be a challenge when they are new and unknown.  Having space to move around in helped enormously.

The boys were very happy with their bedroom, in fact, we struggled to get our youngest out of there.

The double bedroom was beautifully decorated and the bed was super soft.  Two large wardrobes provided plenty of space for clothes and all the bags/cases. Often when you go away, you end up with a pile of cases or bags because there’s nowhere to store them. This was perfect.

 Hotels and B&Bs don’t always work well for us so having a house to ourselves was perfect.  No one to judge, stare, roll their eyes or give you that look of pity. A place to change into PJs after a day out without worrying about someone seeing you.

In the local area:

The location of the house is ideal if you need a comfortable base that comes with privacy.

Excellent for access to several local attractions – especially if you enjoy sightseeing or cycling. Here are just a few of the local places you can visit:

Dare Valley Gravity Bike Park

Margam Park Deer Mountain Bike Trail

MV Bike Park

BikePark Wales

Mountain Bike Wales Afan Forest Park 

plus several other local off-piste trails and don’t forget Brecon Beacons National Park. If you prefer the coastline to the mountains, the nearest beach is only a 30-minute drive away.

Eating out

The locals were so friendly.  As someone who has lived in London/South East for some time, I forget that there are places where you can eat well without having to remortgage. We had breakfast in a local diner (a 5 minute drive from the house) and I think my youngest could happily live there. The breakfasts were just what the doctor ordered before a busy day of sight seeing.

Our favourite discovery, courtesy of the Landlady of the house, was a pub/restaurant. The Pantyscallog Steak House. Just one tip before you go there – don’t eat for 24 hours. The portions are enormous – even my eldest son who is famous for finishing everyone’s plates, was beaten by the quantity. Often when something arrives, in a huge portion, you know that quality may have not been on the agenda. This was not the case. The food was amazing and I was gutted that I couldn’t finish. If you are in the area, we highly recommend booking a table.

I also got to pop into the lovely Ojo’s Mams Fabrics in Blackwood – my friend opened this in the Summer and it was just wonderful to see how it had grown since I last saw it on the day she opened. If you love sewing, knitting, crochet, quilting or anything similar, it’s definitely worth checking out her store.

Would I recommend it?

We have already recommended it to personal friends and Chris and I are currently looking at dates for next year. It’s a new venture for the family who owns it so they still have availability for those peak weeks and the price is very reasonable.

If you are looking for somewhere to just switch off for a few days, or a base for visting the local area, you really can’t go wrong. The house is also available for contractors, so if you are working in the local area and need a home from home, you could also book here.

If you want to book, the house along with the availability and pricing is over on the Sleep Stays site.

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