Holiday Cottage Review: A Modern Stay in a Traditional Setting

We were recently invited to spend the weekend at a holiday cottage in North Wales overlooking the Snowdonia mountains. It’s a beautiful part of the world, one where we’ve holidayed a few times before and where my youngest daughter had just returned from a school residential, so we knew were going to get great scenery. Wales Cottage Holidays, part of the Original Cottages group offered us the glorious Ty Gwair barn for 3 nights so I could really show you how a modern family enjoys a traditional cottage stay.

I’ve written an extensive series of how to find your best cottage holiday on the blog over the last 18 months and finally I’m showing you what to look for to ensure you get a modern stay in a most traditional property.

This is a genuine review. I’ll tell you what I loved and what I didn’t so you can make up your own mind. My whole family enjoyed the stay at holiday barn free of charge, but we paid for our own transport, food and holiday fun!

The Setting: 

Ty Gwair is set in the North Wales, in the Snowdonia Mountains just outside Bethesda. It’s an amazing location if you want to visit and explore the mountain range and the beautiful surrounding countryside. It’s also only a stone’s throw from Anglesey and all that the island has to offer. We drove up through Snowdonia National Park – a longer journey but incredibly scenic – and having done this route before, thoroughly enjoyed the vistas once again.

The Cottage:

The cottage itself is a converted 200 year old barn. The owners live right next door and are incredibly welcoming and friendly, offering advice about the local area (they’ve lived here most of their lives) and giving us lots of history to their farm and land.

The famous Zip World Velocity zipwire is visible from the property and less than a mile away and you can watch people (with the binoculars) flying down at over 100mph on the fastest zip line in the world.

The location has to be the most attractive feature of this beautiful property. With views over the mountains, the setting is tranquil and relaxing, and with a hot tub to take advantage of too, it’s a real treat of a holiday cottage.

The Facilities:

Ty Gwair is a 3 bedroomed cottage sleeping 7 people. The ground floor is host to the small kitchen, large lounge diner and then the conservatory. Double doors lead from one space to the other, enabling a more open plan feel with beautiful views onto the mountains.

One double bedroom on the ground floor has easy access and a shower cubicle making it great for less able members of the group. Our eldest daughter stayed in this room.

Then upstairs a room of 3 single beds is on one side of the landing (the youngest , which leads over to the main bathroom (no shower in this room) and the main bedroom and en-suite (above).

The whole feel is one of a spacious, airy home, lovingly renovated and thoughtfully laid out.

What to Look out For:

This property has a hot tub! It’s a big draw for many people and we loved it. Even though the weather was warm and lovely, but we still enjoyed the tub watching the sunset over the mountain view. I’m sure it would be equally as enjoyable in the autumn and winter months.

The decor is eclectic. Comfortable and traditional, it’s not a modern, contemporary design. Perhaps it would benefit from a few modern updates like new cushions, some fluffier duvets and a few more table lights in the living room. But these are small points and don’t detract from the views, the hot tub and the incredible location.

How to Enjoy a Modern Break in a Traditional Property:

We’ve done many many trips like this over the last 14 years. Normally we’d order a food delivery to arrive at the cottage just after we arrive, but as this was just a weekend we packed the car with what we needed. All the essentials, plus some meal planning meant it all worked out very well. We have a vegan teenager so family food is a little more complicated but we can still all enjoy a barbecue together.

The owners had missed telling us about the barbecue when we arrived but it was there in the storage shed and we should have double checked.

This traditional style cottage may have been eclectic and farmhouse in decor but all the mod cons were to hand with a well stocked kitchen, tv setup in the living room and great showers.

If you want high-end cutting edge decor, this isn’t the place for you. But if you don’t mind a well built, solid farmhouse style property with all the facilities you need in a stunning location, you’ll be happy.

How to Keep the Tweens Happy:

Well there’s just one thing that keeps a tween/teen happy and that’s WIFI. No matter where you go there has to be good wifi or they will make your life unbearable. I’ve tried getting them to unplug for the weekend before and it never works so now I want WiFi – the faster the better. I did manage to persuade them to leave laptops at home (although the eldest did bring hers for homework) so it was just phones.

They full embraced the hot tub which was a major highlight of this trip for them.

And funnily enough they love the garden and open space. We always take our badminton set away with us and both of them played every day in the back garden, overlooking the mountains.

Lastly, teens need their sleep particularly the weekend at the end of the school year, so we don’t go out anywhere until near lunchtime. That’s fine. They’re older so can stay out later – the day kind of shifts. It works. They are still happy to visit the zoo (although the vegan teen was less impressed by this trip) and the beach as long as they get their sleep.


I highly recommend this cottage and area for a family holiday. Whilst I love going abroad, our whole family enjoys UK cottage holiday breaks, and this location is perfect for beaches, scenery, walking, cities and more.

You can find out more about booking a Wales holiday through the Wales Cottage Holiday site here, and or course, if you want to book Ty Gwair, then check out the listing on the website here

Do let me know if you go and what you get up to.

Jen x

The cost of the cottage was gifted by Wales Cottage Holidays to allow us to experience the property and surrounding area. We paid for all other expenses. 

Jen Stanbrook
Jen Stanbrook

Jen is an award winning digital publisher and has been creating interiors and home decor content for over 10 years.
She has an insatiable love of home interiors, has worked with hundreds of brands, and currently supports many bloggers within the creative industries to share their expertise through writing.
She spends most of her time in her little garden office pod, has 2 daughters and 2 (fighting) cats.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram

1 Comment

  1. Tom Field
    July 19, 2018 / 8:46 pm

    Certainly a charming part of the country to enjoy a holiday in, and what lovely cottage. A really appealing, simple rustic decor within the property. The hot tub is an added bonus, but I’m not sure I’d brave the 100mph zipwire! 🙂

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