Route planning from Cardiff to Swansea we spotted Barry Island was a stone’s throw out of our way. The detour had to be made. Any Gavin and Stacey fan would do the same – having been there though, I would definitely stress you don’t have to be a fan of the offbeat BBC comedy about the Essex boy and South Wales girl to enjoy this place. Barry Island is quiet, old fashioned (in a good way) and a beautiful little resort. In the words of Nessa, “Barry’s cracking.”
I did expect a slightly tacky and faded seaside resort. There were a few cheesy shops and an amusement arcade – but hey you are by the beach after all. We also found a gorgeous, golden, sandy bay and a relaxed, calm and super chilled out atmosphere. The perfect spot to break up a journey and relax.
The turn of the millennium saw Cardiff and its derelict docks transformed. Now, as we found the previous evening, it is a fabulous waterside destination in itself. Barry was not so lucky and apparently lagged well behind it’s bigger neighbour, people are slowly starting to rediscover its incredible natural beauty.
Our biggest problem was actually finding a parking spot. After several frustrated attempts driving around we finally found a car park and were able to explore on foot. We strolled along the promenade with the sea glinting beside us and spotted a few Gavin and Stacey references. In dire need of coffee we again struggled a bit – there is only one decent place to get it. Fish and chips were in plentiful supply but at 10 in the morning this was not quite what we had in mind.
The main beach is long, fabulous, sandy and has two limestone outcrops either side that soak up the sun. We found a path along one of the outcrops, walked along and enjoyed views to the twin islands of Flat Holm and Steep Holm. Away from the town itself we got to see Barry at its natural best. Gorgeous views across the Bristol Channel and hardly another person in sight.
Barry was beautiful. Thank you Gavin and Stacey for bringing it to our attention – I’m so glad we stopped by.