I turned off the engine, stepped out of the car and walked carefully down the concrete slope towards the gate. I heard a clunk as my daughter locked the car from the inside. It was after 9 o’clock on a March evening and it was so dark that it was difficult for me to see where I was walking. I thought of the pile of torches which were sitting in a cupboard back home. It hadn’t occurred to me to bring a torch when we’d set off in daylight four hours earlier. We were in a remote part of Wales and a few miles back a road closure had forced us to give up on the printed directions that we’d been following. The sat nav had directed us on an alternative cross-country route populated with sleeping sheep and had then delighted in telling us that we’d reached our destination when we clearly hadn’t. My daughter and her friend were spooked. We were in a farmyard, we were surrounded by buildings and I wasn’t sure if we were in the right place or not. None of the three of us had a mobile phone signal.
We were looking for the cottage where we were due to stay the night. We were heading to Cardiff University’s open day first thing the following morning but before that we had to find Slade Cottage on the Dunraven Estate at Southerndown on the Glamorgan Heritage Coast. Quality Cottages had invited me to review one of their properties in Wales and had suggested Slade Cottage as a good option for Cardiff as it’s about 30-minutes’ drive away from the Welsh capital.
I managed to find my way to the high, wooden gate without slipping over. After a few tries I opened the gate and saw a detached, two storey cottage. The lights were on in the porch and the keys were in the front door as I’d been told that they would be. I relaxed. We’d found Slade Cottage.
Inside Slade Cottage
Inside the cottage it was cosy and warm. The central heating was on and the AGA in the kitchen was toasty. The girls headed straight for the fridge in the homely kitchen and discovered a feast: Quality Cottages had kindly arranged for the owners to leave us some food as we were arriving so late. I popped a dish of cannelloni into the AGA to cook while we went to explore the cottage.
The cottage is quite old-fashioned but in a comfortable, homely way. Downstairs besides the porch area and the kitchen we found a twin bedroom, a modern bathroom with a walk-in shower and a large sitting room with an open fire laid with kindling and ready to light. There’s also a wide conservatory across the back of the house but we didn’t find that until the next morning. Upstairs we found four bedrooms and another bathroom. The upstairs bathroom is a little dated and there was a big spider living in the bath: the girls were too scared to use this bathroom and opted for the downstairs one instead. There were pretty vases of fresh spring flowers in each of the bedrooms.
The beds were made up with white bedding and there were white towels at the foot of each one. The girls chose to sleep in the twin room upstairs and I opted for one of the doubles. I liked its exposed wooden floorboards, Arts & Crafts style furniture and shelf full of battered, vintage books.
We washed down our cannelloni with some sparkling elderflower fizz which had been left for us in the kitchen. In the hall we found a visitors book which was full of happy comments left by previous guests.
We also found some information about the nearby Heritage Coast Path and about tractor rides and guided farm walks at the organic farm on the estate.
We had to leave the cottage at 8am the next morning in order to get to Cardiff on time. We decided that we’d wake up at 6am to give us time for a walk to the nearby beach before setting off. That night the cottage was very quiet and my wooden bed was extremely comfortable, if somewhat creaky, and I slept well. I woke up the next morning to birdsong from outside and I could see through the curtains that it was a sunny day. When I opened the curtains I saw a clear blue sky and a beautiful green garden sloping away from the cottage into woodland.
We breakfasted quickly and then pulled on our coats and boots to walk to the beach. We weren’t sure exactly where the beach was and we couldn’t find a map in the cottage but we knew from the Quality Cottages website and from the visitors book in the hall that it was very close by. We went out through the conservatory to the garden and followed the path leading away from the cottage through spring flowers and trees. As my welly boots crunched along the path I looked down and saw that I was walking on white seashells. At the bottom of the garden we followed the path up a steep slope. From the top of the slope we could see the sea and a few minutes after leaving the cottage we were walking on Southerndown beach in the early morning sun.
Slade Cottage is in a beautiful coastal location and is a quirky, homely, and welcoming place to stay.
Slade Cottage sleeps eight people and you’re welcome to take your dog to stay there with you. The cottage is available to rent all year round at a cost of between £630 and £1895 per week via Quality Cottages. There’s another holiday rental cottage next door which sleeps five people. Quality Cottages is a family business which specialises in holiday rental cottages in beautiful areas of Wales.
Disclosure: We stayed at Slade Cottage as guests of Quality Cottages for one night for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.