“ Address: The Lodge / Ynysymaengwyn / Tywyn / Gwynedd / LL36 9RY / Wales „
A couple of weeks ago I went on a long weekend to Tywyn in Wales with my daughters and sons-in-law plus the grandchildren, both of my daughters have camper vans so we decided to visit a campsite instead of going to the expense of booking the eight of us into hotels. We ended up at the Ynysymaengwyn Caravan and Camping Park quite simply because it was the cheapest option in the area, but also because it is situated centrally for all the areas we were hoping to visit including Tywyn itself and beyond. Ynysymaengwyn is a very relaxed campsite when it comes to the process of checking in, when we arrived the front office was actually closed so we were advised to find our pitches and pay 'when the office is open' - something we could have done with last year when we visited Derbyshire as that particular campsite had very particular check-in times and as we missed it by half an hour we were left standing around like lemons for almost four hours until the next check-in slot! Not the perfect start to a relaxing get away! Not so here, we drove down to the bottom of the site and got the camper vans all set out before my son-in-law headed back to the office to book us in some three hours later. Check-in was a simple process, we simply had to pay the park for the number of nights we were staying and were given a tag to hang around each rear view mirror so that the campsite staff could see at a glance that we were fully paid up and also check when we were due to leave. As one of the most popular campsites in the area, you are advised to call in advance to make your booking. We did this and I was pleasantly surprised to have booked both camper vans in within two minutes just providing my son-in-law's surname to guarantee our spaces, you do not have to pay for your pitch in advance although they do have the facilities to take payment over the phone if you prefer. The site itself is excellent in my opinion. There is no shop or pub on the site which didn't bother me in the slightest as there are shops a mile away, although if you are used to visiting campsites where you can buy your provisions there then you may find the trek into Tywyn a bit of a bind. Having said this, shops located on campsites are invariably very expensive so Ynysymaengwyn is actually saving you a bit of money by forcing you to go to the nearby Co-Op for a normal loaf of bread (as opposed to spending £2 on a cheap hard loaf as usually happens in campsite shops). While the campsite isn't hilly as such, it is located on a gentle slope which isn't a problem for most people although I did find the treks to the toilet block a little hard going sometimes. Of course you could counter that we should have parked closer to the blocks due to my ill health but there simply wasn't room up there to keep our vans together by the time we got there. Bear this in mind if you are planning a visit with anyone who has more serious mobility problems, unless of course you are one of those lucky bunnies who has a toilet in their van! The toilets and shower block is excellent in my opinion. They are kept clean and well maintained with sufficient toilet roll in most of the cubicles as well as working hand and hair dryers, I found there was usually a queue for one of the three shower stalls in the ladies first thing in the morning but this is easily avoided by having breakfast first and waiting until 9.30am - 10am before heading up there with your toiletries bag and towels. I was impressed with the showers actually despite the fact that they are those annoying ones which you have to keep pressing the big button to get water like those you find at the swimming baths. The water was hot though even if it did keep going off when I needed to press the button, and after a chilly night the hot shower was more than welcome! Just outside the shower block are two large sinks and draining boards where you can do all your washing up, this is absolutely essential for family camping especially when ages and abilities range as they do in my family. In our party the three main people who needed the luxury of washing up facilities were myself due to my illnesses, my now two year old granddaughter who regularly needed her cups and bottles washing out and my younger son-in-law who has ADHD and OCD and wouldn't be content to eat from an unwashed plate under any circumstances. Hot water is plentiful for washing up and this is a lovely place to meet people on the campsite as don't you find that (particularly but not exclusively) women can bond over such mundane tasks - especially when moaning about the men folk not taking their turn with the washing up! There is also a section of the campsite which is taken up with static caravans, these are unfortunately not available for hire which is a shame as I could see myself spending a couple of weeks in one of these as opposed to the four days I can manage in a camper van. The area immediately surrounding Ynysymaengwyn is outstandingly beautiful. Every direction you look in has amazing greenery as well as imposing hills (perhaps mountains, perhaps not depending on who you speak to), there is even a short circular walk at the edge of the campsite where you can go through the adjacent woodland and see the remains of an old manor house and 'secret garden' which is not as yet completed but has an eerie and almost haunted atmosphere. One thing I did laugh at was the nettle field which is enclosed behind a barbed wire fence, which does seem like overkill to me as surely anyone who fancied 'trespassing' through a zillion stinging nettles would surely not be put off by being pricked by the fence! Overall I think the Ynysymaengwyn Camping and Caravan Park is excellent. Considering what a fabulous long weekend we had I was surprised at how cheap it was to stay here, our camper vans were charged at £13 a night which is certainly the cheapest we found in the area. For an extra £4 a night you can also be provided with an electric hook up which by all accounts is very reliable, although both our vans have leisure batteries so we didn't need this service. If you want any more information visit http://www.ynysy.co.uk/ where you can find full details on the park and its surrounding area, but do have a look if you're planning a camping trip to Wales as the prices and facilities are excellent.