Since he was a little boy Mark had been to Shell Island numerous of times. His dad used to holiday there when he was a young and so for Mark it held very special memories. When we spoke about places we would like to visit with our boys Shell Island was near the top of the list. Beaten by Adelaide in Australia, Norway and Cornwall. So when the opportunity arose and we were able to get away during the school holidays we booked it!
About Shell Island
Shell Island is located in North Wales, with glorious views of Cardigan Bay and Snowdonia National Park it is one of the largest camp sites in Europe. With 300 acres of pitchable field, 3 flats, 2 chalets and plenty of space it makes a great site!
Okay so first off it isn’t an actual island. I must admit I was a little bummed out about that, It would have been great if it had been! Shell Island is surrounded by an estuary and access is through a causeway. It is vital to check Tidal times before arriving at Shell Island as once the causeway is flooded you can not access the site. Meaning Shell Island becomes well, in effect an Island. If you are reading this and avid campers of Shell Island you are probably still laughing at my naivety, I am laughing too!
The Camp site boasts plenty of open space and fields for campers to pitch their tents too. Over 300 acres in fact. Pitches are not specific which means you can literally pitch up anywhere you fancy (as long as it is not within 15 metres of another tent). The site is split into several fields to make it easier to navigate and there are several fields which prohibits dogs for those who do not wish to be near any. I would probably just like to note that some areas maybe more difficult to access than others, especially around the dunes. There is also no electric hook ups too! So you can leave the heaters and TV’s at home! If you wanted to charge mobile phones and tablets etc you can at the camp shop (for a fee).
Unfortunately (or fortunate depends how you see it) caravans are not welcome on the island. Motor homes and trailers however are.
When we first arrived we pulled up into the car park to let them know we had arrived. They gave us a car pass and also a map and general camping info. All of which we referred to throughout the stay so it will be handy to keep hold of those. Mark’s dad had arrived before us so had already settled and pitched his tent and we wanted to be close by. So we pitched up on the WRAG field. It was close to the beach, rock pools and also surrounded with drinking taps. There was also a toilet nearby too which although we brought a toilet tent it turned out to be a much needed welcome. The poles for our brand new pitched once before toilet tent snapped!
Whilst we were camping we took a walk to the harbour to see the boats. The tide was out but it was lovely to see all the boats and the boys seemed to really enjoy it too. We just didn’t estimate how far it actually was from our tent. The views however, are amazing! Dotted around the site in various places are benches too so you can just sit and take in the sight and sounds of camping.
I suppose one of the most important factors for some whilst camping is the cleanliness of the “ahem” facilities. The toilets and showers are cleaned every day between 1-3pm. Personally I found it clean whenever I went to the loo/showers. I did find the set up rather weird however in one toilet block. To get to the ladies you have to pass the gents and the way the door opens you have full view of the urinals. The door always seems to be open (I certainly never saw it shut, but it is possible to shut it if needed) I just found it rather uncomfortable sometimes walking past.
On site are plenty of amenities such as drinking water taps and toilets dotted around as well as the main shower block which also has a washing up section for dishes. There is also the usual camp shop, reception, and even a supermarket! Entertainment wise there is a tavern and a small games room. We didn’t use the entertainment facilities so can not really comment on those and it wouldn’t be fair to assume what it is like either.
As well as the main areas there is also a laundrette and restaurant too!
The shops are pretty full of everything you would expect whilst camping. The supermarket pretty much has all that you would need, fresh meat, tins of food, bread delivered often. The Camp shop sells all the supplies you would need such as replacement Calor and replacement gas, clothing, fishing bait and tackle. There is also ice pack hires,charging points for mobiles and tablets and various other pieces of equipment.
The Gift shop houses all your souvenirs that you would expect as well as handmade fudge and you can take it on good authority (aka me) the vanilla fudge tastes amazing. I would go back just for me! It is rather cramped in there and you would struggle to manoeuvre around with pushchairs/wheelchairs.
There are plenty of things you can do around the site, Rock pooling, crabbing and fishing are the most popular activities! with specific places around identified on the map for the best places. Shell Island is umm well known for shells! With 200 different varieties to be found. If you want to see all the shells which can be found then a display can be found in the Tavern. The boys loved shell collecting and it can easily fill a morning wandering up and down the beach finding them. Or Pebbles, Arthur found lots of pebbles!
We are already planning our next holiday to Shell Island and I think that says it all! We all had so much fun and we managed to create so many memories I hope the boys will remember. It is certainly worth a visit if either for the day or for a trip and when you do go make sure to keep an eye for dolphins!