OH I DO LIKE TO BE BESIDE THE SEASIDE... WAYNE ANKERS takes his family to a wet, but wonderful, wales.
TDetermined not to let the weather spoil our short getaway, in heavy downpours and gale-force winds we staggered along the deserted promenade and even took a brief stroll on the beach.
But our wet woes were soon washed away as we headed towards the town centre, immediately struck by the awesome sight of St John's Church nestled into the mountainside.
This magnificent piece of architecture overlooking Barmouth was simply stunning and one of many reasons we fell in love with this small town on the West coast of Snowdonia, despite being drenched for most of our stay.
It's difficult to imagine an urban area of Britain having a pleasant appearance in these conditions but, in spite of the storms, this particular seaside town still looked beautiful. The long sandy beach seemed to beckon us regardless and it wasn't too difficult to imagine how perfect a place it would be to soak up the sun on a summer's afternoon.
The harbour and main street were picturesque, quaint and blessed with dozens of independent shops.
And then there was the Last Inn, one of Wales' most famous pubs which dates back to the 15th Century and was originally home to a shoemaker.
It is positioned on the edge of the town overlooked by the stunning Barmouth bridge which spans the Mawddach estuary.
The pub is packed with character, timber beams, open fireplaces and a fresh spring water pond which backs on to a wall that is actually the side of the mountain.
With such a charming setting, it was no surprise to discover that the food offered at the Last Inn is delicious and they serve a number of ales to help pass a wet winter's afternoon.
But by far the highlight of Barmouth is St John's Church.
Set back from the main street, it is short walk up a winding road before you arrive at this astonishing architectural gem. Due to growing numbers of parishioners in the town in the late 1800s it was decided a new church was needed. There was no land available and no room to expand the existing church, so St John's was built on a rocky precipice above the town, making it the incredible imposing structure it still is today, with even more beauty inside.
As we tottered away with the relentless rain still bouncing on our backs, my fiance Debbie announced that this is the sort of church she would love to get married in. Minus the rain, of course.
And if this was the place we did decide to exchange our vows we had certainly found the perfect place to stay.
Nant is a two-bedroom converted barn on a working farm in nearby Dyffryn Ardudwy. The barn has been totally rebuilt by local tradesmen using hand carved oak trusses, natural stone and a slate floor - which, thankfully, has underfloor heating as it can get a little chilly in its windy hillside location.
Harlech Castle which is just a short journey north from Barmouth It has breathtaking views from every angle looking towards the Cambrian Coastline, allowing you to admire sandy beaches from one side and Snowdonia from the other.
The barn was a snug fit for our family of four, with a twin bedroom on the ground floor and a double in the eaves overlooking the living quarters.
But it is the perfect setting to explore the region. Just stepping out of the door you can amble through the rugged Rhinnog Mountains set to the east of the barn.
And there is plenty more on offer for families, with an historic castle and golf course in Harlech, steam railway in Porthmadog, and slate and copper mines in Blaenau and Beddgelert. Alternatively, for the more adventurous, you can try out kite surfing on many of the nearby beaches or make the most of the local mountain bike hire facilities on offer.
The only negative aspect of the trip for us was the drive out there, along mostly winding roads, which felt like a long journey for a two-night stay.
So we came up with a simple solution to counter that - next time we'll stay for a week!
need to know | Nant barn can be booked through Dioni. Prices range from PS400-PS790 per week. Contact 01341 247 200 or dioni.co.uk