There’s more to this Welsh seaside town than Gwen’s omelettes…
It’s the show that made James Corden and Ruth Jones household names, taught us the true meaning of the word ‘tidy’ and made us all believe that long-distance relationships can actually work.
And now Gavin and Stacey is returning to screens with a brand new episode, ten years after the show concluded on BBC One.
James Corden revealed the comeback with a a picture of a script for a Christmas special, saying: “Ruth Jones and I have been keeping this secret for a while… We’re excited to share it with you. See you on Christmas Day.”
If you can’t wait until the end of the year to get your fix, why not rally together your pals and take a summer trip to the golden sands of Barry Island – the Welsh seaside resort where much of the sitcom’s action takes place?
Sure, it might not have the weather of the Maldives, but what it lacks in tropical waters it more than makes up for with seaside charm, golden sands and lungfuls of bracing salty air.
Here’s how to make a weekend of it in the Vale of Glamorgan…
1. Have an ice cream at Marco’s Cafe
No trip to Barry is complete without ordering a cappuccino and something sweet at Marco’s Cafe, the seafront coffee shop which has been going since 1958, and where Stacey worked in the third season of the show.
Here, you can catch some rays on the promenade while soaking up the spectacular views of the bay. Bliss.
2. Get a selfie in front of the colourful beach huts
Nothing says a day at the British seaside like a row of colourful beach huts, and Barry Island has plenty to offer. Either stop for a quick snap or rent one out and make it your base for a day of splashing around in the sea.
3. Visit the smallest theatre in Wales
The Small Space is the place to see an intimate production on Barry Island. Measuring a tiny 16ft by 12ft, the 20-seat venue, formerly a Victorian shop, is the smallest theatre venue in the country.
4. Throw down a towel on the beach
On a sunny day, there’s no better place to be than on the beach and Whitmore Bay is one of the finest in the Vale. Popular with families, it’s sandwiched between two headlands and backed with fine sand that’s great for making sand castles or simply sunbathing. Swimming here is generally safe and there’s plenty of facilities like showers, toilets and beach side shops too.
5. Have paper-wrapped fish and chips on the seafront
A bag of chips on the promenade is one of life’s greatest pleasures – that is, if you can outsmart the swooping seagulls. Boofy’s in the Western Shelter is iconic and locals rave about its buttery battered cod and fluffy homemade chips. No soggy sausages here either.
6. Catch a film at Cinema by the Sea
On two evenings this August, Barry Island Gardens will play host to two free open air cinema screenings of Bohemian Rhapsody and The Greatest Showman. Turn up early with a blanket, picnic or low-back chair to secure your spot. Check out visitthevale.com for more info.
7. Scream for your life at the pleasure park
With classic vintage rides like the dodgems, waltzers, teacups and a ferris wheels, Barry’s traditional seaside funfair is a brilliant day out for all of the family.
Come rain or shine, there’s lots to see and do, but if you don’t think your stomach can handle the rollercoasters, there are far more gentle pleasures like pony rides, mirror mazes and a fun house.
8. Take the Gavin and Stacey tour bus
If you’re keen to relive some of the best moments from Gavin and Stacey, why not hop aboard a bus tour that takes in some of the key locations from the show?
Brit Movie Tours (britmovietours.com) operates mini coach tours that depart on select Saturdays between February and October. Visit the street Stacey lives in, play the penny slots where Nessa works and walk the aisle at the church where she very nearly gets married to Dave.
Tours take three hours in total and cost £30 for adults and £21 for children.