Travel from Essex to Wales on a journey inspired by the cult sitcom.
Could this be the best TV gift of the year? On Christmas Day, hit comedy series Gavin and Stacey will return to BBC One and the excitement is already mounting.
Did Gavin and Stacey have a boy or a girl? Are Smithy and Nessa together? And, most importantly, what actually happened on that camping trip with Bryn and Jason?
In the advent run-up, marathon viewing sessions of previous shows are inevitable. But more dedicated fans might want to consider planning a Gavin and Stacey-inspired road trip to the show’s most iconic locations, travelling from Essex to South Wales. The drive should take around five hours, or eight when you factor in these breaks along the way…
Part One: Billericay brekkie
Location: Billericay, Essex
Start your journey in the Essex town of Billericay, to channel your inner Pam. Walk around the local area and begin your day in true Gavin and Stacey style with an omelette for breakfast – ham and cheese of course. We recommend Cafe Deli 37 (37 High Street) for great value for money. Alternatively, kick things off the night before you leave, and enjoy a cheeky curry with the gang at Spice King (spicekingbillericay.com).
Part Two: Music maestro
As you embark on your journey and hit the open road, it’s essential you have a killer playlist to sing-along to at the top of your voice. James Blunt, naturally, is a must. Drive out of Essex to the classic Goodbye My Lover playing softly in the background before moving on to Estelle’s American Boy – just as Rudi and Smithy sang to Gavin on his first day at work. If you’re feeling festive, pay tribute to the 2008 Christmas special by singing Do They Know It’s Christmas?
Part Three: Welcome to Wales
Location: Prince of Wales Bridge
The drive across the Severn Bridge (now the Prince of Wales Bridge) – which spans the River Severn and River Wye – marks your arrival to Wales. Unlike Gavin and Smithy, who tried to chat their way through the toll barrier due to their lack of change, you don’t need to worry about the fare because it was lifted earlier this year. Result. The drive from Billericay to the River Severn is just under four hours (traffic depending), so a coffee stop at Reading Services West is advised.
Part Four: Relax and refuel
Location: Cross Retail Park, Brooklands Culverhouse
As the scenery around you becomes greener and the road signs get harder to pronounce, it’s time for another pit-stop. Get out of the car and stretch your legs at the services where Rudi works – and relive the moment from season two when Gavin is driving around in search of Smithy, to tell him Nessa is in labour. Then fuel up at Burger King as Smithy would, or buy some healthier Bryn-like picnic snacks in M&S.
Part Five: Barry Island
Location: Barry Island, Barry
An hour or so after crossing the border you will reach Barry Island – a Gavin and Stacey fan’s dream. Drive along Trinity Street to see where Stacey grew up and visit the town square where Gavin surprised Stacey after they first met in London. Get lost in the Island Leisure Amusement Arcade – where Nessa worked in season one – and be sure to stock up on Gavin and Stacey-themed prizes.
Enjoy a snack at Marco’s Coffee and Ice-cream Bar where Stacey worked in season three, and go to Boofy’s Chip Shop, the chippy frequented by many of the cast while filming.
Part Six: Come on Cardiff
Location: Cardiff City Centre
If you get to Barry Island and you’re just not ready for your Gavin and Stacey trip to be over, we recommend you head into central Cardiff (a 30-minute drive) and stay the night. If you’re into the clubbing scene, go to Steinbeck and Shaw (steinbeckandshaw.co.uk/cardiff), the bar Bryn and the boys go to, before heading around the corner to Tiger Tiger (cardiff.tigertiger.co.uk) where the cast were seen dancing the night away earlier this year.
When you’re ready to take off your dancing shoes, head over to Caroline Street – or Chippy Alley as it’s known by the locals – for a Smithy-sized portion of chips and curry sauce. Alternatively, head into Cathays and visit T&A Kebabs where the boys go for food on Gavin’s stag do.
How to plan your trip
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