Kate and William visit Gavin and Stacey hotpots as they tour Barry Island to support staycation industry

Robert Jobson
·6 min read

Kate and William went all Gavin and Stacey today when they competed against each other in the iconic setting of 'Nessa's Slots' playing an arcade grabber and coconut shy game.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were on a trip to Barry Island in Wales, and visited Island Leisure amusement arcades which reopens to the public today.

The royal couple cheered on Erin Phillips, 5, Holie Case, 5, and Jamie Case, 7, as they showed the duo how to play the games in the arcade surrounded by Gavin and Stacey memorabilia.

The fun park sells souvenirs such as trinkets and tea towels adorned with telly favourite Nessa's iconic catchphrases 'What's Occurring', 'Tidy' and 'Lush'.

After being shown how to play Down a Clown, The Duke of Cambridge said: "Very good guys." And the couple gave the children a round of applause.

Kate and William visited Island Leisure amusement arcades on Barry Island which reopens to the public today (PA)
Kate and William visited Island Leisure amusement arcades on Barry Island which reopens to the public today (PA)

The duke and duchess paid £1 a go at the game hurling balls to knock down models. After the bell rang to signal time up, William said: "Not bad". They handed their tickets over for the children to spend.

Bending down, Kate asked Erin which game they could play next. They competed side by side in bid to grab a soft toy with a claw. Delighted Kate gave the thumbs up when she snatched a blue fish but looked crestfallen when the cuddly toy fell from its grasp.

William fared little better after only catching a plastic toy booby prize.

At one stage he appeared to win a toy but said: "I've dropped it."

The duo were in South Wales to learn about how the staycation industry is getting back on its feet (PA)
The duo were in South Wales to learn about how the staycation industry is getting back on its feet (PA)

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also learnt of the devastation to UK tourism caused by lockdown.

Barry Island attracted 424,000 visitors in 2019 but local tourism chiefs say they have brought in safety measures allowing them to reopen to families today.

Business owner Andrew Phillips, 59, said: "We had a chat about Aston Villa and football. I told him I was a Liverpool fan and he congratulated me on the Premier League win.

"We talked about the business, this is the fourth generation since my great grandfather in 1946, and said how important it is to be back open both for us as a business but for people to come and have a fun holiday.

"He asked about the safety measures and we have many signs in place and hand sanitisers. Kate asked if we had been furloughed but we are self-employed. We have received government grants."

Hilary said: "William asked what James Corden and Ruth Jones and what was their connection to Barry Island. We explained James had an ex-girlfriend from Barry Island and Ruth is a local girl from Cardiff."

Although Kate and Wills failed to win in the grab machine, they did not go home empty handed.

Hillary, 57, added: "We gave them some stuffed toys for their three children."

Crowds lined up to hail the couple as they walked along the promenade to Marco's Cafe.

Afterwards, Marco Zeraschi, 62, said: "We are so grateful to be fully open but it was always a case of health over wealth. I told the prince we didn't want to open until it was safe.

"I take 10 days off a year usually but this year I took off 13 weeks.

"I told them we have James Corden as prince and Ruth Jones as princess of Barry Island but said I have changed my mind now. They were very charming.

"He knew about Gavin and Stacey and I'm sure he must have watched the recent Christmas special after his grandmother was on TV.

"James Cordon has a soft spot for Barry Island and he messaged me during lockdown to ask if everything was all right and if anyone was struggling, He is a very generous man. I said we are struggling but surviving. He has already done so much for Barry Island."

William and Kate turned down the offer of snacks, they were given a goody bag of food for the car journey home.

They were also shown 24 brightly painted beach huts built as part of a £6million seaside regeneration project.

Nia Hollins, of Vale of Glamorgan Council's tourism office, told the couple: "It's been challenging but businesses have been brilliant and not giving up. We are making sure measures are in place for Barry Island but it is a partnership."

William asked if they can protect from Covid-19 when playing on the arcades. Customers are being given hand sanitiser before using the attractions, he was told

Nia added: "We need to welcome people but with responsibility."

The couple also poke with David Hughes, 42, who rents one of the beach huts with his family.

Wills called to children: "Have you been in the sea yet?"

David said afterwards: "They asked about how lockdown had affected everything and we said to have the beach huts means the family can come to the beach and exercise."

Earlier William and Kate met Pamela Davies, 82, and her daughter Sally at the outdoor bar area, where they heard how they had stayed in touch while unable to see each other in person at the start of lockdown.

Sally told them: “We just had to adapt and do it all by phone or video calls.” Mother and daughter also used the Rels App, an app specially developed for Hallmark Care Homes which allows residents and relatives to send each other pictures, videos, music and memories, helping to bring families together when they were unable to visit the home.

“How are the children?” Pamela asked.

“They are very well, thank you,” said Kate. “They were very upset not to have been here with us.”

“We went to an arcade in Barry Island,” said William. “The children would have enjoyed that.”

Pamela told the royal visitors about Shire Hall, saying: “It’s very homely, the people who live here are very nice. The food is good!”

“Is there a reason we are meeting at the bar?” asked the Duke?

“Mum does like a little tipple on special occasions,” Sally told him and he laughed on hearing that her drink of choice is John Smiths bitter.

At one point the breeze set off wind chimes nearby and Pamela told them she couldn’t hear.

“The masks don’t help,” said William.

“I always get told off for mumbling anyway,” laughed Kate, “and now with masks on you can’t see anyone’s mouth.”

As they moved on to meet more residents, they wished Pamela a happy birthday for August 18 and the Duchess added: “Sorry for our poor bingo skills!”

The couple also chatted to Arthur Hobbs, 86, and his wife Brenda, 79, who is a resident at the home.

Husband and wife were unable to see each other in person for nearly four months, but can now meet in the garden for 30 minutes at a time at least once a week.

“It must have been so hard during lockdown not having that face-to-face contact,” the Duchess sympathised.

Told they had been to Barry Island, Arthur asked: “Did you have a paddle in the sea?”

“No, we didn’t bring our bathers!” replied the Duke. “Next time!”

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