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The best days out in Wales for families  holiday cottages

The best days out in Wales for families

Sarah P 28 February 2020

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

There are so many days out in Wales to enjoy on a family holiday that it can be difficult to choose the best things to do to suit the whole family. 

You could get the adrenaline pumping at a theme park, delve into Wales’ exciting history, meet the animals at the zoo or farm park or explore the spectacular landscapes of three beautiful national parks.

Are you planning a half-term break, Easter holiday or summer escape? We have found 12 of our favourite things to do in Wales that we think families will love, and many of them offer a colourful events schedule for school holidays.

Where first?

The best days out in Mid & South Wales for families

Elan Valley Trail

Elan Valley Trail

Enjoy a family cycle ride along this 9-mile disused railway from Rhayader to the top of Craig Goch Reservoir. Completely traffic-free, it’s an ideal route for little ones to practise their bike-riding skills and for you to enjoy the glorious Wales countryside together. You can hire bikes from the Elan Valley Visitor Centre – including child seats, trailers and tag-along bikes for the younger riders – as well as canines if you’re taking your dog. Make a day of it and pack a picnic to enjoy beside one of the reservoirs you’ll pass or treat yourselves to a pub lunch.

Similar cycle routes in Wales:

  • The Mawddach Trail
  • Swansea Bike Path
  • The Celtic Trail

Big Pit National Coal Museum

The Big Pit National Coal Museum
Image credit: The Big Pit National Coal Museum

 

Nurture your little ones’ inquisitive side with an educational and fun day out at this real coal mine in South Wales. Youngsters will love the thrill as you descend 300 feet down the mineshaft for an interactive and exciting tour of its original workings. Enjoy a range of imaginative displays, galleries, discovery trails and activity packs to keep kids entertained and engaged. Like many of the best days out in Wales, the Big Pit National Coal Museum offers extra events during school holidays. As well as all of this, the museum is completely free!

Similar attractions:

  • Rhondda Heritage Park
  • Sygun Copper Mine
  • National Slate Museum

Caerphilly Castle

Caerphilly Castle

Inspiring many ‘once upon a times’, the castles of Wales offer magical days out for imaginative children, and where better to start than at the biggest castle in Wales? Surrounded by a moat with a huge gatehouse, the stunning Caerphilly Castle is well-known for its impressive leaning tower. Combine a historical journey here with a day of imaginative fun – head to the ‘Dragon’s Lair’ to find the Welsh dragons and be sure to download the Cadw app to join in the Castle Quest and Little Dragons games! Check out the events programme to see what’s going on at Caerphilly during the school holidays.

Other castles in Wales that are good for kids:

  • Beaumaris Castle
  • Caernarfon Castle
  • Conwy Castle

Want to discover even more myth and legend? Read our guide to spectacular castles in Wales.

 

National Showcaves Centre for Wales

National Showcaves
Image credit: National Showcaves

 

This award-winning attraction is a popular day out in South Wales – it has successfully combined history and fun to create a day out that every member of the family will enjoy. Families will gain an insight into life as a caveman, see over 200 life-sized dinosaur models, meet the animals in the Shire Horse Centre, visit the fossil house, step back into a 700BC Iron Age Farm and let off steam in the undercover playgrounds. With state-of-the-art interactive technology, youngsters can learn and have fun all at the same time.

Other museum attractions in Wales:

  • St Fagans National History Museum
  • Conwy Valley Railway Museum
  • National Wool Museum

Horse riding in the Brecon Beacons

There are many ways to explore the beautiful mountains, waterfalls and castles of the Brecon Beacons but as a fun alternative to walking and cycling, why not take to horseback? With over 600 miles of bridle paths and tracks and acres of moors and fields to explore, you can ride together all day, stopping only for leisurely pub lunches or peaceful picnics while your trusty steed grazes nearby. Pony-loving children will be in their element while those that are new to horse riding will love the new experience.

Horse riding centres in the Brecon Beacons:

  • Tregoyd Riding
  • Horse riding at Llangorse Multi Activity Centre
  • Cantref Riding Centre

For more ideas on things to do in the Brecon Beacons, take a look at our guide to things to do in the Brecon Beacons.

Where to stay in Mid & South Wales:

Days out in West Wales for families

Oakwood Theme Park

Oakwood Theme Park
Image credit: Oakwood Theme Park

 

With everything from adrenaline-fuelled rollercoasters to toddler-friendly rides, Oakwood Theme Park has thrills for all the family. It’s Wales’ biggest theme park so you won’t forget a family day out here in a hurry. Brave the UK’s favourite wooden rollercoaster, Megafobia, feel the splash on the aptly named water ride, ‘Drenched’, or enjoy a world of themed adventures for younger members of the family…and so much more! With plenty of places to grab lunch or answer the pleas for ice cream, Oakwood Theme Park is a fun answer to family-friendly days out in Wales.

Similar attractions in Wales:

  • The Dinosaur Park
  • Greenwood Family Park
  • Barry Island Pleasure Park

Margam Country Park

Margam Country Park
Image credit: Margam Country Park

 

Catering for every age group, this is a popular day out in Wales for families. Discover the Margam deer herd that roam the park, see beautiful trees and shrubs in the gardens, look out for friendly animals on the farm trail, burn off some energy in the adventure play area and picnic in the castle grounds. The more energetic family members can try a range of outdoor activities such as Go Ape, bike hire and Go Karts. A busy events schedule means there is always something fun going on, including family fun days, living history weekends, and food and craft festivals.

More country parks in Wales

  • Dare Valley Country Park
  • Pembrey Country Park & Beach
  • Bryngarw Country Park

Folly Farm

Folly Farm
Image credit: Folly Farm

 

This popular attraction in Wales is so much more than just a farm park – it combines four different attractions in one to deliver a family day out with loads of choice! Meet 90 different zoo species, get up close with the friendly farm animals in the barn, have fun in the vintage fairground and experience the themed adventure play areas! This is THE attraction for school holidays with a packed schedule of family fun days, magic shows, themed meet and greets, performances and appearances from some much-loved TV characters.

You may also like these other farm parks in Wales:

  • Dwyfor Ranch Rabbit Farm
  • Cantref Adventure Park
  • Cefyn Mable Farm Park

The beaches of Pembrokeshire

Tenby, Pembrokeshire

Embrace the summer holidays with a long sunny day on the beach building sandcastles, flying kites and eating ice creams. While Wales’ coast boasts many beautiful beaches, our favourite for families are Tenby for its access to essential amenities, Saundersfoot for its large stretch of sand and Newgale for its popularity with surfers! Our guide to dog-friendly South Wales will help you find the best beaches that are perfect for your dogs too.

Where to stay in West Wales:

Days out in North Wales for families

Welsh Mountain Zoo 

Welsh Mountain Zoo
Image credit: Welsh Mountain Zoo

 

There’s nothing like watching the joy on your child’s face as they set eyes on a leopard or tiger for the first time! The Welsh Mountain Zoo, known as the National Zoo of Wales, is set in one of the most beautiful landscapes of any zoo in the UK, overlooking Colwyn Bay and the Carneddau mountains. Home to 140 species and with plenty of special events for the holidays, a day out at Welsh Mountain Zoo will be great for crafting special childhood memories.

Similar attractions

  • Manor Wildlife Park
  • Borth Wild Animal Kingdom
  • Ape Monkey Rescue

Zip World & Bounce Below

Zip World
Image credit: Zip World

A day out in Wales that adults and children alike will love. Packed with adventure and adrenaline-fuelled experiences against the backdrop of Snowdonia National Park, visitors can soar through the sky at 100mph on the world’s fastest zipline or descend into the slate caverns of a disused mine for a unique underground adventure. Climb, fly and traverse your way through the course or bounce your way around this huge underground playground at Bounce Below. Make a day of it and stop for lunch at Blondin Restaurant.

More fun activities in Wales:

  • Surf Snowdonia
  • Celtic Quest Coasteering
  • Cardiff International White Water Centre

 

Activities in Snowdonia

Activities in Snowdonia

Snowdonia National Park is the ideal destination if you’re an active, thrill-seeking, adventure-loving family. We’ve already mentioned Zip World but what else is on offer? Activities like canoeing, kayaking and rock climbing are experiences that will form some of the most memorable childhood moments and a day spent in the great outdoors will have you all feeling fresh, energised and happy! There are plenty of family-friendly walks you can try too like the Mawddach Trail or the woodland amble to discover Aber Falls. Jump on the Snowdon Mountain Railway and enjoy the journey and the views from the top at a more leisurely pace. 

Activity centres in Snowdonia:

  • Bala Adventure & Watersports
  • Snowdonia Outdoor Adventure
  • Snowdonia Adventure Activities

Want to know more? Read our guide to find out everything you need to know about an adventure in Snowdonia.

Where to stay in North Wales:

Where to stay in Wales with the family?

Are you planning a half-term break, summer escape or Christmas holiday? We’ve written about some of our favourite family-friendly cottages in Wales to inspire your family escape. To carry out your own search, take a look at the full collection of family-friendly cottages and use the filters on the left to find escapes with extra features like hot tubs and games rooms! For an extra special family holiday in Wales, why not book a glamping experience?

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