I’m not entirely sure how it happened since it feels like the kids only just went back to school, but the first half term of 2018 is already upon us and I’m having to figure out where to entertain my children.
It’s my first year as the parent of a school age child and I’m still getting used to having to plan the holidays, but last summer we took our family holiday in the Snowdonia region, and we all fell in love.
So this February, we will be heading back to North Wales and enjoying as much as we can fit in to our week off. Here are my top five things to do in Snowdonia with kids (in no particular order of course!)
I love coming here as it is educational for the kids without forcing it. Opening just before half-term, it is the largest marine aquarium in Wales with a sole focus on British marine life. There is also loads to see and do with a massive adventure playground, a bouncy castle and a crazy golf area. With daily feeding sessions and talks on marine biology, Anglesey Sea Zoo is great fun for the whole family.
It’s also a fantastic deal if you are in Snowdonia for more than a day or two (which I would recommend) as the ticket is valid for a week, meaning you can go back for free as many times as you like!
It’s not possible to visit this stunning region without enjoying at least one rail journey, and this one is a particular favourite of mine. This quaint little narrow-gauge railway is well worth a visit – it’s not too expensive and gives you a lovely scenic ride along the lake. I like to break up the hour-long journey by disembarking at the various stops and taking some time to look around – walking in to Bala Village (where there are some excellent pubs) or spending some time at the lake. Time your trip so you can enjoy lunch in Bala if you can.
Tip – grab a seat in the enclosed carriages in case of rain!
North Wales is known as the adventure capital of Europe and apparently with good reason. This particular attraction is new to me and is absolutely top of my list to try this half-term. I assumed it would only be suitable for older children; actually the activities start from age 3 upwards. We have booked to try Treetop Nets and the Fforest Coaster, which sounds exciting enough for me before I even consider trying Zip Safari – a 60-foot-high 2-hour adventure through the trees. I’ll see how I get on playing in the giant suspended nets first. For those seeking a bigger adrenaline rush, Zip World Penrhyn Quarry is also home to Velocity, the longest zip line in Europe and the fastest in the world.
Also known as exhausting your children. It’s too early in the year for Snowdon Mountain Railway to be running, but the National Park is still well worth a visit. I have climbed Snowdon when younger using the gentle Pyg route and would recommend it for those with children of older primary or secondary age. It’s a great activity to do as a family especially if you reach the top of the highest peak in England and Wales. Otherwise, there are plenty of different routes to take throughout the park, from ‘leisure’ strolls to more demanding strenuous walks. We will be opting for a gentler walk past Pistyll Gwyn waterfall.
And even though this will be my second visit, I still can’t pronounce the name – more due to my failings given the excellent learning opportunities at Nant Gwrtheyrn. A beautiful little village hidden in the Llyn Peninsula, it is home to the world-famous National Welsh Language and Heritage Centre. We visited the Centre last Easter during a short glamping break in Pwllheli, and it was a fascinating and informative day. The children enjoyed the flip books, my husband enjoyed the computer games, and we all enjoyed our traditional Welsh tea at Caffi Meinir.
Sam Blackburn – parent to a 4 and a 3-year old