Free days out for kids in Wales

Family on a day out to Rhosilli Bay in South Wales

A holiday in Wales is the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time together as a family, enjoying the great outdoors and making memories to treasure for a lifetime. Full of glorious beaches with huge expanses of soft sands, spectacular coastal walks and impressive castles to explore, there’s a lot to see and do in Wales.

With so many activities and attractions on offer family holidays can sometimes be an expensive affair, so what could possibly be better than taking part in activities as a family that are completely free? From fascinating museums and fun farm parks to picturesque walking trails, we have created a list of our favourite free days out in Wales to successfully keep the whole family entertained. You can therefore relax knowing you have a full week planned that definitely won’t break the bank.

Visit National Museums

Steeped in rich history, Wales is the ideal holiday destination for families looking to have some educational fun. There are seven National Museums in Wales covering a wide range of subjects, and the good news is that all of them are free to visit - perfect for several days out, especially in wet weather.

Delve 100 metres underground at the Big Pit National Coal Museum, take in some art and natural history at the National Museum Cardiff, or discover the maritime history of Wales at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea. Kids will love stepping back in time to get an insight into life in the mighty Roman Empire at the National Roman Legion Museum, exploring the history of slate at the National Slate Museum or wool at the National Wool Museum, and if that’s not enough there’s the open-air St Fagans National History Museum in Cardiff, where kids can learn more about the architecture and traditions of Wales.

There is a wealth of interactive displays and things to do, as well as plenty of exciting family activities and events throughout the year to keep the kids entertained, so it’s always worth checking the museum calendars online before setting out.

Build a sandcastle on the beach

Delight the kids with a fun day out on one of the many beautiful sandy beaches in Wales, playing frisbee together, building sandcastles and forts, searching for crabs in rockpools, or foraging for pretty shells and pebbles to take home as a memento - there are so many things to do. Many of the beaches in Wales have shallow gradients, which are perfect for smaller tots to have a paddle, plus facilities nearby and lifeguard patrols during the popular summer months. Treat the kids to an ice cream, enjoy a family picnic and see if you can spot dolphins and seals bobbing on the surf.

From the golden sands of Aberdaron and Porth Dafarch on the north coast, to Whitesands Bay and Newport Sands to the west, and Rhossili, Pendine and Southerdown on the south coast, you’ll be spoilt for choice with days out on the beach. Aside from the parking charges, a day out at the seaside in Wales is a free way to enjoy the outdoors and your kids are guaranteed a fantastic time.

Discover Geocaching

Kids will be in their element with a thrilling day of Geocaching, a global game of hide-and seek that has now made its way to the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia National Parks. Hundreds of caches have been planted for families to find and all you need is a phone with GPS, or if you’re really up for a challenge, an Ordnance Survey map and compass.

These caches are basically a sort of treasure box, ranging in size from a small film canister to a larger container, and within lies a log book, a pencil and a stash of ‘treasure’, which has been recorded on the Geocaching website. It’s an exciting way to explore the breath-taking landscape of Wales, with some of the caches hidden in places with exceptional views and historical significance, including a WWII bomber crash site.

Glimpse dolphins from the Wales Coast Path

The picturesque 870-mile Wales Coast Path travels round the entirety of the Welsh coast, is free for everyone to explore and makes for an excellent family adventure. The whole path is accessible to walkers, and, in some parts, is suitable for families with pushchairs, cyclists, and horse riders. Admire stunning scenery, charming coastal villages, extraordinary castles and see an array of interesting wildlife, flora and fauna.

The walks vary in length from one mile to an entire day trip; highlights along the way include the Dylan Thomas trails where you can see some of the places that inspired this famous poet, and the chance to glimpse blue whales, Risso’s dolphins and puffins, which make their home in the protected waters of Pembrokeshire.

Climb magnificent castles

Wales is the undisputed king of castles, with more ancient fortresses per square mile than anywhere else in Europe. Kids of all ages are sure to enjoy climbing spiral staircases to the top of their high towers, exploring a wealth of narrow passages in their crumbling walls and running free in their vast grounds.

Although some of the larger castles have a small entry fee, there are many ruins which are completely free to discover, and the views are simply priceless. Ranging from the atmospheric ruins of Ogmore and Dinefwr Castles to the imposing fortress of Caldicot Castle, these magnificent castles with free entry make for a great historical day out in Wales.

Spot shooting stars

Both the Snowdonia National Park and the Brecon Beacons have been awarded International Dark Sky Reserve status, which means that they are perfect to view spectacularly clear skies at night, and with a bit of luck spot a shooting star or two.

The wonders of the galaxy enthralls both young and older minds, and a holiday to Wales means you don’t need to rely on a telescope to glimpse its abundance of jewels. Look up and see the magical Milky Way with your own eyes - kids will love tracing out the patterns of the constellations and, of course, it’s free!

Ride a tractor at Amelia Trust Farm

Children will love getting up close to friendly farm animals at the Amelia Trust Farm. Set within 160 acres of beautiful countryside in the Vale of Glamorgan, this working farm and charity is committed to providing therapeutic support to vulnerable and disadvantaged individuals.

Open to the public year-round, there is a fantastic range of activities and attractions, including a fairy and gnome woodland trail, an outdoor playground and animals ranging from little fluffy guinea pigs to curious donkeys. This is a working farm, so it gives children the chance to see the staff and volunteers carrying out their day to day duties, and when they’re feeling peckish, there are picnic benches to enjoy a spot of lunch on. Best of all, the farm is completely free to visit, although any donations to the charity are greatly appreciated.

Explore the Taff Trail

Enjoy some fresh air and quality time together exploring the beauty of the Welsh countryside on the Taff Trail. Whether you choose to cycle, ride a horse or simply enjoy on foot, the trail following the River Taff is free to join from a variety of different points, meaning you can do as little or as much as you want in one go.

Running from the waterfront at Cardiff Bay to the market town of Brecon, 55 miles away, this multi-purpose route, which is largely traffic free, runs adjacently or close by to a wealth of sites of interest and industrial heritage including the family friendly Pontypool Park, Forest Farm and Bute Park. It also passes through copious pretty towns and villages if you fancy stopping for some refreshment.

Photograph dazzling waterfalls

Wreathed in legend, Wales boasts a plethora of breath-taking waterfalls of great beauty. Many of these cascades are easily accessible on foot, perfect for little feet to get to through enchanting woodlands and captivating landscapes.

Kids are guaranteed to be mesmerised by these natural wonders, whether you visit the photogenic Swallow Falls, Pistyll Rhaeadr and Aber waterfalls in North Wales, or see four magical waterfalls, including the famous Sgwd Yr Eira, all in one glorious amble on the Four Waterfalls Walking Route in the Brecon Beacons National Park. Parking fees aside, most of the waterfalls in Wales are free to visit and the memory of their beauty will never be forgotten.

Picnic at Margam Country Park

Set in almost 1000 acres of scenic parkland, tots to teenagers will enjoy a fantastic day out at Margam Country Park, just outside of Port Talbot. There are heaps of exciting attractions to discover including a rare breeds farm trail, adventure playgrounds, crazy golf and a narrow-gauge steam railway.

Scale the mighty castle or explore the 18th century orangery, relax with a picnic in the ornamental gardens, and, if that’s not enough, there’s a wealth of nature trails where you can walk, cycle and catch a glimpse of the resident deer. Entry to the park itself and most of its attractions are free, however there is a £3 car parking charge - it's still a very cheap day out however.

If you’ve been inspired to spend your next getaway with the family in the beauty of Wales, take a look at our collection of holiday cottages in Wales to find your perfect place to stay.

For even more ideas on things to do in Wales, check out these guides packed with great places to visit:

Rainy days out in Wales

Walks on the Wales Coastal Path

The best castles in Wales

Posted by Kate Atkin on 2nd February 2018