The best days out for kids in Wales

Wales is one of the UK’s most popular family holiday destinations, with the spectacular mountains and craggy peaks of the Snowdonia National Park to the north, the long sandy beaches perfect for building sandcastles to the west, and the magnificent mountains, moorland and lakes of the Brecon Beacons National Park to the south. Wherever you choose to go, there are plenty of attractions to keep the kids interested and engaged.

We have rounded up some of the best family days out in Wales to suit all ages, so whether you’re already booked up and ready to go, or in need of some last-minute inspiration, these suggestions will help you make the most of your holiday together. Take a look below at some of the best days out for kids, from tots to teenagers, which are all within close proximity of our holiday cottages in Wales.

National Botanic Garden of Wales, Llanarthney

Kids will love exploring the 568-acre parkland of the National Botanic Garden of Wales, set in the beautiful Carmarthenshire countryside. The fascinating blend of modern and historic attractions will keep little ones busy for hours. From marvelling at dazzling displays of colour in the Tropical Butterfly House, to discovering a treasure chest of natural wonders and fun activities in the Aqualab, to whizzing down a zip wire in the crazy adventure play park, there is so much to see and do. The inspiring range of themed gardens house a variety of secrets and surprises for children to delight in, and with so many exciting family activities running throughout the year, there are plenty of opportunities to have an exciting educational day out.

Suitable For: All ages

Prices: Adults £9.55, Concessions £7.95, Kids (5-16) £4.50, Kids under five go free, Family tickets from £18.18

Opening Times: 1st April - 31st October: open daily 10:00 - 18:00, 1st November to 31st March: open daily 10:00 - 16:30

Similar to this: Bodnant Garden, Aberglasney Gardens, Dyffryn Gardens

National Showcaves Centre for Wales, Abercrave

National Showcaves Centre for Wales by Gareth Lovering - CC BY-ND 2.0

Enjoy an action-packed family day out in the Brecon Beacons at the National Showcaves Centre for Wales. There are ten attractions included on the one entry ticket and a wealth of sights and activities for all ages. Delve underground into three different atmospheric caves; Dan-yr-Ogof with its beautifully decorated passageways, Cathedral Cave with 40-foot high waterfalls that cascade around you, and the wondrous Bone Cave where 42 human skeletons were once buried, which now houses some interesting exhibits illustrating the use of the caves in the past.

Get up close and personal to over 220 life-sized dinosaur models ranging from the terrifying Tyrannosaurus Rex to the gigantic Brachiosaurus in the award-winning dinosaur parks. Make friends with Shire Horses, alpacas, and chipmunks in the Shire Horse Centre and Mr Morgan’s Victorian Farm, then take a peek at the Iron Age village, museum and stone circles. Enjoy a drink and a variety of hot and cold snacks in the coffee shop and don’t forget to stop by the Rock and Dinosaur shop for some fun souvenirs.

Suitable For: All ages

Prices: Adults £15, Kids (3-16) £11, Kids under two go free

Opening Times: Open 10:00 until 15:00 seven days a week from the 1st April until the 5th November, and February half term week

Similar to this: Go Below, King Arthur’s Labyrinth, Llechwedd Slate Caverns

Dolaucothi Gold Mines, Llanwrda

Step back in time at Dolaucothi Gold Mines, the only known Roman Gold Mine in Britain, and enjoy a legendary day out in south-west Wales. Take advantage of an expertly guided tour underground to experience the conditions of the Roman, Victorian and 1930s mine workings. Kids’ imaginations will run wild as they pop on their hard hats, see the old mining machinery, and learn how to search for real gold; there is even the opportunity to have a go at gold panning! Above ground, there is a tea room to relax in and enjoy a delicious homemade lunch. Set amid deeply wooded hillsides with spectacular views over the Cothi Valley, there are a wealth of colour-coded trails through rolling countryside and woodland, perfect for a post-gold rush walk.

Suitable For: All ages, although you must be over 95cm in height to go on an underground tour

Prices: Adults £8, Child £4.00, Family £20

Opening Times: Mines, Shop, and Tea Room 11:00 - 17:00

Similar to this: Sygun Copper Mine, National Coal Museum, The Great Orme Bronze Age Copper Mines

Llanelli WWT National Wetland Centre, Llanelli

Come rain or shine there is plenty to keep the whole family entertained at the Llanelli WWT National Wetland Centre. A haven for wildlife and some of the world’s most spectacular birds, many of which are rare or endangered, this attraction is perfect for families who love nature and fancy getting up close in hides and even on canoes. Many of the resident ducks, geese and colourful flamingos are so tame that they feed from the hand. There are a variety of seasonal activities throughout the year including pond dipping, den building, indoor crafts, bike hire and the chance to hire a Canadian canoe, gliding through the reeds on a water safari and spotting a water vole or two.

Children will love swinging like monkeys in Flamingo Bay, the fabulous flamingo-themed outdoor play area, taking on the challenge of Swan’s Nest Maze or crawling through the winding tunnels of Water Vole City. There’s also an indoor soft play area for little ones to enjoy whilst grown-ups relax with a cup of tea and a slice of cake, taking in wonderful panoramic views over the Gower peninsula.

Suitable For: All ages, although the canoes are suitable for kids over five only

Prices: Adults £8.62, Child (4-16) £4.68, Concessions £6.45, Family (2 adults, 2 kids) £24.11, Kids under four go free

Opening Times: Summer: open daily 09:30 - 18:00, Winter: open daily 09:30 - 17:00, Closed 24th and 25th December

Similar to this: The Welsh Wildlife Centre, Coed Y Brenin Forest Park

Pembroke Castle, Pembroke

The mighty fortress of Pembroke Castle is the ideal historical day out in Pembrokeshire for children of all ages. Spend a day exploring its endless passages, tunnels and stairways and learn more about its medieval past in fascinating exhibitions. One of the finest castles in Britain, it was the birthplace of Henry VII, the first Tudor king, and has often had a leading role in shaping Britain’s history.

Make the most of the sunshine and enjoy a picnic in the beautifully kept grounds whilst admiring breath-taking views along the estuary. Be sure to visit the Brass Rubbing Centre where kids can create an attractive wall hanging to take home as a memento and we always recommend checking ahead to see if there are any fun family events scheduled such as battle re-enactments, falconry displays, dragon days and story-telling.

Suitable For: All ages

Prices: Adults £6.60, Child £5.50, Seniors £5.50, Kids under three go free

Opening Times: 1st April until 31st August 09:30 – 17:30, 1st September until 31st October 10:00 - 17:00, 1st November until 28th February 10:00 – 16:00

Similar to this: Caerphilly Castle, Cardiff Castle, Abergavenny Castle and Museum, Caldicot Castle, Penrhyn Castle, Beaumaris Castle, Conwy Castle, Harlech Castle

Zip World Blaenau, Blaenau Ffestiniog

Young thrill seekers will be in their element at Zip World Blaenau, home to some of the craziest adrenaline-fuelled adventures. Take on Titan, the largest zip zone in Europe and scream to your hearts content as this ultimate group zipping experience sees your whole family racing over the spectacular landscape at speeds of up to 70mph! Adrenaline junkies aged seven and up can head below ground into a former slate mine and enter the subterranean playground of Bounce Below; play, slide, roll, jump and bounce from net to net in a cavern the size of a cathedral and, if you’re brave enough, slide down industrial slides the height of two double decker buses! If that’s not enough, take a journey through underground caverns on zip lines and rope bridges on the Zip World Caverns adventure, an exciting day out that will never be forgotten.

Suitable For: Children aged over five, restrictions apply to all the adventures so please check the website first

Prices: Zip Line from £50, Bounce Below from £20, Caverns from £60

Opening Times: See website for details, the attraction is weather dependent and may close due to bad weather

Similar to this: Zip World Forest, Zip World Penrhyn Quarry, Go Ape Margam

GreenWood Forest Park, Y Felinheli

Set in 27 magical acres, GreenWood Forest Park has been voted the best family attraction in North Wales for six years running. This action-packed family adventure park has a wide range of unique and quirky rides such as the UK’s only solar powered water ride boasting a huge water slide with two wave chutes, each approximately 60 metres long, and the world’s first people powered roller coaster with its exhilarating 360-degree horizontal loop. Race each other down Wales’s longest sledge run, discover the super bouncy Giant Jumper or take off your shoes and socks and delight in the BareFoot Trail. There are plenty of indoor activities too, including The Enchanted WoodBarn, full of indoor soft play toys and during the school holidays kids can participate in a hilarious pirate show and see fabulous entertainers in the Forest Theatre. Smaller tots will love the Little Green Run, a smaller version of the sledge run, and the Tunnel Warren full of tunnels, slides and rope bridges. When it’s time to take a break, head to the GreenOak café, serving delicious hot and cold meals as well as a great selection of locally sourced products.

Suitable For: All ages

Prices: Low Season - Adults (16+) £8.95, Child (3-15)/Senior (65+)/Student £8.65, Kids under three go free; Mid-Season - Adults (16+) £12.95, Child (3-15)/Senior (65+)/Student £12.60, Kids under three go free; Peak Season - Adults (16+) £15.50, Child (3-15)/Senior (65+)/Student £14.95, Kids under three go free

Opening Times: Open daily 10:00 - 17:30, Availability of rides and activities varies throughout the year so check the website first

Similar to this: Oakwood Park, Folly Farm, Barry Island Pleasure Park

Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways, Porthmadog

Experience the Ffestiniog Railway, the world’s oldest narrow-gauge steam railway and make memories for the whole family. The 13-mile scenic journey from the harbour in Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog passes through the splendour of the Snowdonia National Park and takes around an hour. Alight at Tan Y Bwlch to indulge in a nature trail to the Llyn Mair picnic site and spend some quality time with your family.

Alternatively, board the Welsh Highland Railway beneath the castle walls at Caernarfon and delight in a 25-mile magical journey through the glorious Welsh countryside on the UK’s longest heritage railway. These fantastic steam locomotives climb from sea level to over 650ft on the foothills of Snowdon, before zig-zagging dramatically down the steep hillside to reach the pretty village of Beddgelert, then through the magnificent Aberglaslyn Pass, and on to Porthmadog.

There are cafés at both Porthmadog Harbour station and Tan Y Bwlch station providing hot and cold drinks, snacks and meals. There is also a buffest service on most of the trains serving a variety of drinks and snacks if you’re feeling peckish.

Suitable For: All ages

Prices: Fares vary depending on the route, please check the website. Kids under three go free

Opening Times: Runs year-round with selected dates in December, February, March, and April. Please check the website for timetables as they are subject to change

Similar to this: Brecon Mountain Railway, The Llanberis Lake Railway, Llangollen Railway

Welsh Mountain Zoo, Colwyn Bay

Unleash your kids’ wild side on a family day out in North Wales at the Welsh Mountain Zoo. Home to a wide range of rare and endangered animals, from snow leopards to brown bears, and red pandas to Sumatran tigers, families can spend a lovely day learning more about the zoos’ conservation work, and get up close to their favourite animals from around the world. Children will be in their element swinging like Tarzan in the Jungle Adventureland or the Tarzan Trail, watching their flippered friends in the Penguin Parade or enjoying a snack in the Safari Restaurant balcony, overlooking the tiger enclosure. Be sure to check the website before your visit as there are daily and seasonal events, feedings and talks throughout the year, making for a truly wild day out!

Suitable For All ages

Prices: Adults (16+) £12.70, Child (3-15)/Student £9.55, Family (2 adults and 2 children) £40.00, Senior (60+) £11.25, Kids under three/Wheelchair users go free, Disabled/Carers £7.05

Opening Times: Open daily from 09:30, closing times vary throughout the year, see their website

Similar to this: Manor Wildlife Park, Wales Ape and Monkey Sanctuary, Greenacres Animal Park, Anglesey Sea Zoo

Plas Menai National Outdoor Centre, Caernarfon

For an action-packed family day out in Wales, grab your towel and head over to Plas Menai Outdoor Centre. Kids aged eight and above can look forward to the ultimate in outdoor adventure experiences, trying their hand at sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, paddleboarding and more, all under the careful guidance of their fully qualified instructors. Located on the banks of the beautiful Menai Strait on the north Wales coast, there is something here for everyone, whether you are looking to spend a few hours or a day having some water-based fun. Once you’ve burned off some energy there is a café onsite to grab a drink and something to eat.

Suitable For: Ages eight and above

Prices: There are a wide range of courses, activities, and tuition with varying prices available so check their full list online before setting out

Opening Times: Open year-round with activity days running during school holidays and at weekends

Similar to this: National White Water Centre, Rapid Horizons Llangollen, Llangorse Multi Activity Centre

Map of attractions

If you’re looking to stay close by and explore these exciting attractions in Wales, take a look at our full collection of cottages in Wales for some inspiration on where to base your next holiday.

*Prices and opening hours are correct at the time of publishing; however they are subject to change.

Posted by Kate Atkin on 25th September 2017