We recently posted the first part of our two-article series on enjoying family-friendly days out in Snowdonia (in case you missed it, here’s a link).
In this second article, we offer another ten suggestions including educational attractions, interesting buildings and days out that encourage youngsters to keep active.
Don’t forget, there are many more ideas for things to see and do in Snowdonia at our ‘places to visit’ page!
11. National Slate Museum
We’ll head over to Llanberis now, a village at the foot of Snowdon where there are lots of things to see and do. It’s difficult to choose one attraction from all those on offer here, but choose we must – so we’ve gone for the National Slate Museum because entry is free and there’s an awful lot to see and do there!
Here you’ll learn all about life as a slate quarryman, and get to explore houses from many years ago that look as though the occupants popped out to buy a newspaper a century ago and forgot to return. You’ll learn how slate was worked into all kinds of useful items, and how Welsh slate has roofed houses all over the world.
12. Criccieth Castle
Wales is famous for its castles – there are more here per square mile than anywhere in the world, so of course we’re going to include a few in this article!
First, Criccieth Castle, which was built by the Princes of Gwynedd and sits atop a promontory jutting out into the sea in the quaint seaside town of Criccieth. It’s a bit of a walk to get up there, but it’s really worth doing for the views as well as the castle itself. Once you’ve explored the castle, pop down to the town for some delicious locally-made artisan ice cream and a browse of the fantastic little independent shops.
13. Caernarfon Castle
Caernarfon Castle was built by the English king, Edward I, at the end of the 13th century. It’s very well-preserved, and one of the most striking things about it is the striped pattern in the walls, inspired by the walls of Constantinople. Inside the castle you’ll be able to climb up the stairs to its many towers and enjoy some amazing views, then back down again to the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum where you can learn about this historic regiment and see some fascinating exhibits.
14. Castell y Bere
There’s not a great deal left of Castell y Bere, it’s true – it’s mostly an enormous footprint of an ancient castle built by the Princes of Gwynedd. But entry is free, and it’s extremely atmospheric, so we recommend visiting. Ancient legends tell of a ghostly figure that can be seen wandering the ruins at sunset, so if you fancy a bit of a scare that’s the best time to visit!
15. Harlech Castle
Harlech Castle was the inspiration for the famous song ‘Men of Harlech’, which tells of the castle’s besiegement during the Wars of the Roses. A World Heritage site, Harlech Castle was once right on the coast. No, it hasn’t moved – the coast has! The changing coastline has left this coastal defender stranded on a rocky outcrop overlooking the sand dunes. Visit for a great sense of place and history, and to marvel at the striking architecture.
16. Dolbadarn Castle
Like Castell y Bere, much of Dolbadarn Castle lies in ruins. But what does remain is a large tower, overlooking the lakes at Llanberis. The evocative scene of the tower silhouetted against the mountainous and watery landscape has inspired many an artist and photographer, and a visit is highly recommended as part of a day out in Llanberis.
17. Portmeirion Village
One of the most iconic attractions in Wales, Portmeirion Village is an Italianate-style purpose-built village on the Dwyryd Estuary, just outside Porthmadog. Its eccentric creator, Clough Williams-Ellis, was a celebrated architect and town planner who believed that it should be possible to develop land and erect buildings in a way that enhanced, rather than spoiled, the landscape. In Portmeirion he absolutely achieved this; it is one of the most beautiful places in the whole of Britain, and a favourite day out for hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.
18. Zip World Fforest
As we approach the end of our article, we feel we should really talk about active family days out, given that Snowdonia is the UK’s number one outdoor activity centre!
With so many different active attractions in the region it’s very difficult to choose only a few, so we’ve gone with three that are great for children and offer quite different types of activity.
The first is Zip World Fforest, where there are lots of different fun-filled activities for family groups. These include giant swings through the trees, ziplines and an alpine coaster which takes you on an exciting gravity-powered ride through the forest on a purpose-built track. This is a fantastically fun-fuelled day out if you don’t mind a bit of a sped-up pulse!
19. Coed y Brenin
If you enjoy family bike rides, you can’t really beat Coed y Brenin. And don’t worry if you haven’t brought a bike with you – you’ll be able to hire everything you need on-site. There are mountain biking trails for all levels of expertise, so whether you’re visiting with five year olds or teenagers there will be something to suit everyone. And if you don’t fancy mountain biking, that’s not a problem – there are many excellent walks too, with plenty of interesting wildlife to see along the way.
20. Beacon Climbing Centre
Finally, something that really ties in with the mountains for which Snowdonia is so famous: a purpose-built climbing centre, suitable for all ability levels from beginner to expert. In fact, at Beacon’s climbing walls you’ll often see expert-level climbers keeping their skills honed on days when they can’t climb a real mountain. The Beacon Climbing Centre is a great place to visit if you have little monkeys who love to climb; you can book them in for a session, secure in the knowledge they’ll be safe and will learn some useful skills while they have fun!