If you’re a parent and want to take the kids out for the day, we know just how difficult it can be to find something suitable - and affordable, and it can be even harder with several children to satisfy.
Mention North Wales and people think of Snowdonia, while South Wales has the Brecon Beacons, but the country offers so much more to visitors. From the world-famous National Parks, imposing castles and museums, to golden beaches, retail experiences, and Michelin starred restaurants, Wales has it all.
Here are some of the best attractions and activities for kids and their families:
1. Scream if you want to Go Faster with Zip World
With sites throughout Wales, including at Snowdonia, Ffestiniog and Aberdare, the fantastic Zip World offers a wide range of adventures including all-terrain go-karts, forest roller coasters, and the pinnacle - the zip wire. As seen on the BBC series The Apprentice, Zip World provides excellent adrenaline filled experiences that can be enjoyed by all the family from 3 years old and upwards. This really is a thrill-a-minute scream.
- Tickets from £10.00
- Fun for all the family
- Zip World Website
2. Meet Meerkats and Mighty Lions at Folly Farm
Deep in the heart of Pembrokeshire, at Kilgetty, Wales transforms into the African Savannah, where lions roam, rhinos wallow and giraffes wander. Not too far from the wilds of Africa, you can experience the best that Asia has to offer, including cute, fluffy red pandas, leopard cats, and long-beaked pelicans.
But Folly Farm offers so much more. Alongside the 250 exotic animals, you can meet farm animals, including squealy piglets, goats, ponies, and rabbits. With chickens, alpacas, and even beautiful barn owls, there are animals galore here, and once you’ve had your fill of the fluffies, why not head for the fairground?
All your favourite rides are here - a giant big wheel, merry-go-rounds, dodgems and loads more.
Being members of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), Folly Farm plays an important role in conservation, and if you wish, by adopting your favourite animal, you too can help to protect animals in their natural environment. It really is a great day out for all the family.
- Fun for all the family!
- Location: Just 1.3 miles from Kilgetty station
- Folly Farm Website
3. Explore History at Caernarfon Castle
Internationally recognised as one of the most impressive buildings of the Middle Ages, Caernarfon Castle overlooks the North Wales town. With imposing walls encircling the settlement, ensuring the safety of the inhabitants, from its construction in the 11th century, it has been the pride of Wales, and a testament to the longevity of their building methods.
On the banks of the River Seiont, this World Heritage Site has seen history in the making. Bloody battles, bitter sieges, and countless changes of monarchy, Caernarfon has seen it all over its 700 years. Today, this fantastically well-preserved castle is well worth visiting. It’s home to The Royal Welsh Fusiliers Museum, archery tournaments, and numerous other exhibitions and live performances.
- Tickets from £7.80
- Location: Just 0.2 miles Caernarfon station
- Caernarfon Castle Website
4. Enjoy an Unforgettable Day on the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highlands Railway
Taking passengers through some of the most beautiful and dramatic countryside in Wales, including the stunning Snowdonia National Park, the award-winning Ffestiniog and Welsh Highlands Railway is the perfect choice for a day out, whether you’re a steam train enthusiast or not.
Offering a choice of experiences, with opportunities to explore charming villages such as Beddgelert and Tan-y-Bwlch, the railway originally used a 1 ft 11+1⁄2 in (597 mm) narrow gauge track. From Porthmadog Harbour to Blaenau Ffestiniog, 13+1⁄2 miles (21.7 km) miles away, the Ffestiniog part of the line was opened in April 1836 and is now part of the UNESCO “Slate landscape of North Wales” World Heritage Site.
Joining the route at Porthmadog, the Welsh Highlands section runs for 25 miles (40.2 km) to the walled town of Caernarfon, making it the longest heritage railway in the UK.
Step back in time in some of the most comfortable and luxurious carriages, including the sumptuous first-class Pullman - a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and enjoy freshly prepared meals served at your table. The young and old will love this adventure through the glorious Welsh scenery.
- Tickets from £1.00
- Location: Just 0.5 miles from Porthmadog station
- Ffestiniog and Welsh Highlands Railway Website
5. Explore the Gower Peninsula
West of the city of Swansea, exploring the Gower Peninsula makes a great day out for everyone. Beautiful, completely unspoiled, and a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty since 1949, there’s so much to enjoy here.
The peninsula offers a rich diversity of environments, all with specific flora and fauna - rarely seen elsewhere. Wide golden sands, rugged open moorland and salt marshes, imposing limestone cliff faces and cool woodland glens, the Gower is a geological wonderland. Marine mammals such as seals, dolphins and sharks can be regularly spotted, while up above gannets, kestrels and the impressive red kites soar. The grasslands are home to the rare chough, purple sandpipers wade through the salt marsh, and feral rock doves roost on the cliffs watching out for the weasels that try to steal their eggs.
Learn to paddleboard, surf or sail in Swansea bay, or relax with a coffee and slice of homemade cake. The Gower offers numerous activities for families visiting the area, or just enjoy a walk and make your own entertainment.
- Tickets Free!
- Location: 10 miles from Swansea station
- Gower Peninsular Website
6. Jaw-Dropping Fun at Oakwood Theme Park
Oakwood Theme Park is a great day out. In fact, it’s Wales’ biggest theme park, and it delivers on every front.
Since it opened in the late 80s it’s broken new ground, mixing adrenaline-filled excitement with a family-friendly atmosphere. Incorporating thrilling BMX and go-kart tracks, a 3D cinematic experience, and a giant water chute, the 85-foot-tall (26 m) Megafobia came along later and has been voted among the best roller coasters in Europe. Joined over the next few years by Vertigo - the UK’s tallest sky-swing, Drench and Speed - a Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter roller coaster with a heart-stopping 97 degree drop, there’s no end to the excitement.
With no fewer than five roller coasters, four water rides and another 17 rides to enjoy, the park also includes an area just for smaller children. The attractions here are designed to stimulate and encourage children to explore, learn and play together. From the Jolly Roger Pirate Ship to a giant soft play area, even the youngest child is catered for without parents having to worry.
- Tickets from £18.20
- Location: Just 5 miles from Narberth
- Oakwood Theme Park Website
7. Go Wild at Welsh Mountain Zoo
Overlooking Colwyn Bay, Welsh Mountain Zoo brings the world’s wildlife to Wales. Opened in 1963, the zoo was the vision of Robert Jackson, experienced naturalist and animal enthusiast. Initially, just a breeding centre for rare and endangered species, Jackson decided to allow the public to share his dream by opening for the public and becoming a charitable trust. In 2008 the Welsh Mountain Zoo was officially recognised as the National Zoo of Wales.
The zoo is home to more than 140 species including mammals, birds and reptiles. There are also opportunities to help the keepers with feeding, and workshops on photographing your favourite beasts. With the beautiful, rarely seen snow leopard, cheeky lemurs, and mischievous meerkats, flying displays by eagles and other raptors, and cute fluffy rabbits in the children’s zoo, there’s plenty to see and interact with.
- Fun for all the family
- Location: 1.2 miles from Colwyn Bay station
- Welsh Mountain Zoo Website
8. Spend a Day at Penrhyn Castle
Owned and managed by the National Trust, the site at Penrhyn Castle near Bangor has a range of attractions guaranteed to keep the family happy.
The castle itself was originally constructed in 1498, although the current fantasy-style castle, built in 1822, bears little resemblance to the previous fortified manor house. The estate’s grandeur hides a dark secret, though, linked to a bloody episode in the exploitation of transatlantic slaves.
The castle is home to an impressive art and artefact collection, while the grounds offer nature walks, bird hides and a beautiful walled garden. With a full programme of events and performances, visitors can easily lose a whole day exploring Penrhyn Castle.
- Tickets from £6.50
- Location: 3 miles from Bangor station
- Penrhyn Castle Website
9. Head for the Best Welsh Beach - Broadhaven South
Popular with families, surfers and swimmers, Broadhaven South has everything you want from a beach. Feeling gorgeously sheltered, despite sitting on the rugged Pembrokeshire Coastline, the beach has a smooth expanse of soft, golden sand, and is backed by dunes. At low tides, the sea retreats lending the beach even more space, meaning families need never feel crowded.
The presence of a lifeguard ensures the beach’s popularity, as do the other amenities including an ice cream stand, a café serving cream teas, local shops and a welcoming pub. Perfect for a day out, Broadhaven South is simply idyllic.
- Tickets from: FREE!
- Fun for all the family!
- Enjoy the Great Outdoors
10. Experience the Past at St Fagans National Museum of History
Just outside Cardiff, St Fagans National Museum of History offers visitors a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience living history. This open air museum is set in the extensive grounds of St Fagans Castle, a stunning Elizabethan manor house with Grade I listed status. Which? magazine has voted St Fagans the favourite visitor attraction in the whole of the UK. It has also been named the UK Museum of the Year 2019 by the Art Fund, who said it showed "exceptional imagination, innovation and achievement."
There are over 40 accurately reconstructed buildings across the site’s 100 acres, including an Iron Age farmstead, the court of a medieval prince, and a tannery. There are also workshops where traditional crafts are demonstrated, such as blacksmithing, pottery, and clog making, a children’s learning space and play centre, and a restaurant.
Visitors can also explore the museum’s working farm. Home to traditional and rare breeds of Welsh livestock, the on-site shop sells products from the farm, and from the two working mills - one milling flour and one wool from the farm’s sheep.
There’s so much to see and do at St Fagans, it’s easy to see why it’s been rated so highly.
- Location: Just 20 minutes from Cardiff Central
- Tickets from: FREE!
- St Fagans' Website