Come rain or shine there are plenty of great family days out to be had in North Wales this summer…
OK, let’s face it – we have been rather spoilt with the weather so far this summer. The question is, will it last? The rain does have a tendency to appear as soon as the kids break up from school making many people head straight to the easyJet website in search of some last-minute sun.
But fear not! North Wales has an abundance of amazing family days out that will keep your little darlings occupied whatever the weather.
Anglesey Sea Zoo is Anglesey’s leading all weather family attraction. This unique aquarium has over 40 tanks displaying the best of British marine wildlife. Don’t expect to see large sharks, tropical fish or sea turtles – instead you’ll find fascinating creatures from around the coasts of the UK, such as octopus, lobsters, seahorses, cuttlefish and small British catsharks.
An ideal day out should you want to add a spot of education to the school holidays, Anglesey Sea Zoo enables visitors to see sharks, seahorses, octopus, lobsters and other exciting British marine animals up close. Discover incredible invertebrates like starfish, anemones, sea urchins, octopus and the mesmerising moon jellyfish, and try to spot the colourful corkwing wrasse, the cheeky tompot blennies and the venomous weever fish as you creep through its spooky shipwreck – no wonder they say it’s a Splashing Day Out!
Another educational attraction is Techniquest Glyndŵr in Wrexham. Open seven days a week over the summer holidays, Techniquest offers an all-weather day out with a science flavour. Its interactive exhibits and live science shows engage with everyone and it has a full programme lined up for the school holidays. From Monday 23rd July until Sunday 5th August “Operation Earth” is live with a show that focuses on our planet and its environment while, from Monday 6th August until Sunday 19th August “All the fun of the Fair” is presented which looks at the science behind some popular fairground rides. The last few weeks of the holiday, from Monday 20th August until Monday 2nd September “Freaky Foods” looks at what is in the food we eat – and dessert will appear before your very eyes.
If history is more your thing then head to Llechwedd Slate Caverns near Blaenau Ffestiniog. Its Deep Mine Tour enables you to travel into the belly of Llechwedd – on the steepest cable railway in Britain! You’ll experience some of the iconic sounds which have defined the last century and a half – the clock will turn back 160 years as you travel 500 feet underground. Extraordinary light projection, enhanced reality technology and explosive special effects will transport you to another time and place. You’ll meet the mine’s owner and founder John Whitehead Greaves, and some of the men (and boys) who spent up to 12 hours a day, six days a week, working underground in semi-darkness.
But, if you’d rather stay above ground then Llechwedd has that covered too with its Quarry Explorer Tour – an off road adventure that will take you right into the heart of Llechwedd’s man-made mountains. Grab hold and join the 1.5 hour journey to the top of the man-made summits, an extreme landscape 1,400ft above sea level. You’ll drive up high to the top of the quarry and into some of the massive craters that have been made by blasting the tops off hundred-year-old caverns. You’ll learn more about how this amazing landscape was formed, and why it is now the subject of a UNESCO World Heritage Status bid.
Another great idea if rain is trying to stop play is to try an indoor climbing centre.
Beacon Climbing Centre is an exciting all weather venue, with fun activities suitable for the whole family. Its users are aged from just four years old, and its climbing is designed to cater for all levels, from first experience to elite performance.
Conquer high roped walls for an unbeatable sense of achievement, experience the freedom of climbing without using a rope in the low level bouldering areas or try something that’s entirely off-the-wall – CrazyClimb featuring a series of wacky climbing challenges! No previous experience is required and anyone can have a go.
And, if you don’t fancy climbing, what about bouncing? Zip World offers the most amazing bouncing experience in the world right in the heart of Blaenau Ffestiniog at its Bounce Below Facility. Children from the age of seven are encouraged to play, slide, jump and bounce from net to net in an underground cavern the size of a cathedral. But it’s not just for kids, in fact children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adventurous adult!
Meanwhile Zip World Fforest in Betws-y-Coed has a range of activities suitable for ages three and up. Fforest Coaster, Treetop nets, Skyride and Tree Hoppers all promise to exhaust even the most energetic little monkeys.
A bit further down the road in the Conwy Valley lies the impressive lagoon that is Surf Snowdonia. If you haven’t heard about Surf Snowdonia this is what you need to know: first, it’s a world-first surf lagoon and the only guaranteed surf break in the UK. Second, it could be one of the best family days out you’ll have this summer.
Waves roll at 90-second intervals, with dedicated zones for beginner, intermediate and advanced surfers. It’s the perfect place to get on board, whatever your age or ability. If you prefer to take your waves lying down, take your bodyboards with you!
You can surf with or without instruction, on slots that are bookable by 60 or 90 minutes. Glamping pods, a bar, diner and a friendly surfer village feel make it a great place to hang out or stay over.
The fun and adventure continue in the Wipeout-style Crash and Splash lagoon, where a series of over-water obstacles and slides guarantee some spectacular splashdowns. There is a soft play café to keep younger visitors entertained, and if you fancy just visiting to hang out parking and spectator entry are both free.
If, however, you’d rather stay on land then Criccieth Multi Golf is well worth a visit. This brand new attraction is located on the sea cliffs of Criccieth next door to Dylan’s restaurant. Offering five activities: Pitch and Putt; Football Golf; Frisbee Golf; Croquet and Petanque (boules), Criccieth Multi Golf boasts stunning views across the beach to the castle and over Cardigan bay.
All equipment and instructions are provided and no experience is necessary – although scorecards and the leader board are available for the more competitive minded! Picnic tables are available and, for those who want to venture on to the rockpools and beach below the course, children’s fishing nets, crab lines and beach toys are also for sale on site.
Back on the coast and Tir Prince Showground has something for the whole family this summer. The fairground rides and fun factory amusement arcades offer traditional seaside entertainment for the kids, while the markets and car boot sales are great place to spend a spot of pocket money.
And what better way for families to enjoy those seemingly endless days of summer than popping along to your local RSPB Reserve?
Kids can go wild and discover the wonderful wildlife that this season has to offer. Enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff and volunteers will be on hand around the reserves to help you learn more about why these special places are so important for nature.
RSPB has numerous events taking place throughout the summer at its South Stack, Conwy and Lake Vyrnwy reserves. Young ones will love the play areas which have a number of fun activities, while older kids can also explore the nature gardens which are home to hedgehogs, frogs, insects and birds – as well as some other fascinating creatures that inhabit the ponds.
You can explore our wetland, discover frogs, dragonflies and butterflies in summer, or marvel at thousands of waterbirds on the estuary in winter. Look out for peregrines swooping and diving, hunting for prey over the Lakeside hide or see if you can spot a dipper as you stroll along the river on the way to the waterfall.
Finally, if animals need to be the main attraction then Gypsy Wood Park is well worth a visit. Set in 20 acres of beautiful natural Welsh woodland, the park has a huge range of attractions and things to do for all the family, so you’ll be sure of a fun-filled family day out.
Go and meet the friendly animals, take a ride on Woody’s Train, try your hand at one of the family games, run wild in our outdoor play areas, make some music in the tree house and see if you can spot all of the fairies on the fairy hunt. And, if it has been raining, don’t forget to pack your wellies for the woodland walk…