The best family days out across South Wales
School's Out! It's time for lots of amazing adventures and plenty of fun, family days out. Here's the best places to add to your to-do list this summer.
1. The Royal Mint Experience
A must-visit attraction in South Wales, The Royal Mint has invested £9m in the Royal Mint Experience giving you the chance to go behind the scenes and discover how money is made and what it takes to strike 5 billion coins a year. Along with an interactive exhibition visitors get a guided tour of the Royal Mint in Llantrisant with unprecedented access to this iconic institution. You’ll see the real striking hall where blanks are turned into precious coins and even have the option of striking your own coin to take home as a very special memento. Seeing the factory is a unique experience and you’ll never look at the change in your pocket in the same way again. If all that wasn’t enough as you leave you can take a once in a lifetime selfie in front of one million pound. Now that’s an Instagram moment!
2. Llanelli Wetland Centre
All kids (and grown-ups) love animals and would relish a Welsh wildlife adventure at Llanelli Wetland Centre. You can hand feed the rarest goose in the world, see the colourful flamingos, go bug hunting or pond dipping, enjoy bird watching from the hides and explore the reserve to see butterflies, dragonflies and more! There’s something for all the family to enjoy, 363 days a year including family activities and events every weekend and during the school holidays. Your close up encounter with wildlife could include; grabbing a net and finding out what lies beneath the waters, finding creepy crawlies at the mini beast hunts and using telescopes and binoculars to discover more with wildlife guides at family bird watching sessions.
There’s also a flamingo themed outdoor play area, Flamingo Bay, located close to the Centre making the most of fabulous views of the ducks and geese on the top pond. Don’t forget to head out to the wild wetland nature reserve and take on the challenge of the Swan’s Nest Maze to discover four giant eggs and have endless fun crawling through the winding tunnels of Water Vole City. There’s also an indoor soft play area for little ones to enjoy while grown-ups chill out and relax.
3. Llancaiach Fawr Manor
Step back in time with a visit to Llancaiach Fawr Manor, a 16th century manor house fully restored and furnished as it would have been in 1645. The four foot thick walls and stout wooden doors breathe with history and resonate with lives lived and lost long ago brought back to life by costumed characters who tell their stories with realism and passion. You never know who you might meet when you visit Llancaiach Fawr Manor. If you are lucky you might meet the master of the house, Edward Prichard or his wife Mistress Mary Prichard, although she prefers to go and visit her family and friends at Briton Ferry, rather than brave the air of the valleys, as she is a rather ‘sickly’ soul. There are also the servants who no doubt have a grisly tale to tell. But whoever it is you can be sure of a warm welcome with someone pleased to show you around the master’s fine house.
A superb all weather attraction in the heart of Swansea, Plantasia is a tropical paradise in a unique glass pyramid which is just bursting with plants and animals.
You’ll see piranhas, lizards, lots of creepy crawlies, snakes, as well as prickly cacti, giant bamboo and lots more. The little ones will also learn about the everyday life of tribal people in the rainforest hut. Inside you will find a traditional hammock, musical instruments, cooking spices and utensils. They also have lots of events throughout the year where you can get up close and personal to some fascinating animals.
5. Cardiff Castle
Cardiff Castle is one of Wales’ leading heritage attractions and a site of international significance. From the Roman occupation of Britain to the Norman Conquest, through civil war turbulence, a Victorian transformation and even the terrors of World War 2, the Castle walls have seen it all.
With a general admission ticket, you can climb the Norman Keep, visit the Firing Line Museum and Wartime Shelters, discover the Roman remains and marvel at the spectacularly decorated Castle Apartments. Cardiff Castle is open seven days a week, to find out more about what's on this summer visit the website and follow on socials.
6. Zip World Tower
Home to Phoenix and the Tower Coaster, Zip World Tower is the 4th Zip World site to open, and is the 1st to be situated in South Wales. Nestled in the Rhigos mountain range, and boasting stunning panoramic views, this adventure hub is situated at the old Tower Colliery coal mining site, and had created a new lease of life for this historic and widely-loved base.
Phoenix is the world’s fastest seated zip line, with 4 parallel lines in 2 separate zip zones. This zip line will see you flying across the Welsh countryside. The Tower Coaster is the only of its kind in Europe, boasting a side-by-side kart, making it possible for two people to ride at once.
Enjoy the beautiful facilities and refreshments at Tower’s Adventure Terminal, where you can check-in, kit-up, grab a bite to eat, and enjoy the wonderfully restored Colliery site, where old meets new.
You’ll find plenty to stimulate curious minds and keep the whole family engaged at Techniquest this summer, whatever their age and whatever the weather!
From feeling the storm force of the hurricane simulator to letting yourself go with gravity on the giant silver slide – you can bring science to life with the touch of your hand and enjoy over 100 interactive exhibits, mind-boggling machines and puzzles set across two floors. Add a Star Tour at the Planetarium or a live science demo in the Science Theatre and you’ve got the perfect summer treat covered. Book ahead online.
8. Folly Farm Adventure Park & Zoo
Go West for a fun-filled day out the whole family will love. With four big attractions in one place, zoo, barn, fairground and play areas, there’s something for everyone at Folly Farm, one of the best days out in West Wales. The main attraction at Folly Farm is the zoo which is world class with over 90 different species in purpose-built, award-winning enclosures. Lions, penguins and rhinos are just a few of the animals you’ll see and they have the only giraffes in Wales. If you want to get hands-on head for the Jolly Barn where you can get up close to lots of furry and feathery farm animals, a firm favourite with families. Experience all the fun of the fair with a lovingly restored vintage fairground including Dodgems, Golden Gallopers and the Cakewalk. There’s also eight different adventure play experiences for kids of all ages including indoor and outdoor play, Follystone race track, the Big Dig with several CAT mini-diggers, Pirate Adventure and Carousel Woods.
9. Cardiff International Pool
Looking for fun activities for the family this summer? Head to Cardiff International Pool and Gym this school holidays and splash around in the fun packed Leisure Pool complete with slides, spacebowl and lazy river. Plus the fantastic ’beach’ area and toddler slide is perfect for the little swimmers too.
Why not finish off your visit with a coffee and delicious stone baked pizza or toasted sandwich from the cafe. Spaces are limited and booking is required, so head over to the website today to secure your space.
10. Family Fun Park
(15 July - 4 Sept)
Open daily 11am-8pm, the Family Fun Park is heading to Roald Dahl Plass just in time for the Summer holidays and promises some much needed fun for all the family! An exciting line up of outdoor funfair attractions will fill the Roald Dahl Plass located in the heart of Cardiff Bay. Enjoy favourites such as ‘The Dodgems’ and ‘Pirate Party Fun House’, as well as various children’s rides and family game stalls. There will also be a selection of sweet and savoury treats on offer.
11. The Egypt Centre
You might not immediately associate Swansea with Ancient Egypt but head to the Egypt Centre at Swansea University to see an amazing collection of 5,000 ancient Egyptian atefacts. Gods with hippo-heads, model eyes wrought from obsidian, and rows of miniature sarcophagi – it’s a fount of educational inspiration and a fascinating attraction for the whole family to visit during the summer months.
12. Oystermouth Castle
Quite literally the castle capital of the world, Wales has comfortably enough castles to fill the entire summer holidays. The finest fortress on the Gower peninsula, this 12th century citadel offers up stunning views over Swansea Bay, as well as 14th century graffiti and a 30ft-high glass bridge.
13. Museum of Cardiff
It's the perfect place to start your visit to Cardiff. At the Museum of Cardiff visitors can discover the story of the city through the eyes of those who know it best – its people.
The museum tells the tale of how Cardiff was transformed from a small market town in the 1300s, to one of the world’s biggest ports in the 1900s, to the cool, cosmopolitan capital we know today. With activities for all ages, it is housed in one of Cardiff’s most historic buildings, the Old Library, in the heart of the city centre, and entry is free.
14. National Showcaves
For all the little explorers out there, a day at the National Showcaves Centre for Wales will be an adventure to remember! There’s lots to see with 3 unique caves to discover that will amaze, educate and delight visitors of all ages. Dan-yr-Ogof Cave is the most famous with some awesome formations including the heavenly ‘Angel’. Cathedral Cave has 40-foot high waterfalls that cascade around you in the Dome of St Paul’s. Bone Cave is so called because 42 human Bronze Age skeletons were discovered there, revealing over 3000 years of history when cavemen competed with hyenas and wolves to survive!
You can also get up close and personal with over 220 life-sized dinosaurs at the award-winning Dinosaur Park. Dare you face the terrifying T Rex that could swallow 230kg of meat in one bite, or how about meeting the Brachiosaurus weighing more than 15 elephants?
15. Cardiff Bay
There’s plenty to see and do at Cardiff Bay and if you’re not a regular visitor a trip or two during the summer holidays is a must. Visitors of all ages will be spoilt for choice at this vibrant waterfront destination that’s packed with delights. You can visit some of the Capital's most famous landmarks such as as Wales Millennium Centre and The Senedd. Nature lovers can see the Wetlands Reserve or take a trip to historic Flat Holm Island. Younger visitors will love the giant wheel for a bird’s eye view of the bay and The Red Dragon Centre with cinema, bowling and arcades. Don’t forget to take a relaxing stroll to see Cardiff Bay Barrage and grab a selfie with the enormous crocodile. When you’re ready for a bite to eat Mermaid Quay has over 30 restaurants so there’s something for everyone.
16. Swansea Waterfront Museum
With more than 300 years of Welsh industrial history contained within its glass displays, Swansea’s National Waterfront Museum is a a breathtaking mix of old and new. With interactive workstations and changing exhibitions all housed in an original listed warehouse linked to an ultra-modern slate and glass building, it’s always full of surprises and well worth a visit for a fun family day out at Swansea Marina.
17. Air Venture
When it comes to finding the perfect place for the kids to burn off some energy, Air Venture at Western Leisure Centre in Cardiff, ticks all the boxes! They can bounce, climb, slide, jump and crawl their way over Cardiff’s giant feature-rich inflatable obstacle course, blending action-packed activity with a fun way to get fit.
Suitable for all ages, from free falling, giant slides, jelly mountain, wipeout balls and even an obstacle course, if having fun is at the top of your holiday priorities a visit to Air Venture is a must!