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Family Adventure in Wales #FindyourEpic

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The last time we visited Wales was our first weekend away as a couple, a romantic break in a beautiful cottage in the woods, but close enough to the beach that we could hear the waves crashing at night. It was magical, and still is one of my favourite holidays memories.

 

So when we were invited by Visit Wales to enjoy a family mini-adventure, we jumped at the opportunity and started our trip.

Visit Wales is celebrating a Year of Adventure, challenging you to get out of your comfort zone and explore Wales with their campaign #FindYourEpic.

I have dreamed for a long time of visiting Snowdonia National Park, with its rugged landscapes, imposing mountains, and the picturesque coastal towns neighbouring it. We settled on staying in Porthmadog, a coastal town near the famous Portmeirion. It’s only 30 minutes from Caernarfon and its epic castle, and just a stone’s throw away from Snowdonia. It was the perfect location for us.

We hit the road just after lunch on the Friday, trying to make it to Wales before sundown. Alas, Friday afternoon traffic hit us hard and despite only stopping for a quick sandwich and a coffee it was pitch dark when we arrived.

Beginning our first day with a Full-English breakfast, we set out to explore this seriously beautiful National Park, with its caramel coloured grass fields, deep blue lakes and spiking high white-tipped mountains. Sheep dot the fields everywhere you look, there are no houses, no people – blissful, quiet wilderness.

Wales Tip: Don’t rely on your Sat Nav. Everyone will tell you this, but you’ll only believe it when you have no phone signal, going up a steep mountain during a snow storm at night. Lesson learnt Wales! Will bring a roadmap next time.

 

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PORTMEIRION

We arrived in Portmeirion at about 11ish, the sun playing a fun game of peek-a-boo with the white clouds, but keeping the rain at bay.

Our four year old son was a bit sceptical – going sightseeing in a village was hardly what he had thought this ‘adventure’ would entail. It took all of 3 minutes for him to get an excited smile on his face as we passed through the gates and the surreal colourful houses, quirky statues and ingenious hiding spots started to reveal themselves. It was a kids’ playland!

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Portmeirion Village is the brainchild of Cough Williams-Ellis, an architect who acquired the private peninsula in 1925, building the first stage between 1925-39 and the second stage between 1954-76. It is my vision of the ideal coastal village, and it is one of the prettiest places I’ve ever visited. In the words of my 4 year old ” he must’ve been so tiiiired after building all of this!”.

We spent a few good hours just walking around the quirky and bright village, exploring every nook and cranny, and took a little walk in the woods, where we found the Chinese pagoda bridge. This is also when our little one began to threaten to roll around in a puddle he had found, unless we provided him with food, not a snack mind, a proper lunch please.

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Portmeirion has several eataries, from cafés to the plush Portmeirion Hotel, where we decided to take our chances and bring a famished child. Thankfully, despite the elegant setting and décor, they offered us a kids’ menu, also known as a peace treaty for parents. It allowed us to relax a little, knowing that our little one was welcome.

The kids’ menu was fantastic, full of healthy food, and the fish and potatoes we chose was beautifully cooked, as I ended up having a little taste too. I had a dish of lightly smoked cod, served in a fragrant mussel and saffron broth which was absolutely stunning. Rob went for the Welsh Rarebit, as it’s the done thing when in Wales!

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portmeirion-3portmeirion-4portmeirion-7portmeirion-8After lunch we explored the village a bit more, taking the route by the water back to the entrance where a lot more adventures were to be had! Have you ever seen a boat built into the ground, or a shell-filled tunnel like the one below?!

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USEFUL INFO

Entry fee: £10 pp / free for under 5s (discounted pre-purchase price £7pp)

Opening Hours: 09:30 – 19:30

Shops open: 09:30 – 17:00

Cafes open: 10.00 – 17:00

Food: We had luch at the Portmeirion Hotel, which although a tad pricey, was worth every penny!

NOTE: If you’re travelling with your dog, be aware that no dogs are allowed in the village.

CAERNARFON CASTLE & TOWN

 

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Caernarfon Castle is probably the most well-known castle in Wales, and I can certainly see why.

As we approached the royal town, we immediately spotted the castle – a beautiful, yet imposing, structure aimed at intimidating enemies and protecting the town. Build in the 1200s by Edward I, Caernarfon Castle was both a military structure and a royal palace. In recent history, it was the place where Prince Charles ‘ investiture as Prince of Wales took place.

For us, as a family with a young child, it became the place where a mighty Welsh dragon lived, and C, the knight had to save us all from his gigantic breaths of fire. We discovered the truly beautiful castle by running through the grounds, exploring the many tunnels and hidden nooks, and hiding from suspected ‘bad guys’.

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History buffs will want to explore the museum and the castle’s many great exhibitions – perfect for older children to learn about Wales’ and the castle’s past.

After visiting the castle, we went for a stroll in the town, and a spectacular drive alongside the river, overlooking Caernarfon as the sun set. Stunning.

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Caernarfon Wales

USEFUL INFO

Opening Hours: 

1st March to 30th June – 09.30 – 17.00 daily

1st July – 31st  August – 09.30 – 18.00 daily

1st September – 31st October – 09.30 – 17.00 daily

1st November to 28th February 10.00 – 16.00  Monday to Saturday – 11.00 – 16.00 Sunday

Closed:- 24th, 25th, 26th December, 1stJanuary

Price: Adults £6.75 / Children: £5.10

Find out more information

ZIPWORLD WALES1880town-4

We planned our weekend so that it would end in the best way possible – by doing a high-ropes adventure course, complete with a zip line.As an adventure-loving family, we couldn’t have been more excited. Most tree-adventure courses/ziplines are for 6 and above years, leaving my adrenaline-mad son behind.

Zipworld Wales however, have a junior course for ages 4-8, which was absolutely perfect for us. There is also an adult adventure course on the site, so one parent can stay with the child, and the other can do the big course.

We arrived a little earlier than scheduled, which allowed us to enjoy a coffee and warm milk before taking on the tree course. Shortly after, we made our way to reception, and met our friendly guide, who was going to get us all set-up.

Initially, we were a bit unsure whether our little 4 year old would be able to cope with the swinging tires and rope bridges, but fearless and agile as only a child that age can be, he took it on with more bravado than myself!

Needless to say, we had the most brilliant time, and our guide was fantastic in helping us along, and as no-one else was booked in that day, we even got to go round twice! I would most definitely recommend it to anyone with small children, and also have a look at the endless amount of fantastic adrenaline and activities they offer – including an underground trampolining centre in an old mine (WOW!) and the longest zip-line in Europe! We couldn’t do it this time around, but already I’m itching to make my way back to Wales and try them out!

 


 

 


Find out more about ZipWorld Wales

Thank you for VisitWales for inviting us to experience a family adventure in Wales. We felt there really was something for everyone, and it was especially family-friendly.


 

Linking with #CountryKids Monday Escapes & Whatever the Weather

 

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  • What gorgeous photos and it looks like you all had a wonderful time in Wales (and thanks for sharing the tip about bringing a map and not relying on sat-nav!) Caernarfon castle is on my list of places I’d like to visit and I love the way your trip there was made magical through a little imagination – hope Sir C did a good job of rescuing you all from the fire-breathing Welsh dragon 🙂

  • What beautiful scenes – would love to visit and explore Wales with the kids!

  • Beautiful photos. Wales does make a great place to visit. You chose three fabulous places to go. #CountryKids

  • Coombe Mill (Fiona)

    What beautiful photos, this is enough to make anyone up and go to Wales for the weekend, I seriously think you need to do Cornwall next! The countryside, beaches and castle all look worthy of a visit and I’m impressed you managed to pack it all into your visit. Sounds like a great hotel and a perfect location to make all this possible. thank you for sharing with me on Country Kids.

  • Sara (@mumturnedmom)

    We haven’t spent nearly enough time in Wales, all the places you visited looked amazing! Gorgeous photos x

  • I’ve not been to Wales in years and it’s on the list of places we really need to explore. I’ve only seen the castle from the outside but it looks like somewhere we would adore #CountryKids

  • What incredible photos. We always used to go to Wales on holiday as a child and saw most of its castles as well as Portmeirion, although that’s somewhere I’d love to revisit. And the zip wires are on my list – maybe when my daughter turns four. You have made me want to go straight back! #countrykids

    • one tiny leap

      Thanks Cathy! The landscape really blew me away, and Caernarfon was out of this world. The zip line was also so much better than expected – we all loved it!

  • Island Living 365

    Wow Wales looks stunning and the adventure park looks like so much fun #countrykids

    • one tiny leap

      It was great fun! I can’t wait to be back and go on the longest zipline in Europe 🙂

  • What a fun weekend! Your pictures are beautiful. I found Caernarfon Castle intriguing when we visited many years ago. You’ve given me a taste for returning! #countrykids

    • one tiny leap

      Thank you! We loved Caernarfon Castle, and despite it being late afternoon and C being exhausted, he had so much fun exploring 🙂

  • Wow, what ana amazing weekend! Portmeirion looks so quaint and colourful! #MondayEscapes

    • one tiny leap

      It was really picturesque! It blew us away 🙂

  • awesome photos! must visit Wales:) #monday escapes

  • Merlinda Little

    Your photos are breathtaking! Wales is so lovely and I wish we can explore more of it too! #countrykids

  • Clare Thomson

    Looks like a fabulous trip. Portmeirion and Caernarfon are high up on our family travel wish list too. #MondayEscapes

  • Beth Williams Barsness

    Looks amazing – your photos are spectacular! #mondayescapes

  • You have really captured some of the beauty of Wales. I only ever worked there near an industrial area so i had a very different view of it until now!

  • Naturemumblog

    My family and I moved to Wales two years ago but we are yet to visit anywhere north of the Brecon Beacons. Your photos make me want to start exploring North Wales. What a stunning place that you stayed! #Whatevertheweather

  • Hats off to Sir C for keeping everyone safe from the dragons! My boys would be right there with him and on the ropes course too. #whatevertheweather

  • Catherine Hughes

    What a great trip, and wonderful photos. We visited North Wales last weekend and had the most amazing time – we’re already planning our next trip and Portmeirion is top of my list, I’m adding zipworld on there too after reading this! #whatevertheweather

  • Jenny Eaves

    I don’t know much about what’s on offer in Wales, but you have chosen some great highlights here! I love the look of Portmeirion, it is absolutely gorgeous and clearly worth exploring. The castle looks amazing! Great for the kids to explore and would love to find out more about it’s defensive history. Love that there is a kids zip line too, my youngest would love it when he’s older! 🙂 Thanks so much for linking up to #Whatevertheweather 🙂 x

  • I adore Wales. It’s so, so beautiful. The castle looks so grand with lots to explore, but the little colourful village of Portmeirion is the place I really want to visit. It looks so lovely with all the different coloured houses. Thank you so much for sharing your adventure with #whatevertheweather xx

  • Oh I do love Wales, although I haven’t explored this part. Portmeirion looks wonderful – castles, beaches and great villages. You can’t fail to have a good time. I love the photos as always Maria. Looks like you all had so much fun. Sometimes close to home is just as wonderful than afar! Thanks for linking up with #MondayEscapes