Last year we took the kids to North Wales on vacation, I was lucky enough to spend 3 years at the University of Wales Bangor and made friends for life one of who still lives there and go married. So we returned for a long weekend with the kids and explored some of the many attractions which were perfect for young kids. Now North Wales is amazing and even with teens there is a lot to do, but young children pose a different problem, the long walks across the mountains in Snowdonia aren’t exactly buggy friendly and with both of ours past the weight where we find it easy to carry them for any length of time we needed places to visit that they could explore and would enjoy at their age.
Finding the top 3 was easy, I know that my kids love nature and with Anglesea with it’s amazing beaches plus a couple of animal themed attractions the first and the one that we choose and returned to twice was Anglesea Sea Zoo. The area is rich in history, both more modern and more ancient, knowing the areas Beaumaris Castle a medieval castle which is fairly intact and you can walk inside see the rooms and the moat still has water in some areas is perfect for kids to explore, for some more modern history and also a drive through the amazing scenery that is Snowdonia we headed to Llechwedd Slate Caverns an interactive Victorian Mining Museum and one that I remember from my childhood and this time around my kids loved as well.
Anglesea Sea Zoo
First off the best thing about the Sea Zoo on Anglesea is that the ticket is valid for 7 days, so you can return as many times as you want within those 7 days, which, believe me, can be very handy especially in North Wales were it rains… a lot. The ticket price is also really reasonable and under 3’s are free so at the time we had to pay for 2 adults and 1 child and with that we could return as many times as we wanted.
It’s not a huge aquarium but perfect to visit with young children and excellent value for money. Inside they are exhibits of the local marine life, including some of the local shark and ray species plus a touch pool that children can explore. The best bit for me, on the way out there is a life-size Leatherback Sea Turtle, a replica of the largest one ever recorded which was washed up on a beach in North Wales many years ago and the species of sea turtle that I spent the longest amount of time working with and protecting in Costa Rica.
If it’s a rainy afternoon and you want to do something for a short while in the dry then this is a perfect time to visit – check out the Angelsea Sea Zoo opening times for when last admission and closing times are and
Beaumaris Castle was started in 1295 and is an excellent example of a medieval castle. Most of the castle is intact and unlike a lot of the castle near us in East Anglia you are able to journey inside the castle and around on the battlements.
On the island of Anglesea, the castle is positioned so that there is a sea dock and from the battlements the coastline of North Wales and Bangor can be seen as well as out into the Irish Sea. Open daily (apart from Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day as well as New Years Day) there is plenty of opportunity to explore the grounds, visit the exhibits and walk through the passageways and into the rooms of the castle.
It is a little bumpy walking and the passageways and stairs are steep but with care we were able to climb up to the battlements and walk around the top of the castle as well as explore the inside parts of the building and see the rooms were the people of the castle lived.
Llechwedd Slate Caverns
Moving forward a few hundred years North Wales produced some of the best slate in the world and during the Victorian Era mines were found throughout the mountains. The Llechwedd Slate Caverns was one of the larger ones, found in Blaenau Ffestiniog a little way from Bangor and through the most amazing countryside – do return via the Llanberis Pass for amazing views of Snowdon the highest mountain in England and Wales.
Llechwedd Slate Caverns is a real mix, for younger children there is the thrill of traveling 200 feet before the surface into the caverns that run under the mountains and used to be mined – with a tour of the caverns you get to hear what life was like underground as told by a young lad who is just starting out in the mines at age 7, you hear about what life was like, the conditions they worked in and what they ate. During the tour, you also get to see one of the underground lakes.
For the more adventurous and because you can’t head to North Wales without experiencing the outdoors there is mountain biking, Zip lines and the FIRST underground bounce house – slide, jump and climb all within safety of the nets inside a huge cavern under the ground – there is a junior bounce for 3 to 6-year-olds.
As well as the adventure and the mine tour, children can get hands-on splitting slate in the working museum as well as having a go at painting the slate and a quiz to complete as you go around.