Summer holidays create family memories that last a lifetime. And Wales is the dream destination for a summertime adventure with the kids. Boasting hidden gems and thrilling pursuits around every corner, you’ll discover something new and special every day.
Whether it’s pony-trekking in the surf, hiking through forested peaks or exploring Harry Potter film sets, Wales is bursting with fun for the whole family. Why not experience all of these brilliant moments? With a road trip in a motorhome, campervan or caravan, you can. You’ll have the means and flexibility to make the most of this lengthy school break, without squandering your savings! Not to mention that camping in Wales lets you get up close and personal with the great outdoors in all its rugged glory.
So, what exactly can you check off your bucket list? We've put together some of the most exciting family-friendly experiences in this land of legend and wilderness, because there’s nothing quite like an activity holiday in Wales to take your breath away!
Cruise ‘The Stream In The Sky’
With 19 arches looming 38 metres above the River Dee, it’s no surprise that Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Holding a massive 1.5 million litres of water, this striking remnant of the industrial revolution is an engineering feat guaranteed to amaze visitors of all ages.
Hop aboard a horse-drawn canal boat at Llangollen Wharf, which operates every 30 minutes throughout the school holidays! With its indoor and outdoor seating, you’ll enjoy a fascinating (and dry) ride, no matter the weather. Get a taste of the olden days as magnificent horses trot along the canal bank, taking your charming barge with them. And when you reach the head of the Llangollen Canal, marvel at the splendour of Horseshoe Falls, as well as the recently restored Chain Bridge at Berwyn. This is hands down one of the most stunning and impressive canal networks in Great Britain, so it’s definitely worth checking out.
Best for: Families with tiny tots or history buffs
Duration: 45 minutes or two hours
Carve Up The Swells
The Welsh coastline is brimming with incredible surf breaks, so don’t miss the chance to take your surfing ability from zero to hero - Especially if you’re a bunch of water babies. Make your way to the Gower Peninsula for a family surfing lesson with Gower Surf Development Ltd. Every summer, the friendly team are set up at Rhossili, which was voted one of the top ten beaches in the world on TripAdvisor! No biggie.
If you’d like to try your hand at the world’s first inland surfing lagoon, head to Surf Snowdonia for waves of all sizes and for every skill level. Here, you’ll find structured sessions for beginner, intermediate and advanced surfers. And if you’re already a pro - or at least able to stand up - you can spend your day ‘free surfing’ while the young ‘uns catch that surfing bug for the very first time.
Best for: Families with children older than five
Duration: Choose from half day or full day sessions
Go Coasteering In Its Homeland
The aim of the game in coasteering is to maneuver around a chosen coastline in any way possible, be it cliff-jumping, scramble climbing or swimming – And it tends to require all three! Essentially, it’s a dare devil’s dream. And where better to try out this exhilarating sport than the country it was invented in? And to top it off, your adrenaline rush will be accompanied by breathtaking views of the rugged shoreline from a very unique angle.
With Celtic Quest Coasteering, you can explore the rocky North Pembrokeshire coast on a fun adventure tailored to your family’s preferences and abilities. You’ll venture into caves, swirl around a natural ‘washing machine’ pool and even jump up to 35ft - All in the safe company of a trained coasteering guide. Of course, this activity isn’t very toddler friendly, so it’s more suited to older (and braver) families.
Best for: Families with children aged eight and up
Duration: Half a day, with at least two hours of water time
Take The Kayaks Out
Welsh water activities are far from limited to the raging sea. Head inland and you’ll discover peaceful lakes and flowing rivers perfect for a family kayaking or canoeing expedition. And there’s no better place to explore than Snowdonia National Park. Canoe across Llyn Padarn, right under the nose of old slate mines – Look familiar? This remarkable scenery featured heavily in Tomb Raider II, only adding to it’s adventurous appeal. For an exciting session tailored just right for your family, get in touch with Surf-Lines. Located in Llanberis, this company offers fun kayaking and canoeing trips for the whole crew.
Alternatively, check out Bala Lake, home to a mythical monster called Teggie. As Wales’ largest natural lake, it’s buzzing with all sorts of water-based excitements! Take your pick from heaps of activity operators or head straight for the National White Water Centre to take on the raging rapids.
Best for: Families with older children and teenagers
Duration: Choose from half day or full day sessions
Spot Some Seals, Dolphins And Puffins
Take a trip to Britain’s tiniest town, which makes up for its size with teeming marine life! From seaside St. Davids, you can enjoy a boat trip to Ramsey Island, where you’ll find Atlantic seals, soaring seabirds, frolicking dolphins, and if luck is on your side, perhaps even a gigantic blue whale. Book with Voyages of Discovery and you can also listen to shipwreck tales as you float through caverns and gorges. If your animal lovers still aren’t satisfied, drive just 20 miles south and you’ll reach Martin’s Haven. From there, take a boat out to Skomer Island - Home to plenty of funny-looking puffins!
Of course, there’s no better place to go dolphin spotting than the stunning Ceredigion coast. Simply set up a picnic spot on the New Quay shores and watch the horizon for leaping dolphins. If you want to get even closer, take a boat out to watch bottlenose dolphins and harbour porpoises playing in the ocean. We recommend booking with A Bay To Remember, a company whose boats leave from Gwbert, just a short drive from Cardigan town.
Best for: Families of all ages
Duration: Two hours
Feed The National Bird Of Prey
Bwlch Nant yr Arian Visitor Centre is nestled at the top of a deep valley, with spectacular views of Cardigan Bay and the Cambrian Mountain Range. While it has more than enough activities to keep the kids busy all day, it is probably most famed for its long-held tradition of red kite feeding. Visit the centre at 3pm to watch over 150 of Wales’ National Birds of Prey have their lunch!
Stroll along the Barcud Trail, which will take you around the lakeshore where the daily feeding takes place. This levelled loop is suitable for buggies, so it’s lovely for little ones. There are also lots of wooden animals peppered throughout the natural surroundings so pick up an Animal Puzzle Trail leaﬂet and see how many critters you can discover.
Best for: Families young and old
Duration: Two to three hours
Hike Across Snowdonia
No Welsh holiday guide would be complete with a mention of Snowdonia National Park. This mega-playground for all things adventure is an incredible medley of mountains, rivers, valleys, beaches and forests. So get ready for some action-packed family fun!
To kick things off, start your day in the wild Ogwen Valley. With endurance and bravery, you can reach Tryfan’s almost-vertical peak in about two hours. A word of warning: This is a pretty challenging hike, so we recommend that only experienced mountaineering families give it a go!
For a walk that is just as enjoyable but with far less stamina required, start off from the car park at the opposite end of Ogwen Valley. A steep 20-minute ascent will bring you to Cwm Idwal, a mystical glacial lake hugged by towering peaks - This is the perfect backdrop for a family photo!
And before you continue on to your next destination, make sure to visit the tallest peak in Wales and England. A return trip to Snowdon’s summit will take at least five hours, so if that sounds a bit too long for your liking, simply hop on the Snowdon Mountain Railway! This scenic route will bring you right to the summit café for an afternoon pick-me-up on top of the world.
Best for: Fit families with older children
Duration: Anything from 30 minutes to six hours
Ride Ponies On The Shore
Pony-trekking is one of the most magical ways to experience Wales’ beautiful beaches. If you don’t do it yourself, you’ll be wishing you had when you see other families riding horses through the glistening water.
So avoid the regret. Head to Parc Le Breos Riding Centre and saddle up for an unforgettable adventure across pristine sands, dramatic limestone cliffs and vast moors. They cater to all sorts of abilities and are particularly great at accommodating beginners, so children as young as ten can join the ride! Decide between half or full day outings, or even an entire weekend of pony-trekking, punctuated by delicious pub stops along the way.
Best for: Families with children above the age of ten
Duration: Choose from half day or full day excursions
Release Your Inner Tarzan
Let your worries fall away as you swing through the trees at Celtic Manor. Hidden in the depths of the Resort’s woodlands, Forest Jump is a blood-pumping adventure course for the whole family. Keep your balance as you run down swaying bridges, hop across floating
‘stepping stones’ and scramble up ladders. And for the bravest of your bunch, there’s even a freefall jump.
Older family members can take on the 30-obstacle High Ropes Adventure, soaring down its speedy zip line at the end! For younger explorers (and adults with a fear of heights!), there’s a lower ropes course with 16 obstacles that can be tackled at just a few metres high. Then finish up your day in the treetops with the Pole Climb Challenge. This one will really test your nerves as you attempt to pull yourself up through the forest - We promise your view from the top will be worth it!
Best for: Families with children aged six and up
Duration: One to two hours
Let’s Get This Welsh Adventure On The Road
With its array of exhilarating yet child-friendly activities, there’s no doubt that Wales is an ideal location for your family break this summer. Explore its natural wonders in a motorhome, campervan or caravan, and you’ll enjoy a sense of freedom like no other - All while keeping more pounds in your pocket.
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