I recently spent a few days in south Wales with my daughter and was struck by how friendly the people are there and the beauty of the countryside. I'd always known Wales was recommended for family holidays but now I know why. We hired a car from London and drove to south Wales but you could just as easily take the train to Cardiff in around 2 hours and pick up a hire car there. Here are some of the places we got to and others that were recommended to us by local families.
Bryngarw Country Park
We enjoyed a mini-beast hunt and pond dipping at Bryngarw with Dan, one the Park Rangers. As well as being a beautiful example of Welsh countryside they have the wonderful Cedars Tea Room. Find out more about Bryngarw Country Park.
Margam Country Park
Another of the One Historic Garden locations, Margam Country Park is huge. There's 1,000 acres to explore plus orienteering routes, mountain bike trails and geocaching too. We loved the Adventure Playground and Fairytale Land where you can go inside small nursery rhyme themed houses and play outside. I definitely want to go on the narrow gauge railway next time we visit. Find out more about Margam Country Park.
We had a great afternoon exploring this medieval castle and even though it was raining we still had lots of fun. This is the largest castle in Wales and you can learn about the history from a new video interpretation and an interactive touch-screen table which was very popular with families. Did you know, the 'leaning tower' at Caerphilly Castle leans even more that the famous leaning tower of Pisa in Italy? Find out more about Caerphilly Castle.
St Fagans National History Museum
This open-air museum has around 40 re-erected buildings and visitors can go inside to discover more about life in Wales. There are often traditional craftsmen giving demonstrations and it's free to visit (small car park charge) but get there early as it's a lovely place to spend a day with the family. Find out more about St Fagans. Places we didn't get to on this trip, but that came highly recommended, include Big Pit, the National Coal Museum, where visitors can put on a head lamp and go down into a real coal pit as many Welsh miners did before them. If you have a sweet tooth head for Pemberton's Chocolate Farm where you can get a 'golden ticket' for a tour of the chocolate village. If you prefer rides and thrills then Oakwood Theme Park is for you. For seaside fun Tenby is recommended as ice-cream always tastes better when you can see the sea. And fans of the TV show Gavin & Stacey should head to Barry Island to play on the beach, at the amusement arcade and on the rides. This is, of course, only some of the great things to do on a family holiday in Wales. For lots more suggestions see www.visitwales.co.uk.
Our trip was organised by One Historic Garden with VisitWales. We stayed at Coed-y-Mwstwr. Laura Porter writes the About.com London Travel site and also Laura’s London for Anglotopia.net. She fits in further freelance writing while sustaining an afternoon tea addiction to rival the Queen’s. Laura is @AboutLondon on twitter and @AboutLondon Laura on Facebook. You can find out more about her at about.me/LauraPorter and see Laura’s other articles on the Visit Britain Super Blog.