Last year we had an absolute ball visiting some places and doing some things that were new to us, despite the fact that we have lived here for twelve years now. We live on a fairly low income, so most of these suggestions are budget friendly!
Here are our top ten family things we’ve done, and places we’ve been, over the past year in North Wales:
Lligwy beach, Anglesey: We first visited Lligwy beach when James and I (and our dog) had a child free night away on Anglesey about eighteen months ago. I’d heard lots of positive chatter about the dog friendly beach and the family friendly cafe with amazing bacon butties! Last summer we went back with the girls (and the dog), in the hot, summer weather we were having and beach hopped, from Lligwy to Benllech to Red Wharf Bay.
Lligwy beach is stunning; a long sandy beach surrounded by gentle hills and amazing views. The beach is shallow, allowing the girls to play safely in the shallow water. The cafe in a tipi is brilliant and the bacon butties are outstanding! There are basic public toilets in the car park. There is a parking charge for the main car park (from memory it was about £3 per car for the day). It’s definitely one to add to your list if you’re planning a trip to North Wales in 2019.
Providero Tea and Coffee house: Our favourite haunt for brews and cake. Owned by some wonderful friends of ours and staffed by a whole lovely bunch of friends, serving quality food and drinks. Child friendly, dog friendly, relaxation friendly and just all over friendly! It’s a welcoming space in the middle of Llandudno, and a short stroll from the beach.
Providero has plenty of seating space upstairs, with an additional lounge area downstairs. The range of food and drinks has something to cater for all appetites, and the hot food, freshly made on the premises, is delicious! It’s also vegan 🙂
There is a second, smaller Providero in Llandudno Junction – the original Prov, which is affectionately known as Little Prov. Both are definitely worth checking out if you’re in the locality at all!
Zip Fforest: Not quite so easy on the wallet, but sooo worth it! We had the joy of going to do the Treetop Nets last year and had the best time, running around high up in the treetops! Since then, the girls have also had a go on the Fforest Coaster and the Tree Hoppers and loved both! Zip Fforest is just down the road from Betws y Coed and there are a number of other adrenaline adventures onsite. The Fforest Caffi is great, with plenty of room for families and lovely food and drinks.
Coed y Brenin Forest Park: We visited Coed y Brenin in the depths of winter, so it was a weekend of wrapped up walks and trying to keep warm and dry. It’s a beautiful location down in Snowdonia National Park, packed with walking routes, trails for running, mountain bike trails and beautiful vistas. The park has three playgrounds, including one where kids can build dens and play in streams.
The cafe is fab and functional, with all of the essentials for muddy pursuits, family days out and dog walkers. The food is amazing! We can highly recommend the local venison burgers and the girls loved their cooked breakfasts!
Parking charges apply, although the system appears to have changed since we visited. Please check out the linked web page for more details.
Bodelwyddan Castle and Park: Just five minutes from where we live, Bodelwyddan Castle is a great place for families. Sadly the castle is no longer open to the public as it is up for sale, but the grounds are beautiful, wide ranging and full of adventures waiting to be had. From the Victorian maze to the giant chess board, via the adventure playground and walled gardens, Bodelwyddan Castle and Park is definitely still worth a visit. The First World War trenches that have been recreated as part of the old Kinmel Camp are incredible, though you will need to book a guided tour to explore these.
There is a ParkRun there every Saturday – a great and slightly undulating parkland course, with beautiful views.
We have had many a brilliant trip here and highly recommend it. Who knows, you may even see the famous and beautiful white stag!
Porth Eirias beach, Colwyn Bay: Built in 2012 and a controversial and oft derided design, the Porth Eirias complex is now a firmly established watersports centre, restaurant, cafe and park area. Sitting in the middle of a wide and spacious Victorian promenade that stretches from Old Colwyn to Penrhyn Bay, Porth Eirias overlooks the brilliant and popular non-tidal stretch of the beach at Colwyn Bay. This part of the sandy coast was created in 2013, to replace much of the sand that had been eroded away over the last few decades. The sand, which was pumped in from the seabed out in the Irish Sea, has enabled the beach to once again be a non-tidal beach.
As well as the cafe in Porth Eirias (doing sit in snacks and drinks, along with takeaways items), there are a number of kiosks along the prom. The new Horizon Shine, The Coffee Pot and The Cayley Kiosk all serve hot and cold food, drinks and plenty of snacks and beach essentials.
We love going here, whatever the weather, throughout the year. Walking on the promenade, playing on the beach, running around with the dog, playing on one of the sea front parks, or grabbing an ice cream or a brew, Colwyn Bay/Rhos on Sea prom is one of our favourite places to visit!
Boathouse Climbing Centre: A fab new climbing centre, smack bang in the middle of Llandudno. Our younger two have been to a few group sessions here, climbing on the lead wall in small groups. Run by a lovely guy called Andy, Boathouse is set up in the old RNLI lifeboat house and has a few different climbing set ups, plus a ‘human rat run’ caving system up in the eaves of the building!
The building is fabulous and Andy and his team have retained or included many of the original boathouse features. The huge glass wall at the front of the building is a stunning feature, allowing masses of light to flood in and encouraging passing pedestrians to stop and peek inside!
They are currently running with a soft opening schedule, as they finish getting the building ready. Have a look at their website for times and prices.
Conwy mountain (Mynydd y dref): A brilliant walk to do with the family, and one which you can pitch at the level of your little walkers. There are numerous places to park and begin your walk, some of which start higher up and facilitate a slightly shorter climb to the top. The views are spectacular and offer great reward for not so much effort!
Llandudno (Craig y Don) paddling pool: With all of the amazing weather we had last summer, we got to make the most of a few places that we usually say it’s too cold to do often. The paddling pool is one of those places that the girls always ask to go to when we drive past, but it often looks freezing!
Last summer we had a glorious day there, before the schools broke up for the summer holidays, and we almost had the pool to ourselves for a couple of hours.
There are fully accessible toilets, a great little cafe/ice cream shop (The Pool cafe) and he also sells inflatable beach toys. We often drove past last summer and saw giant pink flamingoes or little brown inflatable canoes bobbing around on the water! There are plenty of benches to sit on and there’s a little fenced-in play park next to the paddling pool. The on-street parking around is free and plentiful (other than in the height of the summer holidays).
Geocaching: This is a cheeky addition, as being honest we haven’t done much for a while now. But we’re getting back in to geocaching in 2019. There are lots of caches around where we live and the girls have loved it when we’ve looked for caches – they enjoy a walk if it has a purpose, be that a coffee shop, a good view or a little hidden geocache treasure!
If you’re planning any day trips or holidays to North Wales in 2019, do check out some of these places. And please let us know in the comments where your favourite budget places are in North Wales…
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