Snowdonia may be best-known as the UK’s number one activity centre, but don’t let that fool you… As well as tons of outdoor activities for those so inclined, Snowdonia also boasts dozens of family attractions that are just perfect for keeping smaller children entertained during your Snowdonia holiday.
Towering mountains, mile after mile of sand and shingle coastline, and open countryside as far as the eye can see. That’s probably what you see in your mind’s eye, when you think of Snowdonia. Not a huge amount to keep smaller children entertained, you might think… but you’d be wrong!
In fact, as well as being the UK’s number one activity centre, Snowdonia is a fantastic holiday destination if you’re travelling with children. All over the region you’ll find plenty to keep the younger members of your family entertained, whatever the weather – here are ten of our favourites.
1. Gypsy Wood Park
Gypsy Wood Park, just outside Caernarfon, is a great place to visit if you’re travelling with children. There’s a wonderful petting farm where your children can meet llamas, ducks, rabbits, pygmy goats, miniature donkeys and Shetland ponies – among others. There’s a fantastic model railway featuring some of the great little trains of Wales. And there’s also a lovely half-mile wetland walk through marshes and woodland – so bring your wellies and don’t forget to look out for fairies!
2. Shell Island
Shell Island is at Llanbedr, just south of Harlech. This little peninsula on Cardigan Bay has three gorgeous bathing beaches, one of which is backed by some of Wales’ tallest sand dunes. There are shops and restaurants on-site, but the biggest attraction for children is the shells which give the peninsula its name; over 200 species of shells can be found at Shell Island, some of which are so tiny that you can only see them with a magnifying glass.
3. Yr Hwylfan
Yr Hwylfan – or The Fun Centre – in Caernarfon is a popular attraction for children visiting Snowdonia. Set in a converted church, Yr Hwylfan offers 14,000 square feet of family fun. With its giant drop slides, ball pools, bridges, tubes, maze, climbing walls, nets and ropes, Yr Hwylfan is the perfect place to let your little ones run riot in a safe environment. There are also special areas for toddlers, so your tiniest children won’t feel left out.
4. Greenwood Forest Park
Greenwood Forest Park is an amusement park with a difference: all the rides are powered by you! This includes the famous Green Dragon, the world’s first people-powered rollercoaster. There are many excellent rides for children to enjoy at Greenwood, as well as a den building area and plenty of family-friendly entertainment and craft activities.
5. Coed Y Brenin Forest Park
Coed Y Brenin, near Dolgellau, is a perfect spot for keeping children active. There are many waymarked walking trails, and a variety of cycle paths suitable for all abilities; bring your own bikes, or hire one from the hire centre. Kids will also love the tiered adventure playground, and the guided walks and craft activities provided by the Forest Junior Rangers Club.
6. Barmouth Beach and Funfair
Barmouth is one of those wonderful, typically British, seaside resorts loved by visitors of all ages. Beautiful sandy beaches backed by stunning mountain views, a good old-fashioned promenade, ice creams and plenty of lovely gift shops are just some of the attractions at Barmouth – but kids will especially love the small funfair, which has rides that are ideal for smaller children.
7. The Play Centre
New to Bangor is The Play Centre, a fun attraction for families. As well as dedicated toddler zones and junior zones for younger children, there’s a mini football pitch where children of all ages can enjoy a kick-about. While the kids are enjoying themselves, parents can relax in one of the comfort zones with complimentary newspapers and magazines and free wi-fi.
8. Dwyfor Ranch
Dwyfor Ranch Rabbit Farm and Animal Park is at Llanystumdwy, near Criccieth. At the Ranch your little ones will have a lovely time cuddling rabbits, guinea pigs and puppies, and hand-feeding pygmy goats, alpacas, donkeys and lambs. There’s an on-site cafe if you’d like to grab a snack during your visit, and there’s also a lovely picnic area if you’d prefer to bring your own lunch.
9. King Arthur’s Labyrinth
King Arthur’s Labyrinth is an exciting underground adventure for all ages. Take a boat ride through ancient caverns as you hear tales of the adventures of King Arthur and his knights. This is a delightful attraction for young and old alike; atmospheric, exciting and lots of fun.
10. Piggery Pottery
Piggery Pottery, Llanberis, is an unusual attraction but one that will keep small children quiet for hours on end. You can buy plain piggy banks and masks for your children to paint and decorate with all sorts of glittery goodies on-site, which they’ll be able to take home with them. But you can also buy professionally decorated piggy banks, night lights and other beautiful children’s pottery items at the Piggery Pottery shop.