Action-packed Snowdonia isn’t just for outdoor adventurers; it’s a great destination for families, too. Here we look at fun things to do in Snowdonia when you’re travelling with very small children.
The Snowdonia Mountains and Coast region is a wonderful place for children. The air is fresh, there are plenty of open spaces, and there are many family-friendly attractions and activities to keep children entertained.
If you’re visiting Snowdonia with children under the age of five years, there are plenty of things to do and see that will ensure your little ones enjoy the holiday just as much as you do. Here are a few ideas.
Head to the beach
The Snowdonia coast is almost 200 miles long, lined with beaches of all shapes and sizes. With tiny tots in tow, you’ll probably prefer a sandy beach with plenty of nearby amenities like toilets and nappy changing facilities, somewhere to buy food and drink, and easy access. There are many beaches in Snowdonia that tick all of these boxes; Dinas Dinlle, Barmouth and Abersoch, to name a few. Porth Oer, with its squeaky sand, is also a family favourite – although the steep return from the beach to the car park may sap your energy a little if you have a pushchair with you.
All the fun of the fair
Barmouth has a lovely little funfair that’s open in the peak season, with rides suitable for smaller children. And in Pwllheli‘s town centre there’s another small funfair, which also has several rides that are perfect for tiny tots. And let’s not forget GreenWood Forest Park, which has rides and fun things to do for children of all ages – including the Tunnel Warren, which is aimed at under-7s, and the Little Forest Playbarn for tiny tots up to three years old.
There are several Snowdonia attractions with dedicated indoor play areas for smaller children, too; Glasfryn Parc (Pwllheli), Yr Hwylfan (Caernarfon) and The Play Centre (Bangor) all have dedicated soft-play areas for toddlers and younger children.
Back to nature
While the tiniest tots may not be overly interested in nature just yet, once children have reached that stage where they ask constant questions about everything around them it’s lovely to be able to take them on a gentle nature ramble and satisfy their natural curiosity.
Given Snowdonia’s vast amount of open space, woodlands, river banks, parks and gardens, you could take your little ones just about anywhere in Snowdonia for a nature walk. Padarn Country Park in Llanberis would make a great start, as there are plenty of other attractions and amenities nearby once the nature ramble has finished. The woodlands at Coed Y Brenin are perfect, too; the facilities are excellent and there’s an excellent play area for kids of all ages to explore. Shell Island is a great place for a nature ramble with a difference – spotting and identifying the 200 different types of seashell washed up onto the beach is a really fun activity for children, and adults seem to enjoy this just as much as the children do!
Make new friends…
…furry friends, that is! Some of the most popular family attractions in Snowdonia are those where children have the opportunity to meet and pet animals – especially baby animals.
At Gypsy Wood Park, Caernarfon, your children can make friends with sheep, a miniature goat, llamas, ducks, rabbits, peacocks, turkeys, chipmunks, guinea pigs, geese, chickens, miniature donkeys and miniature Shetland ponies. And besides all the animals there are nature trails and an excellent model railway to enjoy.
And at Children’s Farm Park, at Llanfair near Harlech, there are more opportunities to feed baby animals including lambs, goats, calves, ducks and chickens. And if that isn’t fun enough, there’s also an indoor sandpit, junior tractors, crazy golf and a nature trail.
Full steam ahead
If your under-5s are fans of Thomas the Tank Engine, they’ll love the opportunity of riding a real steam train around the Snowdonia countryside. There are several Snowdonia steam railways to choose from; in Southern Snowdonia there’s the Fairbourne Railway, Talyllyn Railway, Ffestiniog Railway and Bala Lake Railway, while in the northern end of the region there’s the Welsh Highland Railway (see Ffestiniog Railway link), the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway, the Llanberis Lake Railway for trips around the twin lakes of Llanberis, and the Snowdon Mountain Railway which will take you and your family right to the top of the mighty mountain.
There’s also a lovely little miniature gauge railway at the Conwy Valley Railway Museum, which also boasts child-sized dodgems and tram engines that your little ones can drive for themselves.