The best days out in Wales this summer

There’s plenty to see and do across Wales this Summer, make sure you plan lots of fun-filled days out for the whole family to enjoy. Whatever the weather, here’s our guide to the best attractions.

Caerphilly Winding House
www.windinghouse.co.uk

Caerphilly’s lively, award-winning museum is built around the impressive Victorian winding engine that once sent men down into the depths of Elliot Colliery.

Caerphilly’s history is long and rich, from Roman fortress to outpost of Welsh rebellion and industrial boom town. It’s all told here at the town’s free museum. The current Life of Elliot exhibition has been a huge hit with visitors and celebrates the life of Elliott Colliery and the people who once worked there. You can explore the effect that the pit had on the local area from its opening in 1888 to its closure in 1967. The magnificent, original Victorian winding engine runs on the last Saturday of each month and it’s definitely worth seeing in action!

Look out for hands-on exhibits and special events from crafty historical activities to talks and gallery trails, there’s plenty for everyone to enjoy!


Go Ape, Margam Park
www.goape.co.uk

Go Ape at Margam Country Park with the UK’s biggest Tarzan swing and psych yourself up for a huge leap of faith and step off into a stomach-wrenching drop of six metres. A day out like no other, Go Ape is a high ropes forest adventure that everyone will love and the earlier you book the less you pay with their fantastic early bird offers.

It’s a great way to get outdoors and enjoy the great Welsh countryside with an epic adventure that will be the highlight of your summer. Take your tribe and enjoy the UK’s No.1 Tree Top Adventure with tree-to-tree crossings hidden up high in the canopy you’ll tackle cunning obstacles designed to test your nerves and balance, why not challenge friends and family to see who can reach the top first. With breathtaking scenery, thrilling zip wires and hours of fun, you’re promised a fantastic day – you’ll never forget!


Folly Farm Adventure Park & Zoo
www.folly-farm.co.uk

Go West for a fun-filled day out the whole family will love. With four big attractions in one place, zoo, barn, fairground and play areas, there’s something for everyone at Folly Farm, one of the best days out in West Wales. The main attraction at Folly Farm is the zoo which is world class with over 90 different species in purpose-built, award-winning enclosures.

Lions, penguins and rhinos are just a few of the animals you’ll see and they have the only giraffes in Wales. They’ve also recently welcomed a bachelor group of four Macaroni penguins to Penguin Coast. Named after gangsters, the ‘Macaroni Mafia’ is made up of Tony the Don, Vinnie the Voice, Frankie the Fish, and Little Nico. If you want to get hands-on head for the Jolly Barn where you can get up close to lots of furry and feathery farm animals, a firm favourite with families. Experience all the fun of the fair with a lovingly restored vintage fairground including Dodgems, Golden Gallopers and the Cakewalk.

There’s also eight different adventure play experiences for kids of all ages including indoor and outdoor play, Follystone race track, the Big Dig with several CAT mini-diggers, Pirate Adventure and Carousel Woods. Whatever the weather you’re guaranteed a good day at Folly Farm and the kids will absolutely love it.


The Royal Mint Experience
www.royalmint.com

A new must-visit attraction in South Wales, The Royal Mint has invested £9m in the Royal Mint Experience giving you the chance to go behind the scenes and discover how money is made and what it takes to strike 5 billion coins a year. Along with an interactive exhibition visitors get a guided tour of the Royal Mint in Llantrisant with unprecedented access to this iconic institution. You’ll see the real striking hall where blanks are turned into precious coins and even have the option of striking your own coin to take home as a very special memento. Seeing the factory is a unique experience and you’ll never look at the change in your pocket in the same way again. If all that wasn’t enough as you leave you can take a once in a lifetime selfie in front of one million pound. Now that’s an Instagram moment! The attraction has been a huge hit since it launched last year and as the popularity of coin collecting increases the gift shop has become a big draw with a wide range of Royal Mint coins and merchandise available.


Welsh Mining Experience at Rhondda Heritage Park
www.rhonddaheritagepark.com

Follow in the footsteps of the miners who once worked at the Lewis Merthyr Colliery with a visit to the Welsh Mining Experience at Rhondda Heritage Park. The exclusive Black Gold Experience takes you through the recently developed Trefor & Bertie Engine Houses and into the original lamp room where you will collect your miner’s helmet for your journey underground. You can almost hear the banter between the miners at the start and the end of their shifts. You can take a tour with guides who are all retired miners so they have lots of insight about life underground and the importance of coal to South Wales.

Take your seats on the all new virtual ride, Dram: The Cinematic Experience. While seated inside a coal dram, visitors travel through underground tunnels, taking in the twists and turns, sights and sounds of the dram’s journey. There’s also a children’s play area and no tour would be complete without stopping off at the Welsh Gift Shop.


 Llancaiach Fawr Manor
www.llancaiachfawr.co.uk

Step back in time with a visit to Llancaiach Fawr Manor, a 16th century manor house fully restored and furnished as it would have been in 1645. The four foot thick walls and stout wooden doors breathe with history and resonate with lives lived and lost long ago brought back to life by costumed characters who tell their stories with realism and passion. You never know who you might meet when you visit Llancaiach Fawr Manor.

If you are lucky you might meet the master of the house, Edward Prichard or his wife Mistress Mary Prichard, although she prefers to go and visit her family and friends at Briton Ferry, rather than brave the air of the valleys, as she is a rather ‘sickly’ soul. There are also the servants who no doubt have a grisly tale to tell. But whoever it is you can be sure of a warm welcome with someone pleased to show you around the master’s fine house.


Oakwood Theme Park
www.oakwoodthemepark.co.uk

Set in 90 acres of spectacular Pembrokeshire countryside, Oakwood is one of the UK’s leading theme parks right here in Wales. Everyone loves Megafobia, one of the wildest wooden coasters on the planet, it has been voted the best ride in the UK.

Other mega-rides include Drenched one of the tallest, steepest and wettest water ride in Europe, Speed with its awe-inspiring beyond vertical drop and Vertigo, the UK’s tallest sky swing. Oakwood’s also home to classic family rides such as Bobsleigh, the Treetops Rollercoaster, Snake River Falls and the Pirate Ship. Among the newer rides are Skull Rock pirate log flume, complete with 12-metre-tall sculpted skull, the Lost Boys Adventure, Neverland Chase, Tink’s Flying School, Crocodile Coaster, Jolly Roger mini galleon and the Sights of London taxi ride featuring Big Ben, the Tower of London and Nelson’s Column.

There is also Journey to Neverland, a stunning, interactive walkthrough area which takes visitors in to the Darling family home and above the streets of London before arriving in Neverland itself. No summer is complete without a visit to Oakwood Theme Park.


Cardiff Bay
www.cardiffharbour.comwww.ciww.com

Boasting stunning sea and Bay views, Cardiff Bay Barrage is the perfect location for a scenic stroll or bike ride on a summer’s day. Along the water’s edge you’ll find free exhibitions, the Enormous Crocodile bench for snapping some selfies, a play area, skate plaza and adiZone outdoor gym. Tour the Bay in style on a boat ride, or for the ultimate adrenaline boost, hotfoot it to Cardiff International White Water (CIWW) for white water rafting and family rafting. If you’ve still got energy to burn, tackle Air Trail, the high ropes assault course above the white water, or hire a bike from CIWW and explore the Bay Trail.


Wiggleys Fun Farm
www.wiggleysfunfarm.co.uk

Whatever the weather you’re guaranteed a fun-filled day down on the farm at Wiggleys in Bridgend. A great way for little ones to get hands on with farmyard animals, you can feed the ponies, goats, sheep and pigs in the animal paddocks. There’s also a Woodland Walk to be explored with duck ponds along the way. If the weather takes a turn there’s also lots to do indoors with a large adventure play area with a 4 lane wavy slide, tube slide, rope bridges, crawl tower, toddlers play and babies barnyard. The didi car race track is also popular with younger children.

There’s a café for lunch or an outside picnic area if you want to eat al-fresco.


Llanelli Wetland Centre
www.wwt.org.uk

All kids (and grown-ups) love animals and would relish a Welsh wildlife adventure at Llanelli Wetland Centre. You can hand feed the rarest goose in the world, see the colourful flamingos, go bug hunting or pond dipping, enjoy bird watching from the hides and explore the reserve to see butterflies, dragonflies and more! There’s something for all the family to enjoy, 363 days a year including family activities and events every weekend and during the school holidays. Your close up encounter with wildlife could include; grabbing a net and finding out what lies beneath the waters, finding creepy crawlies at the mini beast hunts and using telescopes and binoculars to discover more with wildlife guides at family bird watching sessions.

There’s also a flamingo themed outdoor play area, Flamingo Bay, located close to the Centre making the most of fabulous views of the ducks and geese on the top pond. Don’t forget to head out to the wild wetland nature reserve and take on the challenge of the Swan’s Nest Maze to discover four giant eggs and have endless fun crawling through the winding tunnels of Water Vole City. There’s also an indoor soft play area for little ones to enjoy while grown-ups chill out and relax.


Brecon Mountain Railway
www.bmr.wales

Want to slow things down and enjoy the sights and sounds of the great Welsh countryside from the window of a vintage narrow gauge steam train. Get a ticket to ride, The Brecon Mountain Railway will depart from Pant station, 3 miles North of Merthyr Tydfil, and take you into the Brecon Beacons National Park, through Pontsticill and along the full length of the Taf Fechan Reservoir before climbing to Torpantau high in the Brecon Beacons.

The full return journey takes 1 hour 40 minutes including a 35 minute stop at Pontsticill.
At the main station in Pant you can visit the Licensed Tearooms for refreshments, gifts and souvenirs. You can also visit the Workshop where the steam locomotives and carriages are repaired.


Plantasia
www.swansea.gov.uk/plantasia

A superb all weather attraction in the heart of Swansea, Plantasia is a tropical paradise in a unique glass pyramid which is just bursting with plants and animals.

You’ll see piranhas, lizards, lots of creepy crawlies, snakes, as well as prickly cacti, giant bamboo and lots more. The little ones will also learn about the everyday life of tribal people in the rainforest hut. Inside you will find a traditional hammock, musical instruments, cooking spices and utensils. They also have lots of events throughout the year where you can get up close and personal to some fascinating animals.


National Showcaves centre for Wales
www.showcaves.co.uk

For all the little explorers out there, a day at the National Showcaves Centre for Wales will be an adventure to remember! There’s lots to see with 3 unique caves to discover that will amaze, educate and delight visitors of all ages. Dan-yr-Ogof Cave is the most famous with some awesome formations including the heavenly ‘Angel’. Cathedral Cave has 40-foot high waterfalls that cascade around you in the Dome of St Paul’s. Bone Cave is so called because 42 human Bronze Age skeletons were discovered there, revealing over 3000 years of history when cavemen competed with hyenas and wolves to survive!

You can also get up close and personal with over 220 life-sized dinosaurs at the award-winning Dinosaur Park. Dare you face the terrifying T Rex that could swallow 230kg of meat in one bite, or how about meeting the Brachiosaurus weighing more than 15 elephants? Who knew learning could be so much fun?

Other attractions include an Iron Age village, reconstructed using authentic materials such as tree trunks and straw, and don’t forget to visit the Shire Horse Centre and Victorian farm, Barney Owl’s play areas, and the outdoor agility trail! A fantastic day out for all!


Anglesey Sea Zoo
www.angleseyseazoo.co.uk

See the best of British marine life at Anglesey’s leading all weather family attraction. Anglesey Sea Zoo is a unique aquarium with over 40 tanks, don’t expect to see large sharks, tropical fish or sea turtles – instead you’ll find fascinating creatures from around the coasts of the UK, such as octopus, lobsters, seahorses, cuttlefish and small British catsharks! Explore British marine habitats including a colourful reef and incredible invertebrates in the No Bone Zone, the wolf fish lair, a crashing wave, a creepy shipwreck and a kelp forest full of huge fish. Don’t forget to have fun outside in the play area – have fun on the huge Bouncy Castle and slide, the Pirate’s Playground, Captain Jake’s Crazy Golf, Gator Swamp Boats and the Cannon Blaster! Enjoy breathtaking shoreline views of Snowdonia with picnic tables and Anglesey ice cream.


Combat Zone Live
www.combatzonelive.co.uk

If you’re looking for something a little more action packed and adrenaline fuelled, a day at Combat Zone Live is guaranteed to get your pulses racing.

One of the UK’s newest and largest outdoor laser tag sites, this state of the art attraction is in Dare Valley Country Park covering 22 acres of rugged Welsh countryside. With smoke grenades, bunkers, tunnels, trenches and infra-red battle rifles, it’s an authentic experience that will see you cross creeks, swamps, woodland and bushland to complete exciting missions.

All equipment will be provided and you will be fully briefed on the battlefield, so step inside your own games console and have a day to remember at Combat Zone Live.


1940s Swansea
www.1940sswansea.co.uk

Hidden away just two minutes from the busy M4 near Swansea, South Wales is the WWII experience 1940s Swansea Bay. The indoor street scene takes you past an RAF Plotting Room, then when you hear the bombs falling, sit down in the air raid shelter until the raid has finished. Walking past a bomb damaged shop you pass a wartime front parlour then into the Three Lamps pub for a 1940s sing-along on the piano!

Let the youngsters have a laugh in the dressing up room trying on clothes and uniforms. Just around the corner are 40s vacuum cleaners, washing and sewing machines on display. The gift shop has replica Ration Books and Identity Cards and also serves teas and Camp coffee!

Open daily to the public daily from 10am to 5pm, guided tours from an Air Raid Warden are available for groups as are evening visits.


Aberglasney Gardens
www.aberglasney.org

Aberglasney is one of Wales’ finest gardens. Wander through the Elizabethan Cloister Garden, the indoor Ninfarium, inspired by the tropical gardens of Ninfa near Rome, as well as numerous walled gardens and woodlands. Don’t miss the Yew Tunnel or the Mansion House art and craft exhibitions. Plan lunch or afternoon tea in the Pool Garden tearooms, which draw ingredients from Aberglasney’s Kitchen Garden.
Aberglasney also hosts events throughout the summer including live music on the first Friday evening of every month. On Saturday 11th August there’ll be open air theatre when Chapterhouse Theatre Company perform Robin Hood and his Merry Men on the North Lawn. Tickets are available to purchase now via Aberglasney’s website.