15 Things to do in Snowdonia With Kids

conwy castle snowdonia with kids

It’s hard to beat Snowdonia for a family holiday. The National Park in North Wales is one of those places that seems to have it all: drop-dead gorgeous beaches, some of the best castles in the UK and mountain scenery that will take your breath away. There are so many things to do in Snowdonia with kids that you’ll be hard pushed to fit it all in.

In just a few days you could climb a mountain, visit a castle, swim in the sea and have a picnic in one of Britain’s most beautiful gardens. Snowdonia is also fast establishing a reputation as the adventure activity centre of the UK with mountain biking, white water rafting and mountain climbing all popular here.

With North Wales recently topping the list of places in the UK that people want to visit this summer it’s time to look more closely at the best things to do in Snowdonia. We’ve come up with 15 of our favourite things to do in Snowdonia with kids from trips down mines and into medieval castles to the most stunning walks on beaches and mountains.

THINGS TO DO IN SNOWDONIA WITH KIDS

Climb up the towers of Conwy Castle

conwy snowdonia with kidsConwy Castle is one of the most magnificent medieval fortresses in Europe and it’s a great castle to explore in Snowdonia with kids. You can climb up the spiral staircases into the towers and walk along the battlements for superb views over the harbour and town.

The castle was built by King Edward I more than 700 years ago and boasts the most complete set of medieval royal apartments in Wales. Bridge enthusiasts love it for some of the best views of the three famous bridges across the River Conwy. Thomas Telford’s 1826 suspension bridge is one of the first of its kind in the world and Robert Stephenson’s 1848 wrought iron railway bridge is the first ever tubular bridge.

Conwy Castle is open from Saturday to Wednesday from 10am until 5pm. It’s open until 6pm in July and August and closes every day between 1pm and 2pm. Adults, £9.25; children, £6.60; under 5s, free.

Find the ivy-covered cottage in Llanrwst

ivy covered house llanrwstFor an adorable fairytale cottage, look no further than Llanrwst where you’ll find a gorgeous cottage so covered in Virginia creeper that it’s hard to see where the house ends and the ivy begins. It looks as if it’s made out of felt and the colour of the ivy changes with the season so it’s green in spring and summer and a striking red in the autumn months.

The 15th-century house, Tu Hwnt i’r Bont (Beyond the Bridge), is all the more picturesque for being beside a river next to a three-arched stone bridge that’s believed to be the work of Inigo Jones, the architect famous for designing Covent Garden Market and the Banqueting House in London.

You can go inside the cottage for tea and cakes – Tu Hwnt i’r Bont is now a traditional Welsh Tea Room.

Walk along Newborough Beach to Llanddwyn Island

llanddwyn island angleseyThis beach walk on the island of Anglesey is an absolutely wonderful walk along one of the UK’s best beaches and I’ve wanted to do this with the kids ever since reading about it a couple of years ago. Newborough Beach in the south west corner of Anglesey is regularly voted one of Britain’s best beaches – miles of golden sand are sandwiched between pine trees and a turquoise-coloured sea behind which you can see the mountains of Snowdonia.

At low tide you can walk across to Llanddwyn Island from the beach. Leave time to explore the coves and lighthouses on this tiny island. Ancient steps and Celtic wooden gates add to the charm and you can sometimes spot basking seals and dolphins.

The walk there and back takes about two hours and leads through a pine forest and along the beach before you reach the island. The main beach car park costs £5 but you can park for free at Llyn Rhos Ddu although it’s a bit further to walk.

Have a picnic at Bodnant Garden

laburnum arch bodnant garden walesThere are lots of places for a picnic at these beautiful gardens south of Conwy. You could spend all day wandering around here and still find something new to discover.

It’s made our list of the best things to do in Snowdonia with kids because our family has been to a lot of National Trust Gardens over the years but we all agree that Bodnant is the best. Bodnant Garden is famous for its wonderful laburnum arch which flowers in May and June but there’s lots more to explore here, from the woodland area with its streams and bridges to the rose terraces, ornamental ponds and fountains.

Harold Nicolson, who created the famous Sissinghurst Garden in Kent with his writer wife, Vita Sackville-West, visited Bodnant in 1952 and described it as “one of the wonders of the world. I have no doubt at all that this is the richest garden I have ever seen.”

Bodnant Garden is open every day from 9.30am until 5pm (from 10am until 4pm in the winter months). Adults, £14; children, £7.

Explore one of the most impressive castles in Britain at Caernarfon

caernarfon castle north walesThere are so many castles in Snowdonia that it’s hard to pick a favourite but Caernarfon Castle is top of most people’s lists for its spectacular location by the waterfront and its striking polygonal towers.

Caernarfon is one of the most complete and impressive castles in Britain. It was built by King Edward I in the late 13th century as a medieval palace and military stronghold and it still looks magnificent today. It’s also where the investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales took place in 1969.

Caernarfon itself is a charming town with a picturesque fishing harbour and narrow cobbled streets lined with restaurants and specialist local shops.

Caernarfon Castle is open from Saturdays to Wednesdays from 10am until 5pm. During the summer school holidays the castle is open every day from 9.30am until 6pm. It closes at 4pm in the winter. Adults, £9.25; children, £6.60; under 5s, free.

Climb Mount Snowdon

mount snowdon walesClimbing up the highest mountain in the UK outside Scotland is practically a must on a visit to North Wales.

Mount Snowdon – or Yr Wyddfa to give it its Welsh name – is 1,085 metres tall and on a clear day you can see Ireland from the top. There are seven routes up the mountain and the easiest and best route to take with children is the Llanberis Path.

We chose to hike up the more challenging Snowdon Ranger Path with our teen boys – it’s less busy than the Llanberis Path and has better views. Sadly for us, the rain moved in after the first hour and we couldn’t see more than a couple of metres in front for most of our climb. But climbing Mount Snowdon is an experience we’ll never forget – and well worth doing on your trip to Snowdonia with kids.

It is recommended that you allow yourself six to seven hours to climb Mount Snowdon and walk back down again, plus time in the café at the top. It took us four and a half hours and we went fairly slowly.

Walk along the medieval walls of Conwy

conwy town wallsWalking along the top of the ancient walls that go all around the town is a fun thing to do in Conwy. This small North Wales town is the best example of a walled town in Britain – it’s 1,300-metre-long walls are some of the most complete in Europe and we really enjoyed looking down on Conwy’s medieval streets from the top.

Finish your walk at the harbour and have an ice cream from Parisella’s ice-cream kiosk on the quayside. The ice-cream is made in Conwy and is considered to be among the best in Wales.

Visit the most colourful place in Wales at Portmeirion

A trip to the candy-coloured village of Portmeirion is one of the most popular things to do in Snowdonia with kids. It’s the most extraordinary place. Part Noddy’s Toy Town, part Mediterranean village, it was the creation of the Welsh architect, Clough Williams-Ellis, who wanted to recreate the atmosphere of the Italian Riviera on the Welsh coast. Pastel-coloured buildings topped with domes and turrets stand beside Roman temples in lush sub-tropical gardens and piazzas with fountains.

Tickets to Portmeirion include a free guided tour and a ride on the Woodland Train which enters the woods past a hidden lake, sculptures and temples.

Portmeirion is open daily from 9.30am until 6.30pm. Adults, £14; children, £9; under 5s, free.

Go on a drive through the mountains

Our kids were so thrilled to be in the mountains that they forgot to look at their phones. Driving to get anywhere in Snowdonia with kids is a treat rather than a chore. The roads in Snowdonia take you through some of the most spectacular scenery in the UK. There are beautiful views of the lakes and mountains from the main A5 road. You’ll drive through valleys past tiny white houses in the middle of nowhere and sheep grazing on the sides of the mountains.

Go down the mine at Llechwedd Slate Caverns

deep mine tour snowdoniaPut on your hard hat and explore the warren of tunnels and caverns inside this Victorian slate mine. The Deep Mine Tour takes visitors over 500 feet down one of the UK’s steepest mining cable railways.

The slate mines are an important part of Welsh history. Most of the slate roofs in 19th-century Britain came from the mines here at Blaenau Ffestiniog and as you walk through the dark, narrow tunnels you’ll find out more about the harsh working conditions of the miners who worked underground for 12 hours a day, six days a week.

The tour lasts about 1 hour, 15 minutes and combines special effects with a presentation from a guide, many of whom are descended from the miners who worked here.

The Deep Mine Tour is open most days and tours run from 9am until 4.30pm. It costs £60 for a family of four.

Go to a castle AND a beach at Harlech

harlech castle snowdonia with kidsYou can build your own sandcastle version of Harlech Castle on the beach straight after a trip to the real thing. The castle is perched on a rock overlooking the sea. Climb up into the towers and walk along the battlements for wonderful views over the sea and the mountains behind.

Harlech is a small town with just a few antique shops and tearooms and it’s only a five-minute drive from here to the beach – a glorious four-mile stretch of sand.

Harlech Castle is open every day from 10am until 5pm. It stays open until 6pm in the summer and closes at 4pm in the winter. Adults, £6.90; children, £4.85; under 5s, free.

Visit the town with the longest name in the UK

town with longest place name angleseyDare your children to say Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch when they stand on the railway platform of this small town on the island of Anglesey. It’s the longest place name of any English-speaking country and it’s the Welsh word for ‘St Mary’s Church in the Hollow of the White Hazel near a Rapid Whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio near the Red Cave.’

Visit the Smallest House in Great Britain

smallest house in great britain snowdonia with kidsYou’ll probably have to duck your head to get through the doorway of this tiny little house in Conwy. It’s in the Guinness Book of Records as the smallest house in Great Britain.

The miniature house on the quayside was built in the 16th century and was in use until 1900. The fisherman who lived here was 6 foot 3 inches and couldn’t stand up straight in it. There’s just one room to visit with steps up to a sleeping area.

The Smallest House is open every day from 11am until 3pm on weekdays and from 10am until 4pm at weekends. Adults, £1.50; children, £1.

Eat out in Betws-y-Coed

Betws-y-Coed (pronounced Better See Koyd) is an attractive small town beside a river. It’s a lovely place to wander around and it’s a popular base for walkers, cyclists and mountain climbers as there are lots of mountain biking and walking trails in the surrounding forest.

There are several good, family-friendly restaurants in the town that make an excellent choice on your trip to Snowdonia with kids. We all enjoyed the homemade burgers and pizzas at Y Stablau (The Stables) and the Indian meal we had at Abbasi’s is one of the best we’ve ever had. This friendly, family-run Indian restaurant is well worth a visit.

See Queen Victoria’s slate bed at Penrhyn Castle

penrhyn castle snowdoniaQueen Victoria refused to sleep in the slate bed that was built especially for her visit here – she said it reminded her of a coffin. It’s still on display inside the castle and it’s easy to feel as though you’ve stepped back into Victorian times when you go round Penrhyn Castle, just across the Menai Strait from the Isle of Anglesey.

It’s no surprise to find out that there have been lots of ghost sightings in the castle. The extravagantly carved mahogany furniture, the Gothic staircases and the exquisite Chinese wallpaper are all exactly as they were during its Victorian heyday.

penrhyn castle walesThe gardens at Penrhyn are worth a visit in their own right. There’s a delightful walled garden and wilder areas with huge plants and look out points. Kids willl love the hammocks swinging under the trees and the adventure playground in the wood. Visitors can also explore the Victorian kitchens and the small railway museum.

Penrhyn Castle is open daily from March until November from 10am until 4pm. Adults, £11; children, £5.50.

We stayed at Snowdonia’s brand-new boutique hotel, Plas Weunydd on our most recent visit.

Read our review of Plas Weunydd here.

Have you been to Snowdonia with kids? What did you really enjoy doing?

For more information on visiting Wales take a look at:

Things to do on the Gower with Kids

Things to do in Snowdonia

Guide to the Book Town of Hay-on-Wye

Detailed guide to 15 things to do in Snowdonia with kids from trips down mines and into medieval castles to the most stunning walks on beaches and mountains in this part of North Wales. #snowdonia #snowdoniawithkids #thingstodoinsnowdonia #familytravelwales #bestthingstodoinwales #bestbeachesinwales #bestukcastles #destinationguidesnowdonia #placestovisitinsnowdonia

 

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. 17th July 2021 / 4:39 am

    This all looks wonderful especially that icy covered cottage ans the flower arch, both of which would top my list!

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      19th July 2021 / 3:52 pm

      Thanks so much, Hilary. The ivy-covered cottage was a real find. Such a pretty little place!

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      17th August 2021 / 12:02 pm

      Thanks so much, Tanja. Yes, we’re all well thank you. Hope you and the family are all good too. xx

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