Attractions of Snowdonia: Family Fun in North Wales
With its dramatic landscape and mile upon mile of countryside to explore, you could be forgiven for thinking that a holiday in Snowdonia is more attractive to those who enjoy a rugged, active holiday than it is to families. But Snowdonia boasts many attractions that are fun for the whole family, for every age group and for every taste. Here we explore some of Snowdonia's most popular family-friendly attractions and activities.
But if you're visiting Snowdonia with small children, or with family members who don't fancy doing anything too strenuous on their holidays, you might wonder if a holiday in Snowdonia might be a bit too energetic and not very family-friendly. You'd be wrong!
All over the Snowdonia region there are many attractions that are suitable for every member of the family, from the very youngest to the very oldest. From castles and gardens to go-karts and theme parks, Snowdonia is packed full of fun attractions and activities for all.
At Glasfryn Park near Pwllheli, entry and parking are free. Here you can enjoy ten pin bowling, archery, quad-biking, fishing and go-karting, and there's a dedicated soft-play area and ball pool for children and toddlers. Glasfryn has an excellent farm shop where you can buy quality local produce, and regular farmers' markets and French markets selling food, drinks and crafts.
There are also regular craft and food fairs at Parc Glynllifon, just outside Caernarfon. Glynllifon's buildings are set in stunning grounds where you can enjoy a leisurely stroll, follow the bat trail and explore beautiful woodlands, and end your visit with a delicious cream tea.
In Llanberis, there are so many attractions it's difficult to list them all! The main attraction in Llanberis is, of course, Mount Snowdon - the highest mountain in England and Wales. The longest - but easiest - route to the summit starts in Llanberis but if you don't fancy walking it, there are regular trains to the summit and its brand new visitor centre, which make easy work of the journey. If you enjoy scenic train journeys, you'll love the narrow-gauge steam train trips on the Llanberis Lake Railway. Llanberis is also home to the fascinating National Slate Museum and exciting Electric Mountain, where you can take a tour through the heart of a mountain and experience one of man's greatest engineering achievements.
At Greenwood Forest Park, Y Felinheli, you'll find a theme park with a difference... all the rides are powered by you! This pioneering eco-friendly theme park is a real stay-all-day experience, and the admission fee includes use of all the major rides and activities. There's more eco-friendly fun at the Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth, where you can take an exciting ride on a water-powered cliff railway - one of the steepest in the world - and learn about sustainable living and renewable energy generation.
At Corris Craft Centre near Machynlleth you can watch craftspeople at work, creating beautiful hand made gifts for your home, garden and friends. There are ten workshops at the Craft Centre, and a children's play area where your little ones can let off steam. Also at Corris Craft Centre is King Arthur's Labyrinth, where you can sail through the great waterfall and take an underground boat trip while you hear tales of King Arthur and other ancient Welsh legends in a dramatic setting of vast, ancient caverns.
Snowdonia is just as famous for its castles as it is for its mountains. Take a journey back in time and explore Caernarfon and Conwy, with their excellently preserved medieval castles and town walls; Harlech and Criccieth Castles, perched high above the sea to ward off intruders; and Dolbadarn Castle, nestled in the imposing mountains at Llanberis. There's also a Norman-style 19th century castellated mansion - Penrhyn Castle - at Bangor, which also houses a fascinating railway museum.
And if your idea of the perfect family holiday involves buckets, spades and copious amounts of ice cream, you'll be pleased to discover that Snowdonia has mile upon mile of coastline to enjoy. Snowdonia has many traditional seaside destinations like Pwllheli, with its marina and small funfair; Barmouth, with its fairground, promenade and shipwreck museum; and Dinas Dinlle, which has miles of sandy beach and an air museum where you can take pleasure trips and see the countryside from the air. But there are also many peaceful, secluded beauty spots along Snowdonia's coast like Porth Oer, Porthdinllaen and Trefor.
Beaches, castles, funfairs, and mile after mile of stunning countryside... when you visit Snowdonia, what will you do next?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steven Jones is Senior Tourism Services Officer at Cyngor Gwynedd Council, a Welsh local authority whose not-for-profit Snowdonia Mountains and Coast website provides visitors to Snowdonia with a wealth of useful information about the region. Visitors to the website can also find out more about things to do in Snowdonia.