When you have a young family, ideas of great places to visit are always welcome. In The Valleys we are fortunate to have many great attractions that allow the children to run off their energy whilst you, the parents or grand parents, can relax or explore the heritage of the area. Here are just a few ideas.
1. Country Estates
Many of the estates built by the wealthy landowners and industrialists are now open to everybody – and provide a great day out with picnic and play areas, quiet walks and a welcoming cup of tea! Try out Margam Park, with the Park Trail and Farm Trail or Gnoll Estate with the Cascade and Ponds. Near Bridgend you can visit Bryngarw with its Japanese Gardens and duck ponds or Bedwellty House, near Tredegar, with the "largest lump of coal in the world" as well as a fascinating grotto!
2. Great open spaces
Where there were once coal mines, there are now wide open green country parks, ideal for children to discover the “natural world” of The Valleys. Dare Valley Country Park, Aberdare has created a Treasure Trail for children to explore the 500 acre park. Parc Bryn Bach, Tredegar, offers great walks and opportunities to picnic by the lake, whilst Llyn Llech Owain has a brilliant adventure playground. A visit to Cwmcarn Forest allows you to drive through the forest and event take a walk up the steep hill to the top of Twmbarlwm or a more gentle stroll through the bluebells.
3. Castles and Forts
You might not think that children will enjoy an old building – but they are great places to let your imagination run wild. A Caerphilly or Kidwelly Castle its easy for children to imagine that they are a soldier defending the building, whilst at Cyfarthfa Castle they can be “The Lady of the House” or one of the servants running around. At Gelligaer you can follow the clue trail and the children can find the items left behind by on of the Roman potter who once lived here. A trip to any of the great historical sites across The Valleys can create great memories for all the family!
4. On the move – Railways and Cycling
The Valleys are fortunate to have a brilliant network of off road paths that are great for cycling, walking or even scooting along – these are a great resource for young families as the paths are away from traffic – so even the youngest can try out their cycling skills. If you want to be on the move but without breaking into a sweat – then jump on one of the Heritage Trails – The Brecon Mountain Railway runs into the Brecon Beacons from Merthyr Tydfil, whilst the Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway leaves from its new station below Big Pit in Blaenavon.
5. Animals and Play Areas
Children love animals and there are some great animal attractions that allow them to learn more about how different animals live and how they should be looked after. Both Wiggley’s Fun Farm, near Bridgend and Greenmeadow Farm, Cwmbran have great hands on experiences to enjoy. Parc Cwm Darren has a great, interactive game to get you out and about discovering the wildlife of this Country Park.