Before we had children my husband and I loved planning adventurous trips and were enough lucky to have travelled abroad for long periods as well as shorter holidays. Since having our first son we’ve been keen to continue to travel as much as possible. We managed trips abroad to Slovakia, Southern Spain and California as well as adventures closer to home in the Lake District, Yorkshire Coast and Pembrokeshire.
Snowdonia was our first holiday since the new baby (now 3 months) arrived. We chose the location purely based on the manageable three hour drive from home and the availability of holiday cottages at short notice. Therefore, expectations weren’t particularly high. I had resigned myself to the fact that the weather might be bad and there may not be much to do but we could hibernate with netflix and a mountain of toys and relax. A change is as good as a rest and all that!
Little did I know how much Snowdonia has to offer a family with little people. We were blown away by the stunning coastline, picturesque mountains and most importantly for my almost three year old THE TRAINS! I cannot reccomend this part of Wales enough to families. The cost of our holiday was a fraction of what we would have spent travelling abroad even using budget airlines and self catering accommodation and the ease of travelling in our own car with the mountains of ‘essential’ kit we took with us made the holiday (almost) stress free.
Our favourite things to do in Snowdonia with kids:
- Steam trains.
This has to be number one based on my 3 year olds reaction EVERY time we saw a one of the narrow-gauge engines. He’s a train enthusiast in the making (isn’t every three year old boy?!) and the narrow-gauge trains are small and traditional so to a small child they look just like Thomas & Friends.
2. Snowdon Mountain Railway
Gone are the days when we would have walked up the mountain mocking the people getting the train to the top. This holiday was all about ease. Plus we have a three month old who was cluster feeding and we couldn’t have denied our oldest the chance to ride the train (what a fabulous excuse for laziness!). We got the diesel train and despite the weather being cold and foggy at the summit it did clear briefly for amazing views across the mountains. There is no room for pushchairs on the train but you can leave them at the station (or in the car as we did). The carriages are pretty small and cramped so my plan to breastfeed the baby and give the toddler a packed lunch onboard were foiled when I found myself literally knee to knee with a stranger unable to move enough to even reach my bag from under the seat. Fortunately we reached the summit quicker than expected and the amazing views kept the boy entertained enough to forget it was lunch time.
The castle, the beach, the delicious award winning ice cream. Harlech is beautiful and this was probably our favourite day of the holiday. The weather was glorious and we had a lovely couple of hours on the empty beach building sandcastles, paddling in the sea and looking for crabs. Jesse felt the need to take his trousers off and left with half the beach in his underpants but didn’t seem to care.
4. Port Meirion
I literally knew nothing about this place and on entering the village was slightly worried that this was not the place for a boisterous toddler. However, Jesse loved the steps, the pretty gardens and colourful buildings. While there isn’t tons to actually do it’s just a lovely place to walk around and absorb the views and of course the architecture. We veered away from the pricey pottery in favour of a sea front stroll and an ice cream.
5. Coed Y Brenin Forest Park
We had one rainy day during our week away. The rain was pretty light so we decided a forest walk was a good option. Coed Y Brenin was just down the road from our holiday cottage so we headed there knowing nothing about it. The forest is stunning and there are a variety of trails for walking and biking. There is something for all abilities including an animal trail for kids, accessible paths and pram friendly routes. The adventure playground is fantastic and the venison burger in the restaurant is a must. We ate outside on the balcony under a canopy level with the tree tops and it was so relaxing we stayed for a coffee and cake while our boy chased little birds which were trying to steal his scone!
I’m sure we only scratched the surface of what Snowdonia has to offer and I would definitely go back. Our holiday cottage booked through Sykes Cottages was homely and had everything we needed. Located on a farm it was great for our oldest to wake up and have sheep and horses outside the window. Being a compete loser I loved hanging the nappies out to dry on a line with a mountain view (sad I know). We were very lucky with the weather and the only day of torrential rain was the day we drove home. I must give one last mention to the best services I’ve ever visited Rhug Estate Farm Shop and Cafe. The food is delicious, there are far too many texting treats in the shop and the facilities are spot on. It’s worth holidaying in Wales just for the excuse to visit!