Our top things to do!
Welsh Highland Railway – www.festrail.co.uk
The steam trains “Go to bed” in the sheds at Dinas station every evening during high season at about 7 pm. For our children, this has always been a highlight of staying at Fron Heulog, standing on the platform in their pyjamas waving the trains to bed!
The Welsh Highland Railway is the UK's longest heritage railway and runs for 25 miles from Caernarfon where trains start from beneath the castle walls for the journey to Porthmadog. Tickets should be booked in advance.
The trains, hauled by the world's most powerful narrow gauge steam locomotives, climb from sea level to over 650ft on the foothills of Snowdon, before zig-zagging dramatically down the steep hillside to reach Beddgelert, nestling in the heart of the National Park, then through the magnificent Aberglaslyn Pass and on to Porthmadog.
Passengers ride in some of the most comfortable carriages on any heritage railway in the UK, including first-class Pullman luxury and freshly-cooked food delivered to your seat.
Newborough beach and walk - Natural Resources Wales / Newborough National Nature Reserve and Forest, Anglesey
Our favourite walk and day at the beach. A lot of people go to the beach nearest the car park and it can get very crowded in the high season. Just a 15 min walk through the forest brings you out near Llandwyn island. This is much quieter and there are several secluded coves on the island itself.
You can walk anywhere on the beaches and on the network of footpaths or you can follow one of the waymarked walking trails. There is also an Animal Puzzle Trail for younger visitors, cycle trails, a trim trail, and running trails.
There is large car park complete with toilets that has plenty of space and in summer ice cream and catering van. To the rear of the beach behind the dunes is a great place for a picnic or to get out of the wind.
Llanddwyn Island is barely an island but at high tide, it is cut off from the mainland by a 200 meter stretch of water and becomes a tidal island. Check tide times because you will get stranded if you don’t time it right!
Kids - Gypsy Wood - LL55 2YA (6 mins drive) www.gypsywood.co.uk
Our children have loved this for many years it has provided many hours of fun. There are loads of things to see and do and a must-see attraction for all animal, nature, outdoor, train, and fairy lovers. Explore the wetlands, meet all the different animals, find the fairies, make a wish, hop on Woody’s train and enjoy one of the fabulous adventure play areas. Suitable for 2-10 yrs
Fron Goch – LL54 5RL (6 mins) www.frongoch-gardencentre.co.uk
Garden centre and farm shop with excellent award-winning child friendly café/restaurant. Great for breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea! They sell everything from plants, pots, garden furniture, gifts, Christmas decorations and hanging baskets.
Kids - Greenwood Forest Park - LL55 3AD (18 mins drive) www.greenwoodfamilypark.co.uk
A forest of family fun and great outdoor adventure awaits at the award-winning Greenwood Family Park; a gigantic playground nestled beneath the trees of Snowdonia’s National Park full of amusement, magic, and mischief.
Dotted amongst the woodland floor you’ll discover an enchanting world powered by people… make a splash on the UK’s only solar-powered water ride, jump aboard the world’s first people-powered roller coaster and zoom down the longest sledge run in Wales! The park is teeming with other entertainment too, from local artisans and makers getting creative in the craft zone, visits from Peppa Pig and PAW Patrol, fantasy-themed weeks, a dazzling roster of spell-binding performances in the Forest Theatre, indoor soft play in the WoodBarn Cafe to the most magical of Christmas experiences.
Nefyn - Morfa Nefyn - LL53 6DA (30 mins drive) Parking at the National Trust car park.
The beach leads to picturesque Porthdinllaen, originally a fishing port based around a natural harbour at the west end of a bay. There are only about two dozen buildings at Porthdinllaen, with the famous Ty Coch pub in the centre of the village and visitors must walk across the beach from Morfa Nefyn or across the golf course on top of the headland. Please note that access can be restricted when the tide is high.
Nefyn’s famous (and fearsome) headland golf course is not for the faint-hearted – it’s like playing off the deck of an aircraft carrier.
Crabbing at Caernarfon harbour - LL55 2AY (9 mins drive)
There is a small shop by the castle to buy kits and bait. In season, there is an ice-cream van by the bridge.
You can park in the car park situated between the castle and harbour or park in at the playground opposite (LL54 5RR) for free and walk across the bridge
Caernarfon park/skatepark – LL54 5RR (10 mins drive)
Across from the castle over the bridge. Great playground and free parking!
Crazy Climb ‘Beacon Climbing’ – LL55 2BD – (13 mins drive) www.beaconclimbing.com
Great for a rainy day. Just make sure you book in advance! It’s the most fun you can have climbing and the best introduction for children (and parents…!) who haven’t tried it before. All sessions are fully supervised by a Beacon instructor and each challenge uses an automated safety system that gently lowers you to the ground from any point on the climb. Over 15 different climbing challenges to attempt.
Suitable for all ages from 5+.
Dinas Dinlle Beach – LL54 5TW (11 mins drive) - 4.5 miles
This is our go-to beach for a quick visit upon arrival.
1 – Park at the nearest end near the shop and café. If you turn left there are plenty of rockpools at a lower tide. You can then walk up onto the top of the hill/cliff and back down to the shop. The whole walk takes about ½ an hour.
2 – Park at the furthest car park (last one before the airfield). This is a quieter part of the beach away from the crowds. It’s great for flying a kite and sausages on the beach as there is usually plenty of driftwood around to build a fire. There is an old frying pan in the bottom left cupboard of the dresser in the kitchen for you to use. Please DON’T use one of our good frying pans!!!
Bike Ride and running
We are very lucky to have a cycle track right by our cottage!
Turn left and it will take you alongside the railway line to Caernarfon centre. This takes about 15/20mins. This is great for a run too… It’s 5K to the harbour and slightly downhill so you get a good pace record!
To extend the bike ride, you can then continue along the harbour and in front of the castle passing in front of the Angeley Arms. Continue along the seafront and around the other harbour (Doc Fictoria) and join the cycle track again behind Morrisons. This track will take you to a lovely village called Y Felinheli. Go past the port and through the houses (following the cycle tack posts) and to the marina where there is a lovely bistro and you can get a well-earned ice cream or something stronger! From our cottage to Y Felinheli is about 13 miles, so about 26 miles there and back! Our children 9 and 7 have managed this so it isn’t too hard… albeit with a little bit of moaning! If you time it right, you could ride the train from Caernarfon to Dinas back home and an incentive for the children!
Zipworld Fforest - LL24 0HX (50 mins drive) www.zipworld.co.uk
One of North Wales best-known attractions is the Fforest Coaster - the UK's only alpine coaster of its kind that allows you to speed through the trees on a toboggan-style sledge over a 1 kilometre track. Three rides are included and it's great fun, whatever the weather.
Another record-breaker is Treetop Nets, Europe's longest net walkway. 18 metres off the ground, it is similar to Zip World's Bounce Below adventure and offers the same sort of fun as trampolining, but with much more space to jump around and enjoy yourself. It's open to ages from 3+, so is a great choice for families.
If you fancy really getting up into the trees, Zip Safari is a perfect choice. Featuring 22 ziplines and 10 other elements, it takes place 18 metres high and allows you to enjoy spectacular views of the Conwy Valley beyond.
The little sibling of Zip Safari is Tree Hoppers, great for ages 5+ but a bit closer to the ground! 7 metres high, there are two courses offering different levels of challenge, containing 12 zip lines and 22 obstacles to navigate.
For unadulterated exhilaration, Skyride and Plummet 2 tick all the boxes. Europe’s highest giant swing, Skyride sees groups of up to five winched back right up into the treetops before a brave rider pulls the release cord and sends the swing rushing down. With Plummet 2, you will climb the stairs 100 feet high up the imposing tower, before dropping through a trapdoor and experiencing the closest thing to freefall.
Also on site are Fforest Coffi and Fforest Caffi, a coffee shop and full café, serving delicious hot food and locally sourced delicacies so that you can refuel ahead of your next adventure.
Zipworld Penrhyn Quarry - LL57 4YG (30 mins drive) - www.zipworld.co.uk
The world's fastest and Europe's longest zip line, Velocity 2 is Zip World's best-known adventure, featuring four parallel lines that span 1.5 kilometres over the beautiful blue water of Penrhyn Quarry lake. It is the perfect group activity, as you and family, friends or colleagues race each other across the lake to see who gets to the other side first - reaching possible speeds of up to and over 100 mph!
New to Penrhyn Quarry for 2019 is Quarry Karts, the UK's first mountain cart track. With a challenging course laid out in the stunning surroundings of this historic slate quarry, the karts are gravity fuelled three-wheelers that you will need to navigate through chicanes, tunnels and a variety of other obstacles to complete the course, with speeds up to 40 mph possible.
And for younger adventurers, BIG RED, the UK's largest mobile zip line, is often situated at Penrhyn Quarry, making this corner of North Wales an ideal stop for families. A tour of the quarry is also available for anyone looking for a more sedate introduction to this unique location.
After all that excitement, the Blondin Restaurant is on hand to refuel and refresh you, serving a range of locally sourced food & drink with an unbeatable outlook over the quarry from its impressive viewing balcony.
Zipworld Slate Caverns – LL41 3NB (45 mins drive) – www.zipworld.co.uk
Home to a wealth of North Wales slate mining history, Slate Caverns now houses the worlds first underground and above ground adventures. With views across Snowdonia from the top of Titan, where you can zip 1890m from half the height of Snowdon, to the world’s only subterranean playground of its kind, Bounce Below, and Caverns, the most incredible underground adventure zip line and adventure course – there is something for everyone in all weathers.
Glynllifon Park – LL54 5DY (8 mins drive) - www.parksandgardens.org/places/glynllifon
An unexpected gem! You’ll find extensive historic gardens with woodland walks, follies, and sculptures. There are several water features, a couple of modern sculpture trails, and also some locally run treasure hunts and orienteering courses too! Dogs are welcome as long as they are kept on a lead and you clean up after them. You're all good to picnic with the same proviso!
Parc Glynllifon is accessible to all ages and abilities and offers a wheelchair and pushchair circuit of the park and excellent disabled facilities as well as a café.
Worth noting for cyclists that it is on the bike path from our cottage (20/30mins ride). There are also regular events worth watching for, sometimes along the lines of Steam Rallys and Easter Egg Hunts, but vary.
As well as the parkland you can also visit the craft shop and gallery – and ask about the art and craft courses held at the park.
Adventure Parc Snowdonia – LL32 8QE – (55 mins drive) www.adventureparcsnowdonia.com
Adventure Parc Snowdonia is a hub of award-winning adventures in North Wales. Say hello to world-first inland surf against a backdrop of mountains and forests, a high-thrills Adrenaline Indoors facility, and exciting off-site activities like gorge walking and mountain biking.
INLAND SURF AND SUP
Adventure Parc Snowdonia’s inland waves are a world-first wonder of North Wales! Consistent, perfect waves roll every 90 seconds, which make it the perfect environment for all ages and abilities to learn how to surf quickly and safely. Expert & friendly surf tuition comes via the friendly surf academy, and there's easy wetsuit and board hire (boards included in beginner and intermediate sessions) and toasty changing facilities. Flat-water stand-up paddleboard (sup) sessions - a fun & accessible family activity - are also available.
Surf & SUP age 5+
This giant of adventure features one of the longest artificial caving courses in the world, climbing & racer walls, leaps of faith, possibly the most extreme slides you will ever encounter, a roof-space via ferrata, an aerial ninja assault course and parkour floor trail. There are ‘freefall’ jumps for the fearless, and you can even take a tandem zip line from the rooftop across the surf lagoon. A totally weather-proof day out for thrill-seekers of all ages, it includes a separate soft play zone for younger visitors. Ideal for rainy days!
Adrenaline Indoors from age 5+
Explore the beautiful North Wales mountains-forests-and-coast landscapes with Explore Outdoors - instructor-led activities including gorge walking, rock climbing, abseiling, mountain biking and coasteering.
Explore Outdoors activities age 6+ and 10+, Minimum group size 6 people.
RibRide - LL59 5DE - (20 mins drive) - www.ribride.co.uk
RibRide specialises in highly rewarding adventure days in North Wales, offering a unique experience and range of activities.
BRIDGES AND SWELLIES
From Menai Bridge going under the Menai Suspension Bridge, enter the infamous Swellies with its rocks and whirlpools. Spot the Lions and salute Lord Nelson before viewing Plas Newydd. Our ‘classic trip’ a family favourite, available all year, 1 hour.
PUFFIN AND SEALS
From Menai Bridge past Beaumaris and the town’s brightly coloured seafront houses. Heading out to sea approach Puffin Island, the uninhabited Island is home to the famous Puffins (seasonal visitors May to July) and the biggest colony of seals in North Wales, 1 ½ hour trip. You might even see dolphins!
Places to visit within an hour’s drive
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch – 20 mins
Llanberis – 20 mins
Criccieth – 25 mins
Beddgelert - 25 mins
Porthmadog - 25 mins
Pwllheli – 25 mins
Nefyn - 30 mins
Beumaris – 30 mins
Portmerion – 30 mins
Conwy – 35 mins
Newborough beach - 40 mins
Harlech – 40 mins
Llandudno – 40 mins
Abersoch – 40 mins
Betws-y-coed – 45 mins
Barmouth – 60 mins