Last updated: 09:45 AM ET, Thu May 14 2015

Opinion Home | Why Wales? Discover Britain's Road Less Traveled!

  • Visit Wales Staff Writer | May 14, 2015 9:45 AM ET

    Wales: It's a Family Affair!

    Wales: It's a Family Affair!

    The Welsh cherish the idea of "family." You'll find no warmer welcome in the world for you and your kids than in Wales. Throughout the country, from north to south, children of all ages (and their parents) will hear the Welsh world croeso, meaning welcome. They’ll discover a wealth of things to see and do that are guaranteed to be great fun to enjoy together.

    Take Castell Henllys, for example. This prehistoric, promontory fort in Pembrokeshire National Park lets kids and their parents travel back to 600 B.C., the age of ancient Celts. There are recreated roundhouses where you can grind bread with costumed guides who will show you how the ancient Welsh lived with their families. Exhibits and artifacts from this prehistoric dig site tell the living story of life a millennia ago.

    History (both ancient and later) is all around you in Wales and the great treat for families is that you can actively take part in it – even take a ride on it. Kids who love history as well as model trains will never want to leave The Vale of Rheidol Railway, one of the Great Little Trains of Wales. The railway is a vintage, narrow-gauge steam train journey that will take your family on a one-hour, 700-foot ascent from Aberystwyth to Devil’s Bridge into the heart of the unspoiled Welsh countryside. 

    The train chugs up steep gradients and sharp curves on rugged hillsides rich with wildlife. Eagle-eyed kids can spot birds of prey as the train climbs higher in altitude – including Red Kites and Buzzards. The carriages, all vintage, original steam locomotives are covered on top but open on the sides allowing great views of stunning landscapes throughout the ride.

    Time and history are also the focus at The Dr. Who Experience in Cardiff, the capital of Wales. The show is currently filmed in Cardiff and seasonally, the Dr. Who Experience adds on a separate-fee studio tour where visitors can see the sets where the show is filmed. Interactive exhibits include the biggest collection of real Dr. Who "Time Lord" artifacts and show props from the BBC television series.

    Kids can explore Dr. Who's entire world, including up close encounters with those infamous Daleks! Although the Daleks are the baddies of the Dr. Who world, parents need not be concerned. There's nothing at the experience that leaps out or frightens kids. There is, however, a wealth of interactive games and exhibits that make you and your family feel like you've walked into a "Tardis" time machine and are really part of the show. The experience also offers seasonal walking tours of Cardiff (which you see in the show) – a great way to explore the city and keep kids entertained at the same time.

    The Dr. Who Experience is all about doing, seeing, touching and immersing yourself and so is Bounce Below, albeit in a more...well, bouncier way. Bounce Below is a unique attraction in North Wales. This underground trampoline park lets kids climb, slide and hop from huge "bouncy nets" installed in an old mine bigger than St. Paul's Cathedral. Families will want to book the special family sessions dedicated to groups with kids under the age of 16. Junior Bounce is the company’s latest development and is a safe "bounce" experience for kids ages 3 to 6, so no matter how old your kids are they can play.

    Another amazing adventure underground in Wales is the Big Pit National Coal Museum. Families can go into a real mine (with lighted pit helmets) and explore a fascinating world that has been a valuable part of Welsh culture for centuries. The site in fact, is such an important historical gem that it has UNESCO World Heritage status. But, that doesn't mean boring – the 300-foot-down, guided adventure is a thrilling way to make history come alive. There are also interactive exhibits and experiences above ground that help put the miners' lives into vivid context.

    Whether "bouncing", time traveling, riding the rails or digging into history, a family trip to Wales will be an unforgettable adventure. 


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Visit Wales Staff Writer Why Wales? Discover Britain's Road Less Traveled!

Visit Wales Staff Writer Visit Wales is the New York-based government tourism office for Wales, one of four countries that make up the United Kingdom. A land with 641 castles, 870 miles of walkable coastline, three national parks and award-winning cuisine, Wales offers travelers a variety of activities and different landscapes to explore. The country's Celtic history and ancient language make it a distinctive British destination. For more information on Wales travel, trade can visit and consumers can visit
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