Finding inexpensive ways to entertain the kids can be difficult, especially when looking for family activities that cost less than £5! Here two real-life mums (Alison in North East Wales and Tania in North West Wales) share their tips for cheap family things to do in North Wales.
North East Wales
As a parent, I’m constantly trying to entertain my children during the weekends and the long summer holidays, without breaking the bank.
I’ve had some disastrous days out with the children, from just getting up and dressed in the morning, to asking the children where they want to go and then starting an argument, or getting somewhere and then realising you haven’t got the right change for the car park and you don’t know where the nearest toilets are.
All of the above are sure to ruin any day out. Well, with my top five places to visit in and around Flintshire, I hope to get you prepared for some great cheap – and even free – family days out.
Ty Mawr Country Park, Wrexham | Cost: Free
This has to be my family’s number one place to visit. It has everything we want in family fun. Located just outside of Wrexham, it’s a short drive out of the area but truly worth it.
Car parking is FREE and there are plenty of spaces during busy times. The park has short walks on good paths (ideal for pushchairs) down and along the river, or longer walks towards the Pontcysyllte aqueduct.
The small farm area is always a big hit with my two, with small animals, like guinea pigs and rabbits, and larger animals, like llamas and pigs. Children can really get up close to nature. Picnic benches and a park are also on-site. With toilets and a small shop/information centre as well, it’s got everything we’ve ever needed during the day.
During the summer holidays, they have an action-packed calendar of events too.
Loggerheads and Moel Famau, Mold | Cost: Free (parking costs extra)
Alyn Waters. Image Credit: Author.
Great for getting your wellies on and getting back to nature. This family day out is again FREE, but car parking is charged.
Loggerheads is a lovely walk along the river Alyn, ideal for young legs as the walk is short. You can make it longer and harder for older children. It’s got a café and toilet with an outside picnic area. There’s a large area for ball games as well.
Again, during school holidays, they put on activities (sometimes at an extra cost).
Moel Famau is a short drive further into the Clwydian range. Here is a fantastic play area and woodland walk, again ideal wellie boot country. Here, parking is charged at £2 all day. A hollowed-out tree always give my two hours of fun and a bridge over a small stream is always fun, even during the not-so-sunny summer holidays.
Wepre Park and Ewloe Castle, Deeside | Cost: Free
Ewloe Castle, Flintshire. Image credit: wikimedia commons.
This is a great little walk for little legs – ideal as it’s got a good path (pushchair-friendly, most of the way).
Parking is free and there’s plenty of it. It has park area with picnic benches and a café area next to the car park, also with toilets.
There’s a massive grass playing area next to the car park, so take a ball and have a kick around. Walking up to the castle is a good walk for little ones, with a few different paths to choose.
Please note though that the castle itself isn’t possible with a pushchair due to lots of steps.
North East Wales
I’m always looking for things to do with my two (girl, 7; boy, 3) and we’ve been on lots of budget-friendly adventures. I’ve put a few of our favourite cheap family activities in North West Wales together here to give you some ideas of things you can do with your children that won’t break the bank.
The National Slate Museum, Llanberis, Gwynedd | Cost: Free (parking in the council car park does cost)
This is one of our favourites to visit to spend a few hours, and all for free! There are slate splitting demonstrations, an old steam engine called Una, a play area with a zip wire.
During school holidays they have special events with activities and trails that are great fun. Visit the old quarrymen houses and dress up in clothes from different eras. Take the steps up to see the huge water wheel that powers the machinery.
You can also take a 15-20 minute walk up to the old Quarry Hospital that is about 80 steps up behind the Llanberis Lake Railway.
Bodafon Farm Park, Llandudno, Conwy | Cost: Free
Farm Parks can be expensive places to visit but lots of young children love to see the animals. Bodafon Farm Park in Llandudno is free and there are plenty of animals to see there such as pigs, goats and llamas and you can feed them with special feed bought from the cafe. There is also a great outside play area and ride on toy tractors in the yard. This is also home to The Owls Trust so you can meet the birds there too.
They do not allow picnics on site, which is fair enough as they do not charge an entry fee, but there is a cafe or you could go and sit in your car to eat.
Betws y Coed, Conwy | Cost: Free
We love to visit Betws y Coed. Head over to the train station with some milk bottle tops to feed the rhino on the platform. There’s also a miniature steam train that you can ride which costs £2 each and under 2’s can ride for free.
There are plenty of walks you can take in Betws y Coed, including a great one for kids taking the raised wooden walkway alongside the river through the trees, great for little explorers. Be sure to look for the bubble shop in the village as well, as the kids will have great fun playing with the bubbles which come out of the bubble machine outside.
Piggery Pottery, Llanberis, Gwynedd | Cost: From £2.50 (depending on what you choose to paint)
For those with a little artistic flair how about painting some pottery? There are loads of pottery painting places around Wales, but the closest to me is Piggery Pottery in Llanberis. The kids always have a great time here painting a piece to take home with them. A great way to spend a wet afternoon, and no cleaning up afterwards!
Walks | Cost: Free
If there’s one thing to do in abundance in North Wales, it’s walking. This is a great activity to do with your children as it encourages a healthy lifestyle and it can also be really great fun, free to run around and enjoy the fresh air. There are loads of cycle tracks across North Wales that you can walk or ride along but there are also lots of fun walks around too. Here are some suggestions:
- Aber Falls, Gwynedd – An easy walk for kids, they’ll love to run along and try and be the first to spot the waterfall.
- Beddgelert, Gwynedd – Walk along the riverside and hunt for Gelert’s grave. There are also some lovely little shops and cafes and some great ice cream to be had.
- Holyhead Breakwater Park, Anglesey – Visit the information centre to learn more about the wildlife and heritage of the area and choose one of a number of walks suitable for all levels. There is also access to Holyhead Mountain and South Stack from here.
- Coed y Brenin Forest Park, Dolgellau, Gwynedd – Great for mini adventurers. There are walking trails including an animal puzzle trail, geocaches (see geocaching below), play areas and fantastic mountain bike trails amongst many other things.
Playgrounds and Parks | Cost: Free
My children always nag about wanting to go to the park, wherever we go. There are some great ones around too, a great way to spend a few hours for free. As well as the usual things such as swings, slides and other new fangled park stuff some also have skating facilities; so take along bikes, skateboards, scooters or Heelys. Take a flask of tea or coffee for you and load yourself up with snacks or a picnic and the park can be a great place to spend a few hours. There are plenty of small parks in villages and towns across Wales but I’ll mention a couple of the larger ones:
- Parc Dros yr Aber (Coed Helen), Caernarfon, Gwynedd – Children’s play area, skate park, field to play ball games, pitch and putt golfing green (cost to hire equipment)
- Eirias Park, Colwyn Bay, Conwy – Children’s playground, boating lake, tennis courts. This is also the location of the Colwyn Leisure Centre that has a slide as well as other water features.
Beaches | Cost: Free
We have miles and miles of coastline around North West Wales, so the beach can be a great place to visit and it doesn’t have to be a sunny day activity only as they can be great places to take walks and play.
Here are some suggestions:
- Dinas Dinlle, Gwynedd – A long beach which is great to walk along the sand and rocks or ride a bike or scooter on the walkway. There is a park at one end of the beach as well as a cliff that is worth a walk for the views at the top. At the other end of the beach is Caernarfon airport, so if you have kids who are interested in aeroplanes then watching them taking off and landing will be great for them. The Wales Air Ambulance is also based at the airport and it can be exciting for the children to see the helicopters taking off.
- Llandudno, Conwy: The promenade in Llandudno is usually a bustling place, for a bit of traditional seaside entertainment check out the Punch & Judy show which is free to watch, then take a walk along the pier with it’s arcades, shops and rides.
- Llanddwyn, Anglesey: A stunning sandy beach with sand dunes and surrounded by Newborough Forest. The hidden treasure on this beach is Llanddwyn Island, where legend says that St Dwynwen fled to with a broken heart and set up a church, search for the well and take delight in the two lighthouses situated on this small island, just make sure you don’t get cut off from the mainland at high tide.
Geocaching | Cost: Free
What about turning your walks into treasure hunts by trying to find geocaches? Geocaching is when you follow coordinates posted on the internet using a GPS enabled device (your mobile phone) to try and find a hidden container. Geocaches can be found all around the world and you’ll be surprised how many are near to you. A real life treasure hunt, for free, which will excite the children and get them out in the open air. Read all about it here.
Cinemas | Cost: Check Movies for Juniors at cineworld.co.uk for film times and prices
Cinemas are expensive days out, but if you’re happy not to watch the latest release then this can be done quite cheaply on weekend mornings as well as mornings during the holidays. Cineworld in Llandudno has Movies for Juniors that can be as little as £1.75 (3D movies are slightly more expensive). If you register and buy your tickets online then you’ll get them 10% cheaper.
Libraries | Cost: Free
Don’t forget the libraries! It’s never too early to introduce your children to books and it’s free to join! My two love to spend time choosing which books they want to take home with them, the children’s corners are usually very child friendly places.
If you’ve never heard of story sacks then ask about them, they are sacks you can loan with a story or two and toys and games that match with the story, these are very popular with my two.
Our local library has loads of extra things going on for children too. During term time they have story and singing sessions for babies and toddlers and they also hold special events for children throughout the year, usually for free – we’ve been to balloon modelling, magicians, dancing, story sessions as well as many other things. They usually advertise any events through their Facebook pages, so follow your local library.
Swimming | Cost: Free for under 16s
In Wales we also benefit from the free swim scheme where children under 16 can swim for free in local authority swimming pools during specific slots on the weekend and during school holidays (and those over 60 years old at different times). Contact your local pool to find out the times of the sessions.
We hope this has given you some ideas for low-cost family days out. If you have any suggestions to add, then please use the comments section below or write an article for us!
Like this article? Check out some others:
- Free Family-Friendly Places To Visit In Wales: Reader Suggestions
- Cheap Family Holiday in Wales: How to Have a Holiday for £150 or Less
- Easy Picnic Ideas for a Family Day Out in Wales
- ‘10 Things Under £5’ in North West Wales for Families
- Top Tips for Your Family to Save Money
- ‘5 Things Under £5’ in South Wales for Families
- Why Time Credits Are Valuable
If you’d like to find out about services available to you and your child in your area or would like to chat about family matters in general, get in touch with the FamilyPoint Cymru helpline.
- Phone: 0300 222 57 57
- Text: 07860 052 905
- Instant message (see top of page)
We are open 6pm – 10pm Monday to Thursday and 10am – 2pm Friday & Saturday.