Some of the best family attractions to visit in and around Cardiff
By Nerys Lloyd-Pierce
There’s no reason for your kids to cry of boredom when they come to Cardiff. Here are some of the top visitor attractions to keep all the family entertained.
Kids and adults alike will love Techniquest
The UK’s most visited science discovery centre, Techniquest has been entertaining kids for more than 25 years in Cardiff – proving beyond all doubt that science is fun. It boasts some 160 hands-on exhibits, and these do a pretty good job of beguiling juvenile punters and adults alike. So, if you’d like to fire a rocket, race an electric car, watch a bubble race, or test your reaction times, then head to Techniquest with the family.
The National Museum Cardiff houses one of the largest collections of Impressionist paintings outside Paris. There’s also a stunning natural history section: follow the poignant story of the stranded leatherback turtle, witness how the basking shark, cavernous mouth agape, filters its food, or follow Wales’s incredible journey from the Big Bang to the present day, in the Evolution of Wales gallery, meeting dinosaurs and mammoths along the way. Something for all the family.
Blaenavon Ironworks played a key role in the development of the iron industry
Blaenavon Ironworks is another gem. Established in the late 18th century, Blaenavon Ironworks was one of the leading Welsh ironworks, and played a key role in the technological development of the iron industry during the Industrial Revolution. The site is now under the wing of Cadw, and entry to the site is free.
From July to September the Cardiff Bay Beach festival offers family fun in the wonderful Barrage Walkway Park, which has a complementary land train during festival time. This passes the BBC Porth Teigr studios, where family favourite TV programmes such as Casualty are filmed.
Those wanting a gentler, family day out could head for Jackson Bay in Barry. Barry Island is also famous for its funfair. The seafront offers a sweeping promenade along the entire length of Whitmore Bay beach, against a backdrop of enticing cafes and restaurants, vibrant beach huts and lots to amuse the kids with a climbing wall, adventure golf and beautiful landscaped gardens. Or for the more adventurous, Barry Island Pleasure Park offers thrilling rides. Much of cult comedy, Gavin and Stacey, was also filmed there making it a must-visit for die-hard fans.
A trip to Big Pit National Coal Museum in Blaenavon, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is well worth the hour’s journey. Needless to say, the people who extracted black gold from the subterranean depths of the pit lived a very different life to those who spent the profits. An underground visit gives some inkling of how it might have felt to toil below ground for a living. The tours are conducted by ex-miners, who are knowledgeable, and happy to answer questions. Their chirpy banter also reveals some of the camaraderie that existed between the coal miners, and how the pit created a unique sense of community cohesion.