We have been holidaying in the Gwynedd area of north Wales for many years now, as my in-laws have a van at the Greenacres Haven site in Porthmadog. It is a great part of Wales for families and because of our regular trips, we have visited many places in the area, so I thought I would share our favourite things to do as a family in the town of Porthmadog.
This has become one of my favourite spots in the area and is just outside of the town centre, on the way to the Haven site. It is only a small area but it’s complete with pretty houses, beautiful coastal scenery, a beach and a lovely cafe to sit and enjoy a coffee whilst taking it all in. Our kids are at an age now where they can don their wellies and play on the beach, whether the tide is in or out, whilst we sit at our favourite spot at the Sea View Cafe, enjoying a cream tea and some peace.
If you are able there is also a lovely walk along the coast that takes you to several secluded beaches where you can paddle and enjoy a picnic on a beautiful yellow sandy beach.
Go crabbing on the Porthmadog harbour
We only tried this for the first time on our recent trip but the children loved it, it was such an adventure to them to try and catch sea life. I will warn you that there is a long drop on the edge of the harbour where you drop your lines and I was a bit anxious at first letting them too close, so it’s probably not suitable for young children to take part, but they can definitely watch their older siblings and enjoy their catches. You can buy lines, bait and buckets from the shop just across the road.
Take a trip on the Ffestiniog Railway
This is one of our favourite rainy day activities, although it is also great on a dry day. You can ride the beautiful old steam train from Porthmadog to Tan Y Bwlch, a 40 minute ride, where you can get off and have lunch in the little cafe there before hopping back on for your return journey. If you fancy a longer trip you can also visit Beddegelert, Caernarrfon and Blaenau Ffestiniog. Not to mention, children go free with each paying adult which is a fantastic deal!
See the Blackrock Llamas
We’ve never actually done this yet but we say every time we should as it is two minutes down the road from the caravan site. They offer an hour and a half llama trek where you get to learn all about the llamas, handle them and go on a peaceful trek, followed by a bit of llama agility! It’s £25 per adult, £15 per child or £70 for a family of four, so not the cheapest but definitely an experience with a difference!
Visit Blackrock Sands Beach
The Greenacres Haven site sits on this beautiful beach which stretches for two miles long and features dunes, rock pools and caves. The tide goes pretty far out so you have to walk quite far to get to it, but there is a little stream that runs from the dunes to the sea about half way along, which is a great place for the children to paddle. You can also drive on this beach, so we often take a picnic and some chairs and enjoy lunch there whilst the children play. We’ve even sat watching the sunset go down whilst toasting marshmellows which was a very memorable experience.
Let the kids play in Porthmadog Parc
If you’re looking for somewhere to entertain the children for a time, then this park in the centre of town should do the trick. It is quite large, well kept and has lots of equipment for children to entertain themselves whilst you take a seat at one of the picnic tables. There is even an ice cream shop, Cariad Gelato, right next to it which does a great selection of ice cream for you to enjoy whilst the children play.
Spend the day in Portmerion
I absolutely adore this beautiful town, and it is five minutes out of Porthmadog town. Built in the twenties to replicate an Italian village, it is filled with colour, charm and delights. Whilst there isn’t lots of things for the children to do, it is just so fun to walk around the town and look at all the quirky features such as a life size chess board and unicorns on the houses.
There is a free train that runs through the woodlands, as well as shops and a couple of cafes to break up the visit. I really enjoyed walking around to the peninsular and taking in the views of the bay with the village behind us. There is also a stone boat the children can play on and pretend to be pirates.
Orienteering at Plas Brondanw Gardens
Again this is something we haven’t done ourselves but it looks like great fun and only ten minutes from the town. Created by the same man who designed and built Portmeirion, these gardens are filled with stone walls, topiary and avenues of trees, set between the coast and the mountains. There is a cafe on site for lunch, and here you can pick up a map for the orienteering course which you can complete as a family in the woodland gardens.
Hopefully these suggestions will give you some ideas for things to do in Porthmadog. For such a small town there really is so much to do, come back soon for my guide to places to eat in the area.