Visiting Cardigan Bay – with toddlers and younger kids
Cardigan Bay is a beautiful part of Wales to visit. It has amazing beaches, woodlands, mountains and lakes. I’d like to share with you some of the fun family things that there are to do here. There are some ideas for those days when it’s just too wet for kids on the beach! Also, I’ve listed some of the playareas that are around if you have toddlers to amuse. We spend far too long wandering around on holiday looking for a safe space where our boys can run around freely for a while…you may actually get to sit down too (being away from home can be seriously exhausting!)
Beaches – you can’t visit Cardigan Bay without a trip to the seaside! Visitors are spoilt for choice! Below are some of our favourite family-friendly beaches:
1. Penbryn – a small sandy beach that’s owned by the National Trust. It’s a bit of a walk from the pay-and-display carpark but if you can manage that with all your gear then this is a lovely beach. There are toilets and a small cafe in the Car park but nothing down at the beach so !ale sure you Use the facilities before heading down. If suitable then you can also access the beach via woodland walk…this way isn’t pushchair friendly though and is quite steep. No dogs are allowed on the beach.
2. New Quay – this small seaside town is very popular in the summer with several cafes, bars and chip shops like The Lime Crab (which offers gluten free chips and fried halloumi!) and Mariners which serves massive breakfasts with a sea view! There are two sandy beaches to relax on or visit Cardigan Bay Watersports if you’re feeling more adventurous…you can hire paddleboards and more! Regular boat trips also leave from the end of the pier. There are showers outside the toilet block so you can wash off those sandy feet! Lifeguards are here in the summer.
3. Aberporth – a really cute place to visit. Two sandy beaches with a path around the edge that has cafes on both ends! Lifeguards are here in the summer.
4. Mwnt – this National Trust beach has won several awards for its beauty! There are several steps to descend before you reach the sand but it’ll be worth it. Lovely and sheltered. There are lots of steep hills and rocks to climb here too.
5. Ynyslas – I spent many hours surfing here as a student. Miles of beautiful sand! It’s just up the road from Borth where you’ll find facilities and another beach.
6. Poppit Sands – a big sandy beach not far from Cardigan. Cafe in site. It is a bit exposed so can get a windy. Loads of room for kites and frisbees!
Rainy Day Activities
Potsian – a lovely little place where you can paint some pottery to take home with you. They also have these adorable Be My Bear kits available…
Gabrielle Gallery – you can also decorate pottery here (although I’ve never been to this one).
Fantasy Farm – some very cute and fluffy animals that love a bit of attention! There is also a little softplay area, bouncy castle slide and boating lake. Kids will love the bumpy tractor ride to see the highland cows, sheep and horses. We’ve visited loads and it has a lovely relaxed vibe that our kids love. A good option if you want somewhere close-by that’s easily seen in a day as it’s much smaller and cheaper than the popular Folly Farm in Pembrokeshire (accepts Tesco Days Out Vouchers).
Swimming pools – Aberystwyth (Plascrug) and Cardigan have smaller warmer baby pools in addition to the larger pool. There is also a small pool in Aberaeron and Llandysul.
Head to Llanerchaeron National Trust where you can access the cycle path to Aberaeron, woodland and river for free. Pay to get inside the property and there’s a working farm so kiddies will enjoy meeting Gwen the horse and the other animals. There’s a lovely sheltered walled garden that’s perfect for picnics too. Older children might enjoy the free geochaching. A lovely lady has also created the Fairy Doors Project so keep a look out for our winged friends along the forest walk.
Cardigan Farm Park is one of our favourites. I’ve not found a picnic table with a nicer view! There are lots of farm animals to meet as you make your way down towards the fenced cliff. If you’re lucky you’ll see the seals on the rocks below.There’s a small play space indoors with lots of giant Lego next to the cafe. Theres also a Playground and sand pit outside.
Cilgerran Wildlife Centre has some beautiful walks and a lovely playarea surrounded by nature. The Glasshouse Cafe serves drinks, snacks and meals.
Bwlch Nant yr Arian – this Forestry Commission site isn’t far from Aberystwyth. It has two lovely playgrounds and a pushchair/wheelchair accessable path around the lake. You can also see the red kites at feeding time.It’s really popular with mountain bikers and there’s a new mtb skills track been built.
Playgrounds – whenever we’re in a unfamiliar place, we find it impossible to locate a decent playground! Somewhere the little ones can play safely for a while. Here are our favourites:
Aberystwyth Castle – aswel as a castle to explore there’s a lovely enclosed playground. It has a pirate ship with slides, swings (baby ones too) and a few other bits.
Aberystwyth Plascrug Avenue – the avenue is perfect for children’s bikes or scooters. Half-way along you’ll find a playarea too! You can walk along this off-road path all the way from the Plascrug swimming pool and leisure centre to town.
New Quay – this town has a lovely little playground near the tennis courts (easy to access from the car park by the doctors surgery at the top of town). It has a big and little climbing frame both with slides. It also has baby swings and a big nest swing. Our boys also love the grass mound with tunnel!
Aberporth – a small enclosed playarea above the beach.
Aberaeron – there are two parks in Aberaeron…both are more suitable for slightly older children in my opinion. The park in the square field of this Georgian seaside town has a big climbing frame and slide. The park by the tennis courts and river has a cool spiders web to climb, see saw and slide.
Llanarth – our local park has a grass area to kick a ball around and two climbing frames. There are swings and slides too.
Carmarthen – if you fancy a drive out of Ceredigion, the park in Carmarthen has loads to offer. Park in Tescos and take a picnic. There are a few play spaces, climbing frames, swings, hill slide, basketball hoop, skate park and cycle track.
I hope you find this guide useful. Please let me know in the comments if you have any other suggestions!
Enjoy your holiday!