North Wales is a carnival for kids. It’s a parallel universe of cute steam trains, hay rides at petting farms and family-friendly events at historic houses and gardens.
Start with the play barn, tea room, hay rides and animal feeding at Park Hall Farm in Oswestry. Enchant and exhaust them further with family activities at Erddig Hall in Wrexham, with horse-drawn canal boats from Llangollen Wharf and the famous Welsh steam trains that include the Day out with Thomas from Llangollen station.
Don’t look down as you cross the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct that hangs across the valley like a giant spider’s web, swim and slide at Wrexham Waterworld or take the riverside trails at Alyn Waters Country Park.
In Chester, there’s the ghost trail, treasure trail, Blacon Adventure Playground with city farm, plus whitewater rafting, canoeing and canyoning at the National White Water Centre. Elsewhere, hunting down karting, climbing, riding, tenpin bowling and laser questing is literally child’s play.
On site, possibilities are plentiful. From just walking the woodlands or hot-footing it along Offa’s Dyke, to beauty treatments, clay-pigeon shooting and murder-mystery. Off-site, ride the white-water rapids in a raft, spruce up your survival skills, canoe or kayak down the Dee.
Hire a canal boat for the day from Llangollen Wharf, walk or boat the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, or come in July and vulture up the culture at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod. See the spectacular Horseshoe Falls, steam through the valleys on the Llangollen Railway, or sail or windsurf on Bala Lake.
Go back in time to Chirk Castle, a magnificent medieval fortress of the Welsh Marches, or upwards to Crow Castle. Walk the conifer-covered hillsides past brooks and creeks. Over the border in England, place your bets at Chester Races, dress yourself in designer gear from Cheshire Oaks Outlet and check out the cathedral.