Run wild, run free and let off steam!
Some days what the kids really need is to let off some steam – even when they are on holiday.
Sitting down for a meal, or doing ‘grown-up stuff’ like visiting art galleries, reading every information panel at the museum, or browsing boutique shops can trigger the boredom switch.
This often leads to tugging at the trouser legs followed by: “Mum, I’m bored, can we go now?” or; “Dad, I want an ice-cream!”
The boundless enthusiasm and energy of the youngest members of the family can wear out the best of us.
Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy the sunshine and breathe in the wondrous Pembrokeshire air for 10 minutes while the kids run around expending some of that energy?
Here we share some of our top picks for Pembrokeshire places where the kids can roam - and it will be their imaginations running riot.
Scolton Manor Museum and Country Park
The 60 acres of park and woodland surrounding Scolton Manor should be sufficient to tire out little legs. The Green Flag award-winning park features nature trails, play areas and picnic sites. Kids will love exploring the grounds and learning about creepy-crawlies on the Dragon’s Run Minibeast Exercise Trail. As well as the park the Victorian manor is home to the county museum. There is also a visitor centre with displays on the wildlife and green issues within the park. If you’re in need of refreshments, the tearooms are open seven days a week.
Picton Castle & Woodland Gardens
There are no ‘keep off the grass’ signs at Picton Castle so the kids can run, roam and explore. The 40 acres of woodland gardens delight children and gardeners alike, and provide colour and interest all year round. Solve the riddles on the children’s woodland trail and win a mini prize. The maze is a challenge for all ages, and the adventure playground is great fun. Feeling peckish? Why not savour the tasty dishes at Maria’s Courtyard Restaurant. Family fun days and special events are also hosted throughout the year.
For the aspiring warriors among us, a trip to Castell Henllys is a must. A Pembrokeshire Coast National Park run site, you will step back in time at the unique Iron Age hill fort. Four replica Iron Age roundhouses and a granary have been reconstructed on the original fort foundations, bringing history to life. Kids can help build a wattle and daub wall, throw a spear, make bread and have their faces painted like Iron Age warriors. Stroll along the riverside paths and follow sculpture trails depicting myths and legends, you might also bump into some prehistoric breeds of livestock.
Colby Woodland Gardens
The idyllic wildflower meadow, brook and woodlands at Colby make an adventure-filled natural playground. Run around in the meadow, spotting butterflies and dragonflies, cross the stream on the stepping stones, or play Pooh sticks on the log bridge. You can also build dens in the wood, play on the rope swings, light a campfire or use the free pond dipping kits and games for the meadow. Colby is a National Trust site so you can pick up a 50 Things To Do Before You’re 113/4scrapbook and tick off as many as you can.
Llys y Fran Reservoir & Country Park
Set in the heart of the Pembrokeshire countryside, Llys y Fran is a 350-acre country park. It boasts a 212-acre reservoir and 100ft high dam which sends water gushing into the river Syfynwy. There is an easy access trail on the eastern side of the reservoir, with a children’s play area and lots of picnic spots. For the very energetic, you could walk all the way around the dam – a total of 6.5 miles. But be warned, there are steep gradients in places and it can get wet and muddy.
Take your pick…
What can we say? The beaches in Pembrokeshire are magnificent and we love them all. From long golden sands to secluded bays; build sandcastles, go rock-pooling or fly a kite – it’s your playground. From Amroth to Whitesands, with more than 50 Pembrokeshire beaches to choose from it could be a difficult decision, maybe take a pin and stick it in the map!
Ignite the imagination with a trip to one, two, or all of Pembrokeshire’s castles. These mighty fortresses unlock the key to the past, where the kids can play at being a knight, a king or a princess. A good place to start is Pembroke Castle, the birthplace of Henry VII. Pretend to be an archer looking through the arrow-slit windows, climb the steps up to the top of the imposing 12th century keep to look out for enemies or follow the narrow stone staircase down to the spooky Wogan’s Cavern, a natural cave underneath the castle.
Many of the castles also hold regular special events, especially during school holidays, including living history days, puppet shows, story-telling, craft and painting activities and circus days.
Over the hills…
Take in the stunning views, play king of the castle on the Preseli bluestones, and discover the mountain trails of the Preseli Hills. In contrast to the south of the county, the hills have a rugged, wild landscape with moorland, heath and grassland and an abundance of wildlife. Pull on some sturdy footwear, pack a picnic and get walking! One thing’s for sure, all the crisp, clean air will guarantee a good night’s sleep!
Into the deep.
It's not just the little ones that get bored, older children need their time too. What could be cooler than to hit the beach with a surf board tucked under your arm. Try one of the many surf schools who have child and family sessions for beginners.
Kayaking is another great teenage adventure. In charge of your own kayak, slowly paddling in and out of the caves, you might find a nosey seal pops up right beside you to say hello. What great memories.
Image: Preseli Venture
For the ultimate teenage experience try coasteering. The challenge of swimming, clambering over rocks, climbing onto ledges and then launching yourself into the deep, or as your guide will call it ' The toilet' where you swirl around and around in the foaming sea - but dont worry you dont go down the pipe! This will be one adventure they won't forget in a hurry.
Where is your favourite place to let the kids run free? Tell us via Twitter or Facebook and send us your photos!