I love travelling and exploring new places with the kids and we try to get away as often as our budget allows us to which isn’t nearly as often as we like if I’m honest!
As I’ve said a few times, we’re planning to spend more time travelling in the UK over the next few years rather than going abroad so when we were invited to visit Wales for a few days last month we jumped at the chance. There are so many beautiful areas in our country that we want to explore and although we’d never been to Wales before, it’s somewhere that we’ve said lots of times that we’d like to visit.
Miss Frugal is going to write her own post for you about her experience of Wales and I think that it will heavily feature the hotel we stayed in so I won’t tell you about that right now. Today, I want to tell you all about our day at Llyn Brenig, a reservoir set in a beautiful location with lots to do for the family.
It has so much to offer a family – there’s an adventure playground, cycle hire, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, water zorbing, some fantastic walks (which I’ll get to in a minute), a great visitor centre with a little exhibition and a cafe that sells the most amazing cake and hot chocolate.
In fact, Llyn Brenig is actually the sort of place that sums up the reasons we like travelling so much.
The day we visited Llyn Brenig was cold, a little wet and the sky looked more than a little grey – but it didn’t affect our day at all. We still spent a good 45 minutes just in the adventure playground which my two LOVED! There’s a zip slide and an obstacle course among all the usual play park things and even after nearly an hour we struggled to get them out of there. We also had lots of fun on the walk we did (more later on that) and I can confirm that no matter how old you get or how cool you think you are – you’re never to old to splash in muddy puddles!
It’s all to easy to give up on things these days, especially for children as there’s usually an easy way to do things (or in most cases an app to do it for them) but sometimes when we’re travelling we do something that we know will push them a little bit. We hired bikes at Llyn Brenig to explore some of the beautiful coastline around the reservoir and yes, we could have done a quick easy ride but we chose what looked like a slightly more hilly route and set off. The scenery was beautiful and the sights we saw were well worth the ride but the kids did start to get a little tired on the way back – we made it though and the kids were really pleased with themselves that they hadn’t given up!
After our bike ride, we stopped in the cafe for some cake and hot chocolate and it was AMAZING! The cake was lovely, the hot chocolate was delicious and the view over Llyn Brenig was second to none – and that was on a grey miserable day. I can’t even tell you how nice it would be when the sun’s shining!
Reason number 4 why it’s great to travel with kids is actually all about trying new experiences which encourages them to be brave and hopefully means that they will grow up willing to try new things and won’t be phased when they face something scary. I was going to share a picture of them water zorbing here but we didn’t actually do it because of the weather which wasn’t ideal due to the wind and on/off rain.
There’s lots to do at Llyn Brenig but it’s also very peaceful and relaxing which is another reason why we loved it. Walking around the lake was really relaxing and a lovely break from everyday life where someones phone is going off every couple of minutes!
And now to the main reason why it’s great to travel with kids – the opportunity that we have as parents to teach our children things that they can’t learn fully in school. They read about things in books at school which is brilliant but they will learn so much more if they can experience things first hand. We discussed what we were planning to do at Llyn Brenig with the kids beforehand as we knew there was a lot to do and that we probably wouldn’t fit everything in and surprisingly, the main thing that they both really wanted to do was the archaeological walk. I thought they would choose sailing or fishing but they were determined that this was what they wanted to do – even more so on the day when it was muddy and wet. They popped on their wellies and off we went.
The walk itself is a 4km walk which I think took about 2 and a half hours (I forgot to look exactly when we set off) and although it was a nice easy walk, I do think it would have been better without the wind and the occasional rain although we were practically the only people out there the day we went so it was great for the kids!
We picked up a leaflet about the walk at the visitor centre but actually the walk is really well signposted with lots of signage explaining what you’re looking at. It’s really interesting and is a beautiful walk made even better by the fact that the information panels are so detailed, they’re great starting points for discussion on the walk round. Actually, I should say they’re great to encourage discussion when the kids aren’t busy jumping off benches, splashing in muddy puddles and generally running wild or trying to make friends with the odd stray sheep.
We walked past (and over) ancient burial mounds, made friends with a random fisherman who was quite happily up to his chest (literally) in water fishing, stood on ancient burial and cremation sites and discovered some ancient buildings and as we read each sign on the way round, the kids got even more interested and Master Frugal especially was fascinated by it all.
We’ve never been a family of walkers before but we really enjoyed this and will definitely be finding other routes to walk together now that we’re back at home. It’s a great way to see an area and to spend some time together without any interruptions!
Thanks to the fantastic people at Visit Wales who invited us to visit.
Funding for the Llyn Brenig Visitor Centre has been provided by the EU development fund – money well spent in my opinion as it’s lovely and really makes it into a lovely day out.