Ideas for free family days out
Different days out from around the country that won't cost you a penny.
The Brecon Beacons boasts a rich diversity of beautiful medieval castles which are set amongst idyllic landscapes of rolling hills and impressive countryside. The Brecon Beacons, located only a short distance from the English/Welsh border, was an important tactical location for wars and battles, and is therefore home to lots of fantastic castles offering interesting days out.
Visit one of these castles for a whole host of adventures including museums, craft workshops, exhibitions, fancy dress and spooky dungeons.
Here are a few highlights from some of the fantastic castles the Brecon Beacons has to offer:
Standing proudly on top of a jagged limestone cliff face, the Carreg Cennen Castle ruins are a truly majestic sight. The castle's structure dates back to the 12th century and has been damaged by conflict and weathering over the years. Be sure to venture down the spooky tunnel dug into the rock beneath the castle to discover a natural cave which was once used as a store room and castle dungeon.
The castle is open daily from 9.30am - 5.00pm in the winter and 9.30 am - 6pm in the summer. The castle is located near the village of Trap, four miles from the town of Llandeilo. Admission into the castle is Children £3.50, Adults £5.00.
Abergavenny Castle was originally constructed in the 11th century and has been a site of great conflict over the years. Discover how the castle hosted the ‘Massacre of Abergavenny’ in 1775 before following many years of alternating control between the Welsh and the English. Abergavenny castle is a great place to visit today as it is famous for its picturesque walks and beautiful gardens. Take a look at the hunting lodge, constructed in 1819, which houses the castle’s museum and have a wander around a traditional Welsh kitchen, an air raid shelter and many more interesting exhibits.Be sure to pick up one of the 'family backpacks' to take around the museum which include replica artefacts, historic games and chain mail which the kids can dress up in to pretend to be a knight. The backpacks also include laminated information cards and binoculars to help you study the contents of the museum more closely.
Admission is free and the museum opening times are:
Mar–Oct Mon–Sat 11am–1pm & 2–5pm, Sun 2–5pm;
Nov–Feb Mon–Sat 11am–1pm & 2–4pm, Sun closed.
Cyfarthfa castle was designed in 1824 and was home to the Crawshay family who were Ironmasters of the local area, Merthyr Tydfil. The lavish design of the castle shows the success of the iron industry at the time allowing you to picture the prosperity which it brought to the area. The castle grounds, Cyfarthfa Park, stretch across 158 acres and boast sensory gardens and magical woodland walks. There is even a miniature railway you can a ride on which will take you round all of the highlights of the castle including the courtyard, play area, paddling pool, lake and bandstand. The castle itself has a museum and gallery which exhibits artefacts from across 2000 years of local history. Entrance to the park is free and entry to the museum and gallery is £2.00 for over 16s and free for under 16s.
The opening times are:
1st April-30th September: 10am-5:30pm
1st October-31st March: Closed Monday, Tues-Fri 10am-4pm, Sat & Sun 12pm-4pm
Visit Brecon Castle, an old 11th century fortification which joins the Honddu and Usk rivers. Discover how the rivers provided power for the castles' mills as well as a defence for battles and conflict. Find out how the castle was used as the military headquarters for the Lordship of Brecon and discover how it was brutally attacked six times in the 13th century. Brecon castle was heavily involved in the conflict between the Welsh and the Normans as well as disputes between Welsh kings and Barons and is therefore full of lots of exciting history.
Since the early 1800s, parts of Brecon Castle have been used as a hotel which is now open to the public. This getaway is ideal if you’re looking for a romantic stay with a little bit of character as it offers an interesting twist from your average hotel. The castle’s great hall is located adjacent to the hotel and is the largest surviving structure of the castle. Why not go and take a look at the remains of the shell keep and have a wander around this beautiful structure.