Written in collaboration with the Welsh Government to #KeepWalesSafe
With half term underway, I wanted to share with you some of the places we’ll be going as a family. Of course this half term isn’t like it usually is – we’re still in a pandemic, but thankfully restrictions have eased enough for us to be able to spend time together as a family at local attractions and still keep Wales safe. The battle against COVID-19 is ongoing, but with some huge milestones being hit, I’m so excited to be able to visit my favourite places. This summer half-term (31st May to 4th June this year) I want to help keep our families and everyone else safe, by continuing to follow the Welsh Government rules, whilst still enjoying spending time together.
Since the 17th May indoor hospitality has been allowed to re-open, with 6 people from up to 6 households (not including children under 11) being allowed to book a table. Entertainment venues and indoor visitor attractions have also re-opened, with each venue implementing changes to allow us to keep safe.
Tips for having a fantastic family day out and still staying safe during the Level 2 restrictions:
- If you are meeting others remember: it is safer to meet outdoors, keep your distance from anyone not in your extended household and if you have any Coronavirus symptoms, however mild, self-isolate and book a test immediately, even if you are vaccinated
- Check in advance what venues are open.
- Read the venue’s COVID-19 policies and restrictions. This allows you to make an informed decision about your visit, and prepare the kids for any changes to avoid disappointment.
- Book tickets and tables in advance when visiting hospitality or attractions. This allows everyone to manage numbers successfully.
- Follow the instructions of the staff at venues and pay close attention to signage such as one way systems and social distancing markers.
- Always make sure you have your face masks on you, ready to use indoors as restrictions require.
- Be prepared to allow for extra time – there may be longer queues to enter attractions, use the toilets or buy food as guidelines are followed.
- Pack your bag for the day with safety in mind as well. Snacks and hand sanitizer, the two things a mum can never be without these days!
- Consider packing picnics and enjoying eating outdoors whilst the weather holds.
- If the weather doesn’t hold, pack waterproofs and embrace the muddy puddles!
We are so lucky here in Cardiff and all across Wales to have so many family friendly attractions and parks. To give you some ideas for places you could be going with the family, I’ve included some of the places in or near Cardiff that we love to go – but you may have your own favourites and supporting your local businesses and attractions is important.
Some of my favourite local places to visit safely this summer half-term
St Fagans National Museum of History
I only live a few minutes away from St Fagans museum, so it’s somewhere we have always gone very regularly – and several times since the most recent lockdown ended. This museum is something unique and very special, as it celebrates Welsh life mostly outside, in historical buildings which create a village and farm. It also has fascinating indoor galleries, full of items of historical significance to Wales. There are also two playgrounds, with swings, climbing areas and sand pit, as well as multiple options for refreshments, so it’s a great day out to combine education and entertainment. Entry is completely free but you do have to book your free ticket on the website so they can safely manage numbers, with car parking costing £6. We have an annual car parking pass which is £25, allowing you unlimited visits.
Cardiff National Museum
If you have a little boy or girl who is interested in dinosaurs, this is the place to be in Cardiff! We have found it run extremely well since indoor venues have re-opened. Booking a free ticket online in advance is very simple, and the one way system makes it very easy to socially distance whilst still seeing everything. Some of the galleries may be closed, including the upstairs section in the natural history museum when we visited, so we didn’t spend as much time here as usual, but as a half-day out, it’s perfect. It puts you right in the middle of Cardiff city centre too, full of parks and opportunities to support local cafe’s and restaurants, most of which offer outside seating should the weather be co-operating!
Cefn Mably Farm Park
You might have heard that Cefn Mably Farm Park in St Mellons was devastated by floods before the pandemic – but now, it’s re-opened! We absolutely love this farm park and really appreciate the time and money that the owners have put into restoring the site so that families have somewhere to play and see animals up close. Living in the city can make it hard for children to really connect with nature, so getting up close and personal with the ponies, donkeys, sheep, cows, alpaca, pigs and more is fantastic.
At the moment only the outdoor areas are open as they’re still rebuilding the soft play, but that means it feels very safe and well organized, with loads of space to run and play. Brand new to the park is a miniature train which you can ride through the paddocks, as well as a new mini golf course. You’ll need to book tickets in advance, and I was very impressed with their COVID checks, including temperature checks on the way in when we visited.
If you haven’t been to Cosmeston Lakes in the last few months you absolutely have to go and check out their brand new playground, it is amazing! I’d say this is now one of – if not the best – playground in South Wales personally.
On top of that this is a fantastic family-friendly walk, with easy trails if you have little ones, or longer hikes if you can manage it. There’s loads of wildlife to see and we always take our own swan and duck food, which they appreciate. It’s a real treat for us to see the cormorants out sunning themselves as well. This is a totally free day out, even the parking is currently free, with public toilets and a cafe currently serving takeaway. There’s loads of picnic benches near the playground for picnics.
Barry Island Beach (and other beaches across South Wales)
The weather may not always co-operate, but I think there’s nothing better than a day on the beach even if it’s still a bit chilly. South Wales has an absolutely amazing coastline. My favourite beach will always be Barry Island Beach, it’s a classic open seafront with a wide swathe of sandy beach, some rides suitable for small children, arcades and tons of local independent businesses to support. It does get busy in the summer, so if you’re looking for something a little more peaceful, my second favourite beach, and one we’ll definitely be going to this half term is Ogmore-by-the-Sea, which allows dogs all year around, so you can bring the whole family including furry companies. It doesn’t have quite the same entertainment facilities as Barry Island Beach, but the car park is right on the cliff, and who needs more than a rugged coastline, public toilets and an ice cream van for a fantastic day out, not us!
Other options for easily reachable family-friendly beaches include Trecco Bay, Rest Bay and Sandy Bay Beach along the Porchcawl seafront (no dogs), as well as Newton beach, which connects across the dunes to Ogmore Beach, and allows dogs. If you’re heading down Porthcawl way, you should see if Coney Island Funfair is open during your visit and book in advance if you fancy a trip to a classic family funfair.
I hope that these local attractions have given you some ideas for places to go this half term, but I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments. I hope you have a fantastic and safe half-term and can really make some wonderful memories.