On a very sunny Saturday in June we took three generations of family to Margam Country Park, my son being the youngest at just 14 months. This is an 850 acre country estate located 2 miles outside Port Talbot, within easy driving distance of pretty much all of South and South West Wales.
Entry into Margam Country Park is free! Car parking was £5.60 per car and contactless payments were taken at the booth, making paying for parking a very quick job. If you’re a local visitor and think you’ll be coming regular, you can get a season pass offering unlimited parking for £30. It opens at 10am and we got there at 10:15am so were fairly close to the entrance. It’s worth noting if it’s a busy day or an event, the car parking field is quite large – when we were leaving we noticed some people had parked a good 10 minute walk from the entrance. Disabled parking is available much closer, so just let an attendant know if that’s what you need. Disabled visitors can also park up at the Castle, which I was pleased to see.
After we’d paid for parking and picked up a map we planned our day. There is a surprising amount to do here – way more than I’d anticipated. Isn’t it nice when you go somewhere not expecting much and it blows you away?
The Orangery, Abbey Ruins and Church
The 18th century Orangery is really impressive and if I’d known it existed ten years ago, I might have been tempted to have my wedding here, as what a photographic venue! It’s mostly an event venue now I think, but has some lovely fountains and gardens outside and really impressive and unique architecture. There’s also a citrus house, which is a greenhouse you can walk through with a wide array of citrus fruits – it smelled heavenly as you can imagine.
The Orangery at Margam Country Park
Just outside the Orangery are some Abbey ruins, an interesting historical spot that makes for fantastic photographs.
Ruins at Margam Country Park
A fantasy outlook through the forest at Margam Country Park
There’s a church you can go into which had an exhibition on the role of women in World War II when we visited.
Margam Castle, Gift Shop and Cafe
The castle is a folly – a 19th century, grade 1 listed Tudor mansion, with one section you can visit. There’s not much to see, but it’s still quite an impressive room with a flight of stairs leading upwards and some information on the history. I was very impressed by the stained glass windows! The flower garden outside was starting to bloom and already very attractive, but I look forward to coming back when all the flowers are out.
Flowers outside Margam Country Park Castle
Staircase in Margam Country Park Castle
Beautiful Stained Glass Window in Margam Country Park
We headed to the cafe to pick up some food for later. In retrospect we should have taken a picnic, as the cafe was quite limited in options and fairly expensive. None of us were massively impressed with our sandwiches, so if going in future I’d take my own food, especially as we ate it quite a lot later anyway. The gift shop was nice and I managed to buy a beautiful wind chime there as a gift for my mother. I was pleased to see lots of local offerings.
Fairy Tale Land Children’s Park
The children’s playground is called Fairy Tale land as it contains a series of miniature houses depicting fairytale themes and an adventure play castle. It also has the standard climbing frame, swings and slides you’d expect from a playground as well as picnic benches in the shade to grab a spot of lunch. Everyone seemed to be having a ton of fun here.
The farm is quite a long walk, including some hills. With my parents in law who are in their 70s, this walk took us about 30 minutes. We felt that the map was a little bit deceiving, as no indication was given of the distance. It’s totally not to scale! You definitely want to have at least 90 minutes spare to walk to the farm, see the animals and walk back again, so leave plenty of time. The walk is really very pleasant, first through a little wooded area, and then alongside fields, with musical statuettes along the way.
The farm itself is fairly basic – but certainly a draw for younger children. There were the standard farmyard animals you’d expect, chickens, ducks and other birds, sheep, shetland ponies and donkeys. As the temperature had hit 25c and was still rising, everyone was sleeping in the shade. That seemed like a very good idea, and we ate the sandwiches we’d bought earlier sitting on the grass in a shaded area.
And there’s even more to see in Margam Country Park
There were things I didn’t see, such as the Go Ape climbing facility (extra charge), lakes, forests and a train that you can ride to avoid some of the walk. There was cycling hire, canoe hire and the outside grounds are all dog friendly (on a lead). We didn’t see any deer, but apparently there are lots roaming the grounds, so that’s something to come back and spot next time. Although there’s not masses to do for really little ones, my 14 month old enjoyed crawling on the grass, having a go on the slide and swings, touching a donkey, and it’s all very pram-friendly. A lovely outdoor space, and I’m really surprised at the fact it’s free entry as there’s so much to do. Just be prepared for a lot of walking and take a picnic if you can!
We spent 5 hours there and will definitely be back to bask in this beautiful Welsh attraction. Margam Country Park gets five stars from us!
If this appeals to you, you might also like to read about Cefn Mably Farm Park, Victoria Park, Roath Park and Cosmeston Lakes – all in or close to Cardiff, and please consider following me on Instagram if you liked these photos.