We’re always on the lookout for family days out in South Wales – places we haven’t been to, that we’ve read about or seen other people enjoy. One of our favourite places to visit is Carreg Cennen Castle, and we realised earlier this year that we hadn’t yet been with the boys. Making the most of a sunny winter’s day we hopped in the car and went dragon hunting.
Carreg Cennen is just outside Llandeilo, in Carmarthenshire, The castle is at the top of a hill and there’s a cafe / tea room at the bottom. The car park is free, which is always a bonus, and there’s a little hut half way up to pay for entry. If you fancy a different route you can turn off at the hut and go on more of a country walk.
We’d told our toddler we were going to look for a dragon, and Carreg Cennen is the perfect place for little imaginations to go wild. There’s a tunnel under the castle, and you can hire a torch at the hut … you could always use your phone for light, but you definitely need something as it’s pitch black down there!
The walk up is pretty gentle, but not suitable for buggies as some of the path is quite bumpy or doesn’t really exist. We took the Baby Bjorn carrier for our baby bear, which was ideal. Our biggest boy managed most of the walk up but ended up being carried down as it was a bit slippery – he was two-and-a-half at the time and it is a bit of a trek for little legs.
If it wasn’t for the tunnel I don’t think we’d have spent a great deal of time in the castle itself. There are some rooms to look in, and quite a big grassy area to play on, but we headed straight down the sloped passage opposite the main entrance to look for our dragon. There are quite a few steep steps, which was a bit of a mission with a baby and toddler and it’s very dark when you get to the bottom … again a bit of a mission with two little ones! But it’s worth it for the fun of exploring. Our toddler was convinced there was a dragon sleeping at the end of the tunnel, and went in again and again to see if he could find him. We eventually got him out of there…
As we knew we’d end up carrying both boys we’d decided not to take our changing bag up to the castle and left it in the car to lessen our load. It’s that bit too far to walk down and back up if you’ve left something behind, so it meant our adventure was cut slightly short as Stew had to take our littlest back down for his milk. He was happy enough looking around on the way up and down though.
After an hour or so, and about 20 minutes after Stew had gone I managed to convince our toddler it was time to head back down the hill for something to eat. The cafe does the best cawl (meat-free) I’ve ever had, and we have been known to drive to Carreg Cennen just for lunch. The cakes look pretty good too but I’ve always been too full after my soup, which comes with a huge chunk of bread and a lump of cheese. Just what you need after a bit of a climb!
I’d highly recommend Carreg Cennen Castle if you’re looking for a family day out in South Wales. The castle and tea rooms are open seven days a week. Entry is £5 per adult, £3.50 per child, £13.50 for a family ticket (two adults and up to three children), and a torch costs £1.50.