The largest natural lake in Wales is the ideal place to cool off on a sunny day. There’s a steam railway along the shores, and the full monty of watersports on the lake itself, whose 1km width makes it a favourite for sponsored swims.
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Pembrokeshire’s offshore islands are bird sanctuaries of world importance, and a clifftop picnic on Skomer, among the wild flowers, with thousands of sea birds wheeling overhead, while seals bask on the rocks below, is a fabulous experience.
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The impossibly pretty Monmouthshire & Brecon canal runs for 35 miles along the edge of the Brecon Beacons. There are several boat hire fleets along the way, from which you can hire a day boat or canoe and enjoy a memorable potter (at a top speed of 4mph…).
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The mountain biking in Wales is world-class, and here’s where it all started, in the wooded hills of Snowdonia. You don’t have to be a Lycra-clad warrior to enjoy it, though: there are easy trails that are specifically designed for families and beginners to make a gentle start.
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The red kite is now so common over Mid Wales that they’re a constant presence in the skies. But seeing them en masse – several hundred at a time, at a kite-feeding centre like Gigrin Farm - is still one of the most awesome sights that British nature has to offer.
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For a good run-around and a picnic in glorious garden surroundings, Dyffryn Gardens is hard to beat. The National Trust’s newest Welsh acquisition has gardens and an arboretum with just the right kind of nooks, hidey-holes and water features that children love.
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The huge greenhouse at the Garden’s heart looks like a spaceship has crashed into the Towy Valley, and there are always events to appeal to kids: Pond Dipping Mondays, Going Green Tuesdays, Time Travelling Wednesdays, Creepy Crawly Thursdays … you get the picture. It’s stunningly beautiful, too.
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The sun’s out, so let’s go skiing. Makes sense, right? The slope at Pembrey Country Park is one of many things to do on a sunny day, including crazy golf, train rides, adventure play, horse riding, nature trails and a whopping eight-mile dune-backed beach.
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Quite apart from the classy stately-home-and-garden thing, the National Trust has devised lots of child-friendly activities here: wilderness walks, ranger trails, treasure hunts, and games on the croquet lawn. Rolling down the grassy slopes, while saying ‘Wheee!’, is also strongly encouraged.
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Heading along two major viaducts via a waterfall and an ancient forest, this journey to the peak of Snowdon takes on volcanic rock and sea, ending at a visitor centre with marvellous views across Snowdonia. Exorcise the ghosts of run-of-the-mill train trips on one of the most spectacular journeys you’ll take.
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