If there is one thing more difficult than parenting, then it is parenting during a global pandemic! Having been under various lockdowns for the past year, going out for a walk in the fresh air is more important than ever. It clears the head, makes me feel less anxious, gives me a boost of energy, and for my two year old, it’s a chance to see new sights and sounds, to grasp the world around him, and his favourite part; the chance to have a delicious snack in a cafe at the end of the walk. So here are my favourite walks that include suitable cafés along the route...
One of my favourite walks goes around Caernarfon's historic town. Not to mention the majestic castle that stands firmly in the centre, there are plenty of other things to see and do on your journey too, which are sure to keep little ones busy!
Why not start in front of the castle, from the car park, where you’ll see children crabbing by the water, and hear the cry of seagulls looking for food from people enjoying their ice cream or chips! You can walk over the Aber Swing Bridge, which extends like a long arm over the River Seiont, and turn right towards the Foryd. Just two minutes later, you'll find the entrance to Coed Helen Park, which includes a football pitch, a cricket pitch and most importantly, a children's park! There are plenty of things for the little ones to use here, as well as a skate park for the older children.
Alternatively, you can bypass the bridge, walk along Caernarfon Promenade and enjoy the spectacular views of the Menai and Anglesey, rain or shine. After a while, you'll arrive at Doc Fictoria, with boats bobbing in the harbour and the late afternoon sunset making you feel like you're on holiday abroad!
After walking around the Doc, in the company of walkers and fishermen, you can head back towards the town for Palace Street, full of its different and independent shops. At the end of the walk, one thing's for sure - I'll have a craving for hot chocolate and cake, and if you go to the end of the street and turn right, you'll find Caffi Gray-Thomas; a nice, relaxing family café, directly opposite the castle. There is plenty of space for prams as well as plenty of delicious treats to choose from!
Holyhead Breakwater Country Park
It’s hard to believe that this park is near the hustle and bustle of Holyhead town and port, because it is such a quiet and tranquil spot. It’s located on the site of an old quarry, from which the stones were used to build the town’s breakwater, the longest in Europe at 2.3km long.
The park has plenty of footpaths, giving you the opportunity to appreciate the variety of wildlife around you, such as seabirds and peregrine falcons, and the fluttering butterflies. The park also boasts beautiful flowers, and Llyn Llwynog is home to wild ducks and moorhens, as well as model boats - something that is sure to catch your child's eye. The park is a perfect place to enjoy a picnic, or you can go to Caffi’r Parc on site - the old converted park warden's house.
Coed Cyrnol, Tysilio Island and the Belgian Promenade, Menai Bridge
This is a nice walk that starts in a small forest on the Menai Straits, between Menai Suspension Bridge and Tysilio Island. Coed Cyrnol and this section of the Menai Straits running alongside it is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, as well as a Marine Conservation Area, making it a place to see nature at its best; from the seals in the Straits, to the red squirrels in the forest. The path through the woods brings you to the side of the Menai Straits, and it is here that I continue to Tysilio Island, where the tiny Church of St Tysilio sits.
After this, you can go back the same way you came, or you can walk along the Belgian Promenade, built by the Belgian refugees of the First World War, and towards the town, where there are plenty of great cafés to choose from, including the delicious Dylan’s restaurant. This restaurant is very convenient for parents with prams, with their extremely tasty menus for parents and children alike! I have gone on this walk several times, and never tire of the scenery, whatever time of day you venture on it.
Dingle Nature Reserve to Llyn Cefni, Llangefni
This is a walk through a wooded and peaceful area that leads you to Llyn Cefni. It's a popular route as it's so accessible, and even though there are some steep climbs on the route, you’ll definitely feel fitter at the end of it!
In the shades of the forest and the whisper of the leaves, you'll hear the River Cefni flowing and the woodpeckers busy at work, as well as seeing the vibrant colours of the beautiful flowers that accompany you along the route. You may be lucky and even spot the red squirrel keeping watch! When you arrive at Llyn Cefni Reservoir, there's more than enough room to sit down and have a break, giving you the opportunity to enjoy the amazing view ahead!
Llandudno prom and pier
For something completely different to the tranquillity of the nature reserves, Llandudno's busy promenade and pier is a hive of activity, but also perfect for a pram stroll. The prom leads to the pier, the longest in Wales, where there are plenty of sounds and sights to entice your kids! There are arcades, a small children's fair, food cabins, ice cream cabins, and the little shops you'll usually find on a pier.
Seagulls are well known for stealing food from the pier walkers, so if you want to enjoy a panad and a bite to eat in peace, why not visit Blend, a café on Clonmel Street, which is a very popular meeting place for mums and their babies. After a walk in the sea air, your child (and you) will have a good night’s sleep for sure!
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