Activity holidays for families
What makes Wales one of the best places for family multi activity holidays in the UK?
Well, our great outdoors gives us a big head start. Mighty peaks, sparkling seas and rushing rivers are just waiting to be explored. And we pack lots into a small space. Spend a week in Wales and you could fit in mountain biking, hiking, paddling and even ziplining and caving!
Of course, the cost of activity holidays for families can add up. With excellent campsites, cottages and B&Bs at reasonable prices and great value eateries and pubs, you get lots more for your money on a family adventure holiday in Wales.
Family watersports holidays
Adventure holidays in Wales often involve getting wet! You'll find all sorts of great options here for family watersports adventures.
Canoeing and kayaking
Sea, rivers, lakes - kayaking and canoeing breaks in Wales come in all varieties. Experienced paddlers can opt for multi-day adventures, camping overnight under the stars, or taking to the waves in canoes around the coastline.
Read more: Kayaking trips in Wales.
Hardened surf nuts love it here, but Wales is also an ideal place to learn to surf. With our gently shelving beaches, your kids will have heaps of time to catch their first wave. Once they gain confidence there are plenty of intermediate and more challenging breaks to master too.
Surfability UK surf school run fully accessible surfing lessons and experiences on Gower all year round for people with additional needs due to disability, illness, injury or learning difficulties.
Read more: Top surfing spots for beginners.
Rafting and RIB riding
For something faster paced, try whitewater rafting. There's a range of levels here too - including the purpose-built descents at Cardiff International Whitewater Centre where they can vary the water flow from fast to utterly furious and the natural rapids of the River Tryweryn at the National Whitewater Centre in North Wales.
If paddling feels like too much hard work, opt for the high speed thrills of a RIB ride on the Menai Strait in North Wales. As well as powering along with the wind screaming through your hair, you'll take in the famous rapids known as the Swellies.
Read more: Trips on water to float your boat.
Coasteering is perfect for family adventure holidays. You explore the coastline by scrambling, swimming and jumping in. You're kitted out with a wetsuit, gloves, boots, helmet and buoyancy aid. It's essential to go with a qualified guide to keep you safe and to make sure you don't damage the shoreline or disturb wildlife.
Whilst you don't need to be a strong swimmer, you do need to be confident in the water. And because you're so buoyant, there are few limits to who can have a go. Operators like Celtic Quest Coasteering offer accessible coasteering trips catering for a wide range of people, from deaf, blind, hearing and visually impaired kids and adults, to those with additional learning needs.
Read more: Thrilling coasteering adventures.
Adrenaline activities for families with teens
Wales is a hotspot for adrenaline junkies! On activity holidays for teenagers in Wales, you can zoom through the air at 100 miles per hour, explore underground on huge trampolines, or abseil down a waterfall.
Gorge walking in Wales
Gorge walking - also known as canyoning or scrambling - involves exploring rocky mountain streams by swimming and climbing along them and abseiling down them. It's exhilarating stuff and can involve jumping from heights and getting extremely wet!
It's essential to go with an accredited guide to make sure you stay safe. You'll be kitted out with a wetsuit, buoyancy jacket, helmet and often boots and gloves too.
There are lots of places to try it, including the Brecon Beacons in Mid Wales, Cardigan Bay in West Wales and Eryri (Snowdonia) in North Wales.
Read more: Gorge walking in Wales.
Wales is one of the world's best ziplining destinations. For these kinds of activity holidays, North Wales used to be the hotspot, but a new location in South Wales means you're never far from your next high speed thrill.
In North Wales, Zip World Llechwedd and Penrhyn Quarry offer high speed thrills soaring above old slate quarries on some of the world's fastest, longest zips. Seated four abreast or flying like Superman at 100mph - the choice is yours. At Zip World Tower in South Wales you can ride the world's fastest seated zip across a sparkling reservoir.
All of these heart-pumping experiences are very popular so it's essential to book in advance.
High ropes adventures
Fancy hanging out in the forest, surrounded by the wonders of the natural world?
There are lots of high ropes activity centres in Wales. At places like Zip World Fforest near Betws Y Coed and Ropeworks near Llanberis you can swing and zoom between the trees on all sorts of nets and zips and plunge earthwards on huge Tarzan swings.
This is another one to book in advance.
Read more: Learn the ropes with the family.
Wales has a long history of mining and you can explore deep underground in some of the disused slate mines.
There's Bounce Below and Caverns on the same site as Zip World Llechwedd where you bounce on vast trampolines and traverse huge caverns on zipwires, rope bridges and on a via ferrata. There are even plans to open the world's first underground golf course here!
Go Below offers climbing, abseiling and ziplining adventures underground in Snowdonia. And you'll also learn about the rich history of mining in Wales with guided expeditions through ancient tunnels at places like Corris Mine Explorers.
Read more: Exploring the underground secrets of Wales.
Family cycling holidays in Wales
We have some of the world's best terrain for serious riders, but there are also lots of easier pedals around lakes and through forests. Basically, if your kids are happy in the saddle, there will be something just for them.
For a real challenge, try the gnarly descents at the old slate mine at Antur Stiniog - they're sure to get your pulse racing.
Places like Coed Y Brenin, Afan Forest Park and Coed Llandegla offer miles of trails from greens for beginners to blacks for serious bike-addicts. They're ideal if you have kids with different levels of ability. All have cafés and bike and gear hire too.
If you’d like to do a fully organised family cycling holiday, Wheely Wonderful Cycling offers trips for children at various levels of ability. Bikes, safety gear, accommodation, luggage transfer and route maps included.
Family adventure tours
Rather than organising your family adventure holiday yourself, you can opt for a provider to do it. Adventure Tours UK has multi-centre family adventure tours packed with activities like kayaking, coasteering and rafting. Preseli Venture offers eco-lodge accommodation coupled with watery activities on the spectacular Pembrokeshire coast. Elan Valley Lodge activity centre has comfy lodge accommodation surrounded by lakes and valleys where you can do canoeing, raft-building and high ropes courses. Adventure Britain outdoor pursuits centre in the Brecon Beacons provides cosy bunkhouse accommodation with activities like mountain biking, gorge walking and abseiling.
Stay safe on active holidays in Wales
Exploring the outdoors on a family multi-activity holiday is fantastic fun and provides great opportunities for adventure activities, but do read up on the risks and make sure you are prepared.
- Follow these tips from the RNLI for staying safe on the Welsh coast,
- Visit AdventureSmart.uk for further information on how to stay safe whilst exploring Wales.