World Bog Snorkelling Championships
The 33rd World Bog Snorkelling Championships is a highlight of a whole season of daft events that make up the World Alternative Games, staged over two weeks in August in the little town of Llanwrtyd Wells. Some of the contests are aimed purely at youngsters – like Pooh Sticks and Rock, Paper, Scissors. For others, like the Wife Carrying Championships, you’ll need to supply a wife.
Rafting the Tryweryn
Here’s another way to cool off: by plunging into the rapids of the River Tryweryn at the National White Water Centre near Bala. The river’s flow is controlled by releasing water from a dam, so there’s white water all year round, even when other rivers are dry. Try the Family Raft Safari, which is ideal for ages 10 and up.
Heavenly ice cream
After a day in the August sun the best way to cool off is with an ice cream from Heavenly, a fabulously old-fashioned sweet shop in the market town of Llandeilo, whose ices come in stunning flavours. Our current favourite is Lime and Stem Ginger. Or Wild Strawberry Ripple. We haven’t decided, but urgent research still continues.
A family cottage holiday
The beautiful coastline around Wales is perfect for a summer holiday cottage. Cottages are often only a short drive away from picturesque seaside towns and award winning beaches where families can frolic all day long building sandcastles and rock pooling. Much of Wales’ coastline is a watersports haven so it’s also a great opportunity for kids to learn to surf, go coasteering or sea kayaking. Make your summer holiday one to remember.
Manor House Wildlife Park
Children love the walkthrough enclosures of wallabies and lemurs at Manor House Wildlife Park near Tenby. The meerkats and rhinos are also a big draw, as are the indoor and outdoor play areas, while Anna herself is often around, chatting with visitors about the Park’s strong conservation message.
Canoeing on the Wye
Hay-on-Wye is the starting point for this international travel odyssey. You hire canoes (or kayaks, or they can strap two Canadian canoes together to form a family raft) and head downstream on the beautiful River Wye. For most of the journey, the left bank of the river is Welsh, while the right is English. At the end of your half-or full-day trip (it’s your choice) they’ll pick you up and drive you back to base on the Welsh side of the border. Oh, and don’t forget to pack a picnic.
Stand-up paddle boards originated in Hawaii, and it’s now the most popular form of surfing off the California coast. Its great advantage is that you can catch much smaller waves, and also explore flat-calm inland waterways. The sport is catching on fast in Wales, too, and you can try it at plenty of places along our 850-mile coastline, from Rhos-on-Sea in the north to Gower in the south.
Offas Dyke was built by 9th century King Offa to defend his Wessex kingdom from the Welsh. A 177-mile National Trail runs the entire length of the old England-Wales border, but for a weekend taster, head for the mid-way point and the towns of Knighton and Presteigne. Together they’re perfectly geared up for a weekend’s gentle exploration of this lovely landscape. The Knighton Show & Carnival happens on August Bank Holiday weekend, too.
Climb up Tryfan
Tryfan looks like a giant stegosaurus, its spiny back rising dramatically from the side of the A5 in the Ogwen Valley. It’s a short, sharp, brilliant clamber to the top – a reasonably fit family can be up and down in around three hours. The final approach to the summit is quite a scramble, though, and not suitable for pre-teens. Enjoy the breath-taking views, which include an aerial view of Llyn Bochlwyd, a lake that’s shaped curiously like Australia.