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Paid Family Attractions easily reached from Tan yr Eglwys Cottages

We are so fortunate in this area to have an aray of fabulous places to visit, beaches, waterfalls and mountains with free access, Country Parks and Museums where the only payment is for car parking. There are National Trust and Cadw sites plus castles to visit. There are occasions however when a holiday period requires that one extra visit that commands an entry fee and is guaranteed to occupy the family for a full day.

There are a number of attractions that this describes, this information is gathered from our family experiences, tourism association visits or guest recommendations, but do check the attraction websites for up to date information.

Llanelli Wetland Centre.

Less than 20 miles away , a journey of 35 minutes on fast roads towards the Loughor Estuary is a 450 acre wetland site. Our memories are based on initial memories of a popular school trip destination. From the very early nursery years through primary school, this is an area of ponds, lakes and lagoons, an outdoor space for observing and learning about the birds and wildlife that live or visit there seasonally.

The great natural environment of water and great vistas, can also be a photographers dream. A visit will educate, there are local migrating birds to be observed from the hives plus a few added features such as the eye catching flamingoes, friendly ducks and geese to easily feed. There are wetland animals to spot, plus play areas to guarantee a day of fresh air. Additionally in Summer there are opportunities for canoe safaris and bike hire, helping to appeal to varying ages within the family.

The National Showcaves Centre for Wales

just a 25 minute car journey up the sparsely populated Swansea valley are “the Caves”. Having been familiar to us since the 1970’s, we have observed the development to a full day out where the spectacular caves are only one part of what can easily be a full day’s entertainment for all the family.

The setting within the Brecon Beacons backdrop is stunning, the site is on a hillside so not suitable for all. The entrance fee has been seen by some of our guests as expensive, but it is so easy to spend a full day here with so many different aspects to the visit and easily appeals to all ages and interests.

The spectacular caves formation and the tale of their discovery will interest adults whilst younger children will enjoy another level – spotting the 200 life sized dinosaurs dotted amidst the rugged landscape. Some of these are very impressive, whilst other smaller models, less so, but for a dinosaur loving family, there will be a great focus for the day. Additionally the Farm and Shire horse centre, the Bone Cave, Panning for Gold, the Fossil House and an Indoor Play Area will add interest and is a fabulous way to spend the day out of doors in a lovely scenic landscape, the Brecon Beacons a stunning backdrop in all seasons.

The Wales Ape and Monkey Sanctuary.

Just 20 minutes away up the Swansea valley from the cottages on a hillside farm, not far from Henrhyd Waterfall is a sanctuary, run by a husband and wife team who have been dedicated to this cause for the last 20 years. I personally have not visited since the early days when our own children were young. I would urge you to read the contrasting reviews and consider your personal viewpoint to the rescue work they undertake when considering a visit.

A slick zoo situation it is not, but a rescue centre for many animals! It could be the trigger to educate our next generation whilst also supporting their charity work, but each family may react differently. Do check out their website for entry charges etc.

Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo.

Further afield, but again a school trip favourite over the past decades, this attraction has developed on from its origins as a farm attraction to a large zoo experience. It is still undoubtedly a very entertaining safe environment for the younger family, the indoor playbarn and indoor vintage fairground making it an all weather venue.

This is undoubtedly a very popular and entertaining day out, they have been the destination for school trips and tourists for several decades and are ever popular.

Folly Farm is located just over 50 miles away to the West, along first the M4 then A477, usually a journey of well under 90 minutes. Guaranteed to have tired children on the homeward journey, stop off for fish and chips and a beach walk or later eat at Carmarthen.

Oakwood Theme Park

Sometimes there is a price to pay or a trade off with the lone teenager in the family? Oakwood is yet another Pembrokshire destination, some 90 minutes from the cottages, it is a favourite of the teenage years and is part of the Tesco Clubcard Scheme. there is appeal for all family ages, but the adrenaline fuelled thrills seem to particularly appeal to the teenage years.

Heatherton

Having mentioned Folly Farm and Oakwood, the third destination near to these in Pembroke is yet again a favourite destination for school trips, being down the M4 and A48 to the A477. The venue is open all year and unusually entry is free but the many activities are paid for by credit tokens – these offer better value when purchased on line in advance, but may also be purchased on the day.There are a variety of activities with different size, age, height restriction, making it suitable for a mixed age family. Activities may build confidence or simply entertain the younger children, whilst tiring out and developing new skills in the teen years.

The Red Kite feeding station at Llanddeusant

For a very different experience, just 20 miles away, is a magical and wild area where red kites can be seen being fed. However as this is a very scenic drive away, although it is said to take an hour to reach there, do allow a few stopping off points to admire the area and for the many photo opportunities. You can travel over the Mynydd Du (Black Mountain) via Brynaman and if weather allows enjoy a mountain stroll, possibly see the wild mountain ponies, sheep and cattle, reflect on the industrial history of the area and marvel as the landscape unfolds along the drive. Eventually the patchwork quilt of fields stretches to the horizon and the road descends towards Llanddeusant. There may have been hints at what occurs there every afternoon, as red kites sometimes soar above the mountain awaiting their organised feeding time.

Since 2002, at 2pm in Winter and 3pm in the summer, the red kites have been fed, generally between 50 to sometimes more than a hundred birds come to be fed, the spectacle appealing to wildlife enthusiasts, bird watchers, photographers and families. There is a charge, the numbers may be limited, there is a small charge and it is important to arrive 30-60 minutes beforehand. Seemingly the birds do not enjoy the rain and are known to sometimes shelter in the trees foliage and simply disappoint the visitors. As you observe from a hide, which has some bench seating, the location is in a field therefore dress suitably and warmly as the whole experience can be up to 2 hours long. There is disabled access, but it is also worth noting that whilst children are very welcome, noise is not acceptable as it disturbs the birds.

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