Children have hardly been back in school five minutes and you find yourself quickly approaching another half term.
If you are edging out of the primary school years and teenager-dom is calling, finding an activity that entertains is one thing, but to find one that is so good and out of the ordinary they want to shout about it to all of their friends, will raise you to ‘star dad’ status.
Wales seems a good place to start – 2016 is Wales’ Year of Adventure and the North of the country has welcomed some fantastic adrenalin-fuelled attractions in recent years.
So here are our top 5, guaranteed to impress, school holiday activities:
On my ‘to do’ list, but I have it on good authority that this is indeed, as per the website, “the nearest thing to flying”. Not only is this the longest zip line in Europe, but the fastest in the world; you can expect to reach speeds in excess of 100mph.
Need to know: Minimum age 10 years. Can close in strong winds, so check before setting off.
Any activity that allows me to release my inner child is fine by me. Think giant trampolines, walkways, slides and tunnels all set in a subterranean underworld (aka Llechwedd Slate Caverns). If this doesn’t create ear-to-ear grins, I don’t know what will.
Need to know: Age 7 and above. Bounce Below Junior caters for 3-6 year olds. The added bonus of being underground? Weather will never stop play.
Ever signed your children up for a watersport session to arrive and find that conditions just aren’t right? The waves are guaranteed at the UK’s first inland surf lake. Beginners, intermediates and pros can all surf at the same time on different wave heights in this enormous lagoon in the Conwy Valley. Paddleboarding is also available.
Need to know: Beginner lessons for juniors are in three age categories – 5-7, 8-13, 14-17. On-site bar, restaurant, viewing area and soft play. Wet suits are available to hire, but take your own if you have them.
Adventure Powerboat Rides
Looking for something a little less strenuous? Combine sightseeing, seal spotting and a powerboat ride on an outing with RibRide along the Menai Straits between Anglesey and the mainland. Depending on your trip, you can travel through the Swellies (look out for whirlpools in the rushing current), under the two iconic bridges, or head out to Puffin Island to see the seal colony.
Need to know: Minimum age 4 years. Always wear an extra layer or two – think of the wind chill. .
Ok, so this is nothing new…..but sometimes the old ones are the best. When children are used to the confines of the local leisure centre, the freedom of scrambling over rocks and jumping into the surf is unparalleled. They can also learn about the geology, sea-life….and have some serious fun.
Some of the best spots in North Wales are around the coast of Holy Island, on Anglesey’s west coast. Try Surf-Lines for guiding and wetsuit hire.
Need to know: Your children need to be competent swimmers. Usual recommended minimum age is 8, but check with the provider.
Family-friendly accommodation: Plas Esgob, Rhoscolyn, Anglesey – coasteering from your door.
North Wales covers all bases when it comes to accommodation, from budget-conscious campsites to higher-end hotels. There is a great selection of holiday cottages in Wales too – from converted chapels, contemporary waterfront apartments and seaside cottages. Take your pick.