From exciting craft activities and natural play areas to fun family trails and winter wildlife spotting, there are a whole host of family adventures to be had at the places cared for by National Trust Cymru this February half term.
In North Wales see how many things you can tick off your winter spotter sheet at Bodnant Garden, gather your courage and venture down into the two-level dungeons at Chirk Castle, run wild the natural play areas at Erddig and Penrhyn Castle, or join in the scavenger hunt at Plas Newydd.
In Mid Wales, meet Llanerchaeron’s Llanwenog sheep and Seren and Tomos the 19-year-old Welsh cobs, or hunt for the hidden clues in the garden at Powis Castle. Can match them to the right animal?
In South Wales celebrate ‘Y mis bach’ (a little month) by taking on Dyffryn Garden’s Y Mis Bach Bingo trail, roll up your sleeves and get creative making a new wallpaper for Newton House at Dinefwr, or pick up a Creative Kit at Tredegar House and make your own work of art to add to the half term display or to put in pride of place at home.
Chirk Castle and Garden, Wrexham
Grab a free bug spotting sheet from the ticket office and embrace the world of creepy crawlies at Chirk Castle this February half term. From bugs with wings, spots, and long antennas, how many will you spot hidden around the garden and estate? Will you be able to hop high like a grasshopper or fly like a ladybird too?
Afterwards, head to the medieval Adam Tower, where signs of the castle’s historic past can be still seen. Have fun dressing up in armour, go on the hunt for medieval murderholes or garderobes (or toilets to you and me), and venture down into the two-level dungeons… if you’re brave enough!
Don’t miss the chance to run wild in the outdoor play area at Home Farm too. Conveniently located next to the Kiosk which serves hot and cold drinks and snacks and has ample outdoor seating, it’s a great place to stop to run off some energy or rest before continuing your winter wander.
- From 1 Feb: garden, Adam Tower, shop and café open daily 10am-4pm. Kiosk times vary – please check on arrival. The castle is open daily from 4 March 12noon-4pm. Normal admission prices apply.
Food cooked over an open fire always seems to taste better, especially when it’s a marshmallow, so head to Erddig’s Timber Yard to warm your hands and enjoy this delicious pick-me-up on Friday 16 and Friday 23 February, 11am-2pm.
On Wednesday 14 and Wednesday 21 February, drop into the Education Room and craft your very own garden creature to take home. Using natural materials, what will you make? A frog, a bird, a snail, or something else?
Don’t forget to visit Wolf’s Den, the natural playground, which will be reopening just in time for half term. Here, you’ll let off plenty of steam as you fly on the rope swing, climb over obstacles, balance across beams, and enjoy hours of family fun.
- Open daily: house 11.30am-3pm (last entry 30 minutes before closing) and garden, Hayloft Restaurant and shop 10am-4pm. Wolf’s Den open daily from 10 February, 10am-4pm. Normal admission prices apply, plus £2 per marshmallow kit.
Penrhyn Castle and Garden, Bangor
Set high on the hill with views out to Eryri (Snowdonia), the estate surrounding Penrhyn Castle is the perfect place to let loose this February half term.
Pull on your wellies or walking boots and set off on an adventure as you follow the Woodland Trail and discover more about the myths and legends surrounding Welsh trees. With the snowdrops appearing left right and centre, there’s no better time to slow down and immerse yourself in nature.
As you explore, be sure to seek out the two different play areas. The first, a natural woodland play area complete with balance beams can be found through a secret archway in the car park by the Cwt Ogwen bird hide, while the Adventure Playground with climbing ropes can be found nestled in Rook Wood near the Walled Garden.
- Open daily from 10 February: garden, shop and Victorian Kitchens 10am-4pm, café 10.30am-3.30pm. Normal admission prices apply.
Plas Newydd House and Garden, Anglesey
The Grade I listed landscape at Plas Newydd is made up of 40 acres of garden and 129 acres of woodland and parkland, and with amazing views across the Menai Strait and onto the peaks of Eryri (Snowdonia) it’s the ideal place to spot some winter wildlife this February half term.
Wrap up warm, gather your family and friends, and pick up a scavenger hunt sheet from Visitor Reception. It’ll take you on an adventure around the parkland and as you watch birds preparing their nests for spring you’ll gather some inspiration for building your own.
As you explore see if you can catch sight of a red squirrel in Church Bank Wood or visit one of the two hides along the paths by the Menai Strait, where you can watch the huge variety of birdlife both in the woodland behind and along the shoreline.
- From 10 February: house open at weekends 11am-3pm (last entry 30 minutes before closing), garden and shop open daily 10.30am-5pm and Old Dairy Café open daily 10am-4.30pm. From the 26 February onwards house is open daily, 11am-3.30pm. Normal admission prices apply.
Bodnant Garden, Conwy
With over 8 miles of paths to discover, there are acres of space to explore at the world-renowned Bodnant Garden, so wrap up warm and burn off some excess energy as you set off on a family winter adventure. Remember to pick up a Winter Spotter Sheet from Visitor Reception when you arrive – from bright red dogwoods to robins and woolly hats, see how many things you can tick off as you go.
Don’t miss the beautiful displays of snowdrops, or ‘Lili Wen Fach’ in Welsh, as you explore. They’re a real seasonal highlight and can be found in dramatic swathes of white spilling from the Old Park Meadow and through the Yew Dell, right down to the Far End and the Willow Worm maze and picnic area.
- Garden and café open daily 10am-4pm. Last entry to the garden 3.30pm. Normal admission prices apply.
Enjoy a brisk winter walk around the estate and explore the farm and garden, see the bare structures of the parkland trees in their full glory, and admire the frost making its way around the lake where overwintering ducks are settled.
Let the little ones explore nature as they see how many activities they can tick off their ’50 things to do before you’re 11 and ¾’ list and meet the traditional farmyard animals that call this place home, including pigs, bird fowl, Llanwenog sheep, and Seren and Tomos the 19-year-old Welsh cobs.
Inside, discover the elegant Georgian Villa and learn about life below stairs as you discover the Service Courtyard complete with its dairy, bakehouse, salting room, and dry laundry room or go head-to-head with family and friends in the Old Billiard Room as you play Ping Pong, table football, or dominos.
- Open Wednesday-Sunday from 14 February: house, Geler Jones Collection and second-hand bookshop 11am-2.30pm, gardens, farmyard, lake 11am-3pm. Normal admission prices apply.
- The car park and woodland walks are open all year round, 9.30am-5pm.
Powis Castle and Garden, Welshpool
Gather your family and friends and get active as you discover the world-famous terraced garden at Powis Castle. As you explore, hunt high and low for different facts about a fox, a hare and a toad and see if you can guess which belongs to which animal. Keep an eye out for spring wildlife along the way too – from lively rabbits hopping through snowdrops to red kites soaring above the medieval castle, there’s plenty to see.
On Thursday 15 February join the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust in a whole host of creative activities. Create your own picture of a bird using natural materials such as sticks and leaves, make a bird feeder for your own garden, and don’t miss the chance to take a closer look at some real birds’ nests too. There’s something to keep everyone busy.
Afterwards, visit the Courtyard Café which offers something for everyone. From delicious lunches, cakes, and homemade scones to a children’s menu and gluten free options, you’re sure to find something to warm you up after being out in the fresh February air.
- Open daily: garden, shop and café 10am-4pm, castle and Clive Museum 11am – 4pm (last entry 30 minutes before closing). Normal admission prices apply.
Visit the magnificent Newton House at the heart of the Dinefwr estate this February and blow away the winter cobwebs with a whole host of half term family fun.
Hunt hight and low as you explore the house to see how many hidden Lego figures you can find, get creative with different drawing activities in the Basement, or on Thursday 15 February join the very special ‘Patterns of Dinefwr’ printing and painting workshop. Inspired by the hand painted wallpaper in their Archaeology of Home exhibition, you can roll up your sleeves and add your own contribution to a special Newton House wallpaper that will later be displayed in the Ale Cellar for others to see.
Elsewhere, play a range of board games in the Drawing Room, sip on tasty hot chocolates in the Café, enjoy lots of puddle splashing on a welly walk in the parkland, or explore Dinefwr Castle, the 12th-century fortress under the care of CADW.
- Open daily. Newton House and the Café 10.30am-3.30pm, parkland 10am-4pm, Dinefwr Castle 10am-3pm. Normal admission prices apply.
Dyfffryn Gardens, Cardiff
This peaceful oasis on the outskirts of Cardiff, has something new waiting to be discovered on every visit. The gardens host several different styles inspired by countries from all over the world and includes an arboretum, a glass house, and a walled garden.
In Welsh, February is sometimes known as ‘Y mis bach’, meaning a little month, and this February half term families will be able to celebrate it by joining the Y Mis Bach Bingo trail. Simply pick-up a trail leaflet from the Welcome Centre and keep your eyes peeled for the clues and fun activities hidden across the garden – they’re guaranteed to keep the whole family entertained whilst helping you learn all about what little things happen in this special garden during winter.
Before you head home, don’t miss the chance to let off steam as you run wild in the Log Stacks, the two natural play areas. Balance along enormous tree trunks, climb across obstacle, hop over stepping stones, and build dens – there’s hours of fun to be had.
- Open daily: garden and second-hand bookshop 10am-4pm, shop 10.30am-3.45pm, Gardens Café 10am-3.30pm. Normal admission prices apply.
Tredegar House, Newport
Situated within 90 acres of beautiful gardens and parkland, this delightful red brick house is one of the architectural wonders of Wales and an ideal setting for a fantastic day out this February half term.
Pick up a Creative Kit with colouring books, sketchpads, paints, or crayons and take inspiration from the house or garden to make your own work of art to add to the half term display or to take with you to put in pride of place at home.
Inside the house step back in time as you try on traditional outfits, use puppets to create your own story or reenact some from Tredegar’s past, and spot the daffodils hidden high and low in the rooms.
Outside, pick up an Explorer Backpack complete with binoculars, a compass, a magnifying glass, insect observation equipment and a seasonal spotter book and see what you can find during your visit – from new life growing in the flower beds to insects burrowing in dead leaves, there’s plenty to discover.
- Open daily. From 10 February: house 12noon-3.30pm, garden 11.30am-4pm, tea-room 10am-4pm and parkland dawn to dusk. Normal admission prices apply.