Snowdonia – National Parks
Events: Designed for those with limited paddling experience, The Big Canoe takes place on August 2 3 and offers a no-pressure environment in which to boost your knowledge, develop your skills and find out what the sport is all about. Try out a wide range of boats, from touring canoes and creaking bots to slalom kayaks. £160 for 2 days. www.pyb.co.uk
Enjoying: At 1,085m, Snowdon is the highest peak in Wales and England, with the most popular route being the nine-mile Llanberis path, which largely follows the Snowdon Mountain Railway track. Can’t quite face the trek? Hop on a heritage steam train and relax your way to the summit. www.snowdonrailway.co.uk
You could always take the kids to experience the world’s first people-powered rollercoaster or try your hand at constructing a shelter out of fallen branches at GreenWood Forest Park. Voted the best family attraction in North Wales in both 2011 and 2012, you’ll be hard-pressed to fit everything into one day. www.greenwoodforestpark.co.uk
Eating and sleeping: Food has been at the heart of Porth Tocyn since the Fletcher-Brewer family took over some 60 years ago. From the lobster salad to the smoked venison loin, this is one of the finest eateries in the region. If you needed further proof, they’ve won not one, but two AA Rosettes. Or try Bwyty Mawddach which places huge emphasis on fresh, locally sourced produce. www.porthtocynhotel.co.uk, www.mawddach.com
Right at the heart of the park lies Blaen-y-Buarth, a newly-restored cottage which sleeps six perched high above the remote Machno valley. Heated using a combination of ground source heat pump and Welsh wool insulation, the cottage has already made several television appearances. www.underthethatch.co.uk
Plan on visiting as part of a huge group? Pentre Bach consists of a main house and three separate cottages sleeping no less than thirty in total. Surrounded by the three and a half acres of gardens and fields and just a 10-minute walk to the beach. www.groupaccommodation.com
Pembrokeshire Coast – National Parks
Events: Organised for families who love exploring the great outdoors, today (Tuesday, July 30) why not join ranger Richard Vaughan to explore creatures that live in the magical woodlands and ponds surrounding Pentre Ifan.
The walk is free for adults and £3.50 per child. Described as ‘generally easy going’, those taking part in the walk are advised to bring wellies and waterproof jacket
For more information call 01834 845 040
Enjoying:Pembrokeshire’s coastline is one huge natural playground, with countless cliffs to climb, waves to surf and seas to paddle. There are no prizes for guessing what Haverfordwest-based Celtic Quest Coasteering specialise in, while Voyages of Discovery offer guided whale and dolphin trips. www.celticquestcoasteering.com, www.ramseyisland.co.uk
Preseli Venture have put together a six-night walking holiday that explores a particularly scenic 76-mile stretch of the famous Pembrokeshire Coast Path using the coastal bus service to get back and forth from their eco-lodge each day. www.preseliventure.co.uk
Eating and sleeping: Hidden in amongst Tenby’s cobbled streets and technicolour cottages, Plantagenet House is the oldest building in town and goes to great lengths to source their food as locally as possible, from Tenby-caught seafood to organic Welsh meats.
Or you could head over to Cwtch in St Davids, which was voted Best Restaurant in Wales by readers of the 2012 Good Food Guide. www.plantagenettenby.co.uk, www.cwtchrestaurant.co.uk
For a unique camping experience, Fforest Camp is more like sleeping in a hotel than a tent, albeit one with a canvas roof. Guests can bed down in anything from geodesic domes, campshacks, bell tents and even ‘threepis’ (like a tipi but three times as good, apparently) www.coldatnight.co.uk
Alternatively, Llys Meddyg is a Grade-II listed Georgian coaching house BB in Newport. Think Egyptian cotton sheets, local artworks on the walls, garden views and al fresco dining. www.llysmeddyg.com
Brecon Beacons – National Parks
Events: On Saturday walkers began an eight-day guided walk that stretches along the entire length (some 152km) of the stunning Beacons Way walking trail. The walk is led by Rob Knowles of the Brecon Beacons Society, who has been walking this route for over a decade. If you fancy joining him for a stretch, call 07971 190768.
The Brecon County Show takes place on August 3 and is the oldest county show in the UK. Expect over 200 trade exhibitors in attendance, countless exhibitions and plenty of activities to keep kids occupied. www.breconcountyshow.co.uk
Enjoying: Good Day Out is a brand new activity provider that gives a percentage of their profit to a variety of charities and good causes. Try your hand at canyoning and money goes to the Brecknock Wildlife Trust, or book onto a photography course to donate to Ty Hafan Children’s Hospice. www.gooddayout.co.uk
As one of only five destinations on the planet to have been awarded official ‘dark sky’ status, the Beacons really does beg to be enjoyed by the cover of darkness. Head out to Llangors Lake or the ruins at Llanthony Priory to experience the starry sky in all its heavenly glory. www.breconbeacons.org
Eating sleeping: If you’re looking for a bite to eat, Gliffaes – the Beacons’ only four star hotel – grow their own veg in the garden and have teamed up with local forager Adele Nozedar to dream up some inventive dishes.
Alternatively, you could always head to the Beacons Farm Shop or Black Mountains Smokery to rustle up your own artisan picnic. www.gliffaeshotel.com, www.beaconsfarmshop.co.uk, www.smoked-foods.co.uk
Brecon Beacons Holiday Cottages looks after more than 350 secluded accommodations within the park, from cosy bolt holes to huge family-friendly country homes.
They’ll even let you rent out Tomos, their brand new electric vehicle which is part of the Eco Travel Network, if you feel like doing a bit of low-carbon exploration. www.breconcottages.com, www.ecotravelnetwork.co.uk