Whilst on holiday in Anglesey, we used our national trust membership twice. We had one day at Plas Newyyd which I wrote about after our visit at Easter. The other national trust site we visited was Penrhyn castle just outside Bangor, North Wales.
As soon as we left the A55 we spotted the large castle in the distance. We were using the satnav for directions but it soon became clear these were unnecessary as the castle was so big we were left in no doubt about which direction to take.
Once we’d parked up and loaded up the pushchair we headed to the information office. The staff in there were really helpful and friendly. They gave us information about Penrhyn castle and a map. They were also great with F and gave her a 50 things to do before your 11 and 3/4 booklet and some ideas for things she could do on her visit.
We headed up the hill to the impressive neo-gothic castle. From the top of the hill, it was difficult to decide which way to look. The castle is huge and impressive but if you turn round the views over the North Wales coast are stunning and equally demanding of your attention.
We didn’t get long to admire the view though. F had heard the words “adventure playground” and there was only one place she wanted to be. So off we went past the castle, through the picnic area and into the woods. Here we found a lovely play area and a couple of picnic trails. E was a big fan of the swing and F enjoyed parts of the assault course and the sea saw (her rocket, she has a great imagination right now).
After a picnic, we head to the gardens for a bit of a wander before the sky turned grey and we heard the distant sound of thunder. Fortunately, we were expecting the rain so we headed to explore the Victorian kitchens. Here we saw rooms set out as we would have been with lots of pretend food. We sampled treacle scones that a volunteer was busy making using a 1950s recipe that she had modified by adding more sugar and an egg. They were delicious and not a type of scone I’d seen before.
We stopped for a drink and slice of cake in the cafe before exploring the railway museum. F enjoyed seeing the traditional steam engines and on the opposite side of the courtyard is a small room of miniature trains.
Finally, before leaving we had a quick look around the castle interior. To be honest, I’m not a fan of touring stately homes and castles and prefer the outdoor side of national trust properties. There were teddy bears hidden in most rooms for children to spot and I believe there were quizzes for older children. There is also a temporary large scale, inflatable sculpture on display in the castle as part of an exhibition called slate or state. This is on until the 5th November.
Overall we had a great day out at Penrhyn castle. If the weather had been drier there was plenty more of the grounds we would have liked to have explored. If you’re in the area and wondering where to explore, it’s worth considering Penrhyn castle. They’ve got plenty of activities on over the summer too. Sundays are camp Penrhyn (nature trails, archery, camping skills and outdoor games). Mondays are wild nature (wild art, pond dipping, bug hunting and animal tracking). Thursdays are inspired by Oliver Jeffers the great paper caper with trails, story telling and crafts. I wish we lived nearer as I love the sound of all 3 of these. For more details visit the national trust website.
Our top tips or visiting Penrhyn castle:
- The grounds are suitable for pushchairs and prams. If you want to explore the walled garden fully, you need to go back out the gates at the top and walk down the edge to explore the lower parts.
- Picnics are welcome and there are plenty of tables.
- There is a lovely cafe too.
- The railway museum is very small so won’t take a long time to see.
- The toilet and baby change facilities in the court yard were quite dated and cramped but they were clean.
- For up to date information about events, prices and opening hours check their website.