Sorry this is a bit last minute – we just got back from two weeks camping in Italy, so I’m writing this while dealing with all the holiday washing and generally catching up on life.
If you’ve not yet got plans got the August bank holiday weekend, here are some ideas of local family-friendly events in and around Cardiff. Do let me know if you’re planning on going to any of these. Plus let me know anything I have missed in the comments on my social media channels.
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All events are subject to change. Please check with organisers to avoid disappointment.
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City Hall Lawns, Cardiff
Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 August
As well as a fantastic line up of music acts on the main stages, and a youth area for 13-25 year olds, there are plenty of family-friendly activities at the family area in Alexandra Gardens, including Techniquest, WRU, Scouts, Savage DanZfit and Football Factory, plus Drag Queen Story Hour on the Sunday. Book tickets online. The Pride Cymru Parade takes place on Saturday, 11am. Register in advance to take part – or head along and watch the mile-long route through the city.
Butetown and Mermaid Quay, Cardiff
Sunday 28 August, 12pm-8pm, Monday 29 August 1pm-11pm
Two days of free Carnival activities at the Cardiff Bay’s waterfront, with live music on two stages – the Ffresh Stage between the Wales Millennium Centre and Pierhead Building and the ‘Senedd Stage’ on the steps of the Senedd building.
Sunday sees a carnival parade, starting at 12pm from Loudoun Square on Bute Street and ending at the Senedd building.
Activities for youngsters include face-painting, games and performances of multilingual dance theatre work Whimsy, which tells a children’s story through British Sign Language, Welsh and English.
Monday will see more free family activities including an animation workshop at the Senedd, circus skills workshops, and a mime performance, plus performances pn the Ffresh stage.
All of the above is free, although the finale performance in Wales Millennium Centre’s Donald Gordon Theatre at 8pm on Monday is a ticketed event, from £15.
25th Birthday Celebrations
The Red Dragon Centre, Cardiff Bay
Sunday 28 and Monday 29 August
Celebrate a quarter of a century of the entertainment complex, with a weekend of free family activities. On both Saturday and Sunday we can dive into a ball pit filled with 25,000 balls (10.30am-5.30pm), with opportunities to win prizes by finding the special silver balls, plus little ones can have their face painted from 12pm-4pm. Saturday will see staff from the centre each cycling 25 miles for charity partner One Great Day on exercise bikes from centre resident Simply Gym. Sunday will see Welsh artist extraordinaire Nathan Wyburn hosting art workshops for children where they can create self portraits using unusual ingredients. Plus you can check out the huge mural Nathan has created using photos from visitors over the last 25 years.
Events are free but donations are welcome to the centre’s chosen charity, One Great Day, which supports Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital and Ty Hafan.
Sabotage – No Fit State Circus
Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
Until 11 September
£20-£24 adults, £15-£17 concessions, £60-£65 family of four
Sabotage brings a darker, grittier, and more subversive edge to No Fit State Circus’s trademark large scale contemporary circus spectacular. Back in the Big Top with incredible new acts, original music, new apparatus and a more theatrical feel, Sabotage challenges the status quo. An energising, uplifting and socially relevant contemporary circus production., Sabotage explores our separation, and our belonging.
No Fit State describes Sabotage as “grown up circus, that is not unsuitable for children”.
Clifton Street Festival
Clifton Street, Adamsdown, Cardiff
Sunday 28 August, 11am-4pm
NoFit State in partnership with the community of Adamsdown present a day of celebration starting with a parade, followed by an exciting blend of performance, workshops, food, music and much more.
This year’s festival celebraes community, place and home, taking inspiration from the surrounding streets of Adamsdown known locally as ‘the metals, gems and solar system’.
The parade walks from NoFit State Circus to Brewery Park, opening spectacularly with a giant puppet, free runners/acrobats, high wire, and more. Arrive from 10am at the meeting point on Four Elms Road, parade starts at 11am.
Cardiff Bay Barrage
£20 per person
Thrill seekers aged 8+ can take on the obstacles at Wales’s biggest aquapark, including climbing walls, trampolines, slides and blast bags, as well as the Tornado Tower. Book online in advance.
The Lego Brick Wetland Safari
WWT Llanelli Wetland Centre, Llwynhendy, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, SA14 9SH
Until Sunday 4 September
£10.40 for adults, £6.60 for children, £28.90 for a family of four
Pick up a map on arrival and search for the 15 larger-than-life Lego sculptures of creatures that make the Wetlands their home. From an owl, kingfisher and flamingo to an otter, dragonfly and frog, some of the impressive brick replicas are up to 12 times the size of their real-life counterparts, with some taking more than 100 hours to build and involving up to 15,000 bricks.
Read our full review here.
Heath Park Miniature Railway
Heath Park, Cardiff
Sunday 28 and Monday 29 August, 1pm-5pm
£2.20 entry per person, plus £2.20 per ride; under 3s free
Cardiff Model Engineering Society opens its doors to the public with miniature train rides – steam, diesel and electric – plus tram rides. (Also open Sunday 18 September and Sunday 9 October.)
Fonmon Castle, Rhoose
Adults £16.50, children £13, under 3s free; advance booking
Visit the dinosaur trail, learn about the pirates of Fonmon and more, wander through the medieval farm, explore the story telling trail and the Mad Hatter’s Garden, plus lots more.
Dyffryn Gardens, St Nicholas, Vale of Glamorgan
Daily until Sunday 4 September
Adults £12.10, children £6.10, family £30.30, one adult family £18.20
In celebration of this summer’s Commonwealth Games, take part in sports-themed family activities throughout the gardens. Test your skills on the hurdles, rhythmic gymnastics, table tennis and more every day. Activities are free, but normal admission fees apply.
St Fagans National Museum of History, Cardiff
Daily until 4 September
Cost from £1; suitability Age 2-11
Visit the traditional fairground and experience the magic of a bygone era. Plus visit more than 50 historical buildings from across Wales, and the museum galleries.
Encanto in the Jungle
Plantasia Tropical Zoo, Swansea
Monday 29 August, Adults and children 2+ £10, under 2s free, family (2+2) £36
Meet Mirabel Madrigal as she sings high up in the canopy at Plantastia Tropical Zoo, then meet and greet in the Jungle Tree House.
Ranch Family Adventure
Mountain View Ranch, Caerphilly
Daily until 5 September, then Fridays-Sundays only, book a timed session in advance
Adults and children over the age of 2 £8, under 2s free, disabled/carers £6
With Ranch map in hand, navigate around the 100 acre taking part in activities for all ages including two jumping pillows, soft archery, double zip wire, fairy forest, roly poly hill, tree houses, the vomit commit, the big big swing, Hobbit Hill, enchanted wood, adventure play area and the famous Gruffalo trail. Book online in advance.
Family Fun Park
Roald Dahl Plass, Cardiff Bay
Daily until 4 September
Fun fair attractions for all ages, including The Dodgems and Pirate Party Fun House, as well as various children’s rides to enjoy and family game stalls giving you the chance to win massive cuddly toy prizes. Plus a selection of sweet and savoury takeaway treats on offer.
Treetop Adventure Golf
St David’s Shopping Centre, Cardiff
Even the miniest of mini golfers can trek the trails, with family discounts available. No need to book; just turn up and tee off.
Coedlan – Highropes at St Fagans
St Fagans National Museum of History
Daily until Sunday 4 September, 10.30am, 11.30am, 12.30pm, 2.15pm, 3.15pm, 4.15pm
£15; participants must be at least 110cm tall and aged over 6. Children 110-130cm must be accompaniaed by an individiaul over 130cm and aged over 12.
Climb, swing, balance and wobble your way through the trees, and see the sights of St Fagans from above before zipping back down to earth. Tackle CoedLan’s 18 different obstacles, including a balance beam, zig zag bridge, cargo net and a 50m zip wire.
The Senedd, Mermaid Quay, Cardiff Bay
Monday-Saturday, 10.30am-4.30pm until 6 September, free to visit
Lots of activities for all ages, ranging from arts and crafts to animation activities.
Add your own sketch to the Senedd’s long roll of paper. See your drawing come to life at the end of the summer when it becomes part of the Senedd Animation Reel.
Affairs of the Art exhibition celebrates the work of Joanna Quinn, a renowned figure in animation.
Or join a guided tour and learn more about the work of the Welsh Parliament, the building’s landmark architecture and the history of Cardiff Bay.
Extreme Earth / Star Tours
Saturday 28 August-Sunday 5 September
Adults 16+ £10.90; children 3-15 £9.05; under 3s free; family £38.18. Both shows £2 per person per show when booked in conjunction with general admission
Alongside more than 100 hands-on science exhibits, experience Extreme Earth, a live science show in Techniquest’s science theatre (age guidance 5+). Through a series of experiments, find out what’s so wild about wild fires, how tornadoes work and why lightning sparks across the skies. In Star Tours (age guidance 7+), find out about familiar constellations, the planets, how stars are born and how they die.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition
National Museum Cardiff
Until Sunday 29 August
£10 adults, £7 concessions, free to under 16s and Amgueddfa Cymru members
Last chance to see this prestigious exhibition which features 100 photographs showcasing our planet’s extraordinary diversity and the fragility of the natural world. The photos on display were selected from more than 49,000 entries from around the world, chosen for their creativity, artistry and technical complexity by a judging panel of industry-recognised professionals.
Read our full review here.
Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan
Friday 26 August – West Side Story (12A)
Saturday 27 August – Mamma Mia (PG)
Sunday 28 August – The Princess Bride (PG)
Classic films screened on the lawn in front of the house.
The Greatest Knight
Saturday 27-Monday 29 August, 11am-4pm
Adults £6.60, children £4.60 (under 5s free), family (2+3) £21.80
Free for Cadw members
To celebrate the life of one of Tintern Abbey’s greatest patrons, we will be welcoming William Marshal and his wife, Isabel, to Tintern for the 801st anniversary of her death.
Living history, medieval re-enactment, music and horse displays will transport the abbey back to its earliest days, to honour the life of Earl Marshal and his influential spouse – as the Greatest Knight returns.
Odyssey – Living History through the Ages
Sunday 28-Monday 29 Aug, 11am-4pm
Adults £8.30, children £5.80 (under 5s free), family (2+3) £27.40
Free for Cadw members
A multi-historical period weekend of living history, tours, displays and fun. See living history groups from many eras go about their daily lives. See re-enactments and displays, wander their camps, and immerse yourself in times past.
Sunday 28-Monday 29 August, 11am-3pm
Adults £10.10, children £7.10 (under 5s free)
Free for Cadw members
Follow a knight’s trail around the castle and design your own suit of armour. Get your face painted before you start.
Cowbridge Festival of Flowers
Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan
Saturday 27 August
Street acts, demonstrations and workshops are all on the line up for the Cowbridge Festival of Flowers’ celebrations
A string quartet will play in Cowbridge’s beautiful Physic Garden, where Rhian Rees of Wild & Fabulous Flowers will also be giving flower demonstrations. A Flower Fairy Trail for children is also set up in the Old Hall Gardens, where a ‘real-life’ Flower Fairy will entertain little ones with storytelling.
Artist Nina Lazarou will also be hosting a wire workshop in the Town Hall, where for £5 people of all ages can book to learn how to make a wire flower. Plus flower displays from local florists.
Summer Fun Day
Ynys Angharad Park, Pontypridd
Saturday 27 August, 11am-5pm
A children’s funfair, arena acts, a music stage, a petting farm, food stalls, sporting activities, face-painting and balloon art and much more will be on offer as Ynys Angharad Park hosts this summer fun day. The Town Council’s popular vintage transport rally will also see a parade of vintage vehicles though the town centre and an exhibition in the park.