Family Day Out: Caerphilly Castle

The first week of the Easter Holidays brought us some lovely Spring weather. Knowing that the sunshine can disappear as quickly as it arrives, we made the most of it with a trip to Caerphilly Castle.

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Sitting right in the middle of the town of Caerphilly and surrounded by an extensive moat, the castle is partly ruins with one ominously leaning tower, although in nice weather this makes for a pleasant walk.

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Pip was thrilled to find dragons in the castle grounds!

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These sculptures were amazing, such beautiful detail. The red dragon has apparently been at the castle for a long time, while the blue was added more recently.

Signs warned us not to approach the geese that waddled about, as they’re nesting at the moment.

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We walked up a winding narrow staircase to reach the top of the castle. If I’m honest, I’m not keen on spiral staircases, particularly ones with ancient slippery steps and even less so when my daughter happily bounds up them when I’d rather she take her time. There’s no stopping little adventurers! However, I’d say the view from the top is well worth the climb.

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I would say that this is not a suitable day out for pushchairs or wheelchairs. There’d be very little you could see and even navigating the grounds could be tricky.

The price of entry was perhaps a little expensive for what’s on offer. £7.95 for adults, £5.20 for students, senior citizens and under 16s or £23.70 for a family ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children). I understand that maintaining an ancient structure costs money and that’s probably reflected in the price but there wasn’t a lot to interact with. I suppose I’m comparing that with Cardiff Castle, which as Cardiff residents, we only have to pay £6 every 3 years for our Castle Keys for unlimited entries and reduced event prices.

After spending a couple of hours walking around the castle and the obligatory visit to the gift shop, we ended our day out with a drink in the visitor centre cafe.

Overall, we enjoyed this trip. It was a good learning experience and an enjoyable walk outdoors in the Spring sunshine!

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Top Five Items to pack for days out

For us, the summer holidays are very nearly here and I know that for many of you, they already are. I’ve got lots of fun days out planned and it should be a great summer.

Of course, especially with a small child, you always need to be prepared for every eventuality. I carry a backpack on days out. It’s much more convenient than a handbag as you’ve got hands free and it can carry much more comfortably. Here’s my list of things to keep in your bag on a day out:

1. Suncream and sun hats. So, so important. Even if it’s a cloudy day, I always keep suncream and hats with us so that if the sun does peek out later on, we’re ready for it and we don’t need to hide in the shade or, even worse, go home to avoid sunburn. I also try to dress Pip in clothes cover her shoulders. I know that I can burn really easily and, given that she has the same very pale skin as me, I imagine Pip would too – hopefully we’ll never find out!

2. Waterproof jackets. I’d recommend waterproofs that fold away into neat little bags, making them really easy to carry around without taking up much space in your bag. They come with us even on sunny days because the British weather is famously unpredictable. Just as with the sun cream & hats, it means that if the weather changes, the day out doesn’t have to end! Plus, it provides a clean and dry place to sit on grass in the park.

3. Water. In hot weather, it’s easy to get dehydrated, especially if having an energetic day outdoors. Keeping a bottle of water handy prevents this and also means that you won’t be spending money on extra drinks while you’re out!

4. Spare clothes. Food mess, travel sickness incident or jumping in muddy puddles (Peppa Pig has so much to answer for), clothes get ruined easily on a day out. I always at least take a spare top for Pip.

5. First Aid Kit. I keep a small kit just containing antiseptic wipes and plasters in my bag every day anyway but if we’re having a whole day out, especially for something like a walk in the woods where getting medical attention isn’t going to be quick or simple, I pack a slightly larger kit. Here’s an NHS guide to what should be in your first aid kit. You can also buy pre-prepared first aid kits but make sure they contain everything you need.

What else would you keep in your bag for a day out?

Ice cream with added geek

On Saturday, we all took the bus into town. It was a lovely sunny day. Husband had seen online that a new ice cream parlour, Science Cream, was due to open and we wanted to try it out – this is no ordinary ice cream parlour! If you’ve been reading this blog for long, then you’ll know that we regularly visit the Castle Arcade, as well as the other shopping arcades in Cardiff. We love the unique independent shops and cafes in there. This new business fits in perfectly there.

 

The ice cream is made with liquid nitrogen! As you can imagine, four year old Pip was fascinated and I was pretty interested to see the process. A thick plastic screen protects customers, while the staff are dressed as if in a lab with long white coats and safety goggles. They pour liquid unfrozen mixture into electric mixers, followed by the liquid nitrogen. It’s then mixed until the mixture has frozen, while white mist billows from the mixers. It’s then dished up and any sauces added.

I had vanilla ice cream with raspberry sauce. It was very creamy. As it melts in the mouth, it has the texture of clotted cream. I really enjoyed it. The raspberry sauce tasted freshly made and very tasty too.

 

Husband and Pip had chocolate. They report it was also very good.

After finishing our ice cream, we couldn’t resist a visit to our local games shop, Rules of Play. We added Star Trek Expeditions, My First Carcassonne and Mythic Battles to our games collection – reviews will be coming up in the future, of course!

We had a great family Saturday, I hope you did too. Thanks for reading!