Climbing The Garth with children – a family walk to the highest point in Cardiff

Cardiff Family walks
The Garth Cardiff

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Our first big hillside adventure of 2024 was a family walk up the Garth, the beautiful hill that overlooks the north of Cardiff and which is the city’s highest point.

This walk actually happened at the start of January and I posted a video reel on the Cardiff Mummy Says Instagram channel at the time – but as it’s been my most popular reel of the year so far, I figured it deserved a place on the blog too.

The Garth is a beautiful place to explore. It’s not quite a mountain, but one of the nearest big hills for us in Cardiff, offering a beautiful scenic hike with stunning views across the city, Taffs Well, Caerphilly, and as far as Barry and the Bristol Channel. It’s a great beginner adventure for families who want to get out into the hills and mountains, easy enough to do in a couple of hours.

The Garth Cardiff

There are a few different routes up, but we tend to park in Gwaelod y Garth village, take the path alongside the pub and follow an out and back route.

This route is just less than three miles and takes around two hours, going at a child-friendly pace and including a few stops along the way. With 300m of elevation, it’s a little steep on occasions with some unstable paths at times but nothing too difficult and definitely manageable for children. We’ve journeyed up a few times as a family over the years and always see other youngsters whenever we visit, some as young as four and five.

Climbing the Garth with children
Climbing the Garth with children

I think my children were around 11, nine and seven the first time they climbed the Garth (although they’d already done a few mountains by this point including Pen y Fan, which you can read about here, when they were eight, six and four).

I find plenty of snacks and sweets help, as well as building in lots of stops along the way when little legs and feet inevitably get tired. You could also build in a treasure hunt or challenge them to take some photos of the adventure to add a fun focus to the walk.

Climbing the Garth Cardiff
Climbing the Garth with children

It’s an area with plenty of history and interesting facts. Famously, it was the inspiration for Taff’s Well author Christopher Monger’s novel The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill and Came Down a Mountain, and the subsequent film starring Hugh Grant. The stone trig point marks one of four Bronze Age burial mounds, which date back to around 2000BC. And the area once used to be full of coal mines feeding the ironworks below – difficult to believe now when you look around and take in the stunning 360 degree views of luscious hillside and woodlands.

Climbing the Garth with children

We stopped at the top for our flasks of hot chocolate and biscuits, but you could combine with lunch or a drink at the Gwaelod y Garth Inn or The Lewis Arms in Pentyrch.

For a slightly longer hike, Derek the Weatherman has a nice 4.5 mile route here taken from his BBC Wales series Weatherman Walks.

Please prepare properly for any hillside or mountain climbing. I would recommend taking an OS map of the area if it’s unfamiliar to you, as well as first aid equipment, food and drink supplies and suitable warm clothing as weather conditions can change quickly at the top so it’s good to be prepared.

Have you climbed the Garth? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below or on the relevant posts on the Cardiff Mummy Says social media channels.

Climbing the Garth

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Climbing Pen Y Fan with children

What to expect when you visit Cwmcarn Forest Drive

 Exploring Nash Point lighthouse, Nash Point and Marcross Beach in the Vale of Glamorgan

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