I had a lovely message from a friend last week telling me she’d been to see a theatre show for young children. “Everyone I bumped into there mentioned they had found out about it via Cardiff Mummy Says,” she told me. I was so touched by that little comment. One of the reasons I started writing it was because, as a Cardiff parent, I just didn’t know where to find all of this information and I was getting fed up of hearing about things my children would have loved after they’d happened. It means so much to know that people are finding these posts useful and taking their little ones to events they’ve read about on my blog.
With that in mind, I’m continuing my weekly summer holiday events guide with 35 family-friendly events taking place in and around Cardiff from Monday 1st August until Sunday 7th August.
I hope you find something to inspire you and your little ones! And do please spread the word to other parents you know looking to entertain their children over the holidays. I’m always so grateful to people who like, comment or share any of these events postings – because Facebook does its best to hide me from people’s timelines and without regular interaction, I’ll disappear from your newsfeed!
Do follow the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page for more ideas of local family-friendly activities, or visit the Cardiff section of Cardiff Mummy Says, follow Cardiff Mummy Says on Instagram or follow @cardiffmummy on Twitter.
This guide has once again been produced in kind association with Pugh’s Garden Village in Radyr, Cardiff.
A family-run business, Pugh’s has been encouraging all generations to garden for more than 60 years.
In fact, they’ve just introduced a new Little Green Fingers garden shop, set up in the shrub area of their garden centre. Here you’ll find child-friendly plants, children’s gardening tools, books, children’s seeds, outdoor games and more.
Little Green Fingers is also the name of the popular children’s gardening workshops Pugh’s run during school holidays. This summer, they have a packed programme of events.
Following on from the success of last week’s sell-out Fairy Tale Week workshops, this week is Butterfly Week, which coincides with the annual Big Butterfly Count, a nationwide environmental survey. The Butterfly Ball arts and crafts workshop, plus butterfly hunt, will be held at 10am, 1pm and 3pm on Tuesday 2nd and Wednesday 3rd August. Tickets are £5 per participating child, with no cost for accompanying adults. This one is selling fast, so book online here for one of the last remaining spaces.
The Really Wild Week Dragon Reptile Experience workshops on Tuesday 9th and Wednesday 10th August, at 10am, 1pm and 3pm are already fully booked!
However, there are plenty of spaces left the following week for Flower Power Week, with Blooming Bugs – Children’s Flower Arranging Workshops on Tuesday 16th and Wednesday 17th August at 10am, 1pm and 3pm. Tickets £5; adults free. Children will make a Blooming Bug from a variety of flowers, and the take part in a Flower Power Bug Hunt, matching bugs to flowers. Book online here.
As if that isn’t enough, Pugh’s also has an on-site pet shop, reptile house and aquarium, where you can meet the animals. And there’s a warm welcome for families in the restaurant, with a family friendly menu, including a family picnic meal deal for £15, which includes two children’s picnic boxes, a baguette or panini, two muffins and two filter coffees. Perfect for a bite to eat after the workshops. Book online here.
Performance, culture and science
FREE Family Saturdays
Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay
Drop in to enjoy some family-friendly arts and crafts in Wales Millennium Centre’s foyer, with a different theme every week.
Techniquest, Cardiff Bay
Saturday 16th July-Sunday 4th September
To celebrate 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl, Techniquest’s new show Splendiferous Science is inspired by the work of the Cardiff-born author. Visitors can take part in interactive demonstrations and explore the most memorable and best-loved characters and events from Roald Dahl’s children’s books. Ever wondered if there was an easy way to find a golden ticket? How did Augustus Gloop get stuck in the pipe? Can you move objects with your mind like Matilda? This show will reveal all. The show is included in the general admittance fee but must be pre-booked on arrival.
Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay
Wednesday 3rd-Sunday 21st August
Age guidance: 5+ (no under 2s); £16.50-£53.50
Lee Mead, Claire Sweeney and Shaun Williamson star in one of the world’s favourite musicals as it comes to Cardiff. Can the lovable but wacky inventor Caractacus Potts, his two children and Truly Scrumptious outwit Baron Bomburst, and free all the children caught by the evil Childcatcher?
Riverfront Theatre, Newport
Mondays 1st, 8th, 22nd August, 2pm-4pm
Ages 6-11; £8
A chance to share the experience of Minecraft with others, in a safe off-line environment. Children get the opportunity to join worlds and work in teams to complete a number of challenges. iPads provided.
Margam Park, Port Talbot
Friday 5th-Sunday 7th August
This family-friendly celebration of world music and world food, Kaya offers a variety of American, Jamaican, European and world music flavours, alongside workshops, arts, food stalls and festival activities. The park is open only to festival ticket holders over the weekend.
Museums and historical
National Museum Cardiff
Until September 2017
A fascinating look into the weird and wonderful world of worms, this has plenty of interactive exhibits, perfect for children. Read our review here. Please note the museum is not open on Mondays.
National Museum Cardiff
Saturday 16th July-Sunday 20th November 2016
The famous illustrator of children’s books gives an insight into his creative process, with sketches, drafts and finished pictures of some of his most famous characters. Read our review here.
Free family storytelling workshops take place on Tuesday 2nd-Thursday 4th August at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. Must be pre-booked at the information desk. The museum is closed on Mondays.
Tuesday 2nd-Sunday 14th August
Usual castle entry fees apply
Do you dare stand inside the dragon’s giant claw to be captured by the mythical monster? The famous dragon has moved on from Caerphilly Castle and is now touring across Wales.
The Glass Room, St Donats Arts Centre, Vale of Glamorgan
Tuesday 2nd August, 10.30am; approx. 45 mins
Ages 2-5, £5, parents required to stay for this session
Tuesday 2nd August, 1pm; approx. 3 hours
Ages 5-7, £15, parents not required to stay for this session
Imaginary fun as children and their parents combine drama, movement, music and play. George wishes his Grandma was soft and cuddly like the Grannies in storybooks. George’s Grandma is mean and bossy and George secretly thinks she might be a witch. But will she always be that way or will George’s marvellous medicine mean that she magic’s into the Grandma he’s always dreamed of?
The Cardiff Story Museum, Cardiff
Wednesdays 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st August, 10am-1pm
Weekly drop-in crafts sessions featuring creative activities suitable for all ages. The museum is free to visit but the crafts are £1 per child.
FREE Miners’ Fortnight
Big Pit National Coal Museum
Monday 25th July-Friday 5th August, 12pm-4pm
Activities for the whole family, including trails, soft play, dressing up and games, in a tribute to the family holidays to Porthcawl and Barry Island, which were highlights of the summer for coalfield communities. Crafts cost £2 per child.
FREE We Love Stories
Margam Country Park, Port Talbot
Monday 1st August
NPT Libraries present a day of literary-themed activities for children, with Roald Dahl-themed storytelling and crafts, stories and rhymes for younger children, and cupcake making sessions (£3 per child).
Other daily activities at Margam Park include: Tuesday 2nd August, 12pm, Find Morgan the Margam Monk; Archery plus willow weaving; Wednesday 3rd August, Zoolab Animal Olympics.
St Fagans National History Museum, Cardiff
Mondays-Saturdays during school summer holidays, 12pm-3pm
Each week will see the Iron Age roundhouses, Victorian schoolhouse or 1930s farm come to life. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
Mon 1-Sat 6 August – Maestir School, Victorian Schooldays
Mon 8-Sat 13 August – Bryn Eryr, life in an Iron Age farmstead
Mon 15-Sat 20 August – Llwyn yr Eos, 1930s’ daily life
Mon 22-Sat 28 August – Bryn Eryr, life in an Iron Age farmstead
Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. The museum is free but car parking charges apply. Read our review of St Fagans here.
National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon
Monday 1st, Wednesday 3rd, Wednesday 10th, Friday 12th,Tuesday 16th, Thursday 18th, Monday 22nd, Wednesday 24th, Wednesday 31st August, 10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm
Two activities per week, from a choice of making pottery, jewellery or pizza, or trying archery or gladiator fighting. The activity will be decided on the day, depending on the weather. Cost £3 per person. Entry to the museum is free.
FREE Defence of Blaenavon
Saturday 6th-Sunday 7th August, 10.30am-4pm
The world war two-themed event features living history displays, weapon displays and music, painting a vivid picture of life during this time.
Big Pit National Coal Museum, Blaenavon
Saturday 6th-Sunday 7th August, 12pm-4pm
Step back in time and find out about the extraordinary lives of the heroes and heroines of coal mining during the second world war. Find out about Ernest Bevin and the Bevin Boys who spent the war on the ‘underground front’, plus hear from and meet 89 year old Warwick Taylor who was a real life Bevin Boy. A chance also to find out about the lives of women at the homefront. A small charge may apply to some activities.
The Great Outdoors and Nature
Bute Park, Cardiff
Friday 15th July-Thursday 4th August, 8am-7pm
A chance to experience Bute Park like never before through a 360 degree virtual reality experience in a world of woodland creatures. Suitable for all the family, audiences will wear virtual reality headsets and a motion pack to be transported on a multi-sensory journey, all through the eyes of an owl, a dragonfly and a frog native to Bute Park.
From Saturday 30th July, 9.30am-5pm
£5 per person aged 2+ (under 2s are free); family of 4 £19; family of 5 £23.
Daily events include Gruffalo storytelling, archery, space hopper races, campfire and marshallows, all included in admission during the summer holidays. Plus there’s a fairy wood, climbing tree, tree houses, dragon’s lair, hobbit houses and acres of open space to explore. Read our review here.
Daily, 9.30am-6pm (arrive early if you want strawberries)
£1 for adults, including basket, £3 for children
As well as strawberries, currants, raspberries and blueberries to pick, there is plenty to keep youngsters amused. There’s a bouncy castle, den building, hay bales to jump and climb on, sand to play in, willow domes to explore, giant chess, and a wild flower maze. Fruit prices per kg are £6.50 for strawberries and currants, £11.50 for raspberries, and £13.50 for blueberries.
Monday 1st-Thursday 4th August, 10.30am-12pm and 2pm-3.30pm
RSPB members £3 / non-members £5
Learn more about the birds on the reserve as you watch them feed, and make some feeders to take home. Hear folk tales about how the birds got their colours and make a mask to go with the story.
Friday 5th August; 10.30am-11.45am and 2pm-3.15pm
RSPB members £3 / non-members £5; suitable for toddlers and under 5s
With a story based on Find Bird A Home, youngsters will look for baby birds and discover what food and shelter they need through games and crafts. They will also make a feeder to take back to their own gardens to encourage birds to find a home with you.
Fridat 5th August, 7.30pm until late
Adults £7, children £4.50, age 8+; pre-booking essential
After a light supper of baked potatoes, participants will take a stroll around Cwmcarn Valley, armed with bat detectors and torches to discover more about these secretive creatures.
Even if the bat event is not for you, we highly recommend Cwmcarn Forest. Yu can read more about our visit here.
Cosmeston Lakes, Penarth
Outdoor sessions for 7-11s. £5 per session. Must be pre-booked by calling 029 2070 1678.
Tuesday 2nd August – All About Bugs
Tuesday 9th August – Den Building and Fire (with treats)
Tuesday 16th August – All About Bugs
Tuesday 23rd August – Den Building and Fire (with treats)
Tuesday 30th August – All About Bugs
Even if you’re not taking part in the activities, Cosmeston is a lovely place to visit. Read our review here.
Riverfront Theatre, Newport
Tuesdays 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th August; 12pm-2pm
A free family drop-in session where you can plant seeds and create some arty flowers.
Street Music weekender – Saturday 30th-Sunday 31st July, from 12pm
Street Theatre Weekender – Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th August, from 12pm
Circus Weekender – Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th August, from 12pm-4pm
Cinema by the Sea – Saturday 27th (Star Wars The Force Awakens) and Sunday 28th August (Dirty Dancing), from 8.30pm
Read more about what else Barry Island has to offer in our review.
Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan
Monday 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th August, 12pm-3.30pm
A weekly family-friendly craft activity. The activity is free but usual admission prices apply.
Tredegar House, Newport
Daily themed activities for families, with a different theme each day of the week. Choose from Fabulous Film Mondays, 50 Things Tuesdays, Wacky Wednesdays, 50 Things Thursday, Wonderful Beasts Friday, Mystery Meander Saturday and Ice Cream Making Sundays. The activities are free but usual admission prices apply.
FREE Cardiff Bay Beach
Friday 22nd July-Sunday 4th September
10am-8pm, Sundays to Thursdays; 10am-10pm Fridays and Saturdays
The urban beach is back with a sandy bay area, water pool and live entertainment all for free. Traditional attraction and rides, plus face painting and food and drink will incur an extra cost.
Porthkerry Country Park, Barry
Tuesday 2nd August – Crafty Crazy
Tuesday 9th August – Wild Woods
Tuesday 16th August – Beach Bonanza
Tuesday 23rd August – Survival Skills
Tuesday 30th August – Minibeast Madness
Join the rangers to discover what bugs are in the ponds and meadows of Porthkerry. £5 per child, must be prebooked. Suitable for 7-11 year olds.
Even if you’re not taking part in the activities, Porthkerry is a great place to visit and free. Read our review here.
Beach Bushcraft, Thursday 28th July, 10am-3pm, £15 per child.
Beach-based bushcraft skills and activities for children aged 8 and over.
Beach Art, Friday 29th July, 10am-1pm, £10 per child
Beach-based art and craft activities suitable for ages 5 – 7 years.
£10 per child / accompanying adult free.
The Glass Room, St Donats Arts Centre, Vale of Glamorgan
Wednesday 3rd August, 10.30am and 2pm
A two-hour bird handling and education session where participants will meet eagles, vultures, hawks, falcons, kites and owls. Parents are required to book themselves a ticket and supervise their children at all times.
Family-friendly cinema screenings
I’m focussing on the cheaper early-morning film screenings here and special events, rather than the latest big films.
Odeon Cinema, The Red Dragon Centre, Cardiff Bay
The 10am weekend and school holiday showings are £2.50 per person. Films to be announced; films are usually a few months old rather than new releases.
Cineworld, Mary Ann Street, Cardiff
The 10am weekend and school holiday Movies for Juniors showings are just £1.75 per person. Check online for schedule; films are usually a few months old rather than new releases.
Vue Cinema, Millennium Plaza, Cardiff
The 10am weekend and school holiday Movies for Juniors showings are just £1.99 per person. Check online for schedule; films are usually a few months old rather than new releases.
Family friendly film screenings of classic films, every weekend and during school holidays. See website for full listings.