BlogFamily HolidaysUnited KingdomWales

Surf Snowdonia For Kids

Right at the end of the summer I was invited to spend 2 nights and 3 days at Surf Snowdonia with my 3 girls (all under 6). We stayed in a new glamping pod at the side of the world’s first inland surf lagoon in North Wales – Random – yes I know!  It was however a lot of fun!

I’d heard about the 300-metre surf lagoon which is the main reason people visit but what I hadn’t heard about was all the other stuff to try out too! If I had, I think we would have visited sooner. The ‘other stuff’ I refer to is a Crash & Splash lagoon (suitable for anyone who can swim) bodyboarding, a giant pillow to jump off, kids bungee trampoline and inflatable obstacle course,  as well as kiddies’ indoor soft play. Phew!




Apart from all that, which in fairness would be reason to visit on its own, Surf Snowdonia sits in the heart of an area of adventure in Snowdonia, which also includes the largest zip zone in the world, with over 8km of zip lines set among the Llechwedd slate quarries at Blaenau Ffestiniog, Llechwedd Slate Caverns‘ with its underground tours, and Bounce Below, a series of huge trampolines one above the other, connected by slides and ladders and lit by psychedelic, multi-coloured lights – the kids version is Junior Bounce.  The area is also famous for Wales largest mountain Snowdon, wonderful walks and the Ffestiniog Railway which departs Blaenau Ffestiniog before making its way to Porthmadog. We managed to do an awful lot of this in our jam packed 3 days!

We arrived at lunchtime on the Monday (we visited with my neighbour and her two children too) on a beautiful sunny bank holiday Monday.  I was relieved that the sun was shining as it made the prospect of the family Crash & Splash and my surf lesson that little more inviting.  We didn’t get chance to check into our pod before we hit the activities as we didn’t arrive with much time to spare (let’s blame bank holiday traffic rather than us leaving late!) so we got our vouchers for our wet suits and made our way to the spotlessly clean changing to rooms to change into our very damp wet suits (downside to a lesson mid afternoon I imagine).  It was a challenge getting 5 kids into damp wet suits but we made it and made our way over to the site of the Crash & Splash.  The website may still say you need to be 12 to do the Crash & Splash but they do now run family sessions so call them to speak to them about it.

After a safety briefing and helmets and life jackets being fitted we joined a short queue to attempt the obstacle course.

Ready for their crash and splash fun! It's fab here @surfsnowdonia what an amazing place #ukexplore #snowdonia #Wales

A photo posted by Karen Beddow (@mini_travellers) on

Whilst waiting to go on, my friend and I silently decided that none of our kids would be able to manage it, whilst confirming outwardly to them that they would be able to easily.  As the first two started I was amazed they were going to be able to do it – yes they fell in but that’s the point, yes they were a little scared at points but they were only aged between 5 and 8, and yes they felt a huge sense of achievement when they got to the other end. We only actually managed to get round twice each, before moving onto the slightly harder part of the course as the session only lasts an hour.  When it had finished we had to make our way back to the changing area to get changed again. What would have been perfect at that point was an area, away from the crash and splash, for the kids to play about in the water in their wet suits as it was quite an effort getting them all in the suits and then back out again an hour later.  They loved the course though and would have happily done it again later that same day given half a chance.

Surf Snowdonia

Cost: from £15 off peak for 1hr including wet suit hire 

We took the spare hour before my surfing lesson, as chance to check into our pods.  The pods are practically brand new, immaculate, come with electric lights and plug sockets, a large double mattress at the back of the pod behind a dark curtain (where my three girls slept) two single beds at the front, with space underneath for stuff! The lockable patio doors at the front of the pods also have a blackout curtain. A top tip from a previous guest review was that there was a small window at the back of the pod that didn’t have any curtains or cover on it.  I took tin foil with me and sellotape and the light was gone! Top Tip for any holiday travels that.  Every pod also has a bench and a chair and there are picnic benches up and down the row of pods.  There is also a hot tub at the end but we didn’t make it in there.

Cost: The pods are £100 per night and include breakfast.

surf snowdonia

After unpacking some items from the car (which you can helpfully leave behind your pod) we wandered back round the lagoon to the activities area and I went off to the changing area to get back into a wetsuit for my surf lesson.

Kids can learn from age 5, but they need to be more than just able to swim as they need to be confident of the wave and not scared in the water. I decided mine were just that little too nervous of the wave to try so I gave it a go without them. 

surf snowdonia

I was a little apprehensive about the (1hr 30 minute) surf lesson, having never tried to do it before, but it was sunny and it seemed like a fun thing to do. What could go wrong!  After changing into the wet suit I made my way to the surf area to have a chat with the rest of the class and the instructors and do some indoor practice.  When it became apparent that I was struggling to get into the right position on dry land never mind on top of  a wave, I re-adjusted any expectations I may have had about ‘surfing’ per se and decided body boarding (on a surf board) would suit me just fine! There was 6 of us in the group and we made our way straight into the lagoon with our instructor and waited apprehensively for the wave. Well I was apprehensive anyway!  You wait lying on your board, your instructor shouts instructions at you,  you wait for the loud claxon sound and then the wave comes behind you!   I actually really enjoyed travelling into the ‘beach’ on the wave, although a lack of skill, a lost contact lens and some reluctance on my body meant I didn’t actually surf but I did do quite a lot of bodyboarding and I had loads of fun!

Cost: Adult surf lessons start from £40

Here’s a video of me:

Me ‘surfing’ @surfsnowdonia #adventure #ukexplore

A video posted by Karen Beddow (@mini_travellers) on

Whilst I was surfing the kids had a fantastic time playing in the soft play and charging up and down the inflatable obstacle course and then bouncing around on the bungee trampolines!

surf-snowdonia-009

surf-snowdonia-051

surf snowdonia

After all that excitement it was time for dinner at the on-site restaurant.  We’d booked a table for the evening which I’d recommend you do as it does get full, and sat down around 6pm.  The food had started coming out around us and it looked really really good, not like you’d expect from an onsite restaurant at all.

surf-snowdonia-099

There was a kids menu including the usual pizza, pasta options and the staff couldn’t have been more helpful putting the dairy free cheese (we had brought with us for my friends little girl) on her pizza, and trying to source a ice pop from the locked shop so she could have a dessert like the others.

Myself and my friend shared a hummus/bread sharing platter which was delicious and then I had the ribs which were divine, whilst my friend had the lamb shoulder ragu parpadelle!  Some real thought had gone into the menu and the quality of the ingredients surprised both of us.

surf snowdonia

Once we had finished dinner it was a short walk back to the other side of the lagoon to our pods for bed! It took a while to get the girls to sleep as it always does in any outdoor style tent/pod etc but when they slept they slept soundly as did I.

They woke just after 7.30 – not bad for sleeping on a mattress in a pod – and we made our way for the breakfast back in the restaurant.  As you’d expect with a restaurant designed for surfers there was a big English (sorry Welsh!) breakfast waiting for us to choose from, with cereals, juice and toast etc. Me and the kids had a bacon butty each with juice and I had good coffee too. The perfect start to our day exploring the rest of Snowdonia including Junior Bounce, the Ffestiniog Railway and Llechwedd slate quarries. More on those to follow!

We had a fabulous time at Surf Snowdonia and will definitely be back to visit again, particularly as my hubby is desperate to go now!

Why not PIN this post!


surf-snowdonia-2

Mini Travellers

Mini Travellers

Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!

Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.

35 Comments

  1. barjerow
    September 16, 2016 at 7:45 am — Reply

    Wow! That all sounds very exciting and so much fun, and what a beautiful setting to do it in.

  2. September 16, 2016 at 9:28 am — Reply

    Ah this was just down the road from us when we went camping, the lady on the campsite recommended it to us but we didn’t have time to get there…wish we had now it looks brilliant!!
    Hayley @hayleyfromhome recently posted…Five under £5 SeptemberMy Profile

  3. September 19, 2016 at 9:52 pm — Reply

    What an awesome experience!!

  4. September 19, 2016 at 10:44 pm — Reply

    I lose my contacts all the time in water! It’s so frustrating, but this looks like it’s worth the risk 🙂

  5. September 20, 2016 at 7:01 am — Reply

    Looks like so much fun. My kids would love this.
    Amanda recently posted…Rashes, Ouchies and Bug Bites! Oh My!My Profile

  6. September 20, 2016 at 6:45 pm — Reply

    I love seeing kids on vacation & yours look like they’re having the time of their lives! They certainly are adventurous & happy mini-travellers 🙂

  7. October 1, 2016 at 10:34 pm — Reply

    This is definitely one on the list for me and my daughter when she’s older – so much fun. Although definitely good to have some sun!
    Cathy (Mummytravels) recently posted…Family day out: Bodiam Castle, SussexMy Profile

  8. October 3, 2016 at 8:03 am — Reply

    We were in Snowdonia this summer and had a great time but I didn’t know anything about Surf Snowdonia. Such a shame we missed it. Mind you, not sure I would have been any good but the rest of the family would have loved it.
    #mondayescapes
    Trish @ Mum’s Gone To recently posted…Douglas comes home to Threave CastleMy Profile

  9. October 3, 2016 at 10:53 am — Reply

    This looks like great fun #mondayescapes

  10. October 3, 2016 at 11:13 am — Reply

    That looks loads of fun – not sure my 3 would be quite as brave as your girls though -mine aren’t quite as adventurous 🙂

  11. October 3, 2016 at 11:21 am — Reply

    This looks such fun and you seemed to have good weather too which I reckon would make a big difference. The last time I went to Wales it rained every day for the whole week and never got above 12° (in August!!) (but we still had fun….!) Thanks for taking on #MondayEscapes
    Phoebe | Lou Messugo recently posted…Sunday Photo – 2 October 2016My Profile

  12. October 3, 2016 at 11:50 am — Reply

    fun activity!#monday escapes
    Tanja (the Red phone box travels) recently posted…Monthly Blog Overview: September 2016My Profile

  13. October 3, 2016 at 12:49 pm — Reply

    This looks like you had great fun! thanks for Monday escapes x
    Donna Vallance recently posted…My Sunday Photo, The Shard.My Profile

  14. October 3, 2016 at 12:50 pm — Reply

    WOW it looks amazing and what fun. Mine would love this too. Such a superb idea. Jess xx

    #MondayEscapes

  15. October 3, 2016 at 1:10 pm — Reply

    This place looks amazing! My kids would love it! They did a similar bouncy obstacle course in Menorca this year and loved it. #mondayescapes

  16. October 3, 2016 at 1:36 pm — Reply

    This looks brilliant. My girls would love it. The pods are really cute too. #mondayescapes

  17. October 3, 2016 at 1:42 pm — Reply

    This looks like a LOT of fun… Especially the crash and splash course. Surfing is SO hard! Thanks for hosting #mondayescapes

  18. October 3, 2016 at 2:12 pm — Reply

    I think I’d want to go just for the pods, they look so good. It all looks a lot of fun and you did so much in so little time!! You’ve reminded me I went Ffestiniog and Bala when I was 14. I think I need to go back to Wales 🙂
    Notmyyearoff recently posted…Smithills Hall – A very first school tripMy Profile

  19. October 3, 2016 at 5:45 pm — Reply

    This looks fantastic Karen and my 2 (and husband) would love it there. I didn’t know there was so much to do in the area, and I am definitely going to add this to the travel list, especially as they have glamping pods. Love the surfing video #MondayEscapes x
    Tracey Williams recently posted…A girls weekend to BirminghamMy Profile

  20. October 3, 2016 at 8:28 pm — Reply

    Wow thats about the coolest thing I’ve seen for kids! So glad #MondayEscapes is continuing! Looking forward to getting to know you gals! 🙂

  21. October 3, 2016 at 9:02 pm — Reply

    Wow Karen- this looks like so much fun!! I didn’t know there was so much to do here! Love the video of you surfing – you look like a real pro!! #Mondayescapes

  22. October 3, 2016 at 9:56 pm — Reply

    Great post – looks like fun and road trip needed from Devon. #MondayEscapes
    Clare – Flip flops or Wellies recently posted…Beach Walks with Dogs in Devon & Dorset on the Jurassic CoastMy Profile

  23. October 3, 2016 at 10:56 pm — Reply

    After our treehouse experience we’d love to stay in a Glamping Pod! Looks like you had fun on that ‘wipeout’ type course too! We need to get to Wales, certainly not dull! #MondayEscapes
    Baby Isabella recently posted…Our Treehouse Adventure! Uplands Treehouse Review, SomersetMy Profile

  24. October 4, 2016 at 2:45 am — Reply

    This sounds so fun. I’ve always wanted to learn how to surf. #MondayEscapes
    Allison recently posted…Alki Point: Fun in the Sun in West SeattleMy Profile

  25. October 4, 2016 at 3:13 am — Reply

    My girls would go crazy for a place like this – looks like you all had a blast! #mondayescapes

  26. October 4, 2016 at 4:20 am — Reply

    Like you mentioned, random! But, I like people who do things differently and dream big. This place looks like tons of fun. Like how the entire area is all full of adventurous things to do. And those pods look gorgeous!
    Ruth recently posted…Why you have to visit the Wachau Valley?My Profile

  27. October 4, 2016 at 12:26 pm — Reply

    Oh wow this looks like an amazing thing to do! My Sam would be so happy if we went to somewhere like that! Love the pods too, it’s an ambition of mine to stay in one.

  28. October 4, 2016 at 2:19 pm — Reply

    I grew up in south Wales but never visited Snowdonia. It looks fantastic – really beautiful, and I hadn’t realised about all this water-based fun to be had. Great post, and thanks for the tip about the pod window and tinfoil!
    Nell (the Pigeon Pair and Me) recently posted…Are the Glénan Islands the most beautiful in Europe?My Profile

  29. October 4, 2016 at 2:28 pm — Reply

    Looks like you had an amazing time, so much to do

  30. Kerry
    October 4, 2016 at 9:34 pm — Reply

    This looks fab! I would love it especially the pods, and I’ve always wanted to try surfing! May have to wait until my kids are a bit older and can swim ( they’re only 3 and 4). Pin for future reference #MondayEscapes

  31. October 4, 2016 at 10:13 pm — Reply

    I never realised that you could do this in Snowdonia. Looks like heaps of fun! Thanks for sharing. #mondayescapes
    Upeksha recently posted…Descending to Hell’s GateMy Profile

  32. October 5, 2016 at 2:26 pm — Reply

    What a great place to stay. I think you did a much better job of surfing than I would. I’m not at all coordinated! The camping pods look fun and the restaurant sounds brilliant. Have fun hosting #MondayEscapes this week!
    Claire at Tin Box Traveller recently posted…Exploring Kents Cavern: Britain’s oldest ancient monumentMy Profile

  33. October 6, 2016 at 6:42 pm — Reply

    We love Surf Snowdonia! Like you say it’s pretty random having an inland surf lagoon but it fits in so well with the whole outdoor ethos of the whole Snowdonia area. The pods are pretty cool too.
    Potty Adventures
    #MondayEscapes

  34. October 9, 2016 at 8:41 pm — Reply

    Oh my I haven’t heard of Surf Snowdonia. It looks brilliant – think Monkey would really love it here! Thanks so much for taking voer #MondayEscapes it’s great to see it in such good hands x

  35. October 12, 2016 at 9:12 pm — Reply

    WOW! this looks amazing!

    I spent many family holidays as a kid not far from here and I can honestly say there was nothing this cool there back then.

    I am desperate to take my kids back to Snowdonia and now they will seriously thank me for it!!

    #MondayEscapes

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge