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.
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.
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.
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