Bucket-and-spade list — 15 ways to guarantee family fun this summer

The school holidays are a fantastic time to take your family on some magical mini adventures.

This summer, Cadw is making it easy to keep everyone entertained by holding enthralling events and activities across its sites — from Lego workshops to battle re-enactments.

So, pack your imagination — and maybe a picnic— and make some memories that will last a lifetime.

1. Create your own Lego castle
Have you been inspired by Bob Carney's massive Lego masterpieces? Build your own at one of our Lego workshops at Caerphilly Castle and Caernarfon Castle. [Due to the popularity of these events, new dates have just been added. Check the Caernarfon Castle Eventbrite page and the Caerphilly Castle Eventbrite page for full details.]

Until 9 August, Caerphilly Castle will also host a unique Lego-inspired exhibition by modern-day pop artist Little Big Art. Whilst there, be sure to check out the minifig versions of Mabinogi tales and the pixelated Lego tapestries.

Lego figure

2. Build a sandcastle... at a castle
Who needs the beach? Bring your bucket and spade to Harlech Castle on 7 August or Laugharne Castle on 12 August and you can build a sandcastle within a castle.

Build a sandcastle... at a castle

3. Bounce around the battlements (sort of)
Kids can jump for joy at Caerphilly and Conwy this summer, as the magnificent castles host fun, inflatable fortresses.

Join us for bouncy castle fun at 10–14 August at Conwy Castle and 17-21 August at Caerphilly Castle.

Bouncy Castle

4. Read classic tales of Wales — as cool comics
Acclaimed artist Pete Fowler, famed for his album artwork and Monsterism toys, has created two free comics that bring Welsh legends to life.

Pick up the tale of Gwenllian ferch Gruffudd’s revolt from Kidwelly Castle — and get the Mabinogi myth of Branwen ferch Llŷr in comic-book form at Harlech Castle.

You can also download these captivating comics as PDFs.

Cool comics

5. Take a selfie with a giant... or a warrior princess
Meet the stars of Cadw's captivating castle comics — and take a snap with them.

Gwenllian, the medieval warrior princess, will stand guard at Kidwelly Castle — and, later in the summer, giant king Bendigeidfran will greet visitors at Harlech Castle.

If you tag your selfie ‘#packyourimagination’, you could win copies of the comics signed by Pete Fowler himself.

Take a selfie with a giant... or a warrior princess

6. Play giant Jenga
Classic family-friendly games like Connect 4 and Jenga are a staple of the school summer holidays. But have you ever played a version that’s outdoors — and out of a giant’s toybox? Don’t miss your chance to do so, as the oversized games come to Caernarfon Castle, Caerphilly Castle, Conwy Castle, Castell Coch, Harlech Castle and Raglan Castle this summer.

Connect 4

7. Check out king-sized king
Heading to Caernarfon Castle? Don't miss 'Game of Crowns’, a life-size chess board that explains the origins of the Welsh princes, from the pillar of Eliseg to the present day.

Arddangosfa 'Gêm y Coronau' | ‘Game of Crowns’ exhibition

8. Have a picnic at a World Heritage Site
Did you know that Beaumaris, Conwy, Caernarfon and Harlech castles form part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site? Why not visit all four this summer — and have picnics at ‘the finest examples of late 13th century and early 14th century military architecture in Europe’.

Castell Biwmares | Beaumaris Castle 

9. Cycle to Castell Coch
Visit a Victorian folly — via the scenic route! William Burges's masterpiece, Castell Coch, is on the high level route of the Taff Trail from Tongwynlais to Nantgarw. Why not pack a picnic and set off for the ‘Red Castle’ on foot or by bike. There’s plenty of sublime south Wales scenery to see en route.

Route details are available on the Sustran website.

Castell Coch

10. See brilliant bats and super furry animals
Wild about wildlife? This summer, Cadw sites have an array of fun and fascinating outdoor activities. Evening events at Raglan Castle and St Davids Bishop’s Palace will enable you to see the bats for yourself — whilst, at Lamphey Bishop’s Palace, twilight tours will take in badgers and nocturnal bird life.  Plus, don’t miss your chance to go on Lamphey’s ‘bug safari’.
See the events section for full details.

Llys yr Esgob Llandyfái | Lamphey Bishops Palace

11. Step back to the steam age
Experience the Industrial Revolution at Blaenavon Ironworks — a fascinating free site that tells the tale of this key period in Wales’s history. Inspiring exhibitions illustrate the innovative methods for making iron, whilst Stack Square’s refurbished cottages and recreated shop let you step into the shoes of a worker during the site’s heyday.

Gwaith Haearn Blaenafon | Blaenavon Ironworks 

12. Get creative at a castle
Why not let you inner artist out this summer? Pack your imagination — and some pens, pencils and paper — and spend a day sketching at a Cadw site. Or, if you or your children prefer colouring-in, why not print off a Cadw colouring-in sheet created by acclaimed artist Pete Fowler.

Kids can also take part in our creative competition — and get their drawings turned into a real comic by Pete Fowler himself.

Get creative at a castle

13. See a dragon in the wild
Blackout Theatre Company are visiting Cadw sites this summer — and they’re bringing a fire-breathing beast with them. You can see ‘The Reluctant Dragon’, a classic tale by Kenneth Grahame that’s been adapted into a play by Toby Hulse, at a castle near you this July and August.

See the events section for full details.

Cynhyrchiad Blackout Theatre Company o ‘The Little Dragon’ — © Blackout Theatre Company | Blackout Theatre Company’s production of ‘The Little Dragon’ — © Blackout Theatre Company

14. Tell tales at a magical monument

Children love stories — so why not spin a yarn of your own making during a family trip to a Cadw site? Locations like Caernarfon Castle’s famous slate platform and Caerleon’s Amphitheatre are ideal settings for an impromptu story time.

Castell Caernarfon | Caernarfon Castle

15. Witness medieval warfare
Brace yourself for battle! See medieval warfare with your own eyes this summer. Cadw sites such as Lamphey Bishop’s Palace and White Castle will host re-enactments of spectacular battles, whilst knights will descend upon Caerphilly Castle and Denbigh Castle during the August bank holiday weekend.

Marchogion | Knights