After a good nights sleep and a miracle at getting them to sleep in the same room (last year in Center Parcs we had a terrible time trying to sleep the two kids in the one room so we cut our losses and settled Tom in ours and moved him into his room when we lifted him – he was potty training at the time), we were up early and ready to go. The weather was forecast was looking good so we decided to head over to head over to Beaumaris castle. This was a holiday on a budget so unfortunately we weren’t going to be going in to any of the major attractions, but I knew Beaumaris was in a lovely area and thought the little ones might enjoy seeing it from the outside so we got all our things together and headed off. We were coming back to the bungalow for lunch so didn’t make a picnic but did make sure we had our trusty day bag with us which includes snacks. We got to Beaumaris at about 10am and the weather had taken a bit of a turn for the worse. The wind was up and it was spitting. We parked on the waters edge next to the Menai Strait and saw the gorgeous views across into Snowdonia. We walked up to the castle when Charlotte decided she needed the loo. At the same time, Tom had declared he wanted to go on a boat, something I had been toying with us doing for a few days. Bob headed off with Charlotte and I headed off with Tom down to the harbour.
The boat trips were to last an hour and a half which I decided was probably asking a bit much of the kids so Tom occupied himself in the park and watching some other children playing with a boat on a lido while we waited for my husband and Charlotte to return. Crisis averted, they made it in time!
We walked back to the castle for a play in the park which is situated in the castle grounds. Great fun! The kids got to get up close and personal with the castle and have fun, and it didn’t cost a penny! After a quick snack and drink stop we headed back to the car. The kids watched the boats out on the Strait for a while and then out of nowhere Tom got stroppy. He started crying and getting annoyed saying he wanted to go to the beach. Explaining to your 4 year old that you are getting in the car to drive to the beach is apparently ineffective. His stroppiness turned into petulance and a battle of wills was started. Eventually he settled and we drove to Red Wharf Bay (I think). The route on the Sat Nav seemed simple enough on the phone, but in reality the route seemed like the sort where you read about people ending up in rivers after following the directions the Sat Nav has given. Very suddenly we came to a little car park with one or two other cars in it and a beach. It was great and the parking was free!
Tom was desperate to catch a little fish and with plenty of rock pools it seemed like it was highly possible (another thing on the 50 things list) so off we walked with buckets and nets. Charlotte screamed and cried. Apparently she had developed a fear of seaweed (?!). She was frozen, crying her eyes out. I was ahead with Tom so Bob tried coaxing her across with no joy. Then came the tough love “Well I’m going, you’ll have to stay here” which led to sobbing and shouting and bawling. Another tantrum had begun. She wanted carrying across which wasn’t going to happen as it was a little bit slippy and not safe and unfortunately there was no way around it. So Bob headed backwards with her to a little sand dune and she made some sand castles whilst Tom and I looked for fish. We chatted a lot about rock pools and why the water moves in and out from the beach, 3-4 years old is a great age, they are so curious about everything! Eventually we saw some tiny fish moving so we stayed still and with a little bit of patience I managed to catch one. You see, Tom had given up about 15 minutes before when he realised Charlotte was making sand castles and he was stood still being quiet. For him there was no contest, but I caught the fish and they looked at it. They were very pleased that they had caught a fish but now they were getting hungry and we had to head back to Trearddur for lunch before heading to South Stack that afternoon. There were no more tantrums, but there was lots of fighting in the back seat. Now Tom is on a booster seat he can reach over and attack Charlotte at will which is marvelous!
Bonus! On the way back to Trearddur we happened to pass a view point for the Menai Bridges which the kids really enjoyed looking at as their were boats and cows (although Tom was more excited about the fact that a car parked there had red alloy wheels)!
Fun had (according to the kids): 12/10
Tantrum level: 8/10
Worth it? We might have been better just stopping and walking around the outside of Conwy castle but the kids really enjoyed the park and loved that they could touch the castle walls so overall yes I reckon so!
Worth knowing: The parking at Beaumaris on the front was only £3 for the whole day and at the beach at Red Wharf Bay was completely free. The park was a great way for the kids to interact with a castle without the price tag and inevitable boredom after 5 minutes of going inside.
50 things achievements: 8. Catch a fish with a net
Cost: £3 for parking