Here in Wales we are very lucky as we have lots of historical and cultural fun things to do for free.
Today we went to St Fagan's Museum of Welsh Life - it's literally a 10 minute drive from my place and perfect to visit for a fun day out with my friend and her 2 kids(aged 3 and 8)
Parking today was £5 and the car park was really busy and full so we were a bit worried we wouldn't be able to do any activities because it would be packed out but actually because it's such a huge place we were able to see and do pretty much everything we wanted.
As we were in the over-flow car park we entered into the farm area where we saw plenty of ducks, chickens and a turkey all wandering free as well as farm tools and a couple of Sows with their rather cute piglets. We also saw some dairy cows and a big (read as mahoosive) male pig just chilling in the shade of a tree - kids were very impressed with him. We kept on walking and soon came to the watermill - unfortunately the miller had just gone for lunch so the water wheel and mill weren't running but we were still able to have a good look at the building and there was a staff member on hand to provide information about the mill and its workings.
From there we walked over to the tractor play area - which is a small kids playground with a climbing frame and slide, a small barn like building and a variety of push / pedal ride on tractors for kids in different sizes with trailers that can be attached. The kids loved playing on these and we spent a good half hour there whilst they played happily. The kids had their picnic lunch sat at one of the tables around the play area. A cheeky robin popped over to pinch a little piece of bread whilst they were eating.
At this point we needed to use the loo so we followed the signs to the gift shop and popped to the loos outside it quickly - they are doing more work at the museum so there were quite a lot of boarded up areas. We got some ice lollies at the gift shop and walked down towards the maker's market.
At the marker's market there were lots of activities for the kids to do - we went into the national root veg soc tent where they had all this years prize winning veggies on display - lots of giant leeks, onions as big as your head etc In this area the kids could also do a free plant a seed activity - there was a little queue when we first went in so we looked at the veggies first and then went back to check out the plant a seed. Both kids had their only little plastic pot to fill with compost, they could then choose a seed to plant (bean, leek, cabbage or lettuce) they were given the seeds and told how to plant them in their pots and added more compost on top and then they were told the best way to care for them at home. (we prob should have saved this activity for the end of the day though as we then had to carry their plant pots around with us all day)
Next there was pottery and activities to do. You could make your own little pot at a potters wheel for £4 a go but we skipped that in favour of the paint your own ornament section (which was cheaper with ornaments starting at £1.50 and going up to £6ish depending on the size and the design) - we got a small cat and a unicorn and the kids spent some time painting them using the providing paints - and aprons! Once the master pieces were complete they were given a paper plate with their name on to leave them on and they were left over on a drying table to be collected on the way out at the end of the day.
We had seen a big tractor going past pulling a tram behind it so the kids were keen to ride it - it was difficult to find any info on where to catch it though as it wasnt listed on the map we bought (50p at the front entrance). We decided to take a walk in the direction we thought it went which happened to take us past the bakery. The bakery has a limited amount of home baked items available and today's special included some flapjacks so we stopped to get some to keep our energy levels up (they cost £1 each and were still warm from the oven and totally worth it).
In the end we had to ask a staff member where the tractor picked up from and we managed to get to the pick up point in time for the last trip of the day - the tractor cost 60p per stop (and had 2 stops each way) with kids 3 and under travelling free. As the tractor stop happened to be next to the fairground we decided to just take the ride to one stop and to walk back and visit the fair. The kids loved the short ride - we were sat in the front tram and had a bumpy ride up to the next stop.
On our way back down past the maker's market we grabbed the ornaments which had dried by this point and headed to the fair ground.
The fairground had lots of different things to do - the kids had a go each at hook - a - duck (£2 each with a guaranteed prize). Once they hooked a duck they could just choose the prize they wanted - they got a fluffy duck cuddly toy and a bow and arrow set. They also had a ride each on a vehicle merry-go-round - one choosing to ride on a motorbike and the other on the top of a double decker bus (cost £1.50 each) I was surprised at how fast the ride spun round - it lasted a fair bit and they both enjoyed it.
After that we each swapped £1 at the carnival games area for a cup of coins - this contained old 1p coins (thats the big ones) new 1p 2p 10p and 20p coins to use on the old arcade games. Both kids spent their 20p's (and ours) on a chicken game where you get a guaranteed prize each time winning temporary tattoos and dice - the chicken spins around when you put a coin in and pushes an 'egg' with the prize in out through the slot in the bottom. There were the old fashioned viewing machines were you put in the old 1p and turned a handle to watch a 'movie', old 1 arm bandit machines and lots of other things to play with. The kids spent all their money but I hit the jackpot on the 2p bandits and came away with 78p in 2s which the man kindly swapped out for me :)
The kids each had £1.50 left to spend - one had a go on the swings (£1.50) which after about 30 seconds looked like he would be sick - I dont blame him I cant spin in circles either and again they went pretty fast. The other had a go at one of those ball toss games where the ping pong ball has to land in a glass jar - the lady running the stall kindly gave both kids a couple of extra balls each (£1 for 3 balls but they ended up with around 8 between them) - much to their disappointment they didnt win.
As it was now gone 4.30pm we decided to call it a day and to head back to the car park - it seemed a lot longer walk back to the car park than it did going lol
After that I treated my friend and the kids to a carvery at my local one - it's normally only around £4 a meal but sundays and bank holidays its £8 for adults and £4.50 for kids. We all stuffed ourselves full of veggies, potatoes, yorkshire puddings and meat before calling it a day and heading home
All in all a lovely day and relatively cheap too!