Essex Mums Blog

Cardiff with the Kids: What Can You Get Up To?

Guest Post

Whether you’re planning on a weekend away with the brood, or you’re looking at options to fill the time during the imminent February half term, the Welsh capital would be a great place to go. It may be one of the newest capitals in Europe, but its home to a whole host of activities and attractions that help to contribute to its cosmopolitan feel and diverse outlook. Whether you’d prefer to choose one of the Travelodge hotels in Cardiff as a base for some outdoor adventures in South Wales, or you’d like to make the most of your stay in the city with the kids by introducing them to the various local attractions, an affordable hotel and a fun-packed itinerary would be all you need for a successful trip. Here are some of the top attractions that the kids will love, both in, and around, the city.



They may be off for a week from school, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be learning. At Techniquest, learning can be super fun too! This Science Centre in the city is a superb spot for children and adults alike, giving them the chance to enjoy some hands-on exhibitions and activities to gain insight into various aspects of the science world. With over 160 stations where you can experiment, as well as various shows and demos throughout the year, there’s plenty to be getting on with at this great value, entertaining day out.


Cardiff Dockyard

The dockyard in the heart of the city is awash with things to discover and explore, with visitors able to gain insight into the history and heritage of the city’s maritime past with every step. Embark on the Cardiff Bay Walking Spy Trail with your youngsters and you can all enjoy the sights of shipwrecks and wetlands while following this fun, outdoorsy trail that lasts for about 3 hours – it’s a great way of enjoying the outdoor aspects of Cardiff, away from the cityscape.


Planet Ice

If you’re stuck for things to do and the weather outside doesn’t exactly fill you with hope, Planet Ice is a great place to go. The ice rink, located in the heart of the city, offers a fun-filled afternoon for all ages. From the little ones mastering the blades for the first time with the help of the penguins, to the older kids (and parents) who hope to find their feet on the ice without the help of these childish supports, the rink caters for everyone and provides a great alternative to the norm.


The Doctor Who Experience

Any fan of the Time Lord will love to embark on the Doctor Who Experience, which can be found in Cardiff Bay. This interactive journey takes you through time and space on a hi-tech adventure, where you can fly the TARDIS and tackle some of his renowned foes, including the Daleks and the Cybermen.


Whatever you choose to do, you’ll certainly be able to keep the kids entertained with a trip to Cardiff.


RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch

January is one of those months when you feel like there is nothing to look forward to but more cold weather. The kids are slowly going stir crazy with you probably getting there first and the thought of getting outdoors in all the rain and mud has many of us running for cover. Not more washing! Well, at the end of this month why not get the kids involved in some family fun that isn’t too messy, means you can all stay warm and gets you all enjoying nature and the outdoors.

On the 25 – 26 January the RSPB is holding their annual Big Garden Birdwatch and it’s really easy to take part. All you need to do is register on the website and then spend one hour over the weekend watching and recording the birds in your garden. You can even take part in your pyjamas!

Photo by Rahul Thanki (

Don’t think the kids will sit for one hour? Then why not do it in 15 minute bursts or get them all riled up and excited by making your very own bird cake or some worm treats to keep them entertained while they watch the birds feasting - The birds will love it and the kids will relish in the opportunity to get mucky (without getting muddy of course).

Haven’t got a garden? Or maybe you just want to make a day of it? Then pop along to Wat Tyler Country Park and visit the RSPB visitor centre (10am – 4pm) where you can take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch from our very own busy bird feeder station. There will be a chance to make some fat balls, learn some bird id skills and at 1pm, 2pm and 3pm there are some special Big Garden Birdwatch storytelling slots for littlies who love storytime.

Whatever you do to take part we would love to hear how you all got involved. You can post your pictures to our Facebook page RSPB Essex or tweet us @RSPBEssex and don’t forget to let Essex Mums know how you got involved too. Have fun!

To find out more about our Big Garden Birdwatch event then visit our Facebook page RSPB Essex or call us on 01268 498620


Summertime at Southend Pier: the Puppet Festival is back!

This post was brought to you in association with

Southend pier is one of those places that seems to be made for bringing your kids on a sunny day out. Sitting comfortably on their favourite pushchairs, your little ones will love to hear the crashing of the waves and watch the fishermen as they challenge the sea.

But Southend on Sea’s most famous landmark, open daily over the summer from 8.15am to 8pm, is also unique in its essence, being the world’s longest pleasure pier with its planks stretching 1.34 miles into the sea. And this summer, yet again, this iconic structure will host a unique event targeted at the whole family: we’re talking of the Puppet Festival, which will be back with its 24th edition from August 3rd to 5th, from 11am to 5pm.

In the company of Punch and Judy, Essex’s favourite marionettes and glove-puppets, the kids will be enjoying a weekend of fun at the pier while their parents go back some years and remember days gone by.

On top of the Puppet Festival, the pier can also offer more fun moments for kids within its fascinating museum: along with almost 200 years of heritage living on in the restored pier trains from the past, early slot machines with real old pennies and funny mirrors are there to make a day at the pier an unforgettable one for the whole family.



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