School may be out, but Port Talbot can still teach us a thing or two!
Summer school holidays are approaching fast, and we are all looking for lots of fun-filled family activities. But where do we start? As tempting as it may be to chill out in front of the TV, science and experience tells us there are better ways to properly relax our brains – after all, we’ve had quite enough of screens lately!
So, let’s get outdoors and learn a thing or two instead. Buckle up for a whistle-stop tour of Port Talbot to experience some of the exciting historical and outdoor activities it has to offer.
Margam Country Park
We start in the historically diverse Margam Country Park, 850 acres of charming scenery at the end of a short bus ride from Aberafan Shopping Centre, a handy place to grab a packed lunch. Whilst it is free to enter the park, the little ones will enjoy the purse-friendly train ride up to the 19th century castle. From here, the Orangery, gardens, lake, children’s play areas, farm train and deer park are all a manageable walk away.
Older children are sure to enjoy a visit to Margam Abbey, which was Wales’ largest and wealthiest centre of Christian worship during the 12th century. Coronavirus restrictions permitting, volunteers provide an entertaining tour of the abbey, where you will see the Mansel Tombs and Talbot chapel – among the finest examples in Wales.
Around the corner lies the Margam Stones Museum, which, for history buffs of all ages, is home to an impressive collection of Celtic stone crosses representing Welsh Christian culture between the 6th and 16th centuries.
A trip to the Go Ape Margam treetop challenge is next on our list, for older and younger children alike. The only treetop challenge in Wales, this is certain to get the adrenaline pumping and elicit the best Tarzan impersonations!
Closer to the sea
Five minutes away from the shopping centre is one of Wales’ longest stretches of sandy beach where we challenge you to not find an activity you love, with surfing, kayaking, windsurfing, fishing and dog-walking all up for grabs. Along the seafront lies an adventure golf course, skate park, an aqua splash play pool and a toddler playground. For the art lovers, don’t miss the Kite Tail – the 12 metre high sculpture, which holds the accolade for the largest piece of artwork in Wales.
A short walk from the beach sits a museum unlike any other. The Baked Bean Museum of Excellence, run by none other than Captain Beany, contains artifacts, advertisements and merchandise from all over the world – and the best part is, it’s free!
Away from the crowds
Time for some peace and quiet (yes, even with the children!). Pick up a pair of walking boots and make sure they are tied tight – because we are heading to the Richard Burton walking trails in the Afan Forest Park (known locally as Afan Argoed). For older children, the ‘Birthplace Trail’ is ideal at approximately one and a half hours long. However, younger children may be better suited to the ‘Childhood Trail’ coming in at half that time. Along these informative trails you will see Burton’s birthplace and enjoy quotes from ‘Under Milk Wood’ read by Burton himself. Both trails also feature a children’s play area and a scenic picnic spot for that well deserved rest.
Pit stop over with, now we head five minutes east from the trails to the affordable South Wales Miners Museum. Here, we can explore a replica mine and have an immersive experience to really capture what it felt like to be a miner. Young children will love putting on cap lamps and helmets whilst older children can look at the social history of mining in the Afan Valley through photographs and indoor and outdoor mining artifacts.
Find all of your Summer Holiday essentials at Aberafan Shopping Centre
With so many great activities to plan in Port Talbot this Summer, it’s time to get prepared for action by visiting the shopping centre for all your holiday accoutrements. Be sure to make a list of what you’ll need for each activity, all available in our centre.
Hot days are ahead, so make sure to stock up on some sun cream. Boots have a huge variety of quality sun cream brands, and if you buy 2 Soltan products from Boots, you get a free Minions Water Bottle while stocks last.
Taking a packed lunch on a long walk is a good idea to keep hunger at bay, so head into Iceland to pick up all of your packed lunch staples like sandwich items, juice cartons, snacks and treats to ensure nobody goes hungry on a day trip. There’s lots of low prices to be found in-store.
For the beach and paddling pool, swimwear and beach clothes are a must. In the shopping centre you’ll find Sports Direct, New Look, Bon Marche, Pep and Co and a range of other clothing brands to suit your style. Pop into Shoe Zone to grab a pair of stylish sandals.
Speaking of paddling pools, Wilkos and Argos both stock a range of garden activity items too, including pools for all sizes and ages, outdoor play sets, water guns and more. Who doesn’t love a water fight?
With lots of different places to explore, you’ll need a reliable and roomy travel bag to take on your summer journeys. A visit to the Bagz store is in order where you’ll be able to find the perfect holdall, beach bag or suitcase to transport all of your holiday essentials with ease.
Our Welsh weather can be a little unpredictable at times, and some rainy days at home are very likely. The Entertainer stocks lots of rainy day activities for all ages like board games, activity books, puzzles and lots more to keep the kids entertained at home too.
Spoilt for choice?
Don’t worry – there’s always tomorrow. One thing is for sure though, you won’t want to go back to your screen any time soon!