The Llanberis Slate Mines have been a firm favourite in our family since I was a little girl, we would visit Wales for weeks at a time and would always make a point of visiting the slate mines and very little has changed since then. It was a given that I would bring my own children here on our travels as I loved it so much as a child they had to too.
We pulled up to the Mines where they are set in the beautiful scenery of Llanberis, a small town with lots of cafes and outdoor shops with a local park and lake and not forgetting the breath taking mountains in the distance in particular Mount Snowdon. A Victorian hospital is hidden in the hills where you can visit and see how medicine has evolved over time, this was going to be our first port of call but was unfortunately closed the day we visited. The entrance to the mines is free, and there is also plenty of other things to do whilst there, Rainbow quarry is a two minute walk away where you can see the quarry itself or watch as dare devil rock climbers take their chances with the vast slate walls.
When you park your car you can see the courtyard and clock tower as the entrance to the mines themselves. Upon entering you walk through a lovely little gift shop where you can spend your pennies on sweets, books or keepsakes to take home with you.
Our first port of call was to visit inside the Chief engineers house, it is a replica of how the house would have looked when the mines were at their peak, we walked past the kitchen into a living room and parlour noticing the attention to detail such as a vintage sewing machine set up waiting to be used. The children loved comparing this house to how our own home looks.
From there we set on to go in the many rooms that are set out telling the story of how the mines began and the men who worked there. A dining room is set up with tin cups and plates giving the impression that the workers had left for the day and quite literally never returned.
Demonstrations are held daily to tell the story of slate and how it is cut. My daughter was lucky enough to be asked to help and had a slate heart chopped for her to take home.
Exhibitions are set out full of detailed photographs which brings a feeling of life to these now unused mines. Throughout the day you will see various quarry engines which for my two youngest sons was such an exciting experience to not only be that close to old engines but also be able to take a ride (this is charged) on one outside the grounds made their day.
The workshops are laid out exactly as they were and the musky oil smell hits you as you walk in each room, this also helps the children's imagination when looking at the machinery and imagining what it would have been used for and what it would have been like to work there.
There is also fully working water powered machinery in the quarry, visitors are able to climb the stairs or use the lift to go and see the huge wheels turning passing water around keeping the cogs and arms working perfectly.
For anyone wanting a bite to eat they have a cafe set at the back of the quarry with a children's park right facing so mum and dad can have a quick brew while children let their hair down on the swings and climbing frame.
My family's particular favourite part of the mines is quarry men's houses situated right next to the children's play area. There are three houses in a row with front and back gardens that have been set out into three different time zones. The first from when the quarry was at its peak or as it is described the golden age, then onto the times of the Penrhyn strike and lastly from when the mines closed in 1969. You can visit each room and see how it would have been set out in each era, you can walk through the living room/kitchen into the back bathrooms as well as up stairs where the bedrooms are set out, you literally step back in time and our little ones loved it.
I cant recommend this place enough for families, not just because it holds special memories for me growing up but it really is a good day out its an added bonus that its completely free. We tend to take a picnic with us and get the kids bellies full before setting off on a good wander and no matter how many times we've been there, the children never tire of it. There a places to eat and drink, baby changing, toilets all the usual services us mum and dads need, there's a place to buy an ice cream on a warm day and there is plenty of things to stand back and watch and transport yourselves back in time.
Exhibitions in the mines change regularly so even if you have visited before there will always be something different to look at, there are usually events of some sort over seasonal holidays such as Easter and Halloween and birthday parties can also be held here at a charge.
This is a place for all the family to enjoy my brood range from ages 6 months old up to 13 years and not one of them doesn't enjoy themselves whilst they are there. Its as expensive or inexpensive as you make it and will take a great deal of your day up, I for one will always recommend it and if it puts a smile on the kids faces then its a given mum and dads will go home happy.
Firstly let me introduce myself, my name is Laura I'm 35 years old and I was born and bread in Liverpool. I currently live in Bolton with my husband and six children, yes you did hear me right I have six children and each little monkey is mine.
We live in a neat little house with a front and back garden along with our puppies Hank and Chester, Chinchilla Beau and Guinea Pigs Apollo and Penelope.
We all love going on as many adventures as we can as a family, our favourite things to do include packing up our caravan and heading on the road to wherever we fancy. We will drive all the way to Fort William for haggis or into Wales to explore a copper mine.
We love travelling to lovely places and being together as a family which as you can imagine creates one or two disagreements but on the whole we have so many giggles and create so many lovely memories together.
I hope to use our many adventures to show the readers of Raring 2 Go what fabulous places there are out there to enjoy with their little munchkins and we will always do it for as little cost as possible, we hope you enjoy reading this and any recommendations will be welcome.