Margam Country Park, located just outside of Port Talbot, is so much more than just a ‘park’. It has so much there to suit kids of all ages. Personally I find it ideal for taking my kids there as there is something for everything. And with their big age gap (as my eldest is ten and youngest is 3) unlike so many places, it seems to appeal to them all.
It has over 1,000 acres of land to explore, a fairy tale childrens play area, a wooden adventure playground, walks aplenty, lakes for fishing, ponds for feeding the ducks, rivers, waterfalls, a land train, Go Ape high ropes adventure, bike paths, animal farm area, roaming deer and a musical vibrations woodland trail!
Rest assured kids of all ages will be in their element in Margam Country Park! It is also FREE to enter. Admittedly you pay around £5.00 for parking but then entry to the park is completely free. Which is a pretty cheap family day out. It’s so so good its listed as one of our 13 Favourite Free Places to Visit.
Read on for our guide to make sure you make the most of your visit to Margam Country Park.
A Guide to Visiting Margam Country Park with the Kids
Our favourite time to visit Margam Country Park is at Autumn, as the park is in it’s full glory with all the colours of Autumn. But saying that, there’s never a bad time to visit.
First Stop – Fairy Tale Land
When we visit, we tend to head left. This takes you through the disabled parking and through the gate towards the Margam Park Orangery. Its the quickest route to the Fairy Tale park which kids and especially toddlers love.
The Orangery was built to house a large collection of citrus trees back in the late 1700’s. But now you’re much more likely to see a wedding there than trees, as following it’s restoration back in the 1970’s it is now an impressive events centre and wedding venue.
Walking past the Orangery on your right, follow the path round and you will come to the childrens Fairy Tale play area. This has a park area, and some miniature houses all with a fairy tale theme to look around. The houses are pretty old, they were there when I was little. But they are still good fun.
There is the Hey Diddle Diddle House, Snow White and the Severn Dwarfs and Little Jack Horner house to name a few. These are especially fun for toddlers to explore.
A favourite with our boys is the Adventure Play Castle, so much so that we struggle to get them back out of it. It is every little knights and princesses dream. Our’s play hide and seek in there for ages, running up and down the different stair wells and hiding in the little nooks and crannies.
Next Stop – Feeding the Ducks
When you leave the Fairy Tale play area head straight on the path. This will take you past the loos which are on the right. Eventually you will see the Gothic looking Margam Castle. On your way you will pass the Abbey Church and ruins, where there are some great trees for a spot of tree climbing.
When you get to the ruins, you have a choice, you can either head straight up the steps to the castle or if you have a push chair there is a buggy path to the right. But, a little known tip is to take a left. As this will take you past the lesser known duck pond where you can stop for a breather to feed the ducks and swans.
Next up – Margam Castle
From the pond, you continue walking on towards the Castle. The Listed Grade I Gothic Tudor Castle was was built back in 1890 and took 87 years to build, not surprising as it it was made completely from stone, all supplied from the local Pyle quarry. During school holidays they often run crafts here which are fun to take part in.
Margam Castle is really quite impressive with its archways, stairway and its octagonal tower.
Just behind the castle is where you will find the cafe, and gift shop. The cafe and its courtyard is a nice place to grab a bite to eat if you don’t have a picnic. It is also here that you will be able to hire bikes or quad bikes by the hour to explore the park further.
Then Head for the Adventure Play Area
From here, you want to take the main path straight ahead into the park, onto the pond and wooden adventure park. If it’s running, just outside the courtyard you will see the land train which for a couple of pounds will take you back down to the car park area. It does only run is peak season and doesn’t run during Autumn and Winter.
The Wooden Adventure Playground at Margam Country Park
The wooden adventure playground has an elevated walk way, plenty of climbing frames, some castle moats, slides and tunnels to explore. Ours love it there.
If you have time, try out the Animal Trail
From the playground you can either head back to the Castle and back out, or venture even further on to the farm trail area. Here you will see Turkey’s, chickens, rabbits and goats.
Turkeys in the Farm Animal Trail
From here, if you come back out of the animal trail (the same way you entered), and then head left you can walk back to the car park through the vibrations trail.
Homeward Bond Via the Woodland Walk
This way the kids can play with some giant musical instruments including a xylophone. You will also pass the woodland on your right where if you have any energy left you can explore and have a go at some den building.
The woodland vibration trails meanders through the woods, over the river and waterfall and past some wood carvings. Not to mention the very hungry crocodile who was chewing on a man’s head.
This way will eventually bring you back to the main entrance and on to the car park. This is the route we tend to find the easiest with the kids. You can easily spend a whole day here if you bring a picnic.
Of course the park is huge and there are so many other areas to explore. Pick up a map from the main reception desk and go where ever takes your fancy. You can take your bike or scooter as there are lots of paths suitable for bikes and scooters.
There are also a few challenging walks there too towards the back end of the park. Great for juniors and older, but toddlers would benefit from a carry.
Then of course they also have the Go Ape, high ropes adventure there, which for older kids and adults is fantastic fun.
Eating at Margam Park
There are lots of picnic benches and so much open space that makes it perfect for a picnic. But if you’re not that organised you can pick up a kids lunch box for £3.80 at the cafe. This includes a sandwich, a drink, a jelly pouch, a piece of fruit and a chocolate Freddie. They also serve hot food during weekends and peak season.
Events at Margam Park
They often have extra events running so its worth checking their website and asking at the main entrance when you arrive about what’s on. For a small additional cost we have had fun trying our hand at archery and doing craft activities at the castle. They also usually have lots of fun days planned during school holidays and some large events planned through out the year.
Our Verdict of Margam Country Park
I have been to Margam Country Park many times and I cannot recommend it enough! Every time you go you’ll have a different experience, there is just so much to do. I like to visit throughout the year to see it in all it’s glory throughout the changing seasons. Although the autumn is the best. I also think it’s so reasonable for a family day out. So much so that it features on our top 13 Free places to visit.
Good to know before you go:
Cost – Entrance to Margam Country Park is free, but there is a car parking charge of £5.90. Which we think is still very reasonable for a family day out. We purchased the annual car parking pass, which was c£28.00. This allows you to visit as many times as you want outside of event days.
Directions – To get there, follow post code SA13 2TJ. This will get you close to the Park. You then just need to follow the brown signs to the park.
Facilities – The park has toilets and baby changing but they are pretty spread out. There are toilets by the Fairy Tale land park and by the Castle. There is also a cafe near the castle along with a gift shop. As there is only the one cafe it pays to take snacks, as you may find yourself a long way from the shop when hunger hits.
Getting Around – There are plenty of paths suitable for biking and for scootering. Note the land train doesn’t run throughout Autumn and Winter so expect to walk, a lot during these seasons. Unless you take your bike.
Dogs are welcome in all the outside areas but can not go inside the Fairy Tale Land or the Play Area. They can go in the courtyard but not inside the cafe itself.
For more information visit the Margam Country Park Website: www.margamcountrypark.co.uk
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