I’m not really sure why it’s taken us so long to visit Mountain View Ranch in Caerphilly, South Wales for a family outing, especially as we’ve heard only good things about it. But better late than never as they say!
As we were blessed with a sunny day during the Easter holidays, we decided to pay it a visit and we all loved it. It is set on over 100 acres of land, which must have been part of the neighbouring golf course at one stage, as there are clearly old bunkers dotted about, some of which now provide sandpits for little ones to play in.
When you first arrive at Mountain View Ranch you have sight of the impressive park area with slides, zip wire, climbing ropes and swings, which are all set on sand, ensuring soft landings for any tumbles. There are picnic tables dotted about and even some deckchairs so you can sit and watch them play.
When you enter, each child is given a map, to navigate their way around all the things there to do and see. There are then stamp posts at each area so little ones can mark their map to show that they have been everywhere in Moutain View Ranch and they then get a sticker at the end when they leave.
There is also a sign at the entrance on a chalkboard listing all the planned activities scheduled throughout the day. As this isn’t written down anywhere it’s best to take a photo so you can refer to it when you need to.
Our favourite Things to do at Mountain View Ranch
We loved the Den building in Badgers Creek. We spent ages here building a den, the kids really got into it big time hunting for large sticks and arranging into a wooden wigwam shaped den.
I was surprised at how much my 22 month old enjoyed it too, she really got stuck in, trying to carry logs that were far to big for her and then playing house inside with a pretend camp fire. It was great to see them so engaged in the activity.
The Gruffalo Trail
Mountain View Ranch has the first official Gruffalo Trail, which you can walk around and see all the characters from the story or you can go on the guided story telling trail at selected times throughout the day.
No different to most little ones, mine love the story of the Gruffalo, so we opted for the story telling trail. We met Mr Wolf by the goats and he then took a group of us round the trail, retelling the story of the Gruffalo as we went and getting the kids and us adults to join in on some of the lines.
He stopped off at the woven wicker sculptures of each of the main characters and ended the tale at the big man himself, the Gruffalo.
The activity was pretty busy, and whist the Wolf suggested some of us may prefer to join one of the later sessions when it may be quieter, my kids weren’t having any of it. Which was a shame as when we walked past later we happened to see that a later session was indeed much quieter.
The main thing is the kids enjoyed it and as the kiddies were all invited to be at the front they got to see the whole thing anyway, but lesson learnt for next time, go for a later slot!
The fairy Trail
The fairy tail, set in woodland with pretty pastel bunting overhead was definitely a favourite. My little girl loved spotting all the fairies in the trees, making a wish in the wishing well and climbing up to the tree-house.
In the centre, standing tall was a magnificent tree adorned with fairies and fairy doorways. It reminded me of the magical Faraway tree in the Enid Blyton tales.
We really enjoyed all of the activities on offer, we took part in the toasting of marsh mallows over a roaring fire.
We visited the animals, of which we saw a very cute shetland pony, some goats, rabbits and guinea pigs.
We took part in the archery, where the boys had a go at shooting some arrows before then visiting the Indian camp.
We rolled down roly poly hill, found some dragon eggs and the mother dragon, played on hobbit hill, swang on the tree swings, played swing ball, played in the park area and basically just ran around like loons trying to fit everything in. There really is so much to do, and what makes it great is that it is all good old fashioned outdoor fun.
I have to say, that every member of staff that we came across was very helpful and professional, and seemed to enjoy what they were doing, I haven’t seen that much passion from staff since being in Disney World!
Eating at Mountain View Ranch
There are plenty of picnic tables dotted about through out the park so you can take your own food with you. As a tip, the best spot seemed to be down by the climbing tree as there’s plenty of open space and it was quieter down there.
We weren’t organised enough for a picnic so we ate at the Ranch where they cook delicious stonebaked pizzas.
They were pretty small, but they were priced at around just £5.00, which for what you got seemed reasonable. The cafe area was pretty busy and if I’m honest, as nice as the pizzas were, I would take a picnic next time and maybe call somewhere en route back for a meal as with so much to do there wasn’t the time to relax over a leisurely lunch.
There were also snacks and ice-creams available and it looked like there is usually a burger hut but that was closed when we visited.
All the activities listed above were included in the general admission price, but in addition they also have high ropes and Segway available for an additional charge which can be pre-booked.
They also do childrens parties and corporate events there.
Mountain View ranch is based in Caerphilly, just 5 minutes or so outside of Cardiff. It is pretty buggy friendly, we managed to take ours everywhere although it may be challenging in wetter weather. There are toilets, baby-changing, a small gift shop and a cafe.
Luckily for us, it is also dog friendly so no doubt will be a regular haunt for us going forward.
It is open everyday from 9:30 – 5.00 p.m. Admission cost £23 for a family of 4 and £28 for a family of 5.