On our recent trip to Pembrokeshire while staying at Clydey Cottages, we called into the National Wool Museum Wales. Based in the small village of Llandysul. If I’m honest, visiting the National Wool Museum wasn’t really on our list of things to do while we were visiting West Wales. But as the rain was hammering down it was a case of trying to find something to do that didn’t result in us all being completely soaked through. So we ended up in the car park of the National Wool Museum, trying to convince the kids that it would be a fun thing to do.
I have to say, we shouldn’t have worried, as the National Wool Museum turned out to be really interesting. Amazingly the kids enjoyed it too. Read on for a review of our visit.
Visiting the Wool Museum, Llandysul, Wales with the Kids
At one time wool was the most widespread of Wales’ industries. The former Cambrian Mills, in which the museum is now based, used to produce an array of woollen goods from shawls to socks and even the uniforms for soldiers in World War 1.
The museum tells the story of the production of wool. It showcases the machinery used, has displays of textiles and tells of the social aspects of working in the Mills.
The kids picked up the free ‘Woolly Tale’ fact sheet to complete. This meant that they were suitably engaged throughout the visit too – always a bonus!
The activity card had a series of questions for them to answer. They found the answers at various points in the exhibition. If I’m honest, it was completing this that they found the most interesting, rather than actually reading about everything. However, this did mean that we had a chance to read more information and find out more about things ourselves.
The kids also got to have a go at some hands on activities such as carding, spinning and sewing. On completion of their cards they were also given their own piece of welsh cloth to attach to their card at the end of the visit.
There were lots of fascinating facts throughout the tour. For example did you know that there are 11.1 million sheep in Wales compared to around just 3 million people? But if you think that’s a lot, in 2003 there were 134.9 million sheep in China!
The museum takes you on a tour of the production of wool right through from fleece to fabric. Seeing the machines that were once used in wool production and learning about what the working life was like for people working in the factories was pretty fascinating.
It was a shame that there weren’t any tours or demonstrations on when we visited. Seeing the machines in action would have brought the exhibition to life more. It may also have helped entertain our toddler for a while at least, as she was less taken with the visit. With the exception of the play corner and some small sculptures of sheep there was little to keep her entertained. Although to be fair if we hadn’t had the boys, I probably wouldn’t have taken a toddler to a Wool Museum.
On top of the tour, there is a pretty large onsite café. The cafe has a small play area with toys and books. Its just a small area with some soft mats which is more for toddlers. This was perfect for us as one of us entertained the little one here for a while the other finished off the activity cards with the boys.
Whilst the museum is undoubtedly more geared for adults it was still an interesting thing to do with the kids. I wouldn’t suggest it for toddlers, as with the exception of the play corner and looking at the water wheel at the entrance there is little for them here.
The boys however really enjoyed. I’m not saying that they enjoyed the National Wool Museum as much as their trips to Pembroke Castle and Newcastle Emlyn Castle, but it is definitely one to have up your sleeve for a rainy day if you are in the area.
Additional Information on the National Wool Museum, Wales:
Entry to the museum and parking is free
The Wool Museum has a café on site with a play corner for little ones. There are also toilets and baby changing. The small shop sells local Welsh wool products along with some other souvenir type gifts.
It is child friendly – recommend ages 6+ Although the cafe area caters for toddlers
It is wheelchair accessible although it is worth checking the website for full details
Address: Dre-fach Felindre, near Newcastle Emlyn, Llandysul, Carmarthenshire, SA44 5UP
Opening Hours: – April–September: 10am–5pm, daily; October–March: 10am–5pm, Tues–Sat
There is also a self-guided walking tour for the family nearby. This is through the back lanes of Dre-fach Felindre where you can see other landmarks of the woollen industry. Due to the rain we did not try the walk.