And now for something a little bit different of a Travel Tuesday...
If you find yourself in Wales looking for something to do, I highly recommend a trip to the Big Pit in Blaenavon and Pontypool, not to be confused with Pontypandy! We usually travel by boat so we can take our car, large family & kitchen sink. This time we travelled with Irish Ferries from Rosslare to Pembroke.
The Big Pit is the UK’s National Coal Museum, an award-winning interactive museum which includes an underground tour. I can honestly say that this is one of the most impressive museums I’ve been to anywhere in the world. Do you want to know the best bit? It’s free entry, however there is a nominal charge for the car park.
There are numerous out buildings to explore, our little ones soaked up all the information like sponges, they loved it. I wasn’t sure if they'd all want to go underground to see the coal mines but they did and there were no nerves or apprehension at all. The underground part of the tour is an hour long & only for those over one meter tall so we had to split up so one of us could stay on the surface with our baby.
You're kitted out with a hard hat & a torch with battery pack weighing 5kg, sensible footwear is advised as the ground is uneven. I went in first with 3 of our children, the tour is led by an actual coal miner that worked in the pit so he can give you first hand information & regale you with stories of his time working there. They were a really great bunch of lads, so friendly & funny, they ensured to include the children in their story telling.
They have state of the art facilities including baby change facilities and fully wheelchair accessible toilets on all three levels. It’s also a breastfeeding friendly venue. While my husband went down the Big Pit, I took a stroll up the hill to the old canteen that’s still in use today for tourists. The same building as the canteen houses the showers & the doctor’s office. Everything has been left as if the miners were still at work today, just like stepping back in time.
There are picnic tables outside to take in the stunning view from this vantage point. I enjoyed a chilled class of wine, while the children munched on crisps & a cold drink, all sold at great prices in the canteen.
Luckily we spotted an old steam engine as we approached the road to the Big Pit, we pulled in as our little lads are train mad. We soon found out that you can park there free of charge & take the steam train one stop to the Big Pit. Our boys were thrilled as there was a first class carriage that’s exactly like the train from Harry Potter.
We paid £21 for a family return ticket, they are pay once & ride all day tickets. Unfortunately we didn't have time but you could take the train to the Whistle Inn for a cold refreshment. In all of our family adventures, this little pit stop truly was one of the most memorable, the kids talk about it to this day. We can't recommend it enough!
Next week I’ll bring you more from our Welsh trip.