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Caerphilly is well known for its huge castle and cheese but as someone who has lived there my entire life, I know that there’s far more to discover than that!

That’s why I’ve put together this dedicated guide where I’ll share 14 amazing things to do in Caerphilly.

1. Take a (Very Easy) Hike at Caerphilly Mountain and Common

With a summit of 271m (889ft) above sea-level, Caerphilly Mountain and Common are great places to go with or without your dogs. Getting to the top of Caerphilly Mountain takes only around 20 minutes from the parking spot so it’s not a strenuous hike. There’s also a scenic circular walk you can add to your itinerary if you want to stretch your legs a little more.

For the walks, park at Caerphilly Mountain Snack Bar. Parking is free although there’s only 50 or so spaces which can get full on busy days. The snack bar is also an eco-friendly permanent building with underfloor heating, solar panels, rainwater-flushed toilets, and outdoor picnic benches. And of course, they offer snacks and drinks.

The prices are very reasonable with the cheapest burger (a quarter pounder) being only £3.50 (not including fries). There are vegetarian options but currently no vegan or gluten-free options, so if you are vegan or gluten intolerant you may be best taking a picnic (full menu here). Note: there is no indoor eating area.

Location: This area of mountain is found between Cardiff and Caerphilly at the southern edge of the South Wales Coalfield. Its summit is 271 metres (889 ft) above sea-level.

  • Is it Suitable for Families? Yes, Caerphilly Mountain walk is very light so it’s perfect for all the family.
  • Is it Dog-Friendly? Yes, Caerphilly Mountain is an excellent place to take your dog, however, there may be sheep, cows, and horses around so some dogs may need to be kept on a lead.

2. See the Leaning Tower at Caerphilly Castle

Of course, we couldn’t forget Caerphilly’s number one attraction. If you are a history lover, then visit this impressive medieval fortress with a gift shop and cafe in Caerphilly town centre. You can wander the extensive interior and discover various exhibitions and artwork. 

One of the highlights of a visit to Caerphilly Castle is the leaning tower which is famed for having a steeper lean than Pisa’s own leaning tower. You can also hear the stories of the Green Lady of Caerphilly who is said to still roam the corridors today.

Opening hours: varies dependent on the time of year but are around 09:00 – 18:00 summer, 10:00 – 16:00 winter (the last entry is 30 minutes before closing time).

  • Is it Suitable for Families? Yes, Caerphilly Castle is family-friendly but many narrow stairways may be difficult to carry prams and pushchairs up.
  • Is it Dog-Friendly? Dogs are permitted to visit the outdoor areas at caerphilly Castle as long as they are on leads.

Find out more about planning a trip here in my full article about visiting Caerphilly Castle.


3. Visit a Tudor Manor House at Llancaiach Fawr

Elliott Brown

For an interactive historical experience, give Llancaiach Fawr a go! This semi-fortified Tudor manor house is constructed on the site of an earlier mediaeval construction, and possibly on top of or incorporated into the eastern end of that structure.

The house offers day tours with live servant actors, ghost tours, regular events, a café, and gift shop. It can be found near the village of Nelson, in the heart of the Rhymney Valley, this is about 20 minutes drive from Caerphilly town centre.

Admission for day tours: adults £8.50, concessions £6.95 (child, senior citizen 60+ and students with a NUS card), family £25.00 (2 adults and 3 children), Children under 5 are free. Admission for Exhibition is free.

  • Is it Suitable for Families? Yes, Llancaiach Fawr is family-friendly, they even provide an activity pack for toddlers. However, the pathways are too narrow for prams.
  • Is it Dog-Friendly? No, dogs are not permitted inside Llancaiach Fawr.

4. Meet the Gruffalo at Mountain View Ranch

Darryl Hughes/Shutterstock

Mountain View Ranch is a huge adventure playground and visitor farm on Caerphilly Mountain. It’s got plenty of fun activities to keep kids (both big and small) entertained. They can also enjoy an adventure playground, explore an Indian village, climb the high ropes, have a go at building their own den and make friends with goats, rabbits, guinea pigs and ponies.

One of the highlights of the ranch is the Gruffalo trail for those familiar with the best-selling book by Julia Donaldson. Along with their own Gruffalo guide, kids can immerse themselves in the story and meet other characters along the way.

Adults and older children or teens may enjoy a round of golf here with a 9-hole pay and play the course. The course is suitable for most abilities but is not for complete beginners.

Gruffalo trail and ranch access: Adults £8, Children (2-16), £8 Disabled/Carers £6, children 2 years and under are free. Golf: Adults £12, seniors (65+) £10, juniors (up to age 17) £10, students (proof required) £10

  • Is it Suitable for Families? Yes. Mountain View Ranch is a family-friendly day out.
  • Is it Dog-Friendly? Yes, dogs are permitted to visit Mountain View Ranch, providing they are kept on short leads.

5. See Sultan the Pony at Penallta Park

Richard Whitcombe/Shutterstock

If you want a great place to walk the dogs, for your kids to explore or have a picnic, Penallta Park is a vast mixed terrain, with off-leash dog walking areas, and picnic benches. There are landmarks with information and a variety of routes to choose (all of which link together).

The park is best known for Sultan the Pit Pony, a figurative earth sculpture that’s one of the largest in the UK1 (source: Green Spaces Caerphilly) (see image above)., however, there’s plenty more on offer around the park, not least the panoramic views from High Point Observatory.

Although certain inclines are high, every region can be reached by lower inclines, and many areas do not have any so the park is suitable for all ages and abilities.

The park is free but parking is not. A pay and display car park costs £1 for two hours or £2 for the entire day. There are disabled parking spaces and toilets, but these are not open 24/7.

  • Is it Suitable for Families? Yes, but stay on the main pathways with prams and pushchairs.
  • Is it Dog-Friendly? Yes, Penallta Park is a great place to take your four-legged friend.

6. Catch a Local Performance at Blackwood Miners’ Institute

Theatre lovers will enjoy Blackwood Miners’ Institute, a performing arts venue and iconic, historical landmark. The institute is one of South Wales’s busiest and most dynamic theatres with comedy, music, dramas, and children’s events. There is also a fully licenced bar serving a variety of hot and cold beverages and sweets.

Visit their website or the box office for the latest shows and events, but keep in mind that the box office is only open on weekdays.

  • Is it Suitable for Families? Yes, there are shows for all ages, check the listings to be sure.
  • Is it Dog-friendly? No, dogs are not allowed

7. Support Local Artists at Y Galeri

For the art and craft lover, Y Galeri in Caerphilly offers a contemporary art and craft gallery that aims to support Welsh artists and Welsh makers by giving them opportunities to showcase their work.

Although only a small venue, it has also hosted exhibitions from more established artists in Wales such as Brendan Stuart Burns who is known for his abstract paintings of rockpools, Iwan Bala who creates works based on memorised maps and landscapes, and Valerie Ganz from Swansea who was known for her paintings of the industrial revolution.

Some art and crafts items are available to buy, great for unique souvenirs and gifts. There is also a staircase leading up to a café and tourist information centre. This is a free attraction, although if you like what the gallery does, I would recommend that you make a small donation so they can continue supporting new talent.

Opening hours: 10:00 – 17:00, Tues – Sat

  • Is it Suitable for Families? Yes, families are welcome here, although there is not much space to manoeuvre pushchairs and younger children may get bored quickly.

8. Enjoy a Slice of History (and a Slice of Cake) at Winding House

Robin Drayton

Laren about the local history of Caerphilly this former colliery and museum which features entertaining exhibitions on everything from the Romans to the coal mining.

The highlight of the Winding House museum is a Victorian winding machine which would have been used to make textiles such as cotton. You can see this running at midday on the last Saturday of every month, excluding during December.

The museum is completely free and staffed by knowledgable volunteers who will make the exhibits come to life with hands-on activities and some even have their own stories from the area growing up.

Also at the museum is a great tea room offering a range of teas, coffees, and traditional baked goods such as cakes, these are a must before you leave. Spending a little money here or in the gift shop is what keeps this free attraction open, so you can feel good as you indulge your tastebuds!

Open hours: 10:00 – 17:00 Tues – Fri, 11:00-16:00 sat.

  • Is it Suitable for Families? Yes, the Winding House museum is fully accessible to prams and pushchairs.
  • Is it Dog-Friendly? No, dogs are not allowed.

9. Experience South Wales’ Largest Indoor Climbing Wall

RockUK

If you like an active life, the Rock Summit Centre features one of the biggest indoor climbing walls I have ever seen, certainly one of the largest in South Wales! It includes overhangs, roof climbing, bouldering, plus a ‘rainbow room’ for children and a café.

There is also a man-made caving system and aerial adventure course, but these are intended for larger group bookings rather than just rocking up to have a go (see what I did there?!). The centre is located around 25 minutes from Caerphilly, just south of Merthyr Tydfil.

  • Is it Suitable for Families? Yes, Rock Summit Centre is suitable for families with older children and teenagers.

10. Dine With a View at Casa Mia Restaurant and Cocktail Bar

For amazing castle views, food and drinks, Casa Mia is the place to be! This family-run establishment offers freshly prepared Mediterranean cuisine and cocktails. Casa Mia is very popular for firework night bookings as Caerphilly Castle’s annual firework display can be easily seen from the warmth and comfort of the restaurant.

It is pricier than the average pub meal in the area, but they offer a variety of menus: a la carte (with a special selection of traditional Welsh dishes), kids, lunch, bottomless brunch, Sunday lunch, and afternoon tea. The lunch menu offers the best value at £12.55 for two courses or £15.55 for three courses (Mon-Fri only).

Menu examples include tapas, pasta, pizza, seafood, steaks, and grills. Some vegan and gluten free options are available. Book a table on 02920 886123 or book online at Casa Mia Caerphilly

  • Is it Suitable for families? Yes, they provide a kid’s menu
  • Is it Dog-friendly? No, dogs are not allowed at Casa Mia.

11. Visit Aber Valley Heritage Museum

Aber Valley Heritage

Discover local heritage for free at the Aber Valley Heritage Museum in the small town of Senghenydd just outside Caerphilly!

The museum tells the story of the local area and its people through a collection of artefacts, documents, and photographs. A major theme at the museum is the biggest mining catastrophe in British history which happened at the Universal Colliery in Senghenydd (where the museum is based) in 1913.

It also documents the Valley’s broader history, including the Windsor Colliery, residents’ sporting accomplishments, old shops and buildings, memories of community events, and the community’s involvement in World Wars.

Opening hours: 11:00 – 2:00 Tues to Sat (excluding the Saturdays preceding Bank Holidays) Last entry 15 minutes before closing.

  • Is it Suitable for Families? Yes, the museum is an activity for all the family.

12. Enjoy Pub Grub by the Lake at Court House Pub

Court House Pub is a family and dog-friendly pub is very cosy and traditional with a pretty beer garden next to Caerphilly Castle’s South Lake.

The menu offers traditional ‘pub grub’ style food which can be eaten in or taken out. Vegan and gluten-free options are available. Prices are reasonable with the cheapest burger (chicken) and fries at £8.79.

They hold regular quiz and open mic nights, as well as playing popular sports games on their big screen.

  • Is it Suitable for Families? Yes
  • Is it Dog-Friendly? Yes

13. Encounter Wizards and Toadstools at Poppelwood Soft Play Centre

Fancy relaxing with food and drinks while your children play? Then Poppelwood is for you! Poppelwood is an immersive woodland-themed soft-play centre where wizards and giant toadstools are among some of the things children will encounter.

The centre is for children aged 8 and has bookable dining tables for adults to enjoy. Plus, it’s totally indoors which makes it a great activity for a rainy day in Caerphilly.

If one soft play centre wasn’t enough, Caerphilly is also home to a second great place to take the kids called Funtastic. It’s a similar concept with a toddler section, an under 4s area, soft play for 4 to 11-year-olds, a soccer field and a disco area. However, advanced booking is required for Funtastic.


14. Stock Up on Treats at The Vegan Box

I’m going to indulge my vegan fantasies for this last activity in Caerphilly. Hidden away in the Caerphilly indoor market is a hidden gem called The Vegan Box, a small food stall that supplies vegans, vegetarians and the vegan/vegetarian curious with a good selection of homemade meals, snacks, cakes, and drinks. There is little else in this very small market, but this stall is well worth a visit.

Eve Louise Davies is a Welsh writer and children's book author. During her previous career as a primary school teacher, she discovered her passion for history. Eve loves to visit local places of historical interest and share her experiences.