Castles and museums are often what attract visitors to Wales, but the country has much more to offer guests than culture and history. Wales features a few active opportunities that can serve as an “adventure playground” for daredevils who aren’t afraid of a little water or heights.
Catch a Wave at Surf Snowdonia
Tahiti, China, and Hawaii may boast the largest and gnarliest waves ever recorded, however, the longest manmade surfable waves in the world are found in the Conwy Valley of North Wales at the new Surf Snowdonia.
In a 984-ft. lozenge-shaped fresh-water lagoon, the push of a button creates barreling waves towering 6.5-ft. high at a rate of one wave per minute. Up to 52 surfers can ride a wave at once as it peels out for more than 492 ft. before hitting the shore. Experienced surf professionals at the Surf Snowdonia Surf Academy provide 2-hour group lessons to guests ages 5 and up based on their level of experience. Once guests are ready to break out on their own, they can catch beginner (whitewater or broken), intermediate (waist-high), and advanced (head-high) swells during Freesurfing sessions.
Surf Snowdonia also features a Crash & Splash Lagoon, an obstacle course activity zone set in an area of water the size of two Olympic swimming pools. Much like the TV show “Wipeout,” guests 12 and over take on spinning balls, monkey bars, climbing walls, balance beams, and rope bridges. Guests can also try being catapulted off of a large air-filled rubber tube called “the blob.”
Other activities include bodyboarding, stand-up paddleboarding, surf kayaking, surf yoga, and surf fitness. The sea-themed indoor Soft Play Shack entertains toddlers up to 4, while ages 4 to 12 crawl, slide, and climb in a separate play area. Prices start at $30 for an hour of beginner surfing and $45 for intermediates and advanced surfers. For more information on pricing, classes, and bundle deals, visit surfsnowdonia.co.uk.
Leap at Bounce Below
Hidden in the 175-year-old deserted Llechwedd Slate Caverns in Wales is Bounce Below, the world’s first subterranean trampoline playground. Large trampolines, connected by walkways, slides, and tunnels, are suspended in mid-air in two chambers at different heights—the highest at 180 ft.
This new, 1-hour, family-friendly experience, open to ages 7 and up, brings out guests’ playful side as they bounce, jump, slide, and climb on giant bouncy nets. Bounce Below Junior allows bouncers ages 3 to 6 to slip down slides, run and climb through tunnels and bounce on three different trampolines in their own separate section. Family sessions are available for groups with young children. Rates are $31 for guests ages 7 and up, and $20 for children ages 3 to 6. For more information, visit bouncebelow.net/experiences.php.
Soar Through Zip World Caverns
In a different part of the Llechwedd Slate Caverns, guests of Zip World Caverns are propelled through the world’s largest underground zipline and adventure course. Individuals or groups of four can test their courage on the underground course, where temperatures are approximately 50 degrees Fahrenheit year-round.
Instructors guide guests, ages 10 and up, through a roughly 3-hour exploration of ziplines, rope bridges, obstacles, and tunnels. Onsite facilities include a cafe, complimentary WiFi, and a gift shop. Rates are $94 for individuals, and $345 for a group of four. For more information, visit zipworld.co.uk/gallery-caverns.php.