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Leighton (Tre’llai) is a small village near Welshpool in Montgomeryshire. It is set around the Leighton Farm Estate which is the best example of a Victorian model farm in Wales.

Things to do with kids in Leighton

Before to moving to Leighton 7 years ago, we had lived in London for 11 years. Needless to say when we did move up here, it was a bit of a culture shock! We didn’t have a clue where was good to eat out, where there were cinema clubs, theatres, good pubs etc etc. Fastforward 2 years and we had our first baby, then the problems became more important. Where were the good playgroups/nurseries, what was there to do on a rainy afternoon, what music activities or swimming schemes were available?

As I have already been through all these problems I thought it might be helpful to try and put a list together of things to do with pre-schoolers, toddlers and babies in the local area! This will hopefully be useful to newcomers to the area but might also help people who have been here a long time too. The list is not exhaustive by any means and it would be great if you find a good day out, a club or activity please leave a comment below.

Firstly, I must big-up Leighton School Playgroup which is held every Tuesday morning (term-time only) 9.30–11.30am. Very friendly group with lots of toys and bikes. There is a craft activity every week (recently we did t-shirt painting). Snack and drinks are provided and the group is suitable for all ages, from birth to school age. First session is free, after that £2. More info from Liz Lawson 01938 580397.

Local attractions

Powys Castle gardens

Brilliant on a sunny day, lots to explore and plenty of space to run around and play football or hide and seek. Rather expensive to get in (unless you are NT members) but they do have a free day every spring. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findaplace/w-powiscastle_garden/

Welshpool library

A good option for a wet day. Staff are very helpful and the kids section is away from the rest of the library so utter quiet is not essential! There is
a Bookstart session for under 3s which meets on the first Tuesday every month at 2.00 pm. More info at: www.powys.gov.uk/index.php?id=712&L=0

Derwen Garden Centre Maze

Large maze, great (mostly organic) farm shop and garden centre, also has a coffee shop/restaurant.

Serven Farm Pond and Coed y Dinas Nature Reserve

Beautiful reserves maintained by Montgomery Wildlife Trust. There are also various family-friendly activity days throughout the year, birdwatching, pond dipping, arts activities etc. www.montwt.co.uk

Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway

At the top of Welshpool town. Great little steam train that is a complete hit with any Thomas fans! There is a Christmas train in December with a
visit from Father Christmas. www.wllr.org.uk

Chuckle Charlies soft play at Coed y Dinas

Great, very clean play place. There is a café which is quite nice and the garden centre too. Only problem is the toilets are miles away from the play area, not great for potty training or young ones who need to go NOW!

Swimming lessons for babies and toddlers at the Flash Lesuire Centre

These take place on various days of the week, brilliant for building up your baby’s water confidence (even though the pool is sometimes quite cold). There is quite a long waiting list for these, so book early if you are interested. www.flash-leisurecentre.powys.gov.uk

Tumble Towers soft play

At the Flash Lesuire centre Welshpool. Not always desperately clean but a big play area with ball pit, slides and climbing ropes. www.flash-leisurecentre.powys.gov.uk

Pyjama Drama – drama, movement and music classes

Run by Sarah Owen (a Leighton resident) these are brilliant classes for kids aged between 2 and 7. Involving drama, dancing, singing and role play. Sarah is fantastic at getting the kids pretending to be dragons or mermaids and there is plenty of running around too. First session is free. www.pyjamadrama.com or Sarah on 0845 16 37262.

Babble and Speak – baby signing lessons

Music, singing and signing also run at the Flash by Anna.

Playground

Leighton School playground is for use by all and is very safe and contained, wooden wendy house, climbing frame and slides. If you need somewhere to have a birthday party Leighton Village Hall is also for hire and is very large with a kitchen attached. Contact 01938 554879 for more info.

Nurseries

Both my children went to Brookfield in Garthmyl which is very good and offers lots of outdoor activities and animals to look after. There is also Park Lane nursery in Welshpool and Footsteps in Buttington, this has a great after school and school holiday club, run by a lovely lady called Louise. www.footstepsdaynurseries.co.uk

Local pubs

The Royal Oak in Guilsfield is really the only child-friendly pub we have come across locally. There is a lovely beer garden with an adventure
playground for the kids with swings and slides. They unfortunately don’t serve evening food until 6pm though. Further afield is the Windmill on the way to Shrewsbury. This also has a great outdoor play area and lovely garden. The food is fantastic here and I think they serve all day.

Further a-field

Shropshire wildlife trust

In Shrewsbury, near the abbey. A lovely garden and shop. They hold a green-living day in the summer and a Christmas fair. www.shropshirewildlifetrust.org.uk

Attingham Park, near Shrewsbury

National Trust property with beautiful grounds to walk round. There is a children’s farm too. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-attinghampark

Acton Scott, Church Stretton

Working Victorian farm with shire horses, milking cows, ducks and hens. Demonstrations through the day – butter making, milking etc. Great day out and lovely café and shop. Great for a summer day. www.actonscott.com

Hoo Farm near Telford

Farm where you can feed the cows, sheep and hens. Plenty to do and some ride on areas too with mini-tractors and bikes. Also wooded walk and café. www.hoofarm.com

Park Hall Farm near oswestry

Similar to Hoo Farm but a lot of it is indoors so ideal for a rainy day. There is a small café (not very exciting!) but you can take your own picnic. There is a large area where they have ride on tractors and bikes for the slightly older kids, soft play place and animal handling sessions. Also tractor ride to the adventure playground (outside) which is great. www.parkhallfarm.co.uk

Montgomery Forest School

I have taken my kids to one event run by this group which they absolutely loved. Set in the woods behind Newtown, the kids made a recycled bottle top
shaker and a whistle. Lots of running about and exploring to be had in the wood and you can take your own food. They sometimes run things closer to
Welshpool too. www.forestschoolmontg.org.uk

Crazy Knights soft play in oswestry

Massive play area on lots of levels with slides and climbing ropes. Smaller area for under 2’s. Café is very poor with very limited food choice and you cannot take your own food or drink with you. It gets very hot in the summer or busy times and cold the rest of the time! Kids seem to love it though! www.crazyknights-indoor-play.co.uk

Mickey Millers Play Barn (Craven Arms)

Lovely, very clean soft play place with slides and plenty of areas for the very little ones. Only downside is adults have to pay too. Café is great with a wide range of healthy food and snacks. www.mickeymillers.com

Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury

The newly built theatre. We have been to a pantomime and various other productions here, plenty of things on for younger ones. www.theatresevern.co.uk

The Hive (previously Belmont Arts Centre)

Very small arts theatre with rather off the wall productions, puppet shows etc. The seating is first come first served so get there early, also the auditorium gets incredibly hot and the seats are very uncomfortable! www.hiveonline.org.uk

Theatre Hafren (Newtown)

Never been here but it shows similar, larger shows as Theatre Severn www.theatrhafren.com

Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown

They have recently started doing children’s workshops in the school holidays. All on an art based theme, splatter painting, flick books etc. Lovely café with homemade food and great gift shop! Parking right next door in the bus station car park. www.orieldavies.org

Think Tank Birmingham

Science Museum aimed at children. Plenty of hands on activities for young ones with a large water play area (always a hit!). www.thinktank.ac

Blue Planet Chester

Great aquarium with a glass walkway so you can see the fish swimming overhead. They do talks throughout the day so you can find out more about the fish. Touch tank for the rays. Gets very hot. www.blueplanetaquarium.com

Enginuity in Ironbridge

This is a fantastic science museum for kids. Plenty for little ones to do and even my 18 month old had fun here. Lots of hands on activities with an educational theme (recycling, green energy etc). Not that easy to find. www.enginuitymuseum.co.uk

Walking and days out

There are some lovely walks locally, particularly up in the redwoods, lovely and shady on a summer day. There are some nice walks along the canal too. Offas Dyke is good although it gets very muddy, invest in an all-in-one waterproof suit!

There are some stunning beaches not too far away, we always plump for Ynyslas near Borth. It is a nature reserve with huge sand dunes and an incredible beach which always seems empty. Plenty of parking spaces and a reserve shop for lots of goodies!

Clun castle

Is a beautiful ruined castle with small stream, great for a picnic. Clun village has some great pubs too!

Whittington Castle, near Oswestry

Plenty of space to run around with a moat and lots of grass. You could try a medieval picnic at one of these castles. www.whittingtoncastle.co.uk

Places that friends have suggested that we have yet to visit:

The following are all near or in Telford

Haughmond Abbey, Hawkstone Park and Follies (great but no good for pushchairs, and not free), Quackers, Jungleland and Wonderland at the Town Park, Blists Hill.

In Shrewsbury

The Quarry (outdoor paddling pool here in the summer), Dingle and Castle

Stafford and Wolverhampton

Shire Hall Gallery and Multisensory Room and Bilston Craft gallery (especially the Stay and Play and holiday Craftsense sessions)

Elsewhere

Lake Vyrnwy Sculpture Trail

A great area with carved wooden sculptures. It’s at the dam end of the reservoir. www.lake-vyrnwy.com

Hafren Forest walk

Explore the start of the river Severn. www.forestry.gov.uk

Thomas Land, staffordshire

Need I say more? www.thomaslanduk.co.uk

Chirk Castle

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-chirkcastle

Harry Tuffins farm in Churchstoke

There are some small animals enclosures next to the supermarket.

Quackers soft play place, Priorslee

Newbridge (Ty Mawr country park) walk, river to throw stones in, small animal section, shop, loos, picnic areas and its free!

Ellesmere Mere

Gyminis class at Oswestry Leisure Centre

Scrappies in Church Stretton

They use scrap and recycled things to run workshops, birthday parties for children. There is also a craft shop. www.scrappies.org

by Holly Dyer, Old Cable House
(Thanks to Louise, Sarah, Claire, Amy, Row for their suggestions.)

1 Comment so far

  1. children's farm wrote on Tuesday 8 March 2011 at 10:39:

    Thanks for the post! I come from leighton Buzzard, and often the family and I go for trips around the UK. We have two young toddlers so are always on the look out for child-friendly places to visit. Leighton sounds lovely, and we’ve long planned to make a trip to Wales, so this will be on our list of places to visit.

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