Dragon Hunting at Abergavenny Castle

We are regular visitors to Abergavenny as it is only 15 minutes from our house. We often pop down on a Saturday for breakfast in our favourite café before running some errands, like depositing money in BattleKid’s bank account or getting his ever growing feet measured in Clarks. A few times we’ve gone dragon hunting at Abergavenny Castle after we’ve finished and BattleKid loves this little castle.Dragon Hunting At abergavenny castle

Abergavenny Castle is a ruined castle which was established in 1087 by a Norman Lord. Now a Grade 1 listed building, it is quite small and is located beside one of the main town car parks. It had a stone keep, towers and ditch fortifications. It housed both the family and the army of the Lord of the Castle. In the 19th century a lodge was built on top of the motte as a hunting lodge for the Marquess of Abergavenny and today acts as the castle museum.

Abergavenny Castle was also the scene of an infamous massacre over Christmas in 1175. The whole castle was destroyed in 1233 by the Earl of Pembroke and eventually rebuilt in stone. The walls you can see today are the remains of a stone hall built between 1233 and 1295.Dragon Hunting At abergavenny castle

Whenever we go dragon hunting at Abergavenny Castle, we always go clockwise for some reason, starting along the ruined walls. We check the holes and nooks and crannies in the walls for the dragon. We check the outside of the walls and also gated entrances.

We always check around the edge of the motte where the lodge now stands and also in the trees in the gardens. There are many a ruined wall with holes to check as you never know where the dragon might be hiding.

On our most recent adventure dragon hunting at Abergavenny Castle, we started at the main ruins and BattleKid checked all the usual places. Not finding the dragon where he initially thought it might be, he took a moment to reflect and think hard about where he might be hiding. Cue camera time for me!Dragon Hunting At abergavenny castle

We walked along the bottom of the motte and then made our way up it to the ruin wall that runs perpendicular to it. Lo and behold the dragon was hiding in one of the holes in the wall. BattleKid was delighted to find him at long last. He gave him a hug and then promptly tried to put him back where he found him.Dragon Hunting At abergavenny castle

Although this was a short expedition of dragon hunting at Abergavenny Castle, it was no less fun than previous visits for BattleKid. Happy that he had found his dragon he didn’t let go of him until he fell asleep in the car on the way home. Dragon hunting is tiring work you know.Dragon Hunting At abergavenny castle

Things to note if you go dragon hunting at Abergavenny Castle:

  • Abergavenny Castle ruins and the museum are free to visit and are located near the main car parks of Abergavenny town.
  • There is limited free parking within the grounds itself. The nearest car park is a pay and display carpark.
  • The museum is open from 11am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm, Monday to Saturday, and 2pm to 5pm Sunday between March and October. Between November and February the museum is open Monday to Saturday from 11am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm.
  • There are various exhibitions, both temporary and permanent, within the museum. Check what’s on by visiting the Abergavenny Museum website.
  • Note that the grounds of Abergavenny are quite uneven so are inaccessible to wheelchairs and buggies for the most part.
  • There are Family Backpacks available in the museum for families to use free of charge during their visit (free to use with a returnable security deposit such as car keys or mobile phone). These include replica artefacts, historic games, information sheets and activity sheets and binoculars to make visits more interesting. We haven’t used these but they sound brilliant for slightly older children than BattleKid’s 3 years of age.

We always enjoy ourselves whenever we go dragon hunting at Abergavenny Castle. I would recommend you visit Abergavenny Castle if you are in the area but it wouldn’t quite make a full day out unless you plan to get one of the backpacks and bring a picnic to enjoy in the grounds (tables available at the back of the castle). It is quite small, but that said is easily enjoyed for an hour or two for a spot of dragon hunting. As we haven’t ventured into the museum I cannot comment on it.

We generally go dragon hunting at Abergavenny Castle after running errands after breakfast. It’s a nice way to round off a visit to Abergavenny. Have you visited it?

Thanks for reading,

Cath x

Dragon Hunting At abergavenny castle

Cuddle Fairy

Dragon Hunting at Tretower Castle near Crickhowell

After their first to Tretower Castle near Crickhowell while I was away last year, as a family, we returned for another adventure of dragon hunting at Tretower Castle, the scene where it all began.Dragon Hunting At Tretower Castle

Tretower Castle is a Grade I listed ruined castle in the village of Tretower, approximately one and a half miles from Crickhowell in Powys. It is a Cadw site and was home to influential families such as the Vaughans and the Picards. Over 900 years old, it was established as a working farm in the 18th century. Today you can see what life would have been like when the Vaughans were part of high society in the late 15th century as many rooms have been recreated to that period.

BattleDad and BattleKid started the dragon hunting adventures on their first visit and when we returned a little over a month later we were pleasantly surprised to see the castle had a dragon hunt in place. A great addition for the school holidays and helped make our dragon hunting at Tretower Castle a little bit easier.Dragon Hunting At Tretower Castle

We were given a set of clues to find dragons hidden throughout the castle and grounds, and if we were successful, there was a certificate to collect upon completion. We started by walking through the gardens into the ground floor of the castle, and checking the clues on our sheet for the locations of the dragons.Dragon Hunting At Tretower Castle

Once we had located the dragons on the ground floor we moved upstairs to the bedrooms. There was one room BattleKid loved. It was a long hall-type room and he had great fun running from one end to the other. Apparently he had done it on his previous visit too.

From the house we moved outside to the gardens which are lovely. There were still lots of flowers in blossom and some of the trees even had fruit on them. BattleKid and I enjoyed the gardens for a while and of course this mama took some pictures of the boy while we waited for BattleDad. We then started to make our way over to the round tower, which sits away from the main castle buildings.Dragon Hunting At Tretower Castle

On our way we enjoyed some roly-polys. By the time we reached the round tower we had found most of the dragon clues for the dragon hunting at Tretower Castle, but were yet to find our own dragon’s hiding place. We searched inside the tower and then the nooks and crannies outside. At last we found him, hidden in a wall just outside the round tower. BattleKid was delighted and gave him a big hug.Dragon Hunting At Tretower Castle

Roly-polys were resumed on our way back to the house with BattleKid and I having lots of fun. He was also fascinated by the Jinny Joes (dandelions) and I taught him how to blow the florets off.Dragon hunting at Tretower Castle

When we reached the main house we found our final dragon clue in one of the rooms or cellars off the court yard and then handed in our complete dragon hunt sheet at the office whereupon BattleKid was presented with his official dragon hunting certificate and stickers. He was thrilled. Not only did we find our own dragon but he got a certificate for completing the dragon hunt at Tretower Castle itself.Dragon Hunting At Tretower Castle

The dragon hunt was an addition to many Cadw sites last year during the summer holidays and I’d like to think it returns this year. It’s a great way to get kids exploring historic sites and makes them more fun. We certainly enjoyed the dragon hunting at Tretower Castle. BattleDad also lays claim to the introduction of the dragon hunt after mentioning to the staff at Tretower Castle on their first visit that they were there to hunt the castle dragon. Whether this is true or not, he’s claiming it for his own! And either way we continue our own dragon hunting at each castle we visit as you will read in subsequent posts in this series.

Things to note if you go dragon hunting at Tretower Castle:

  • Tretower Castle is a Cadw site as mentioned and is open every day from 10am to 5pm from the 1st April to the 31st October. Between 1st November 2017 and 31st March 2018, the castle is open between 10am and 4pm from Thursday to Saturday but is closed between Sundays and Wednesday *.
  • Last admissions is 30 minutes before closing and costs £6.50 per adult, with children, senior citizens and concession tickets costing £4.30. Children under 5 years of age enter free. As Cadw members our admission was included in our annual pass.
  • There are toilets on site, including one for wheelchair users and those with limited mobility.
  • There are picnic benches available in the gardens but there is no coffee shop.  There are also no baby changing facilities at Tretower Castle.
  • The courtyard is mainly accessible to buggies and wheelchairs as are a few parts of the ground level of the castle, although you may find the cobbled entrance unsuitable. The upper level and round tower are not accessible.
  • There is a car park across the road from the castle, and roadside parking for approximately 30 cars and is free.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time dragon hunting at Tretower Castle and can recommend it as a place to visit for a few hours with your children if you are in the Crickhowell or Abergavenny area. It takes approximately 20 minutes to drive to Tretower Castle from Abergavenny. We combined it with breakfast in our favourite café in Abergavenny. If you’d like a sneak peek at Tretower Castle, we filmed a little vlog of our dragon hunting adventure which is below.

Have you taken your children dragon hunting yet?

Thanks for reading,

Cath x

*Prices and visiting times correct at the time of writing this post.

Dragon Hunting At Tretower Castle

 

Cuddle Fairy
Mummuddlingthrough

Dragon Hunting Series – Where it All Started

Many of you who follow me on Instagram will know about the dragon hunting adventures we have with BattleKid when we visit the many fabulous castles around us in Wales, but I realised while we were away recently that I never explained where it came from. Well, let me tell you the story.dragon hunting

Last year a dragon appeared outside Caerphilly Castle on Saint David’s Day and stayed outside for a brief time before moving inside the castle. We had missed seeing it that first time outside the castle, but when Lolo was visiting last May, BattleDad and he took BattleKid to Caerphilly one morning. After their breakfast they decided to visit the castle. They stumbled upon the dragon inside and on this particular visit BattleKid was quite unsure of him and his smoking nostrils.

dragon hunting
The Caerphilly Castle Dragon

When my sister surprised us with a visit over the May Bank Holiday weekend, we visited Caerphilly Castle again as she had never been. This time, with some coaxing from BattleDad and Lolo, BattleKid got a bit more comfortable with the dragon, going much closer but he still wouldn’t actually touch him. From that day he became fascinated with dragons and was always asking to go see the dragon. I have written about our bank holiday weekend visit to see the Caerphilly Castle dragon on the blog before.

Then last July, while I was home in Dublin without the boys, they headed to Tretower Castle in Crickhowell after breakfast in Abergavenny. BattleDad decided to make things a bit more interesting by telling BattleKid they had to find the dragon hidden within the castle and that they were dragon hunters. They searched the castle high and low and had a great day together. They searched the castle rooms, the fields around the castle and also the round tower, which sits away from the main castle. They eventually found the dragon off the court yard and from that day forth our dragon hunting adventures continued.dragon hunting

It has been a great addition to our days out, and has allowed BattleDad and me to enjoy visiting the many castles around us in Wales with a toddler in tow. BattleKid finds it great fun to check the nooks and crannies in each of the castles we visit for the elusive dragon and we’ve been lucky to find a dragon in each castle.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Since their first visit to Tretower Castle, BattleDad and I always bring a small dragon teddy bear of BattleKid’s with us to plant somewhere for him to find. It ensures we enjoy ourselves as a family while we adults can also enjoy a bit of historical culture.

And even better, I’ve since seen other parents and parent bloggers incorporating dragon hunting into their castle adventures which is brilliant. It goes to show that with a little imagination from BattleDad last year, a new family adventure for all to enjoy was born.

Have you been dragon hunting yet?

Stay tuned for posts about our dragon hunting at the various castles we have visited around Wales.

Cath x

dragon hunting
An introduction to the dragon hunting series and where it all began
Cuddle Fairy

WanderlustKids

The Caerphilly Castle Dragon – Our Bank Holiday Weekend

Visiting the Caerphilly Castle Dragon

Last weekend was our bank holiday here in the UK and we decided to start with a visit to see the Caerphilly Castle Dragon. My youngest sister had surprised me with a visit from Ireland, arranged with BattleDad without my knowing, and she mentioned that she’d never been to Caerphilly Castle despite us living in Wales for over 10 years now! So although BattleDad, Lolo and BattleKid had visited the Caerphilly Castle Dragon the week before, we decided to go again this bank holiday weekend.

We left just after 8am with the intention to have breakfast in Caerphilly before going to see the dragon in the castle. Just as we were headed for the car park in Caerphilly, BattleKid decided to cough while sticking his fingers in his mouth, not a good combination. His yogurt and entire bottle came up like something out of the Exorcist, destroying himself and his car seat. I’d put him in nice clothes for pictures and put a new coat on him and it was covered! Thankfully I had spare trousers and a t-shirt in the change bag but had no spare jumper or coat. Cue me going to Morrisons to buy him a jumper while the others ordered breakfast!

We had a lovely breakfast in Glanmor’s Cafe before heading to see the Caerphilly Castle Dragon. We paid £6 per adult entry and BattleKid was free as he is under 3. The Caerphilly Castle Dragon was made by the people behind the rugby ball in the sides of Cardiff Castle, Wild Creations. He was discovered outside the castle in time for St. David’s day this year. He moved himself to reside inside the castle walls on 7th March and there he plans to remain until this summer. You can see him if you step inside the entrance without having to pay but to see him up close and personal I highly recommend you go inside the castle!caerphilly castle panorama

caerphilly castle

caerphilly castle dragon

Well, BattleKid was amazed by him, even second time around but still wouldn’t touch him, even with Lolo and BattleDad trying to coax him. It didn’t help that every now and then he breathes smoke. The Caerphilly Castle Dragon really is an amazing creation and worth a visit if you can manage it before he leaves in the summer. BattleKid eventually went into his claws with BattleDad but didn’t stay long!

caerphilly castle dragon

caerphilly castle dragon

We had a lovely stroll around the castle and for the first time ever I got to see inside the great hall as every other time I’ve been there has been a wedding on so it’s been closed to the public. We let BattleKid wander on the walls with the help of BattleDad and he even dropped money into the well, which we told him was the dragons home. He was thrilled with himself! We stopped by the gift shop so I could get our Cadw membership and BattleKid picked out a dragon, princess and knight, as you do!

After our visit to the castle we quickly got BattleKid’s feet measured and to my surprise he has gone up a whole size, not a half size. Cue mummy guilt! So two new pairs of shoes were bought in Clarks before we headed for home, a certain little boy sleeping the whole way there after his adventures in the castle. We had lunch when we got home and my sister and I disappeared for a few hours to go shopping while the boys sorted out the front garden, albeit with their little helper as you saw on My Sunday Photo! It was a lovely Saturday and I even got myself some treats on my shopping trip, which is rare as I usually only end buying for BattleKid!

Sunny Sunday in the Garden

Sunday saw Lolo accompany BattleKid and I to our Waterbabies lesson so he could see how BattleKid is progressing. Unlike the week before he was very good the first half, but didn’t want to do anything for the second half. He slept on the way home and we got home just before BattleDad arrived back with my sister, who had been out on BattleDad’s bike (in my gear!). It was her first time on a motorbike and I think she enjoyed it!

lil sister
Little sister in my gear on her first ever bike ride

While we had showers Lolo started mowing the back garden and I finsihed it when I got back downstairs. We had brunch and then put out BattleKid’s castle tent that he received for Christmas. He thoroughly enjoyed it, shooing away the BattleDogs when they stuck their noses in the doors. He’s well able for our German Shepherds! We got BattleKid down for a nap at 2pm as he was getting tetchy and I sat in the clean garden enjoying the sun with my sister.

garden fun

garden fun

Lolo sparked up the BBQ and when we got BattleKid up at 4pm, we had a lovely dinner. Shortly afterwards I drove my sister to the airport, her visit having come to an end. It was lovely seeing her, especially as it had been a surprise. I told her she can do that any time she wants!

bbq

Bank Holiday Monday

We had a relaxing morning and enjoyed an Irish breakfast before letting BattleKid enjoy himself in the garden again. It was so nice having it clean and tidy for him to enjoy it so much. His tent came back out and so did his tractor (ride along caterpillar). While he napped after lunch  I enjoyed some quiet time in the garden with a magazine and some rock shandy, kindly imported by Lolo. Again we had dinner outside and enjoyed the sunshine while we could.

garden fun
Quiet bank holiday Monday afternoon

This bank holiday weekend was a really nice one, made even better by the fact we had glorious sunshine to enjoy. We packed alot into this weekend and had some really nice quality family time. And BattleKid has been enjoying the garden every evening after nursery ever since. Think this means I’ll need to keep on top of the grass cutting! A mother’s work is never done, hey!

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend too.

Cath x