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.
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.
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.
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.
We didn’t get to attend a fireworks display last night as it was simply too cold. So instead we watched some from our windows, nice and warm beside the radiators. So, today I am sharing a picture I took during the display at Caerphilly Castle from 2012. Maybe next year when BattleKid is a little older we will go again.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.