Sussex columnist: Venturing beyond Sussex... all the way to Wales

Regular readers will know my absolute love of a family day out.
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Sussex has so much to offer, and I will never tire of shouting about all the fab places I visit.

But what about when you fancy venturing further afield? We go to south/west Wales every summer to visit my husband’s family.

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It’s an absolutely stunning part of the world, and while I don’t want to say anything negative about Sussex, its beaches and scenery certainly gives our county a run for its money.

Katherine had a fantastic family day out at Folly FarmKatherine had a fantastic family day out at Folly Farm
Katherine had a fantastic family day out at Folly Farm

We stay on the beautiful Gower coastline in the Mumbles area, perhaps most famous for being home to actress Catherine Zeta-Jones.

But aside from its Hollywood connection, it also offers superb sandy beaches (our favourite is Langland Bay), rocky coves, seaside shops and dining, attractions for children and some of the best ice cream I have ever tasted (if you find yourself in town you MUST try a Joe’s. Residents and visitors to Swansea have been enjoying this creamy delicacy for 100 years this year. There’s often a queue, but it’s totally worth it – so yummy!).

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And just a little bit further down the coast (around an hour away and very close to the picturesque town of Tenby) is Folly Farm. It might sound like a small attraction for little kids, but it is so much more than that.

The giraffe viewing platform is incredibleThe giraffe viewing platform is incredible
The giraffe viewing platform is incredible

The team there kindly invited my husband, two children and our niece to spend the day there last week, and it was totally, totally awesome.

Yes, it has farmyard animals that children can pet and feed hay to. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

There’s giraffes, lions, monkeys, meerkats, red pandas, camels, llamas, ring-tailed lemurs, penguins and even a couple of rhinos.

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In a walk-through enclosure there’s sloths and crocodiles, and then there’s also a tractor ride where you can see cows, sheep, pigs and other larger farm animals.

If you're in south Wales, then Katherine thinks Folly Farm is a must-doIf you're in south Wales, then Katherine thinks Folly Farm is a must-do
If you're in south Wales, then Katherine thinks Folly Farm is a must-do

And I’m not even done yet. There’s also a huge indoor vintage funfair complete with chair swings, carousel, bumper cars, jets, a ghost train, waltzer and much more, as well as a large soft play and indoor play zone.

The children loved all the bridges and slides in this play area, but my neck certainly got a workout trying to keep track of three children as they traversed pathways going in all different directions above my head, with each then choosing a different way back down to ground level.

Then, back outside, there’s about five different adventure play areas, plus ride-on tractors, diggers, a big wheel and more things I can’t even remember.

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We had the best day out. I can’t think of anything to criticise, perhaps other than the fact there is just so much to do and see that seven hours just isn’t enough time to do it all in.

Folly Farm has rhinosFolly Farm has rhinos
Folly Farm has rhinos

When the park closed at 5pm the children were gutted as they would happily have carried on playing for hours and hours more.

I can’t imagine anyone not having fun at Folly Farm (which I’d argue should be rebranded as Folly Farm, Fairground, Zoo and Adventure Park – would you like my bank account details so I can collect the royalties?!).

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And while we didn’t need it this time, seeing as we already had an Airbnb back near the Mumbles, Folly Farm (Fairground, Zoo and Adventure Park) has a solution for anyone without accommodation.

Not only does it offer a campsite, touring spots and glamping, it has recently opened luxury lodges which come complete with hot tubs.

Maybe we’ll try one the next time we visit (oh, we will definitely be back), but in the meantime I’m told they’re really comfortable. And what could be better than being a stone’s throw from so much family fun and entertainment?

I’ll always love Sussex, but if you wanted to try somewhere different, I don’t think you could do much better than the beautiful south Wales coast and the adventures offered up by Folly Farm.

Maybe I’ll see you there next year?!

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