Exploring......Castle Coch, Cardiff

Standing prominent amongst dense woodland on the steep hillside high above Tongwynlais village, the fairy tale Castle Coch castle can be found.

Castle Coch translates to English as “Red Castle”, and it’s definitely shown in the red wooden features. It’s somewhat of a mix match towers, with hidden doors, tiny steep stair cases, beautiful stained class windows and elaborate walls and ceilings. 


Spectacular views across the countryside from the top windows

Ornate ceilings 

Colourful tiles…look hard and see owl faces?! 

Dressing table

The tea rooms were unfortunately closed but there was a little shop, free parking and toilets. Be prepared for lots of narrow steep steps!. £5.50 for an adult to go inside, which included an electronic guide (May 2014). 

For my first visit to a South Wales Castle (and I'm not big on them in general), the 19th Century Gothic castle was a good place to wile a few hours away....

Beautiful woodland with a dense Wild Garlic carpet surround the castle on the steep slopes. Some boards showing walks around the woodland would be a great addition. 

Exploring……Living Rainforest, Berkshire

A handy midway point between Bristol and London, the Living Rainforest is conveniently located just off the M4 Newbury junction. I'd seen the signpost many a time but never been to investigate until now....

A tropical rainforest in large glasshouses it's full of beautiful tropical plants with butterflies fluttering, birds roaming and a sloth (too elusive for us to spot!). 

Plus monkeys, toucans, a crocodile, fish, turtles and creepy crawlies!

Watch out for this guy running around  -as big as a peacock!

Red billed Toucans enjoying each others company

Goeldi's Monkey

The ticket is a bit pricey, but does allow you free entry for a year so great if you are local and lots to entertain kids. 

Recommend going for lunch at the White Hart, at Hampstead Norreys on the way!