As parents of adult children, we had fallen out of practice of scouring the local area for events to amuse the kids.
But now the grandkids are starting to appear – 3 boys at the last count – we are, once again, on the lookout for events for making memories, as we say.
The boys are still young – 3,2 and 1 – and so we have two buggies to contend with and an independent 3-year-old who wants to sample everything.
We decided to visit the Pirate Weekend at Conwy Quay for two reasons: we had never been before and with our sailing pedigree, it was a great way to connect the boys with our love of the sea. Not that we are pirates or anything…
Monday Bank Holiday
Having looked on the website, we were aware of what was happening and when – always a plus when there are children to be entertained. To me, the Conwy Pirate website is the first plus point of the event.
The second was that there was no need to pay to ‘enter’. I have to be honest, this always irritates me.
Let me have a little rant… The two of us had, many moons ago, popped along to some of the food festivals on the quay before now, only to find there was an entrance fee which in my humble opinion was a bit steep. I understand public liability insurance at these events can be astronomical, the cost of hiring marquees and so on but it always seems a bit steep to pay to get in and then buy products, as delicious as they, that are also a bit on the expensive side.
So off we ambled, arriving just after 10.30 to find the quay pleasantly busy. There were some great stalls, from hair braiding to pirate themed gifts. Again, the quay was not awash with must-have children paraphernalia so actually, you could have walked through, had a look at stuff and not spend any of your hard-earned pirate treasure.
We did invest in a pirate hat, a couple of foam swords and a Jolly Roger flag because we are grandparents now so we can do these things…
Queen Victoria Sightseeing Cruise
We have a Westerly Centaur, Dolly P of Peckham, and although she’s a hardy tub, she wouldn’t comfortably fit 6 adults and 3 kids aboard. The next best thing for the kids was a short estuary tour on the Queen Victoria pleasure cruiser.
First sail was at 11.30 so after negotiating buggies aboard and herding their parents in order too, we had a pleasant cruise down the river toward the sea.
This was the most expensive thing on the Quay, I would have thought but still a snip at £3 an adult and £2 for kids over 3 years of age. A really pleasant twenty minutes or so, and the kids just loved it.
Back on the quay, we wondered along the lower section toward the RNLI station. Having been ‘rescued’ twice previously (nothing exciting: snapped steering cable and water in the engine, not on Dolly P, I hasten to add!), we are virtually on first names terms with the crew.
As well as coffee stands and a small beer stall, there were various food stands too. The only minus side is that food stand holders think I’m going to pay £3.50 for a hot dog…
Lunch in the Town
With not much choice, we decided to head into Conwy itself, enjoying fish and chips in a local café. After an ice cream, we walked back along the quay, taking in the delights of the owls by the ‘Knight Shop’ on the way.
There was some great live music too and of course, a pirate ship you could take a closer look. Our kids were getting tired by this point – the after-lunch slump – so we decided against queueing.
All in all, it was a fun and well attended weekend, by all accounts. There were some bouncy castle and slides for the kids which they enjoyed but not if £2.50 for 10 minutes per child is a bit steep or not. It’s been such a long time since we did these things, that I’ve lost sight of whether some things are value for money or not.
We parked in our secret location and walked into town but with limited parking in Conwy, I can imagine it would be difficult to get a space. The one and only car park was rammed full and there were no spaces on the main streets.
You could park in Llandudno Junction and walk over but a bit of a hike and parking in short supply over there too. Not sure what the answer is on that one.
Not sure if the car park at Bodlondeb council offices were open to the public or not? A little out of town, it makes for a nice walk – either the short route skirting the edge of the cricket field or meander through the woods to pop out near the Quay.
Walking up Castle Street was a bit hit and miss. With full pavements, we spent a lot of time walking on the road but with the road still open to traffic, it was slow progress in zig zag formation.
Shutting off roads has pros and cons with some businesses say it affects their taking for the weekend but it would make sense to me. Maybe there could be a few stalls and other pirate themed activities happening in the main town? The organisers, of course, may not be looking to expand the weekend in size.
Would I go again?
Yeah, I think I would. There was no hurry, no faff, no ‘you must have this’ for kids to have a tantrum about.
You could walk from one end to the other, and not have to spend a dime although I always think supporting local shops and businesses is part and parcel of living and working in a community.
But that doesn’t mean I’ll pay an entrance fee…
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