Our day out at Flint Castle with Zog, a toddler and a pooch.
Surprisingly despite Flint castle being only down the road from us we have not visited since we were children a good 25 years ago. Therefore, we decided a visit was long over due. Whilst here, we also checked out part of the Welsh Coastal Path. Our experience with a four year old, the dog, and of course Zog are outlined below.
Location: Flint castle, Castle Rd, Flint CH6 5PE
Attraction type: Castle ruin and coastal path walk
Cost of admission: Free
Opening times: Grounds open but access to the inside of the castle is 10am until 4pm
Car park: Free. Flint Castle car park, Castle Road, Flint CH6 5PH
Wheelchair and pram accessible? Partly – See review below.
Walking difficulty: Easy
Dog friendly: Yes. See review below.
Suitable for cyclists: Yes
Food: No food for sale on site.
Covid update: Some sections of the castle are blocked off but the grounds are open. Therefore, there is no internal access to any towers etc.
Our experience at Flint castle.
Playing/balancing on the stone slabs inside the Inner Bailey of Flint Castle.
Flint castle is managed by CADW and is free to access whether or not you have CADW membership. The castle itself is a ruin, but was the first castle to be constructed by Edward I as part of his English crusade against Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, forming part of his ‘iron ring of fortresses’. As soon as you see the imposing stonework, you are reminded of the stark contrast between medieval Britain and todays modern world.
From the car park we headed up to explore the exterior of the castle. Our girl loved walking in and around the moat and up along the timber bridge which would have replaced the original drawbridge into the inner Bailey.
Our little girl enjoyed running up the steps of the tower remains and listening to the audio tour, casting you back in time to the harsh reality of what life was like in medieval Britain, and how Richard II was starved to death in London after surrendering himself at Flint castle to his cousin, Henry Bollingbroke. This event was obviously immortalised in Shakespeare’s play, Richard II.
We then saw plenty of children using their own imagination to act out sword fights, pretend to shoot arrows through the arrow holes, or act out what they had just heard on the audio tour. There is a large amount of open space in the Inner Bailey to let the kids and their fantasies run wild and see what creative games they come up with. Our girl mainly flew Zog around, acting out one of her favourite Julia Donaldson stories. She was also was fascinated with the arrow holes and with exploring the nooks and crannies Flint castle has to offer.
About to head down and explore the remains of the North West tower.
Exploring the towers of Flint castle. Our girl loved acting out scenes of Zog flying around the ruin. It was ideal since there is the River Dee estuary running alongside so it did truly remind her of one of her favourite Julia Donaldson books.
Retreat! Madam did a good job of ‘firing arrows’ through the arrow holes but decided it was time to go and play. The other kids could defend the castle apparently.
Interior of the castle explored and so it was now time to take the pooch on a good run. We initially followed the footpath but then veered off to walk in the sandy marshes of the Dee estuary. It was great to be able to let the dog off the lead and both of them have a good run around. It does get a little muddy though so wellies are advisable.
Admiring the exterior walls of Flint castle before roaming in the remains of the outer ditch.
With imaginative kids, a visit to the castle itself will take around 20 minutes if they become engaged in play. However, we recommend extending your day out with a walk along the Dee Estuary and coastal path.
Our experience of the Dee estuary and Coastal Path.
With the castle behind you so you facing the River Dee, start heading towards the left. There is a footpath which is well maintained for pram and wheelchair users. All along your walk you can soak up the gorgeous and spectacular views from the River estuary out towards the Wirral peninsula. Depending on whether the tide is in or out, you might meet rapid flowing water lapping angrily at the shore or you may see what we saw which was multiple mudflats, home to many species of birds.
Comedy moment: 4 year old goes after dog, little one loses welly, mummy goes after little one, mummy completely stuck with madam free running round thinking its funny that mummy is having to dig herself out with a stick and as one foot becomes free, the other foot sinks. Luckily the tide was out. Hilarious and exactly why you would not want to chance walking across to the Wirral. It honestly was like quicksand.
There are a few benches dotted around for a rest, including a beautiful statue of a war veteran receiving a letter from his son. There are also a few small areas of woodland to explore and hunt for mini beasts.
We really enjoyed taking in the many beautiful places along the estuary towards the Flint coastal path and Flint docks where you can stop for a picnic and soak in the views. The docks have a sign to help teach the kids all about Flints previous industrial past, including the air and water pollution that ensued.
Flint dock and estuary heading towards the Flint section of the Welsh coastal path.
Our girl and her Auntie really enjoyed climbing the rocks where it was safe to do so. We came off the path here but the path ran alongside us ready to re-join whenever we wished.
Follow the path along and as soon as you pass the docks, you start your journey onto Flint’s section of the Welsh coastal path. The path will take you towards Bagilt. There are two routes available as you can access higher ground for when the tide is expected to come in. Again the views out across the Wirral Peninsula are beautiful. The paths were well maintained and again suitable for wheelchair and pram users. Paths are also nice and wide.
We really enjoyed playing in the small caves that lined the coastal path. Our little girl did well but after waking 3 and a half miles to our point along the Wales Coastal walk, we took one last tour of the castle and headed off home,
Our overall verdict...
We were really impressed with our completely free day out in North Wales. We realised that the castle would not take long to explore but it is free and offers a great space for the kids to run around and use their imaginations. We were really impressed with the stunning views towards the left of the castle out toward the Wirral. We had no idea that the walk would be so beautiful, picturesque and filled with wildlife to spot.
Neither myself or madams Auntie could believe that we haven’t been here since moving not too far away as its a great little gem and great for getting some much needed fresh air and to stretch those legs.
Our only criticism was that there were not many doggy bins provided along the coastal and estuary walk. There were also few bins located around Flint castle which did show some signs of rubbish left over from where we assume small groups have gathered of an evening. There is a caretaker who visits regularly to try to keep on top of this. There is nothing the area can do about the views but the views to the right were less appealing so we would recommend if its your first visit to head to the left of the estuary.
Overall though we will certainly be visiting again and bringing a picnic on a sunny day. There are not many completely free places to visit so if you are looking for a day out in North Wales on a budget, definitely call in at Flint Castle and go for a wander.
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Terms and conditions...
*We have tried our best to give a factual and honest review based on our own experiences. However, this is just our interpretation and different people will naturally have difference experiences. Therefore, please regard this review as intended.
*As far as we are aware, all information is correct at the time of publication. If a mistake has been made, or if there is a recent update we should be aware of, please contact admin.
*Free day out in Flint, North Wales.