During a recent mini-break in Mid Wales we decided to take a scoot out to the Silver Mountain Experience, situated in the beautiful Cambrian Mountains 11 miles outside Aberystwyth. Originally a silver-rich lead ore mine dating from the 19th Century, Silver Mountain has been carefully restored bringing back to life this snapshot of Welsh mining heritage.
The Silver Mountain Experience is now a popular family attraction, combining myths, fantasy, history, tour experiences and interactive activities. Above ground there is lots to see and do, and plenty of exciting/spooky underground adventures too…
The car park is directly next to the reception/shop and there is a designated blue badge parking space. Level access with a slight lip takes you into reception where you will receive a warm welcome, often by characters in costume!
If booking online you save 10% so entry prices are £11.65 for an adult and £8.95 for a child. Disabled visitors pay full price and carers £10.35. On arrival you receive maps and information, and all the tours and activities are explained.
There is a ramp up through the shop and fairly level access to the above ground area. This area is very atmospheric and has retained the feel of the original mining buildings. The surface is level but quite uneven due to the rough terrain and original mining train tracks. This may be a challenge for a wheelchair user.
One of Emily’s favourite things to do is to make a mess or get wet, so she made a beeline for the undercover Gem Panning area where you can pan for gems or gold (and keep any treasures you find).
Emily also loved the Silver River water play area where she had great fun trying to control the water flow, building dams and generally getting soaked again…
We were then booked onto the Dragon’s Tale Tour, an exciting actor-led adventure following clues to search for a shy dragon named Grotty, who lives somewhere deep underground in the Silver Mountain…
This was a delightful tour, led by the charismatic elf Tanweth. The children are told the story of Grotty before the adventure begins, and the interactive tour involves them searching for clues and cracking the code. I won’t say too much about this magical adventure (no spoilers!) but all the children loved it.
The tour takes about an hour and takes in most of the surface level attractions. This includes a trip up into Woo Hoo Woods where you can spot things along the way including the Giant’s Pan Pipes and Wang Bats colourful umbrellas.
Emily needed a lot of help moving around the surface area, including an incline up into the woods, moving across several bridges, uneven surfaces while moving around and several sets of slate steps. She was able to manage it all though, and it was well worth the challenge.
The final part of the tour is fantastic (again no spoilers…) but having followed all the clues you head into the underground tunnel in your search for Grotty. Here there are quite a number of slate steps to reach the entrance, but there is also a point of level access. Emily needed lots of help in the tunnel as it’s obviously dark and you are walking across the original train tracks, but it is very atmospheric and she loved it.
We finished up with a trip to the coffee shop, where you can find reasonably priced and freshly prepared food. You can also buy snacks and drinks, and there is an outside picnic area.
We didn’t venture on the spooky Black Chasm tour as this is rated 12+, or follow the Miner’s Life tour; but this would definitely warrant a future visit with the boys.
The Silver Mountain Experience is a lovely family attraction, and the Dragon’s Tale tour is of a high standard. We didn’t experience the other tours, but I’m sure they would be of a similar quality. There are additional attractions on the surface level including Fossil Dig, a Mining Museum, trail quizzes and Time Lab. You can also wander around the woods and outside areas.
Access wise Silver Mountain is a little more challenging than more modern attractions, and Emily needed lots of support and physical help due to aspects such as some uneven surfaces, train tracks and inclines in places. This is usually the case whenever we visit somewhere new, and it was a little more physically demanding. However Emily was able to manage and really enjoy the Dragon’s Tale tour and the surface level attractions.
At the moment there are no disabled toilet facilities at Silver Mountain, but this is planned for the future. The nearest facilities are at Bwlch Nant Yr Arian Visitor Centre, a short drive from Silver Mountain. The nearest Changing Places facilities are located at the Welsh Assembly Government building in Aberystwyth.
Thank you Silver Mountain for a magical few hours and a trip back in time!
The team at the Silver Mountain Experience kindly offered Emily a complimentary visit to the attraction to take a look at the disabled facilities and access. All views and opinions are our own!