The bank holiday weekend is here and, with lockdown restrictions beginning to ease, many of us will be looking for ideas for a nice day out.

Here we look at the top five places in Blaenau Gwent to visit according to reviewers on TripAdvisor which may provide some inspiration for when you are able to travel.

Please note that due to the coronavirus restrictions in place in line with Welsh Government guidelines, many of the attractions are closed to visitors at this present time.

1 – Festival Park Owl Sanctuary

It is free to visit the Festival Park Owl Sanctuary in Ebbw Vale, and you can even handle the birds. It was opened in 1998 for the rehabilitation and care for injured, abandoned uncared for wild owls, hawks and falcons. The main aim was to care for these birds until they could be released back into the wild.

South Wales Argus: STRIKING: Skye, one of the residents at the Festivsl Park Owl Sanctuary in Ebbw Vale. Pic: Amy Powell

Skye, one of the residents at the Festival Park Owl Sanctuary in Ebbw Vale. Picture: Amy Powell

Sadly, some of the birds are not able to be released into the wild for various reasons including being bred in captivity, being a non-native species or injured in a certain way that they would not be able to be released. These birds are kept at the sanctuary.

‘Sadie P’ said: “Whilst visiting the area for a short break we made a stop at the owl sanctuary on our last morning and we are so glad that we did! As it was just open we were the only people there and Malcolm kindly showed us round all of the birds in the sanctuary, telling us a bit about each of them.

"Over 70 different birds, including owls, peregrine falcons, eagles and other birds of prey which were so lovely to see.

"Malcolm and the other volunteers are all clearly very passionate about the birds and their care and Malcolm’s knowledge was amazing.

"Surprisingly the sanctuary is free to enter and they rely on donations to help care for all the birds so if you visit please give generously to them as they are doing a great job.

"Definitely worth a visit for both kids and adults alike as we were a group of 4 adults and loved it! The sanctuary is fairly small so is not somewhere you would spend several hours but is certainly worth a visit for an hour or a little longer.

"Keep up the great work and we will definitely visit again next time we are in the area!

"Just a note, park at the end of festival park and walk down as can be a bit fiddly to find but it's most definitely worth it.”

‘Sarah S’ said: “Very pleased with our first visit today, there is a good collection of owls and other birds of prey which are clearly well looked after.

"Although we were unable to handle any birds due to Covid-19 the volunteer was very informative and had three birds out for us to view up close. Our 15 month old absolutely loved it as did we, it's free to enter but donations welcome which we happily gave to support their cause.”

2 – Super tubing

Located just a few minutes from the owl sanctuary is Ebbw Vale Super Tubing. The UK’s longest tubing slide is good fun for the whole family and you can experience views of Ebbw Vale while you’re at it. If the slide isn’t your cup of tea, you can watch while others enjoy it from the adjacent café.

South Wales Argus: Wesley Ives enjoys himself tubing at a family day for families with autistic children and their siblings at Festival Park, Ebbw Vale..

Wesley Ives enjoys himself tubing at a family day for families with autistic children and their siblings at Festival Park, Ebbw Vale

‘Stacey D’ said: “We loved it, we went whilst on holiday at the weekend, the lady who we were served by, couldn't have been nicer and friendly. We were ambitious with 10 runs each but a stunning view, with friendly staff we would definitely do this again. Online booking easy and a happy smile, races down the hill as well as spins, really well priced. We will be back again!”

‘Stuey4134’ said: “I was really impressed with this activity. It’s very well priced, the kids absolutely loved it.

"The staff were all friendly and attentive. The views are excellent and the cafe serves a decent brew.

"With regards to COVID-19 there was ample cleaning, social distancing and safety briefs. For anyone concerned, rest assured they are all over it.”

The attraction is currently closed, but a message on its website promises "We are back soon!"


3 – Bedwellty House and Park

Nestled in the old iron village - and birthplace of the NHS - of Tredegar, Bedwellty House and Park is a 19th century manor house. It was built in 1822 by Samuel Homfray – one of the owners of the Tredegar Iron Company.

South Wales Argus:

Bedwellty House and Park in Tredegar 

Just four years later, his son Samuel Homfray Jr began a number of improvements to the house and surrounding 26 acres. From 1853, the house became the residence of the managers of the iron company until 1899 when the building and grounds became property of Lord Tredegar who gave them to the council in 1900 as a public park.

This meant that the public are able to visit the grounds whenever they want to and led to a number of public-led fundraising events to further enhance the grounds. These included a bowling green, Long shelter and an outdoor swimming pool – this was excavated by unemployed men during the 1930s depression.

Much of the grounds and the building is seen today as it was during the late 1800s. There is a café which serves afternoon tea and a number of events throughout the year.

‘Jason D’ said: “First meal out with the kids since lockdown. Obviously a bit worried to go out but all that was put to bed with lovely Service lovely food and tablets all spaced out. And the waitress that brought out food out made a real fuss of the kids and they loved her. Just want to thanks for making it feel safe.”

‘Faithos’ said: “My Granddaughter absolutely loved it - and the tearoom afterwards was really excellent.

"It was a wet, muddy and dismal day in half term - but the children were really well entertained and we all had a lovely meal and drink - reasonably priced - afterwards in a really clean well presented tea room.

"Guide dog was welcomed too.”

4 – Guardian, Six Bells Mining Memorial

Nestled in the heart of Six Bells near Abertillery is the giant miner.

South Wales Argus:

Camera Club member Sharon Smith took this colourful picture of the Guardian at Six Bells

The 20ft statue overlooks Parc Arael Griffin, which is situated on the old Six Bells Colliery site.

It was created by Sebastien Boyesen in 2010 to pay respects to the 45 men and boys who died in the mining disaster at the colliery in 1960.

‘Pyrettablaze’ said: “I had the pleasure of visiting this gorgeous attraction! Its very well places and picturesque. Very easy to get too and surrounded by the most picturesque views.”

‘Staffordshire Taff’ said: “This commemorates lives lost in a mining disaster that killed dozens of men....some fathers and sons, brothers, ...their names are punched out of the metal.....Each and every one; a life lost , a future cut short....heartbreaking...”

‘Tentgirl’ said: “Driving into Six Bells, I saw a car park but didn’t realise it was where I should’ve parked to see the statue. However, from this car park, it’s about a two or three minute walk up a slight gradient. From afar, the statue blends into the environment yet looks solid when you’ve up close.”

5 – Parc Bryn Bach

Parc Bryn Bach in Tredegar is 340 acres of grass and woodland with a lake at the heart and numerous wildlife to see. There is a wide range of adventure activities available including canoeing, archery and caving all led by qualified instructors.

South Wales Argus:

Kelly Garnett at Parc Bryn Bach

There’s a children’s play area, golf activities and caravan and camping sites.

‘Hilda W’ said: “Bryn Bach Park is open for the public to walk around the Lake, ducks swans and small wading birds, Ideal for photographers to capture wild life, if you are lucky you may find the cafe open, even if it closed the walks there are amazing, lends for a lung full if fresh air.”

‘Haydn Trollope’ said: “My wife and I popped up to see all the new things in the park, we were really impressed with the children's playground, whilst eating a lovely ice cream we met Cath the manager she explained the refurbishment of the cafe/bunkhouse, cant wait to see the finished product.

"The park looks great, yes the geese can be a nuisance but you must remember this is a wild life park, well done all involved.”