Today I would like to share my experience of visiting Gypmas, an amazing underground cave located in a Victorian slate mine in Wales. Our family loved Gypmas as it was a very unique and exciting Christmas experience.
This Christmas, I decided to cut back on Christmas presents and instead spend my Christmas money on experiences. To me, a magical holiday outing is a much better Christmas present than a plastic toy that kids don’t really want or need!
So far we’ve taken the Polar Express in Telford (which got mixed reviews from the kids) and went to see the lanterns at Chester Zoo (which was good, but not as good as it was in 2019) So I felt a little disappointed).
Our third Christmas experience was Zipmas at Zipworld in North Wales.
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What is Zipworld?
Zipworld is an outdoor adventure activity center spread across four locations in North Wales. Each location offers a variety of activities, but the most famous is Velocity 2, the world’s fastest zipline. It can reach speeds of up to 160 miles per hour as it races over old quarries. I made this a few years ago and it was amazing!
Other activities include roller coasters, mini zip wires, treetop net adventures, go-karts, mine tours, and a trampoline inside an abandoned mine.
Yes, Zipworld is doing some really great work on tourism in North Wales, making it truly an adventure destination for the whole family.
Read more: Adventures in Zipworld Fforest
Adventurous weekend in Wales – including hikes to Snowdon and Velocity Zipwire
What is Zipmas?
The clever folks at Zipworld created Zipmas by converting the famous Victorian Llechwedd slate mine into a magical cave.
The mine is 500 feet underground, so visitors must ride Europe’s steepest cable railway to reach it.
For kids and adults alike, this cable car is an exciting start to your journey, and the tunnel is decorated with colorful lights, adding to the magic!
While you wait for the cable car, you’ll be offered a warm mince pie and hot chocolate or mulled wine, then sit on the old train and choose your adventure helmet. (Who knew that choosing a helmet could be so much fun!?)
Once you arrive at the cave, you can explore the rooms decorated with snow and Christmas lights. There are tunnels here, it’s dark and magical
Eventually you will reach a wooden hut inside the deepest chamber. There, the elves organize everyone into orderly lines ready to meet Santa!
There was a bit of a wait to meet Santa, but it was worth it as Santa took a few minutes to chat with each family and ask the children what they wanted for Christmas. Santa was great and “remembered” our dog, Louie, and promised to bring us some treats. He was also knowledgeable about the toys the kids wanted and the kids were just amazed to meet the real Santa (we recently had several experiences where he definitely wasn’t real).) But this guy was real!
Upon exiting Santa’s Grotto, you will be given a slate bauble to display in the cafe upstairs. Pens and ribbons are lined up on the table, and everyone is busy decorating. Cafes are great when you get hungry!
There is an added bonus that every child is given a toy by one of the elves upon leaving Gypmas. (Parents are asked to fill out an online form prior to arrival to ensure each toy is age appropriate).
Both boys got a Velcro ball and a game of catch, and Alba got a stuffed dog.
Where is Zipmas?
Zipmas is located in Llechwedd Slate Caverns in Blaenau Ffestiniog. For many of you reading this, it’s probably a bit of a drive, but it’s the most beautiful drive through Snowdonia. Sam and I really enjoyed this part of the trip as the scenery is stunning even in the middle of winter!
We played Christmas songs all the way there and I prepared a breakfast feast for the journey. On the way home, the kids were so excited that they all fell asleep, so the car ride was no problem.
Zipmas with babies and toddlers
Babies and toddlers are also welcome at Zipmas. Your baby must be carried in the carrier from the front and cannot be carried higher than your head (such as in a heavy-duty hiking backpack carrier). You don’t want to hit your baby’s head on the train as you have to sit in very small spaces and walk through low tunnels!
We visited with our girl Alba, who just turned 2 and she was a little nervous about everything. She can’t be called a brave toddler since she’s a little nervous anyway. She was enjoying it, but she was clinging to Sam throughout that entire experience.
If you have older kids and a toddler, I would definitely take the toddler, but I wouldn’t book this experience specifically for a toddler.
How much is Zipmas?
Zipmas tickets cost £18. The price is the same for adults and children, but kids get a toy.
This ticket price includes:
- warm mince pie
- hot chocolate or mulled wine
- A round-trip ride on Europe’s steepest cable railway
- Explore decorated rooms
- Santa’s visit
- Decorate your slate bauble
- gifts for children
Compared to other Christmas experiences, I think the price is really reasonable, especially considering that it includes festive snacks and gifts for the kids.
Would I recommend Zipmas?
Yes, 100%! Our family loved it.
If this place and journey through Snowdonia is a magical experience for you and your family, then I think Gypmas will be one of the most wonderful Christmas experiences you can have.
I love driving around Snowdonia so I really enjoyed driving there!
It was unlike anything we had done before and the excitement while on the train and underground was incredible. It was great to meet Santa, but this would still be a great activity even without Santa!
We understand that for some families, the journey may be a bit of a hassle. The whole experience lasted about 2 hours including coffee and snacks at the cafe. So for some people, a two-hour experience can turn into a long drive.
Another thing I would like to add is that it wasn’t too busy, which I really appreciate. We didn’t have to line up for long to do anything and it didn’t feel crowded. We were given a time slot and the train heading into the mine naturally limited the number of people in the cave, so it felt very quiet. We did other Christmas activities, but we were too busy to enjoy them much!
Thank you to Zipworld for providing the Zipmas press tickets. We are under no obligation to post reviews and all thoughts are our own.
Check out my blog posts from Wales here to see more of our family adventures.