MOST of us associate Anglesey with summer holidays, but those of us who visit all year round are only too aware of its raw beauty in the quiet winter months too, and we (generally) like to keep it to ourselves.

Escaping the rat race is the desire of many and with Anglesey being less than a two-hour drive away; you’ll feel like you’ve offloaded some of the stresses and strains just as soon as you cross over the bridge.

Ideally for our winter break, we would have loved snow, but sadly it wasn’t meant to be. In fact, Anglesey usually enjoys milder temperatures than we do, though needless to say, there was no shortage of rain. So it was simply a case of donning our waterproofs and wellies and just getting out and about – rarely does the rain last all day and we had plenty of sunny spells too, which we were grateful for!

Popular attractions such as Anglesey Sea Zoo and Foel Farm are closed until February half term, but Pili Palas Nature World is open at weekends in winter and is well worth a visit. Home not only to an array of colourful butterflies that fly right past you, but also hissing cockroaches, millipedes, locusts and giant snails. Walk through the farmyard and you’ll see pygmy goats Milly and Molly living happily alongside Bert and Ernie, the gorgeous, hairy Kune Kune pigs. There’s a café where you can have lunch and although it can get a bit crowded, get a table by the window and you'll be able to watch the meerkats - John, Paul, George and Ringo - in their enclosure as you eat, before going out to the adventure playground for the kids to let off steam.

So there was plenty to do and see – though as usual, the children were at their happiest simply running on the beach and making sandcastles.

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We drew the line at actually getting in the sea of course, though they did go for a paddle in their wellies. The little shop at Lligwy Beach was open for business, so we could buy hot drinks, ice lollies and snacks while attempting to wear out the children by lunchtime.

Our accommodation was in a beautiful farmhouse – Aber Farm – just outside the picturesque village of Moelfre. We had recently seen Moelfre on TV – Justin Fletcher filmed Something Special there for CBeebies - so we had fun pointing out the bits we recognised.

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The magnificent 125-mile coastal path also passes through here, a loop that officially begins and ends at Holyhead. Apparently, anyone who completes the full 125 miles of the coastal path is rewarded with a special badge and certificate recognising their achievement.

However, with a five-year-old and two-year-old in tow, that was a challenge to put on hold for a few years and part of it is closed in the winter months anyway. We probably managed about a mile and a half of the path though, before heading back to ‘Aber’ and thawing out next to an amazing wood burning fire, which we later toasted giant marshmallows on.

On one of the rare dry days we had, we headed over to Beaumaris. The town has suffered with flooding of late and work was being done to fix the main road from Menai Bridge to Beaumaris.

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Following a bracing walk on the pier, we drove to Penmon on the south-east tip of the island and the site of a historic monastery and 12th century church. But it was the pebbly beach (ideal for den building) and the lighthouse that the children were interested in and the magnificent views of the mountains, sea and Puffin Island that did it for me. Bit cold for a picnic though, so we ate ours in the car.

My eldest son is fascinated with lighthouses (he wants to live in one!) so South Stack lighthouse on the other side of the island is on our list for next time, as you can now do a Lighthouse Tour - subject to the weather - where you follow the keeper's journey down the 400 steps on to the island.

Our winter break was four days long, but Anglesey is close enough to enjoy for a weekend away, or even just an overnighter. We hope to return to Aber Farm again in the spring when the weather’s a bit brighter – though hopefully, still cold enough to toast more of those delicious marshmallows.

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