03 Oct Ten Things to Do in North Wales
Looking for things to do in North Wales? You’re in for a treat as there’s so much to choose from. Whether you wish to enjoy walking the hills, taking in some history at a castle or enjoying the splendour of beautiful parks and gardens, we have you covered with our list of ten highly rated attractions. There’s a whole host of North Wales activities popular with visitors around the globe. Now all you need to do now is find the time to tick them all off!
1. Great Orme, Llandudno
This globally-famous limestone headland, also known as Cyngreawdr Fynydd, is in the borough of Conwy and has a prominence of 666ft. Not only is Great Orme a picturesque country park to enjoy walking around and learning much about geology and wildlife, it also boasts the Great Orme Tramway. This charming mode of transport opened in 1902 and features Victorian-style carriages, which transport visitors around the rolling vistas to take in the glorious surroundings. The name comes from the Viking word for sea serpent due to its shape – you won’t find many other North Wales activities named after a monster!
2. Bodnant Garden (Tal-y-Cafn)
This stunning National Trust attraction covers over a colossal 80 acres of land, overlooking Conwy Valley and the Carneddau mountain range. The historic site of natural beauty is grade I listed and features magnificent flowers, plants and trees from all over the world. Of all the things to do in North Wales, this is a strong contender for the most photogenic. Take part in guided walks, bird watching, educational workshops and more – you’re sure to learn a lot about horticulture and much more besides.
3. Snowdon (Snowdonia National Park)
There are plenty of glorious areas filled with picture-perfect landscapes among this list, but the jewel in North Wales’s crown is the unparalleled Snowdonia National park. Spanning 2,132km² of diverse settings such as lakes, hills, villages and more, there’s no better place to make the most of outdoor pursuits. Enjoy the quaint prettiness of days out at locations such as Betws y Coed and Beddgelert. Or board one of the best Snowdonia attractions, the Snowdon Mountain Railway, and scale the peak of Wales’s highest mountain, Mount Snowdon.
OLU [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
4. Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways (Porthmadog)
The oldest narrow gauge railway in the world still delights visitors to this day, journeying to over 700ft above sea level and perfectly showcasing forests, lakes, waterfalls and more. Take a trip through time as you marvel at the expanse of rural splendour which stretches for 40 miles; a highly relaxing experience compared to many of the more strenuous North Wales activities. The Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways feature comfortable steam carriages which have been lovingly restored yet remain steeped in history – their three original locomotives are over 150 years old!
By Peter Trimming (Flickr: Ffestiniog Railway) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
This World Heritage Site has many stories to tell, having been built in the late thirteenth century and used as a site of much importance for Edward I during his time of rule. The detailed architecture is impressive to behold and was a result of the desire for the castle to symbolise English rule in Wales. The medieval fortress on the Menai Strait is an easy journey away from Bangor and Anglesey, and you’re free to roam around its grounds as you please, taking in the sights high up in Eagle Tower, walking the spiral staircases taken by many historic figures and beholding the central green area where the Prince of Wales was invested in 1969.
By James Petts (Flickr: Caernarfon Castle) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Flickr
6. Conwy Castle
This famous medieval site was another of Edward I’s undertakings which he invested much of the nation’s wealth in to help enforce English rule. It has been preserved incredibly and doesn’t fail to astonish, from the barbicans to the huge towers, curtain walls and great hall. Venture inside for a remarkably accurate picture of how Conwy Castle was inhabited centuries ago; with the chambers, kitchen, royal chapel and more still open to visitors today. The battlements provide the icing on the cake of your visit as you take in the imposing mountains and sea views.
7. Plas Mawr (Conwy)
Hark back to the golden years of the Renaissance and Shakespeare with another of the most celebrated Snowdonia attractions, Plas Mawr. This fine Elizabeth townhouse in Conwy was owned by Robert Wynn, a wealthy society figure who was deeply proud of his house and the attention it attracted. He welcomed many guests to lavish events at the property following its completion in the late sixteenth century. In beautiful condition, the intricate plasterwork, crest-adorned carpentry and opulent, striking colours are standout features. The attraction divulges its rich history to guests with the help of touch screen technology.
8. Cader Idris (Dolgellau)
Between Barmouth and Dolgellau lies one of the best walks in Wales, with rocky ridges and sheer cliffs making for a truly thrilling experience. It provides a breathtaking sight from the Mawddach Estuary, and extends for 6.5 miles. The constant uphill ascent means that the faint-hearted may be deterred, but views from the top are reward enough for those who brave the hike! There is much folklore surrounding the mountain, as many believe that those who overnight here will wake up either a poet or a madman – while the neighbouring Llyn Cau lake is said to be home to a monster.
9. GreenWood Forest Park (Gelli Gyffwrdd) (Y Felinheli)
Fun for all the family can be found at GreenWood Forest Park, which has been voted the best family attraction in North Wales for six years. There’s plenty to delight visitors young and old, from the only solar-powered water ride in the UK to the world’s first people-powered rollercoaster. The Giant Jumper, TreeTop Towers and BareFoot Trail are recurring favourites with the little ones, who can indulge their curiosity and expend their energy taking on tunnels, mazes, trails, archery sessions, donkey rides, theatre shows and much more.
10. Aber Falls (Abergwyngregyn)
Formed from the Afon Goch river and standing around 120 feet high, this majestic must-see attraction doesn’t fail to impress. Set in the Carneddau mountain range, the dramatic waters are the climactic payoff for ascending the path from the thriving and picturesque village of Abergwyngregyn for around 2.5 hours. There is also a visitor’s centre which provides plenty of noteworthy information on local history. The sheer volume of walkers who regularly take this trip indicate its eminence – 50,000 people per year to be exact!
If you’d like to see even more ideas for things to do in North Wales, head to Surf Snowdonia and check out the world’s first man-made surf lagoon!