Sand, sea, scenery and the occasional sunny day: what more could you ask for?
Right on Liverpool’s doorstep, North Wales is perfectly positioned, with the beaches outlining the valleys of Snowdonia.
The Victorian town of Llandudno, situated between the Great Orme and Little Orme, boasts the award-winning North Shore beach and a quiet sand duned West Shore. A walk up the Great Orme gives views of the whole of North Wales, as well as the chance to ski, snowboard or even toboggan on the dry ski slope. The Victorian tramcars give a full view of Llandudno Bay as they take you up and down the Orme. If, like me, walking isn’t your favourite thing to do, the cable car is the way to go. It is the longest in Britain and runs up the Orme from ‘the Happy Valley’. If the weather isn’t on your side, the Copper Mine inside the Great Orme is the largest metal mine open to the public in the world. It allows you to follow a trail deep inside the mountain and see how rock was turned into metal 3,500 years ago.
Only a small boat trip, or five-minute drive away from Llandudno is the historic town of Conwy, and its medieval castle. The town is surrounded by the castle walls and stands next to the Conwy River Estuary. It's perfect for a day out. You can look around the smallest house in Great Britain, walk around the castle or visit the many little shops that follow the line of the castle walls... or just eat the best fish and chips in North Wales on Conwy Harbour. Just over the bridge, a Cineworld cinema and a range of food restaurants, as well as a Tesco, are there to take you back to reality.
Going a bit more inland, the skyline of Snowdonia
becomes clearer and takes hold of the landscape.
Wales’ greatest National Park does not fail to impress.
The town of Llanberis at the foot of Snowdon holds a
range of things to do for families and people wanting
to visit the mountain range. Llanberis railway and
Snowdon Mountain Railway take you up the mountain
(for those less eager to climb the 3,560 feet to the
summit). However, if you're that way inclined, the hike is
do-able in one day.
Just over 350,000 people each year reach the summit of Snowdon (Eryri, in Welsh) and are not disappointed by what they see. Even in summer, the peak and its buildings can be covered in snow or ice. The foot of the mountain holds numerous activities, including rowing, walking around the national park and the Electric Mountain tours. They show the massive hydroelectric underground power station built in the last century, Piggery Pottery, where adults and children can mould their own pottery or paint existing ones. The Syngun Copper Mine is also at the heart of Snowdonia. The Llandegla forest is also good for those who enjoy walking or biking as it has over eight different routes, ranging from an hour-long walking route to a 13-mile cycling challenge.
Moving up to the coast, The Menai suspension Bridge (pictured above) connects the mainland of North Wales to the Isle of Anglesey. Neighbouring the university city of Bangor, the bridge stands proud with fantastic views as the gateway to Anglesey. A few miles across the bridge and you come to the town of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, known as Llanfair PG for short. Although this village doesn’t have any sightseeing opportunities, the railway station's mammoth sign draws visitors... but nearby Beaumaris and its castle are much more worthwhile.
Back over the bridge, onto the North Wales mainland, you are greeted with the most famous of Wales’ castles; Caernarfon. Work started on the castle in 1282 by Edward I, and its sheer presence makes the town spectacular. Only 25 miles from Llandudno, a straight drive down the A55, makes Caernarfon a must-see for your checklist of North Wales.
Moving back to our starting point, is the town of Betws-y-coed and it is one of North Wales’ most popular inland places to visit. Its beautiful rivers and streams, including numerous walking trails, are set in the beautiful valley of the Snowdonia National Park, and right next to Swallow falls.
Aberfalls, or Rhaeadr Fawr in Welsh, is also a destination that the whole family can enjoy. A walk of around an hour takes you to a mystical cove of pools, and a 120-foot waterfall that cascades down onto the large rocks below. Little pools, varying from deep to shallow, surround the area and follow the river, which is parallel to the walk, up to the waterfall giving a nice place to cool down (or jump in!) if it gets too hot.
North Wales has so many wonderful and magical places it is hard to get them all into one article. However, in summary, it is definitely worth a visit. It's as breathtaking as it sounds.
By Angela Brooks
More local travel features
Conwy Castle is on the main road to the Isle of Anglesey, which is featured in the YouTube video