15 Best places to visit in North Wales
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15 Incredible Places To Visit In North Wales!

Ready to get inspired? Whether you’re planning a road trip, an outdoor adventure or just looking for a change of pace, North Wales is the perfect destination. From amazing landscapes to historical sites and plenty of activities in between, this stunning region has something for everyone. In this post, you’ll discover 15 incredible places to visit in North Wales that will leave you with memories that’ll last forever!

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There are countless reasons why North Wales makes a fabulous holiday destination or even a wonderful day out for those like me lucky enough to live close by! For starters, North Wales is a stunningly beautiful region with plenty of natural attractions to explore. Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to keep them busy here, whether it’s hiking in Snowdonia National Park, mountain biking in Betws-y-Coed, or simply taking a scenic drive along the coastline. In addition, North Wales is home to some of the best-known historical sites in the United Kingdom, including the ancient castles at Caernarfon and Conwy.

15 Incredible Places To Visit In North Wales:

1. Snowdonia National Park:

Snowdonia National Park is a stunningly beautiful place to explore, and there are plenty of things to do to keep visitors of all ages entertained. One of the most popular activities is hiking up Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales. The summit offers breathtaking views, and there are several different routes to choose from depending on fitness levels. 

Things to do in North Wales

If you’re feeling energetic, why not take on the Snowdon Horseshoe, a 10-mile loop that takes in eight summits? Or for something more relaxed, try the Llanberis Path, a relatively gentle 6-mile hike that follows the path of an old railway line. For those less able or just want an easy route up why not take the famous Snowdon Mountain Railway?

Once you’ve reached the summit, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views across Snowdonia National Park. On a clear day, you can even see as far as Ireland! After taking in the views, the descent of Snowdon via either the Snowdon Ranger Path or the Pyg Track offers different perspectives of this incredible landscape.

For those who prefer to stay closer to ground level, there are plenty of other walking and cycling trails to enjoy. There are also several historic sites and adrenaline adventures such as Velocity 2 at Zip World, the fastest zip line in the world!

Snowdonia National Park is a truly magical place, and it’s easy to see why it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in Wales.

2. Portmeirion Village:

Portmeirion Village is a magical place that feels like it’s straight out of a fairytale. Nestled on the North East coast of Wales between Porthmadog and Harlech, Portmeirion is a mini replica of an Italian coastal village. It truly is a hidden gem that is full of character and charm. 

Best places to visit in North Wales!

Designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1973, Portmeirion Village was Clough’s dream for many years, even from the age of six he dreamt of being an architect and building his own town. He also knew early on that if his dream was to come true he would need to depend on tourism for income. After scouring multiple sites he found the perfect location on the Snowdonia peninsula, a neglected estate called Aber la. He later changed the name to Portmeirion, “Port” due to its coastal location and “Merion” from the county it sits in.

The village has also been used as a film and television location, most famously as the setting for the 1960s TV series The Prisoner. Today, Portmeirion is owned by a charitable trust and loved by tourists and locals alike, and its unique design makes it one of the most recognisable villages in the world.

From the colourful houses to the scenic coastline, there is plenty to explore in Portmeirion. Visitors can take a stroll through the village, enjoy a cup of tea at one of the cafes, or even take a dip in the Portmeirion pool. With so much to see and do, Portmeirion Village is the perfect place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Read more: A guide to visiting Portmeirion in North Wales

3. Conwy:

Conwy is a small town in North Wales with a big history. Conwy Castle, built in the 13th century, is one of the best-preserved medieval fortifications in Britain. The castle walls encircle the town, and the eight massive towers offer stunning views of the surrounding area. 

Conwy is also home to the smallest house in Great Britain. The house, which measures just three meters wide and two meters deep, was built in the 18th century and originally served as a one-room dwelling for a local fisherman and his family. Today, it is open to the public as a museum. 

Conwy is a charming town with a lot to offer visitors. Whether you’re interested in history or just looking for a quaint place to wander, Conwy is worth a visit.

4. Llandudno:

Llandudno is a popular seaside resort town in North Wales that is filled with things to see and do. One of the most popular attractions is the beaches and picture-perfect promenade. The town has two beaches, the North Shore and the West Shore, both are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing. 

For those who want to explore the area, several hiking trails wind through the picturesque countryside. For those who want to experience a bit of history and some fantastic views, why not take a trip on the Great Orme Tramway or the Cable Car up the Great Orme, both offer breathtaking views of the coast including Conwy castle on a clear day! If you’re feeling energetic you can always take the old-fashioned walking route up too!

Other notable attractions include the Victorian Pier, which offers a variety of shops and restaurants, as well as several museums and galleries. No matter what your interests are, Llandudno has something for everyone.

5. Beaumaris:

Beaumaris is a beautiful town in North Wales with plenty to see and do. Situated on the island of Anglesey, Beaumaris is one of my favourite places to visit in North Wales!

8 Incredible castles in North Wales

For history buffs, a visit to Beaumaris Castle is a must. Built during the 13th century by King Edward I, Beaumaris Castle represents the height of medieval military engineering. It was the last of Edwards castles to be built but unfortunately, unlike other castles in North Wales, Beaumaris Castle was never completed due to a lack of funds, but its partially finished state is still impressive. The near-perfect symmetry of its design makes this castle so unique, it really would have been the castle to end all castles!

For something truly unique, take a Puffin Island boat trip and see these adorable birds up close. There are numerous local companies offering boat trips from the pier which take around 90 minutes to circumnavigate around the island. As well as the puffins, guides will also point out other wildlife, if you’re lucky you may even get to see some seals relaxing on the beach.

If you’re interested in history, be sure to visit the old gaol, which once held some of the most notorious criminals in Wales. And finally, don’t miss out on a stroll along the pier, it’s the perfect place to take in the stunning views of Beaumaris Bay. 

6. Llangollen:

Llangollen is a beautiful town that is well known for its stunning scenery and friendly locals making it a popular place to visit in North Wales. The town is located along the banks of the River Dee and is surrounded by the Berwyn Mountains. Llangollen is a great place to stay if you want to explore North Wales, as it is centrally located and has plenty of amenities. The town is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and pubs, with plenty of tourist attractions to keep you entertained. 

Things to do in North Wales

One of Llangollen’s more famous attractions is its steam railway, the only standard gauge railway in North Wales, situated within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and runs alongside the River Dee for its entire length, sit back and watch the stunning scenery pass by.

Other activities to do in the town include canal boat tripsand numerous other outdoor activities such as hiking, white water rafting, tubing or canoeing as well as exploring some local historic sites.

7. Porthmadog & Ffestiniog Railway:

Porthmadog & Ffestiniog Railway is a narrow gauge railway that runs between Porthmadog and Blaenau Ffestiniog in North Wales. It’s considered to be one of the most scenic railways in the UK, with stunning views of Snowdonia National Park along the way. The railway has been operating since 1868, making it one of the oldest continuously running railways in the world.

The railway was originally built to transport slate from the quarries back towards Porthmadog. Before this, slate was transported by animal and farm carts over rough roads down to the River Dwyryd. Here the slate was loaded into river boats for transport downstream where it was loaded yet again, this time into sea-going sailing ships. This long-winded system was expensive both in the time taken and the number of broken slates during transport.

Originally the railway was operated with a gravity system and then horses would pull the empty carts back up the hill to the quarries to be refilled again. Eventually, as demand increased, steam engines were introduced onto the line and then in 1866 new carriages were also introduced to transport quarrymen. Many of these carriages have survived and have been restored and are still in use today. 

By 1872 other routes were built and the slate was being transported along other more efficient railway lines. It was around this time that the railway started to transport tourists up and down the line rather than slate, however, when war broke out in 1939 the service stopped and the railway was left abandoned. In 1951 a group of people lead by Leonard Heath-Humphrys met up to find a way to restore and reopen the railway, a few years later the Ffestiniog Railway Trust was set up. Since then the line has been rebuilt and extended and a new station opened ensuring the railway can be enjoyed for generations to come.

The railway takes you on a 13½ mile journey from the harbour in Porthmadog to the slate-quarrying town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. These historic trains climb over 700 feet from sea level into the mountains through tranquil pastures and magnificent forests, past lakes and waterfalls, round horseshoe bends (even a complete spiral) clinging to the side of the mountain or even tunnelling through it.

8. Ruthin:

Ruthin is a beautiful market town in North Wales and has a long, exciting and interesting history spanning over 700 years including scandal, battle and siege. 

Things to do in North Wales

One of the most dominant features of the town is its Castle, although it is now a hotel, you can still walk around its grounds. It also has a lovely outside terrace where you can enjoy a drink or afternoon tea whilst watching the peacocks roam around you, It is idyllic

However, the castle you see today was only built in the 19th century as a country house, the original castle built by King Edward I, was destroyed during the English civil war in 1646. Some of the original castle remains can still be seen today close to the main entrance. If you want to explore a real castle then Denbigh Castle is only a short drive away and defo worth a visit.

Other attractions include the gaol museum, which was once a working prison. Moel Famau, which is the highest point in the Clwydian Range and for those who love nature, Loggerheads Country Park is a must-see. The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including red kites, buzzards and otters. There are also several walking and cycling trails. 

The town itself is also worth a visit with numerous historic buildings like the half-timbered Old Court House built in 1401 and the Nantclwyd House, the oldest known townhouse in Wales, with timbers dating back to 1435.

9. Betws-y-Coed:

Another one of my favourite places to visit in North Wales is Betws-y-Coed. Best known for its beautiful location within Snowdonia National Park, It’s the perfect base for exploring and adventure in North Wales.

Surrounded by the dense Gwydir Forest, it has an almost Alpine feel with numerous waterfalls and the River Conwy winding through its centre. This idyllic location makes it an ideal place for outdoor activities such as water sports, mountain biking and walking or hiking.

Betws-y-Coed also has several historical attractions, including an early 14th-century church and the Pont y Pair Bridge, originally built around 1500. 

Being a popular tourist destination Betws-y-Coed also has a multitude of excellent restaurants, cafes and bars as well as plenty of independent shops selling a variety of crafts, clothing, gifts, and local homemade produce. 

10. Pontcysllte Aqueduct:

Pontcysllte Aqueduct is an aqueduct that crosses the River Dee near Llangollen in North Wales. At 1,007 feet (307 m) long and 126 feet (38 m) high, it’s one of the longest and highest aqueducts in Europe. Construction of the aqueduct started in 1795 by Thomas Telford, opened in 1805 and still operates today carrying water from Lake Bala to Liverpool.

15 Best places to visit in North Wales

The Pontcysllte Aqueduct forms part of the Llangollen Canal of which 11 miles make up an outstanding piece of industrial and engineering heritage recognised by UNESCO World Heritage since 2009. One of the best ways of checking out the Aqueduct is to take a trip along it on a canal boat. One of the easiest options is to take a boat tour from Llangollen Wharf. Other boat tours can take you along some of the canal’s most beautiful parts. 

If you have a head for heights, you can also walk along the aqueduct. A good circular Pontcysyllte Aqueduct walk starts and finishes at the Trevor Basin, at the Northern end of the aqueduct. It follows good paths down from one end of the aqueduct, along the partially wooded banks of the River Dee to the Cefn Viaduct and Ty Mawr Country park. It then follows a road past the village of Pentre before using the towpath of the Llangollen Canal to cross the aqueduct and return to the starting point.

11. Harlech Castle:

Harlech Castle is a medieval fortification located in Harlech on the west side of the North Wales coast. The castle was built on top of a rocky outcrop overlooking the dunes and sea below. This location is undoubtedly the most spectacular of King Edward I’s many castles. You can easily understand why it got UNESCO World Heritage status alongside Conwy, Caernarfon and Beaumaris.

15 Best places to visit in North Wales

Like other castles in the area, Harlech had a fascinating history and its ‘walls within walls’ design made the castle one of the strongest. So much so, whilst besieged during the rebellion of Madog ap Llewelyn, the castle held out. This was thanks to its 108 steps down its rocky cliff face to the sea which allowed the besieged defenders to be fed and watered by ship.

Visitors today can explore the castle’s many rooms and towers, and they can also enjoy stunning views of the coastline from the top of the keep. Harlech Castle is a fascinating piece of history, and it is well worth a visit.

12. Llyn Peninsula:

Llyn Peninsula is a peninsula located on the west coast of North Wales. The peninsula extends into Cardigan Bay and is home to some beautiful coastline villages such as Aberdaron, Abersoch and Criccieth. The area covers over 100 miles of coastline and has gained Area of Outstanding Beauty Status, made up of sweeping bays and cliffs, perfect for lovers of the outdoors. 

For beach lovers, the Llyn Peninsula has some of the most beautiful beaches in Wales. Whistling Sands is one of my favourites, extremely peaceful with a long sandy bay with lots of rocky inlets to explore. If you want something a little more lively, head to Porthdinllaen Beach, where you can listen to some chilled-out beats whilst enjoying the outside bar of the Ty Coch Inn.

For history lovers then check out the Llyn Maritime Museum in Nefyn, the Porth y Swnt Visitor Centre or the beautiful Plas yn Rhiw, a 17th-century manor house with stunning gardens looking out over Cardigan Bay.

13. Trearddur Bay:

Located on Holy Island just off the coast of Anglesey in North Wales, Trearddur Bay is one of the most beautiful places in North Wales. With its dramatic cliffs, serene beaches, and crystal-clear waters, it’s no wonder that the bay is a popular tourist destination. There are plenty of things to do in Trearddur Bay, from swimming and sunbathing on its Blue Flag beach to sailing, fishing and kayaking. 

Just a little drive up the coast from Trearddur Bay, you will also find one of Anglesey’s most visited tourist attractions, the South Stack Lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in 1809 to mark this tiny island off Anglesey. The lighthouse is a great place to visit especially on a clear sunny day, however, be warned it is only accessed by descending 400 steps down a cliff face!

14. Caernarfon Castle:

Caernarfon Castle is another medieval castle built by Edward I during his conquest of Wales, and its purpose was to serve as both a military stronghold and seat of government. Caernarfon Castle is widely considered to be one of the most impressive castles in Britain and has UNESCO World Heritage status alongside Conwy, Beaumaris and Harlech.

15 Best places to visit in North Wales

Caernarfon is one of the biggest castles in Wales and cost £25,000 and took 47 years to build. One of its most prominent features is the Eagle Tower with its 18 feet thick walls! It was here that its most famous residents would live in lavish luxury. Its most notable resident was King Edward II who was born at Caernarfon and became the first Prince of Wales. Ever since every Prince of Wales has been invested here including Prince Charles who was famously invested here in 1969.

Visitors to Caernarfon can explore the castle’s many features, including its massive gatehouse, towers, and Great Hall. They can also learn about the castle’s rich history, which includes serving as a prison during the English Civil War and being successfully besieged by Welsh forces in 1404. Caernarfon Castle is an essential part of Welsh history, and it offers visitors a rare opportunity to see a well-preserved medieval castle.

15. Erdigg Hall, Wrexham:

Erdigg Hall is a historic house located in Wrexham, North Wales. Although originally built in the 1680’s it was massively remodelled after John Mellor, a successful London lawyer, bought the property in 1714 after its previous owner went bankrupt. 

15 Best places to visit in North Wales

What makes this house special though isn’t its beautiful architecture or stunning landscaped gardens but how its owners treated its servants. Through paintings, printed documents, and even poems, they created an unmatched record of domestic life in a stately home. So we can see, not nameless servants, but the individual people who served at Erdigg, who they were, and how they lived.

The family started a tradition of having portraits painted with verses about each servant. The family then gradually replaced these paintings after photography came into vogue, but they still needed something to go alongside them and so composed separate poems for every photo to memorialise their lives. Some of the originally painted portraits still hang on the walls in the servant’s hall including a game-keeper, blacksmith, and housemaid.

Read more: Erddig House, a visitor guide

Where To Stay In North Wales: 

There is no ideal place to stay in North Wales, it just depends on what you plan to do and how remote you want to be. If you have access to a car you can pretty much stay anywhere and still be within an hour’s drive of most of the popular tourist destinations. However, if you don’t then stay in one of the bigger towns like Conwy is probably your best bet as there’s a pretty good public transport network that will get you to most places. 

Some of my favourite places to stay include:

  • Llanberis: The perfect place to enjoy Snowdonia National Park.
  • LlandudnoAn ideal location for those wanting to visit Llandudno, Colwyn and Caernarfon.
  • Ruthin: Stay in Ruthin if you want easy access to Loggerheads, Chirk and Wrexham.
  • Llangollen: A tourist destination on its own but has easy access to the Pontcysllte Aqueduct.
  • Beaumaris: Best place for exploring Anglesey.

For booking accommodation, I recommend using Booking.com. This website offers the best-priced accommodation catering for all budgets and styles. Just pop in your requirements and it will give you a list of available accommodation. Perfect for picking out the best hostels, B&B or even some luxury escapes.

Booking.com

Thanks so much for stopping by, I appreciate every one of you who takes the time to read and make it to the end! I have lots of exciting new content coming in the next few weeks so make sure you pop back to catch up!

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