The Best Days Out in North Wales and Anglesey


Tuesday 7th May, 2024

The Best Days Out in North Wales and Anglesey

Croeso i Gogledd Cymru, welcome to North Wales, a simply beautiful part of the British Isles. With its mountain ranges and varied coastline, dramatic castles and pretty little harbours, North Wales has everything.

Whether you’re looking for a walking holiday or a family seaside getaway, you’ll find the perfect place in this ancient land. Throw in a growing foodie scene, a wide choice of visitor attractions and an always-busy calendar of festivals and fairs, and you’re all set for a fabulous holiday in North Wales.

Hike in Snowdonia (Eryri)

Eryri National Park, also known as Snowdonia, is over 800 square miles of breathtaking mountains, valleys and lakes. This is magnificent walking country; however, there are also spectacular mountain roads and heritage railway journeys as alternative ways to explore this most beautiful part of Wales.

Naturally, most visitors want to hike Yr Wyddfa, Mount Snowdon. There are several different walking routes up the highest peak in Wales and England. The most straightforward is the Llanberis Path, which starts in the village. It’s the busiest route, but definitely the least steep. If you’re a seasoned hiker looking for a challenge, try the Watkin Path, generally regarded as the toughest walk but with some stunning views. 

Other lovely walks in North Wales include the lakes at Cwm Idwal and Llyn Ogwen, or head for the paths around the pretty village of Beddgelert, famous for its legend of a prince and his faithful dog. Then of course, there are all the coastal footpaths…

Explore Anglesey’s Coast

Ynys Mon (Anglesey in English) is off the coast of North Wales. It’s reached by crossing the Menai Strait from Bangor by either the Thomas Telford Menai Suspension Bridge or Robert Stephenson’s Britannia Bridge (Anglesey certainly attracted the best engineers of the day). 

Once here, you’re spoilt for choice for days out. There’s the beautifully wild west coast, with South Stack lighthouse and the remains of ancient settlements, or the gentler side, home to pretty Beaumaris and Penmon Point, and boat trips out to Puffin Island for bird and seal spotting. Visit Plas Newydd, a National Trust-managed stately home on the shores of the Straits, or take the family to Anglesey Sea Zoo and Benllech Beach. Speaking of beaches…

Enjoy a Day at the Seaside

North Wales has a great choice of lovely beaches: try Llanddwyn on Anglesey, Dinas Dinlle near Caernarfon or Barmouth Beach further south. However, for a traditional day at the seaside, Llandudno wins every time.This genteel Victorian resort is the place to come for old-school seaside entertainment, from the fun-filled pier to the Punch and Judy shows. 

Strict planning rules have meant that the sweep of elegant hotels along the sea front has hardly changed since the resort was built, although you’ll still find plenty of modern must-haves, such as a good choice of cafes, pubs and shops. Take the tram up the Great Orme (look out for the notorious Great Orme goats) or stroll along the prom.

Walk the Walls in Conwy

Medieval harbour town Conwy is just along the coast from Llandudno; however to do this beautiful little town justice, you’ll need a whole day here. Conwy has the most complete set of medieval town walls in Europe, so don sensible shoes and set off to explore the town from on high. The views over the Conwy Estuary and town are lovely, especially with that dramatic Snowdonia background.

Conwy Castle dominates the town. One of Edward I of England’s “iron ring” of castles, it’s part of the UNESCO World Heritage group of castles (more about these in a minute). Again, the views from the romantic medieval ruins are stunning. Other places to visit include Plas Mawr and Aberconwy House (both historic townhouses) and Telford’s suspension bridge and Toll House. Stroll along the harbour before picking up fish and chips or tucking into lunch at the elegant Castle Hotel.

Discover the Castles of North Wales

Four castles make up the UNESCO heritage site: Conwy, Caernarfon, Beaumaris and Harlech. They were all commissioned by Edward I as part of his campaign to conquer Wales.The Welsh princes also had castles (admittedly, not as magnificent, but still sturdy and in beautiful settings), such as Dolbadarn and Dolwyddelan.

If that still isn’t enough castles for one holiday, there are also Rhuddlan and Criccieth castles, and you can walk up The Vardre (a hill near Llandudno) to seek out the (very) ruined remains of strategic Deganwy Castle. Many Welsh castles are cared for by CADW, so English Heritage, Scottish Heritage and Manx Heritage members get discounts on admissions tickets. 

Visit Heritage Attractions  

If you love history, don’t stop exploring once you’ve visited the castles! North Wales is rich in historic sites to visit, from the ancient copper mines on the Great Orme headland to the spectacular 19th-century fantasy castle, Penrhyn (near Bangor). Learn about the lives of local miners at the National Slate Museum in Llanberis, whose labour built the luxurious castle. The quarry hospital and old miners’ houses are especially fascinating.

However, one of our favourite historic attractions in North Wales has to be Portmeirion. This romantic Italianate village near Porthmadog is the 20th-century creation of architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, who wanted to pay homage to the Mediterranean lifestyle. Wander around its impossibly pretty streets and gardens, but be aware that Portmeirion is a private village so you’ll need to pay an admission charge.

Luxury Holiday Cottages in North Wales and Anglesey

At Handpicked Cottages, we have a collection of luxury holiday cottages in North Wales, many with beautiful views. Choose from cosy cabins and stone cottages, from traditional farms and townhouses. With features such as wood burners, hot tubs and lovely outdoor spaces, our Welsh holiday cottages have everything you need for the perfect UK break.

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