Holidays in North Wales

Published: Tuesday 24th Jun 2014

Written by: Alice de Courcy-Wheeler

You won’t be short of things to do and see during your holiday in North Wales. There are so many attractions that it would be impossible to fit it all into one break. From historic railways and mountain scenery to fantasy villages and white water rafting – here are a few ideas to help you make the most of your getaway to North Wales:

Llandudno and Colwyn Bay

On the north coast of Wales are the well-known neighbouring resorts of Llandudno and Colwyn Bay which offer scenic beauty, sandy beaches, seaside fun and much more besides. A must-do in Llandudno is a trip on the 100-year old Great Orme Tramway – the only cable-hauled tramway still operating on British public roads – which takes passengers 200 metres up the hillside for marvellous views across the area. Afterwards grab an ice-cream on the fabulously preserved Victorian pier or make your way over to the West Shore Beach for rugged natural beauty and tranquillity. In Colwyn Bay, a day out at the Welsh Mountain Zoo, home to numerous rare and endangered species, is recommended while the imposing Colwyn Castle overlooking the estuary is a World Heritage Site.   

Porthmadog and Portmeirion

The bustling harbour town of Porthmadog to the west of Snowdonia is where you can catch a ride on one of Wales’ top tourist attractions - the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways. These two unique narrow gauge railways are full of charm and character and offer the chance to explore the beauty of Snowdonia in style or to travel up to Caernarfon to see the world-famous coastside castle. Another popular destination nearby is Portmeirion - a fantasy village designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1975 in the style of an Italian village. With its Baroque architecture and wonderful garden terraces set overlooking the River Dwyryd, the village is now run by a charitable trust and offers a chance to see a place unlike any you have seen before.

Whitewater in Bala

On the River Tryweryn near Bala in the heart of Snowdonia is the National White Water Centre – a centre of excellence for paddlesport and the home of white water rafting and kayaking. The Tryweryn is dam-controlled, so different stretches of the river have different levels of difficulty. Families with children aged ten and upwards can give white water rafting a go under the guidance of qualified experts. Set on Llyn (Lake) Tegid, Bala is a destination for all kinds of outdoor sports enthusiasts and a number of companies in the area offer opportunities to try a variety of pursuits from climbing and abseiling to sailing and archery.

Go West - Anglesey and the Lleyn Peninsula

Over the Menai Strait to the northwest of Snowdonia is the island of Anglesey – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. To get there you cross the magnificent Menai Suspension Bridge, the world’s first modern suspension bridge built in 1826 by Thomas Telford.  Anglesey has some wonderful beaches along its 125 mile coastline as well as other attractions, including Beaumaris Castle, South Stack Lighthouse and the Dingle nature reserve. Also west of Snowdonia, visitors will find the Lleyn Peninsula – another area of Outstanding Natural Beauty stretching 30 miles out into the Irish Sea and known for its wonderful beaches. With its calm sea, the south coast of the peninsula is often called the Welsh Riviera, while the north and western coasts are more rugged with cliffs and hidden coves.


No trip to North Wales is complete without at least an excursion into Snowdonia National Park – a stunning landscape of woods, mountains and lakes and a great place to visit for outdoor enthusiasts and sightseers alike.  Among its many peaks is Snowdon, at 1,085 metres above sea level the highest mountain in England and Wales. There are numerous ways to ascend Snowdon including the mountain railway, which offers passengers a leisurely five mile journey to the summit. 

Alice de Courcy-Wheeler
Alice de Courcy-Wheeler


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