I’m going to make a bold statement and say that I think North Wales is the most adventurous place in the UK! It’s like a dream come true for outdoor adventure as well as having lots of other cool little villages and towns! In this post I share all the things to do in Snowdonia that I did during my week in North Wales.
Things To Do In Snowdonia and North Wales
This was the main reason for us visiting North Wales. We wanted to ride Velocity 2, the fastest zip line in the world and the longest in Europe. There are 3 Zipworld sites in North Wales, Penrhyn Quarry, Fforest and Slate Caverns. I wrote a whole post about the differences between the 3 locations and the activities that are available at each of them.
We did Velocity 2, the Fforest Coaster and Bounce Below. For me I was in my element and I could have done every activity on offer but I would also have been very poor! Bounce Below was very unique (there’s only one other place like it in the whole world). I’m glad I did it, but out of the 3 it was my least favourite. As it was just bouncing around on nets and going on slides for an hour, it’s pretty exhausting just to keep jumping around! The Fforest Coaster is honestly one of the best ‘alpine’ coasters that I’ve been on in the world. Loved it!
Hike Mount Snowdon or ride to the summit on the Llanberis Railway
Mount Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales and Snowdonia National Park. We actually did both. We took the Llanberis Railway to the summit and then did the 4.5 mile walk back down to Llanberis. The hike down took us around 3 hours to complete.
The Llanberis path is also known as the ‘tourist path’. It’s the longest out of the 6 hiking trails but is said to be the easiest. Don’t be fooled by it though, it’s still tough going. As non mountain climbers our legs ached in the days following the hike and we had only done it one way! The train is an enjoyable trip though. You get around 30 minutes at the summit before having to catch the same train back down. It does sell out during the summer months so it’s worth booking tickets well in advance.
Portmeirion is an Italian style village which was created by the architect Clough Williams-Ellis. It was a project that started back in 1925. The village is open to the public for an entrance fee and has a road train that goes through the woods, cafes, restaurants, a hotel, some holiday rentals and a coastal path.
The village is great for photography, the buildings are so bright, colourful and unique. Portmeirion was used as a filming location for the 1960’s TV show ‘The Prisoner’. There are a few differences to the village since it was filmed (such as the addition of an outdoor swimming pool at the Portmeirion Hotel). But for the most part it looks very similar to how it did in the TV show.
Gelert’s Grave in Beddgelert
This one is a little strange, yet it’s something that still draws tourists to the area every year. It’s based around the legend of Gelert the dog that is set in the 1200’s. The story is a pretty sad one about how a Prince killed his own dog over a misunderstanding, thinking that it had murdered his son. However, there’s now a grave for Gelert that can be found in the middle of a field. It’s a short walk from the town of Beddgelert (which means ‘Grave of Gelert’ in Welsh). The legend is a fictional story so of course it’s not actually a real grave.
Swallow Falls is located just outside of Betws-y-Coed village. Free parking is very limited alongside the road. The entrance to the falls is via turnstile and costs £2 per person. When there’s no one in the ticket booth, you can still enter by putting coins in the cash box and just walk through the turnstile. The waterfall is a short walk away. It has an upper observation level and a lower level that’s down lots of stairs. (There is a great fish and chip shop next to Betws-y-Coed train station!)
Conwy Castle Walls
Conwy is a small town on the edge of Snowdonia National Park and is home to Conwy Castle. The castle has an entrance fee, but you can walk the castle walls that surround the town for free. We really enjoyed doing this! There are several points where you can enter and exit the walls, but I suggest joining them at the Castle and then following it right to the River Conwy, where the walls finish.
The Smallest House In Great Britain
As you reach the end of the Conwy Castle walls, you’ll eventually come across the Smallest House in Great Britain (the red building). The house was inhabited up until 1900. Adults can pay £1 (50p under 16yrs) to go inside the house. There is a small downstairs living area and a bedroom on the upper floor. Obviously entrance is limited to a 1 in, 1 out type rotation. Me, my mum and sister went in together but there definitely wasn’t really any room left with the 3 of us in there!
The Victorian seaside town of Llandudno has a whole heap of attractions where you can easily spend a day exploring. Some of my personal favourites are the Great Orme Tramway up to the Great Orme summit, which has been in operation since 1902 and the Great Orme Toll Road, a 5 mile coastal drive around the base!
I wrote a whole post about things to do in Llandudno which you can find here.
No, I didn’t just sit on my keyboard! Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is the longest place name in the UK and Europe (and the 2nd longest in the world). For short it is called Llanfairpwllgwyngyll and in English it translates to ‘St Mary’s church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the fierce whirlpool of St Tysilio of the red cave’ …still a bit of a mouthful! It’s not actually in Snowdonia, it’s located on the island of Angelsey, which is connected to the mainland by the Britannia Bridge and the Menai Bridge.
The train station displays the full name of the town and is a good place to grab a picture (it is a live station though so obviously be aware of trains!). The little gift shop/shopping centre next door is worth having a peak in, you’ll also find a cafe tucked in the back corner. While on Anglesey, the Anglesey Sea Zoo and Tacia Taid transport museum are interesting little stops which are close to Llanfairpwllgwyngyll.