North Wales and Snowdonia local area and attractions


Snowdonia and the North Wales area has so much to offer people who love to walk, hike, mountain bike, golf and for families there are so many attractions to keep everyone happy.  Below is just a small selection of activities.

Local Attractions

There is something for everyone all within an easy drive from the cottage. For the adrenaline junkies there is Go Below Underground AdventureZip world and Bounce Below, Surf Snowdonia which I am assured by my bother in law is well worth a visit....not sure who enjoyed it more, him or his kids!  For the kids there is Greenwood Forest Park, Gypsy Wood Park and the brilliant Llechwedd Slate Caverns. Southstack on Angelsey is well worth a visit. If its gardens you are interested in there is Bodnant Garndens, Plas Newydd and Penrhyn Castle.  If its a boat trip then there is Puffin Island Cruises. This is just a small selection of some of the amazing places to visit on your holiday, and of course there is always just relaxing in the garden with a glass of wine!  A good place to discover the attractions is Attractions of Snowdonia.

Walks

There are countless walks and hikes from the door or a short drive away, a good source for detailed information is Mud and Routes or Walk up Snowdon . These are just a sample of our favourites:-

Aber Falls - This is a short and easy walk to one of Wales's most beautiful waterfalls along a gravel path, so good for all the family. The waterfall is situated just off the main A55 trunk road behind the quiet village of Abergwyngregyn. Although this is an easy and short walk do not underestimate its beauty, the valley of the Coedydd National Nature Reserve is a hidden gem with an abundance of wildlife and stunning woodland and mountain scenery. 

Snowdon - or Yr Wyddfa in Welsh, is the highest mountain in England and Wales. It has 6 main routes, the Llanberis Path is the longest and the main family route (this is the one we took Megan up for Megan's Mountain Challenge - see photo above), the Pyg and Miners, (my personal favourites) the Snowdon Ranger, the Rhyd Ddu and the Watkins.  On a clear day the views are spectacular.  There is also the train from Llanberis and a cafe at the top which is open when the train is running. Each route has pay and display parking near their starts, especially Llanberis.  There is limited parking at the start of the Pyg and Miners routes and you need to get there very early if you want a space.  A good alternative is to park in Nant Peris and use the very good Sherpa Bus.  

Cwm Idwal  -  this spectacular hanging valley is surrounded by some of the highest peaks in Snowdonia, sculptured by ice thousands of years ago. This walk is suitable for families but not buggies  It has a incline with steps from the start but once up to the lake, it has an easy path around the lake and many places to sit and have a picnic in the summer or soak up the atmosphere in the winter. The steep and brooding Clogwyn y Geifr (the Cliff of the Goat) and its rift, Twll Du (Black Hole), form a dramatic backdrop to the lake and are very popular with climbers, especially in winter. Parking is near the Ogwen Cottage at the top of the Nant Francon Pass.

Cycling

Whether you are in to mountain biking trails or family routes, there are plenty to chose from in the area.

Lon Eifion - suitable for children. Indulge yourself in the blues and greens of the Llŷn Peninsula to the south west, Caernarfon Bay and Anglesey to the west and north, and the impressive mountains of Snowdonia to the east. Lôn Eifion is a green avenue of native trees and plants which stretches between the busy historical town of Caernarfon and the rural village of Bryncir to the south. The entire length of Lôn Eifion has a tarmaced surface and is part of Lôn Las Cymru, route number 8 on the National Cycle Network. 

Mawddach Trail - suitable for children. Winding lazily along a disused railway track, the Mawddach Trail which is owned and managed by the Snowdonia National Park Authority, follows the Mawddach estuary from Barmouth to Dolgellau. The path, having been surfaced using compacted dust, has further been developed between Penmaenpool and Dolgellau to cater for disabled users. Awe inspiring views can be seen whilst walking and cycling the path, especially of the estuary and the spectacular Barmouth bridge.

Gwydyr Forest - hosts some of the best purpose built mountain biking trails in Europe, big climbs, big views, big descents and some world class single track (haven't personally tried any of the trails here

Coed Y Brenin - more forest trails apparently suitable for all abilities (again, haven't personally tried any of them)

Castles

So many to choose from, my personal favourite has to be

Caernafon Castle - I was lucky to visit recently when the Weeping Window Poppies were touring.  This has been my favourite castle in the area since coming here as a child.  It has something for everyone, turrets and spooky corridors for the kids to explore, amazing views and plenty of history in the museum rooms. It was used for the investiture of the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, in 1969.

Beaches

Again, so many to choose from.  A couple of our family favourites are

Newborough Beach - this is a vast beach on the south west corner of Anglesey, great anytime of the year.  Access is by a winding road through Newborough Forest to the car park.  There are many walking trails through the forest if the weather isn't right for sunbathing.  The beach itself is so big you will easily find a spot away from other people.  Its a great spot for flying kites, sitting and relaxing, body surfing in the waves or walking along in the middle of winter. 

Black Rock Sands - not as it sounds, this is another vast beach but the bonus is that you can take your car and park on the sand for a fee.  On a sunny day this is perfect as you can use the car as a wind break, if required! As the car is already packed but with you, no looking like a mule carrying everything to that one perfect spot!  And there's the Ice Cream vans which regularly patrol the beach providing much needed cool refreshment.

Golf Courses

Many to choose from whether you an occasional golfer or a bit more serious. All of the courses in North Wales are very welcoming and your custom is valued but beware the weather, especially the wind. David's favourites are:-

Locally Conwy Golf Club is a welcoming club with a playable but challenging links layout, he has played here several times with friends and it is the 'go to' local course. You can book online or just give them a call.

St Deiniol is just down the road in Bangor, a quirky hilltop course with great views.

Or a little further afield

Nefyn & District has several holes on a spectacular peninsula out into the Irish Sea and it is worth playing just for those although the other holes are pretty strong too. This course has a wow factor but it can be challenging to play in the wind.

Royal St Davids is perhaps the highest rated course in the region but retains the welcoming feel of all the Welsh courses. Really nice 'proper' links layout and a great clubhouse for a beer and food before or after your round.

Additionally Vale of Llangollen is perfect for playing on the way up or the way home if you are heading for southern England down the A5. Really nice parkland layout in the bottom of a valley, so protected from any wind. This is quite a popular course so you may need to book or call ahead and check availability.

 

 A good source of information is here.