For outstanding scenery, there can be few locations that are better than North Wales
Things To Do
Whether on foot or by the mountain railway, climbing Mount Snowdon is one of Wales’ absolute must-do activities. Take the train one-way and walk the other along one of the well-trodden routes to the summit. The views from the top are out of this world.
Visit Plas Cadnant Hidden Gardens, one of Anglesey’s newest attractions. The 19th century gardens, once lost to a wilderness, have undergone a major restoration since 1996, with lots of work still in progress.
Pretend you’re in Italy and be transported to the Mediterranean Coast (always with a Welsh twist, of course) at the Italianate village of Portmeirion. The brightly coloured buildings, with piazzas, Roman columns, pantiled roofs and Romanesque domes sit neatly in amongst sub-tropical gardens and woodland, all overlooking the sea.
Take an adrenalin-fuelled ride on the longest and fastest zip wire in Europe. ‘Flying’ over the Penrhyn Quarry, Snowdonia, you’ll reach speeds of 100mph, 500 feet above the ground.
When To Visit
St David’s Day is celebrated throughout Wales on 1 March, but events really kick off with the ‘guarantee’ of better weather. May sees the Llandudno Transport Festival, the largest such event in North Wales with thousands of motors from vintage buses and tractors to classic cars and bikes. The All Wales Boat Show, also in May, follows, celebrating all water-based activities.
July welcomes Wakestock, a large wakeboarding and music festival at Abersoch, while, further down the coast, the Barmouth Kite Festival takes place. For those feeling really fit, the International Snowdon Race, a run up and down the mountain, is something to look forward to in July.
The Anglesey County Show springs into action in August, along with the Conwy River Festival, for a week of conviviality both on and by the side of the water.
Finally, the annual International Eisteddfod, Wales’ largest and most prestigious music, theatre and arts festival, swaps between North and South Wales each year.
Wales is a very rural country and, but for the M4 motorway in the south, there are no motorways at all. The M54 and M56, east-west spurs off the M6, will help to get you towards Wales, but from the point at which these short motorways run out – at Telford (M54) and Chester (M56) – you’re onto dual carriageways at best.The A55 runs right along the north coast of Wales and up to Holyhead in Anglesey. This is the quickest and easiest route to and through North Wales. An alternative, and arguably prettier, route is the A5 from Shrewsbury, which joins up with the A55 at Bangor. The A5 passes through some of Wales’ most spectacular scenery. You really should make travelling along this route a part of your holiday as it is stunning, but remember that if you are towing, it is twisty in places and, as a single-carriageway road, it can be slow.All other roads are absolutely fine for towing caravans, with the exception of some very local, unclassified roads.There are no tolls on either the Britannia Bridge or Menai Bridge to Anglesey. The Briwet Bridge between the A496 and A487 (to access the southerly aspects of Snowdonia National Park and the Llŷn Peninsula) has been permanently closed; a temporary bridge will be open from May 2014 until a brand new bridge is completed.