Explore the North of Wales and LLandudno

When you think of rocky landscapes and vast mountainous views in the United Kingdom you’re probably thinking of the highlands of Scotland. While you’d be right to assume that it’s also true that you don’t have to go quite so far north to discover some epic vistas and truly breathtaking challenges.

Wales in the west of Great Britain is a wonderful alternative to Scotland and with only half the drive-time the North and East coast is well worth the trip. Everything from rolling hills, rocky passes, mountainous peaks and winding drives. Perfect for any adventure seeker. So here’s our guide to the best of Northern Wales.

Snowdon

I’d be a fool to start with anything other than Mount Snowdon. At just over 1000 metres tall its a relative small mountain but never-the-less it’s the highest peak in Wales and a popular challenge for hikers and trekkers. The views from the top are nothing short of spectacular and are highly rewarding for those that attempt the 5 – 7 hour hike to the top. If you’re a keen climber then you won’t be disappointed.

If you’re not up to the challenge of walking one of the paths to the summit, you can always catch the famous little Snowdon Mountain Railway. Its takes you right to the top and is an impressive feat of engineering too. The return journey is around 2.5 hours with 30 minutes at the top to enjoy the view.

Ffestiniog railway

Speaking of railways, one of the cutest and most famous in Wales is without doubt the Ffestiniog Railway. Taking you from Porthmadog on the coast of Wales, up in to the mountains and on to the quiet slate mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. The train is usually steam pulled and the stations along the way have been lovingly preserved too. A great experience for the family and a fun way to get from A to B.

Drive around Snowdonia

Sometimes the best way to see the sights is just to get in a car and drive. It’s easy to do a loop around Snowdon through the Snowdonia National Park which takes you past a number of highlights worth stopping at. If you’re staying in Llandudno, head west to Caenarfon and then south-east on the A4085. Take a break at the beautiful mirror lake of Llyn Cwellyn which also has a number of summit walks up Snowdon. Head further south and you’ll pass over river rapids and through cute villages. Turn left on to the A498 at Beddgelert and head north-east around Snowdon. The lakes of Afon Glaslyn and Llyn Gwynant are also worth a look before turning left on to the A4086 north again up the east side of Snowdon. You’ll find the Snowdon Mountain Railways on this side and the beautiful rocky Llanberis Pass which surrounds you with mountains and is a great place to stop and take photos.

Where to stay

One of the best places to stay in the North of Wales is without doubt LLandudno on the north coast. This pretty seaside town is a popular tourist destination and there’s no shortage of accommodation to choose from. With luxury B&Bs, grand sea front hotels and family run hostels too. During our Great British Road Trip project we stayed at the Llandudno Hostel which proved to be more than the average hostel you’ll find in Wales. This original town house can accommodation large groups and even families all in one room with a nice homely feel and great location near the centre of town.

For more accommodation ideas in Llandudno check out www.hostelworld.com

Near Llandudno

There’s lots to see and do in and around LLandudno too. On the Great Orme, a huge limestone rock at one end of the beach you’ll find a pretty victorian pier, a copper mine open to the public, dry ski slopes and some great views from the top of the rock too. Further afield you’d be crazy not to visit the castle at Conwy. Remarkably still in tact and well worth exploring, with great views of the bay from the top. While the weather can be changeable in Wales especially thanks to the mountains here, the summers are mild and sunny and the landscape vistas are rewarding whatever the weather.