A few weeks ago I spent a few days in North Wales. I always guessed from movies that the english countryside was really lovely like Oxford for example and I actually planned many times with friends to spend a cosy weekend there. It started raining on the first day of the trip and I got scared that this trip was going to be everything but cosy. Walking around and doing visits is not the best when it is pouring but it is the first time in my life that I didn’t mind the rain. It actually gave the whole trip kind of a moody but romantic vibe especially during the steam train rides, and in Portmeiron, a little town that look like Italy, both definitely some of the highlights of the North Wales Countryside, but there are much more. Here come my personal highlights of North Wales.
1 – Portmeiron village – A town that will makes you feel you are in Italy
I totally fell in love with Portmeiron. It was just so unexpected to find such a village in North Wales. So colourful, and just so italian. Portmeiron is a project by architect Clough Williams-Ellis who constructed this town in 1925 inspired by the mediteranean flair. Today, this town is very famous for wedding celebration but also is a famous shooting and filming location.
2 – The Castles of North Wales
From around 600 Castles in Wales, we visited 3 of them in North Wales. We first started with Conwy castle situated in the cute town of Conwy. We wandered the castle’s wall that is surrounding the cute town. We then had a walk on the seaside where we took pictures of England’s smallest house and had mussels for lunch. Tip : Conwy is really the town where to eat mussels, actually most mussels eaten in Europe comes from this area. Finally in the afternoon we visited
Plas Nawr, to see how a typical medieval house looked like back in the time.
Penrhyn castle – We took the early bird tour at Penrhyn castle that consist of learning more about the castle through the many objects that are in the castle. Even though the tour was really interesting I would advise to plan enough time to wander the castle on your own later on. I also heard that the gardens around the castle is breathtaking so make sure to also plan more time for that.
Finally we visited Caernarfon Castle that is probably the most famous castle in North Wales, indeed, it was used for the investiture of the Prince of Wales.
3 – Llandudno – A seaside victorian town
We stayed two nights on Llandudno. It is a the largest seaside resort in Wales, the town is in victorian style with a large beach going from the Great Orme to the Little Orme, two limestone headlands. Many people come here on vacation as it has a nice beach but also from there it is easy to go to the many sightseeing sites in North Wales. Llandudno is also very famous because it inspired the story of Alice In Wonderland. Indeed, Alice Tidell, the girl that inspired the story used to go on Holiday in Llandudno. In tribute to this link, there are several statues of the book’s characters sprout around the town.
Hotel Tip : The Empire Hotel that is situated on a side street but has got a very nice spa and the George Hotel that is directly facing the sea – ask for a room with a view!
4 – Scenic steam train Ride
A great way to discover the North Wales countryside is by train. We took 3 different train ride that took us to different kind of landscapes.
We first took the Great Orme Tramway in Landdudno, to go on top of the great Orme. From there you can on clear days see the isle of Man, the seaside and the Happy Valley.
Snowdon Mountain Railway goes to Mount Snowden, the highest point in North Wales. We took the early train that is a bit cheaper but I would recommend to go later on. Indeed, it is such a beautiful ride, you might have less people going on the train and it will be more comfortable to enjoy the truly breathtaking landscape.You can also decide to hike to the top and go down by train. It is a 3 hours climb to the summit but it is quite an easy hike I have heard from a friend who did it.
Finally to enjoy the rather flat part of the welsh countryside, you can take a 25miles trip in the charm of an old-time steam train from the Welsh Highland Railway. The trip takes you through part of the Snowdonia National Park.
Those are my personal highlights from my trip to North Wales. I stayed in North Wales only 4 days so I am sure there is much more to see. If you plan to go to North Wales, Lonely Planet, who invited to this trip just brought out a new guide this year with the latest information needed.
*UNPAID ADVERTISEMENT – This trip was organized by Lonely Planet and Visit Wales. Thank you for having me!
** All opinions are my own.