Snowdonia isn’t just about mountains and climbing. The stunning mountain range in Northern Wales is one of the most picturesque vistas in the British Isles. While most people who visit the UK head to the capital, visit Buckingham Palace, take a bus tour, take a jaunt to the south coast and take a trip on the London Eye, you shouldn’t neglect the other nations of the British Isles. Wales is beautiful, there are fewer people per square mile so it’s less crowded and there are plenty of gorgeous little towns and villages to while away some leisurely days in.
Wales was once seen as England’s poorer neighbor. However, with investment into Wales’s capital, Cardiff, and money being pumped into the Welsh economy, it is becoming more and more tourist friendly. If you fancy climbing Mount Snowdon, go for it. But you don’t have to be a climber in order to enjoy the region. Take a look at why you should pay a visit to Snowdonia in Wales.
Wales is full of castles, and Caernarfon Castle is one of the grandest. Built by Edward I, this castle is a vast expanse of history. As one of the greatest buildings from the Middle Ages and now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you can spend the day learning all about the history of the town and the castle. The Red Dragon Archery Club meets regularly and often holds taster sessions for tourists. You could time your visit to coincide with one of the many festivals and galas. You could find yourself sitting at a table at a mock royal banquet, enjoying the culinary creations of the day. Or perhaps you could have a go at a spot of jousting. Caernarfon Castle is one of many outstanding examples of British history that you might want to visit especially if you love adding a touch of historical tourism to your travels.
Snowdon Mountain Railway
It could be seen as a bit of a cheat, but if you aren’t much of a climber but you still want to summit the highest mountain in Wales, you could take a ride on the mountain railway. Passing by some unique mountain scenery and wildlife, you could take the pain out of the climb and summit in less than thirty minutes. If you still want to partake in a spot of walking you could meander down the mountain using a number of different routes including the Rhyd Ddu Path or the Watkin Path. But before you leave the summit, have a drink and a cake at the top of the mountain and enjoy taking in the views from the highest point of Wales.
A little bit of a cultural oddity, Portmeirion is a bizarre little village in the Snowdonia region of Wales. Built by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1925, this Italian style village was the set of the famous 1970s series The Prisoner. Situated on the coast, this colorful town has a wealth of little cafes, eateries, shops and tourist attractions to while away a few hours in. You could even choose to stay overnight in the local Grade II listed hotel steeped in history. There is also a stunning restaurant attached where you can sample some modern Welsh fusion cuisine.
Alternatively, you might want to stay at one of the select luxury holiday parks in North Wales that have all of these attractions within easy reach. At Woodlands Hall overlooking the Vale of Clwyd, you can stay in a luxury caravan park with a sauna, gym, and games room for your brood’s use so you know that you’ll never get bored. Just a short distance away are all of the attractions in Snowdonia that you could visit as part of your holiday.
For more countryside vistas, why not pay a visit to Swallow Falls. These stunning waterfalls are part of the Gwydir Forest. There are numerous car parks surrounding the area, and after paying and displaying you could find yourself on a short walk through a couple of turnstiles before you reach the magnificent waterfall. The sound of the rushing water cascading down in the otherwise peaceful forest is something to behold. While this isn’t Niagara Falls, the nearby riverside walk is also worth a visit. There are acres of woodland trails and plenty of wildlife to enjoy. Take a picnic and you could enjoy the very best of the Welsh countryside.
The Slate Museum
While a museum about slate doesn’t sound all that exciting, the history of its mining makes for an excellent learning experience. Slate mining was the biggest industry in Wales for over a hundred and fifty years between the early 1800s and the 1960s. At the slate museum, you can whip on a hard helmet and delve deep underground. A miner’s tramway tour will let you experience life as a miner. There is fantastic accompanying audio and some great displays in the Llechwedd slate caverns. The tours are often guided and you can ask questions as you walk around. Just be careful if you do suffer from claustrophobia; it is tight in spots, dark and very enclosed.
If you aren’t bothered about climbing the tallest mountain in Wales, and you’d prefer a jaunt up one of the more challenging mountains, then take a look at Cadair Idris. This beautiful mountain affords views over three stunning mountain lakes. The summit may not be as high as Snowdon, but the views are arguably more beautiful. There will be fewer tourists, and you can feel much closer to nature without the sounds of families and a railway nearby. The legend goes that the giant Idris used the mountain as a chair to partake in his favorite hobby of stargazing.
Wales is a phenomenal country in its own right. Forget about England for a little while and enjoy touring its slightly lesser well known neighbor. If you’re active, love a spot of culture and want to see some beautiful scenery, Snowdonia is the place to visit.