North Wales is small. But our list of attractions is big.
On arrival in Wales, head for the small town of Llangollen, it nestles between the Berwyn Mountains and the River Dee. It has been made famous by the annual July festival ‘Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod’ established after the Second World War to encourage peace between nations. Look out for Castell Dinas Brân a hill overlooking the town, with a ruined castle at the top, it is rumoured that The Holy Grail is buried here.
There’s plenty to do, visit the timber framed building Plas Newydd, take a horse drawn trip along the Llangollen Canal, wander around the streets with gift and craft shops or look for The Holy Grail! A bit further afield walk along the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Pontcysllte Aquaduct that carries the Llangollen Canal 38m above the River Dee Valley or visit the ruins of Valle Crucis Abbey.
o/n Betws y Coed, the offical 'Gateway to Snowdonia'.
Approximate distance : 33 miles / 52km
Approximate travelling time : 45mins
Visit Llechwedd Slate Caverns, and take a tour underground to discover what life was like as a Victorian Slate Miner. There are two tours to choose from, the deep mine or the miners tramway.
Afterwards take a ride on the Ffestiniog Railway, historically it took the slate down to the coast. It has just been extended to travel through the Snowdonia National park to Caernarfon. This is a steam railway and is one of the Great Little Trains of Wales.
Stroll around Caernarfon and visit Caernarfon Castle which was inspired by imperial Constantinople. Caernarfon Castle’s appearance is unashamedly intimidating. The lure of water and easy access to the sea make the banks of the River Seiont an ideal spot for Edward I most ambitious building project. In 1969 the investiture of the current Prince of Wales took place at Caernarfon Castle and today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Return to Betws y Coed for overnight stay.
Approximate distance : 65 miles / 105km
Approximate travelling time : 1hr 45mins
Head along A5 and the scenic Nant Ffrancon Pass to the Island of Anglesey, where Prince William of Wales and Catherine Middleton (Duke & Duchess of Cambridge) enjoyed their early married life. So, cross the historic Menai Suspension bridge designed by Thomas Telford in 1826, it opened up the historic route between London and Dublin.
The first stop today is a photo opportunity at the railway station with the longest place name “Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch”. Afterwards a quick shop at the James Pringle Weavers next door.
Next is a visit to Beaumaris Castle, it’s one of the Castles that make up the ‘Iron Ring’ and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was the last and largest of King Edward I's Welsh fortifications and is a perfect example of a concentrically planned castle. However, by 1298 money and supplies ran out before the fortifications reached their full height so, this is why it looks a bit short!
Continue to onward journey.
You may choose to stay longer and combine a North Wales and South Wales itinerary. Don't forget that you can fly from Cardiff to Anglesey and vice versa in just over an hour with City Wing Airline www.citywing.com Please note that there are no services on weekends or bank holidays.