If you think of north Wales, chances are, you’re thinking of Snowdonia. But that feels like cheating. Snowdonia is of course, a must see, a must visit, a must do. There’s no doubt about that. But if you really want to get to know the region, rather than driving with the blinkers on to Snowdon, take the long way round, the scenic routes. You’ll see the many villages, towns and cities – and most importantly, meet the many people that make it an incredible place. We’ve come up with a selection of options you can mix and match to fill a great weekend.
How long: A full day
Best for: People with small humans to entertain
At the northern end of Wales, you’ll find a teeny tiny peninsula, called Creuddyn, that’s home to Llandudno and what’s known as ‘Great Orme’. Great Orme is hard to define, as it’s part special area of conservation, part heritage coast, country park, and part SSSI. In reality, it’s a rather nice hill. It’s 207 metres tall, and you’ve the choice to either walk it, or take a tramway to the top. It’s well worth the trouble, as from the summit you’ll spy the sprawling Irish sea, and in the distance, the rolling hills of Anglesey. Whilst this might only take a half day or so to get to the top and look around, there’s what’s known as ‘Little Orme’ to the east to climb, as well as the local town, Llandudno, and several nearby beaches to visit.
Where: The Menai Strait
How long: Two hours, to a day and a half.
Best for: Rugged Sea farers
Sure, you've tried your hand at a little stand up paddleboarding, but have you had a paddleboarding adventure? The founder of Psyched Paddleboarding, Sian Sykes, now lives her best life teaching and guiding SUP around the Menai Strait, after shucking the 18 hour days working in London. You can pick from a selection of different SUP experiences, each of which ranges in timescale, some short two-hour tours, some four hours, some a day, and even overnight camping at one and a half days. Most of the tours require at least some experience, and many are for more experienced SUP aficionados -- but you can also book in to learn SUP skills that'll help you develop your own technique. Whilst you're in the area, check out Menai Bridge for its great food.
How long: Three hours +
Best for: All rounder
Based in Beddgelert on the northern end of the Snowdonia National Park, 1085 Adventures specialises in taking adventurers to the lesser-known corners of the national park. You can either hire a guide to take you on a walk, or hire bikes, or bikes and a guide. They even offer a 'tramper' an all-terrain mobility scooter for those with a mobility impairment to also enjoy exploring the trails. You can tailor the hike or ride to your age, ability, and other needs, making it great for those of all experience levels. Best of all, they also sell their own coffee, and are experts in crafting it ON the trail -- so no worries about pit stops for refreshments, wherever you are. If you're round these parts, you could always pop out to Plas Gwynant to Caffi Gwynant, where they serve incredible food, Thursday to Sunday.
How long: Half a day to one day
Best for: DIY Hikers
Part of the larger Offa’s Dyke trail, the ominously name World’s End is a nature reserve in a vale west of Wrexham. If you want to feel as if you’ve left the metropolitan world behind, this is the spot for you. There are woodland views, striking stone hills jutting from treetops, and endless miles of interwoven hilltops. You can choose to wander where you please for the most part, sticking to trails of course, but if you want to take on the hill – it’s only 480 metres, which is easy to moderate. From there you have 360-degree views over the area and some great shots to inspire travel envy on social feeds. With your proximity to Wrexham, you should nip in on the way there or back. There are plenty of places to eat, but for some haute cuisine pop into Ial Restaurant to be wowed by locally sourced Welsh food.
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