Happy June! This month marks the first of me being home for the first time as a graduate (well, almost!). With exams and dissertation all done with, I have a long list of content to get creating. Normal service of posts every Monday and most Thursdays will now resume, so make sure you check in regularly. Having lived in North Wales on-and-off for the past four years, I like to feel as though I have a reasonably good insight into the area, despite being on a student budget and with limited car access. I’ve been reflecting on my time in the area now that I’ve been home for a week and have compiled my top things to do in Snowdonia and North Wales.
Walk up Snowdon in time for sunrise
One of the main attractions of North Wales is the impressive hill walking opportunities, with the view from near the top of Snowdon being voted the prettiest in the UK. Beat the summer crowds by starting your walk early. It isn’t for the faint-hearted, but watching the sunrise from the summit is incredible. Just check the weather forecast and bring appropriate clothing! Early May or September is probably the best time to get the balance of mild weather and a slightly less early start. To avoid a long drive at 3am in the morning, book yourself into a hostel or cute log cabin close to Snowdon. Then reward yourself with a huge plateful of food at Pete’s Eats whilst everyone else’s day is just starting.
Try local ice cream in a picturesque North Wales town
My personal recommendation is Conwy for this. Head directly for the quay from the railway station and half way down the high street is my favourite ice cream shop. Conwy is a gorgeous town surrounded by centuries-old walls and castle. On a sunny day it is a real heat trap, so find yourself somewhere near the water to sit. In October, it also hosts a food festival that is well worth attending.
Go wild at Bounce Below or Zipworld
Owned by the same company, Bounce Below and Zipworld are two unusual, yet high-octane activities. Bounce Below is a huge underground cavern filled with trampoline-like nets, near Blaenau Ffestiniog. Taking up several levels, the space is divided into different “rooms” linked by stairs and slides. It’s a definite inner-child releasing space, so go as a group and have fun! Who needs gym classes when you have this?
Zipworld is famous for hosting the longest zip line in Europe. There are now two locations, so make sure you go to the correct one! Its a more costly and shorter-lived experience than Bounce Below, which may be a deciding factor. However, with speeds up to 125 mph -the fastest in the world -it is a must-do for adrenaline junkies. Plus, there are for lines running alongside one another so you can fly through the air at the same time as your friends. I missed out on Zipworld but I’m still half tempted to squeeze it in when I go back for graduation!
Grab lunch at Red Wharf Bay
I had no idea how pretty Red Wharf Bay (or Traeth Coch to give it it’s welsh name) was until last month. At the top end of Anglesey, this pretty blue stretch of water opens into the Irish Sea. Stroll along the coastal path and then head back for Sunday lunch or fish and chips at the Tavern, Ship Inn or Boathouse. Go at low tide to fully appreciate the size and beauty of the beach.
Portmerion is an eclectic looking village built by the architect Clough Williams-Ellis over a 50 year period. It is largely inspired by the Italian Riviera as well as the natural landscape, making is a striking attraction. Many of the buildings are in fact facades, built just in front of rocky outcrops. To add to the romance of the day, you can reach Portmerion by catching the steam train from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Porthmadog. It is a perfect location for getting some images for Instagram, as well as appealing to older family members.
There are so many more places to go in North Wales, but I tried to narrow it down to my top five. What else would you do on a trip here?
Image credit: Miss Nicklin; Chloe Hearnden