God I love Wales. I have been so many times, mainly to the West coast (Pembrokeshire) which is SO stunning but we decided to re-visit North Wales just recently, somewhere where we stayed on out mini-moon way back in 2014 and had a really lovely time.
I wanted to write this post as a rough guide to all things North Wales and a few ideas if you are thinking of holidaying here. There will be WAY more things to do than I am chatting about here but this is just from my experience and what I have enjoyed. This will also kick-start something I have been meaning to do for ages on this blog, and that’s write a comprehensive series on the best places to holiday/ stay in the UK. I have been a big fan of the humble UK staycation for some years now and there is a wealth of incredible places right on our doorstep to see and do. Not only do we have some incredible landscape, countryside and cities ; but you don’t have the added stress of airports, flying, hiring cars, driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road, and if course, it can be a lot more purse-friendly to have a staycation.
We stayed at gorgeous Tan Y Bryn Ganol. This was absolutely perfect for us. It’s a 2-bed cottage and is nestled up in the Welsh Hills and it has views to die for! You feel secluded, but safe, and it’s super peaceful and perfect. Very child-friedly with lots of toys and Margot absolutely loved it. They also have 1 or 2 bigger properties if you need, but definitely check them out HERE.
The properties are all eco-friendly and you will notice all the lovely eco products throughout from the hand washes to the laundry soaps and cleaning products. There is a cosy lounge area where the balcony and *that view* can be seen from and there is also a dining room, full kitchen (dishwasher, washing machine), a shower room and 2 bedrooms : one with a double and one with a twin bed. Parking for 1 car. Perfect for small families and couples. We could have stayed her for weeks!
The location is a bit of a drive from Snowdonia etc but if you are ok with planning and driving then it’s great place to stay and also has lots of cool stuff to see and do within the vicinity if you don’t want to travel too far. It also is cheaper than a lot of the air b n’ b’s located within or nearer to /snowdonia. I’ve done a little map below so you can see where the location is in comparison to the places I am talking about! I would say it’s about a 1 hour drive from Snowdonia / similar to Anglesey. There are all the bigger shops / supermarkets and drive thru’s within 10 minutes of the cottage. The sunsets are spectacular! We will 100% be going back as it was nice to return to somewhere so quiet and peaceful after a busy day out sight-seeing. I love that feeling of being a little secluded.
HERE IS THE LINK TO WHERE WE STAYED! They have a couple of properties on air b n b in the area and a third launching very soon which looks INCREDIBLE!
We had really special moment when we managed to have our first ever sit-down pub/restaurant meal as a family on our trip to North Wales. If you don’t follow me anywhere else and have just stumbled upon this post, then my 3.5 year old daughter has recently been diagnosed with autism. It can make day-to-day things quite challenging and we have never been able to eat out because of this : however we thought we would give it a go, we planned it quite meticulously and turned up super early as the pub started serving so it was less busy etc. It all went to plan and we had a lovely meal…it was absolutely brilliant! We actually went to the pub we stayed at on our mini moon back in 2014 : simply because it was nice to re-vist and we remember the food was decent. It is called The Groes Inn and is just located outside Conwy (there’s a famous castle here) so I would recommend it for a nice meal and it’s dog-friendly too (with dog friendly rooms too!).
Check out The Groes Inn HERE : it’s a nice, cosy pub, friendly service, goof food and they have accommodation. We stayed here on our mini-moon as it has a few room where you can stay with dogs and we had my mum’s dog, Eddie with us.
This is the most famous area in North Wales and the reason why so many people head up this way! Snowdonia is a stunning national park spanning a whopping 823 square miles that surrounds the impressive Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales & England at 3560 feet! Due to this it attracts a lot of hikers, climbers and adventurers to this area.
You can catch a train up to the top / or near the top to Snowdon if you don’t fancy the challenging hike. I am still yet to do this as the first time we went it was pretty bad weather and this time we had Margot and we actually wanted to explore some less busy areas : it can get busy being one of the main attractions in north Wales so keep that in mind. There’s plenty of things to do in the Snowdonia national park though, you could spend a week here alone with all the walks and places to go.
One of our favourite places within Snowdonia is the gorgeous Cwm Idwal. We stumbled across this on our mini moon and it’s a lovely place to have a walk around the most stunning lake (which apparently you can swim in!). It’s a nice circular walk which takes around an hour or so. A bit of uphill but mostly quite a gentle walk.
Anglesey is an island off the north-west tip of Wales and has stunning coastlines, towns and lots of places to explore. There is the famous Menai suspension bridge, and the nearby Dylan’s restaurant is great for a seafood lunch with a view. A little further along you have the pretty town of Beaumaris with has a lovely high street full of quaint shops and cafes and is nice for a ‘mooch’. There is also a castle which is where we went this time, I think it costs about £8 entry : there’s not much to do within, it’s just somewhere you can have a walk about the ruins. We had a takeaway fish & chip lunch from The Dockshack on the high street (near the castle) which is a winner!
There is lots to do in Anglesey and is definitely worth a day trip on it’s own.
Ok this place is WILD. I had never heard of this place but apparently I am in the minority?! Tom suggested we go here as he had heard about it and was intrigued. It’s a small coastal resort/ village which has been built in the style of an Italian Rivera town. It’s probably worth a half a day here, there are extensive gardens to walk around, shops, restaurants and cafes with and benches dotted around to sit on and soak up the sights. It’s pretty quick to explore to whole resort if you want a quick visit but I would say a half a day would suffice to explore, eat and have one of the lovely ice-creams from the parlour!
You can stay here too, there is a hotel / restaurant and lodges on the site and they also do quite a bit of filming here as it’s such a unique place. I felt like I was abroad, stepping into this completely unusual setting with all the ornate and colourful buildings! You can just rock up and pay I think but it’s definitely worth pre-booking tickets to get a time slot / guaranteed entry, especially in holiday season.
I think this is one of the most incredible and spectacular beaches in the world! It’s stunning and part of a huge nature reserve filled with dunes, coastal marshes, trails, walks and of course…the beach!
We visited here on our mini moon and thought it was rather special so decided to re-visit and it was even more spectacular on a sunny day (albeit, very blustery!). Margot enjoyed it and walked nearly the whole length of the beach. It runs next to a forest / dunes so you can get multi-terrain walks (we walked up through the forest and back along the beach) and it’s just pretty spectacular. There is a main car park with toilets / a small cafe is you need a hot drink after your walk ; and take layers as it is very windy!
On the far end of the beach there is ‘lover’s island’ aka Ynys Llanddwyn which is worth a walk around. It does get cut off by the tide so be mindful of that! It has a lighthouse, some church ruins and some (I think) uninhabited cottages : it’s very pretty!
This was recommended by a friend and we were nearby when we visited Port Merion so deciding to make a pit stop on the way back. It’s a really sweet little town, very pretty and with a river running through it. There are small shops and cafes but as we were there off-season they had mainly closed for the afternoon so it was probably a 1-hour stop. You could definitely spend a morning or afternoon here when the cafes are open or you come more prepared than us : and there are some incredible walks here too. Just don’t read up on the legend of Beddeglart as it may leave you feeling sad AF. Ok can you can read about it HERE you sadist.
Honestly we wanted to stay longer than our 4 nights, there was so much more we wanted to see and do and we are already planning our next visit. The hosts of the air b’n’b we stayed in are just about to launch another cottage just up the road which is bigger, has the views AND a hot tub in the garden for the sunsets! We are considering this next time. I think if you want to do lots of sight-seeing, exploring and walks then you can easily spend 5 nights here, even more. I’ve just picked out a handful of places that we love to visit and see but there really is much, much more to discover.