Bodnant Garden is an amazing garden and arboretum in North…
The rugged mountains and coastline of North Wales attract many tourists and hikers, but this region has so much more to offer. I was positively surprised by North Wales where we spent four days earlier this year.
We visited below attractions during the four days and we didn’t rush. It may not seem to be possible to cover that much within 4 days, but honestly we did everything in a relaxed pace.
Our accommodation was close to Caernarfon from where we easily could visit Snowdonia National Park with a 30-40 minutes drive. So let’s get started.
Anglesey, Twr Mawr
This iconic little lighthouse had to be on my list and I was so excited to visit this tiny island. You can read more about the experience here.
The village with the longest name
On the way back from Twr Mawr we had to stop in the village with the longest name. You just simply cannot skip this, can you? As you walk up to the train station the long sign post puts a smile on your face.
The name of the village means “[The] church of [St.] Mary [of the] pool of the white hazels near to the fierce whirlpool [and] the church of [St.] Tysilio of the red cave”
The name was extended in the Victorian era in order to attract even more visitors.
Of course, there’s so much more to see on Anglesey, we just didn’t have the time, unfortunately.
The island was the last refuge of the druids who had to flea the mainland because of the Romans. The Welsh call Anglesey Mo mam Cymru which means the Mother of Wales referring to the country’s grain stores on the island.
The Menai Bridge was built in 1826 as part of telford’s plan to connect London with Dublin: you can get to Dublin from Holyhead by ferry.
From Anglesey, we went straight to Bodnant Garden which is owned by the National Trust. This is a truly amazing garden and arboretum that took our breath away. You can read more and see more pictures about Bodnant here.
Being so close to the famous seaside resort we thought to pop in to Llandudno and have a quick look.
I have to say, it was a very pleasant surprise. I probably expected an old and shabby seaside town, but Llandudno was far from it! The town is beautifully restored, clean and has a lovely ambience.
There’s a wonderful view of the town from the Great Orme where the old furnicular built in 1902 still operates. The carriages are named after local Welsh saints. Number Five seen in the photo is named after St Silio.
Opposite Llandudno lays the town of Conway with its magnificent castle. It’s one of the four fortresses/castles built by Edward I the other three being Caernarfon, Beaumarais and Harlech. The English king Edward I built these castles to keep the Welsh under control and to show power.
On the quayside by the River Conwy stands Britain’s smallest house.
We started our second day in the Snowdonia National Park, in a small village called Beddgelert.
The village is probably named after a Christian missionary, Celert who settled here in the 8th century. However, the folk tale of the faithful hound Gelert is also associated with the village.
I must admit, I wasn’t familiar with the tale so I looked it up and it’s such a sad but beautiful story.
Allegedly, when Llywelyn the Great (a medieval Welsh ruler) returns from hunting finds his baby baby missing and the cradle overturned and Gelert, a wolfhound with a blood-smeared mouth. Llywelyn thinks the dog ate the child, so he kills Gelert. Suddenly he hears the cries of the baby and he finds it under the cradle unharmed. But there’s also a dead wolf which attacked the child and was killed by Gelert. Llwelyn buries the dog but can still hear its dying yelp.
I think, I will always think of this story when I see a photo of Beddgelert…
On the way to the main attraction of our second day in North Wales, Portmeirion, we stopped in Porthmadoc.
The Ffestiniog Railway is the world’s oldest narrow gauge railway and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage.
It was built to transport slate from the quarries around Blaenau Ffestiniog to the coastal town of Porthmadog where it was loaded onto ships.
Today it’s a great way to step back in time and enjoy the journey and the beautiful scenery.
This quirky, Italian-style village in North Wales is by all means is one of if not the most famous and popular destination. Read and see more about Portmeirion here.
Caernarfon Castle was the only one castle out of the four built by Edward I that the Welsh couldn’t take in. It’s such a magnificent and impressive castle that I wanted to photography in the blue hour. The town however looks a bit neglected and it didn’t really impress me.
I’ve been wanting to visit this castle for years mainly because of its historic kitchen and servant’s quarters. I have to say, the interior of the castle was also fascinating.
There was a manor standing on the estate already in the 15th century which was owned by the Pennant family from the 18th century onwards. The family’s wealth came from slave trade and slate mining.
The current building was built in the mid 1800 in Neo-Norman style. This is one of Britain’s biggest country houses where Elizabeth II had dinner during her Jubilee in 2002. The menu can be seen in the dining room.
The Gothick wooden panelling, the library and billiard rooms are simply breathtaking.
However, for me the historic kitchen and the servants’ rooms were the highlight of our visit.
There’s a place in Snowdonia National Park near Llanberis where there’s a Lone Tree. It inspires many photographers, so no wonder I went there for a sunrise shot. As it happens there was no sun, but I was happy with the reflection. The post code to the Lone Tree is: LL55 4EL.
This charming 15th-century tea room in Llanwrust was a farmhouse originally and was used later as a courthouse. Situated on the banks of the River Conwy next to an Inigo Jones bridge it has become one of the most iconic sports in North Wales.
Although the Virginia creeper wasn’t quite red yet when I was there, I enjoyed every minute of my visit.
And now let me take you inside…
Betws-y-coed is a charming village in Snowdonia National Park where three rivers: Lledr, Llugwy and Conwy joins. If you want to visit this amazing village make sure you get there as early as possible. It’s always crowded and parking spaces are limited.
Not far from Betws-y-coed is a beautiful waterfall called Swallow Falls. Its name refers to the fact that flow of the river is separated by a big rock into two streams of water that look like a swallow’s tail.
The entry is £2 and you can pay by card only.
Well, that’s it. Quite a lot but trust, me it’s doable in four days without a rush. North Wales is so beautiful and calm, I cannot recommend visiting it enough.