Wales is perhaps the least well-known of the regions that make up the UK, but North Wales contains, in my opinion, the best craggy mountains, glistening lakes and beautiful coastlines in the whole of the UK, rivalling anything Scotland or England have to offer.
Snowdonia’s most imposing attraction is the mountain for which it is named. Mount Snowdon (or to give it it’s real Welsh name Yr Wyddfa) is the third most visited attraction in Wales, and with good reason. You can climb the peak if you are feeling particularly energetic, or you can take the steam – powered funicular railway from Llanberis right to the top!
If mountaineering isn’t your thing, why not visit the beach at Llandudno, long a spot for holidaymakers from Manchester and Liverpool to escape the city and enjoy the peace of Wales. One of the most unusual things do to in Llandudno is its cable car system which offers unrivalled views across the Conwy countryside and down the stunning north coast of Wales.
Further down the river estuary from Llandudno is Conwy Castle, a picture-perfect 13th Century fortification built by Edward 1st for the princely (or perhaps kingly) sum of £15,000. This would be approximately 11 million pounds in today’s money – pretty good value considering that the castle is still standing tall and attracting thousands of visitors almost a millennia after its construction!
Venturing across the Menai strait in-between the island of Holyhead and the mainland UK, you can visit a, small town majestically named ‘Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch’ meaning “St Mary’s Church in the Hollow of the White Hazel near a Rapid Whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio near the Red Cave”. It remains the longest place name in the Europe, and the train station’s sign is over 19 feet long.
Porthmadog at a picturesque town on the terminus of the Ffestiniog Railway, the oldest narrow-gauge railway in the world that still runs regular steam services terminating at Blaenau Ffestiniog. The town itself is a perfect replica of a renaissance Italian village, and is best experienced overnight, as the town closes in the evening, allowing you and your fellow guests to wander round the other-worldly setting in peace!
Wales is certainly the least famous of the UK’s constituent nations, but its northern coast provides a stunning geographical backdrop to a rich Celtic heritage of resistance and conquest, as well as a centuries old working history of mining, fishing, and farming. In a way, it is a pity that more and more are discovering the attractions of the tiny Gaelic nation as it won’t be a well-kept secret for much longer. So, what better time than now to head west and experience Wales’ majestic charm!