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We recommend North Wales for:
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Places to go and things to see;
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Places to go and things to see;
With some of the highest mountains in the UK, beautiful valleys and a spectacular coastline, North Wales is home to some really special scenery. It’s all waiting to be explored. But there’s much more too. It’s not hard to see why they call Wales the land of the castles. North Wales is home to no less than fourteen. You’ll also find plenty of contemporary attractions, from the world’s largest garden maze to Britain’s smallest house.
Our North Wales hotels are both in the seaside town of Llandudno. It’s a charming place, full of the sights, sounds and traditions of Great British seaside adventures. The pier is the longest in Wales and the best by some stretch. You’ll find a tasty fish & chip shop as well as a selection of cafés, bars and shops. There are also special confectionary kiosks selling locally produced goodies like fudge, biscuits and jam. And you mustn’t forget to sample the legendary Llandudno Pier rock.
Another enduring feature of Llandudno is The Great Orme, a coastal headland that towers over the town. You can enjoy a totally charming trip to the top aboard the Great Orme Tramway. And once you’re up there, you’ll find fantastic views across the bay and out towards Snowdonia National Park. Llandudno is also home to Mostyn, Wales’s leading gallery for contemporary art, described by The Guardian as ‘one of the most adventurous contemporary art venues in the UK’. It’s a great place to spend a rainy afternoon.
Venture out of Llandudno and you’ll soon see that this area of North Wales is packed with places to explore. One thing’s for sure, you’ll never go too far without seeing a castle. And by far the most renowned is Caernarfon Castle, built by Edward I in 1283. Not only was it an important military settlement, it became a Royal Palace and was the centre of English government in North Wales. It was also the setting for the investiture of Prince Charles in 1969.
Fifteen miles east of Llandudno is Bodelwyddan Castle, home to beautifully restored period rooms and a museum set in 260 acres of formal gardens and parkland. The site also forms part of the National Portrait Gallery where you’ll be able to feast your eyes on a stunning collection of 19th century portraits. From there it’s just a stone’s throw from Rhuddlan Castle, built during Edward I's first Welsh campaign in 1277. Or head west and visit Penrhyn Castle near Bangor. The castle interior features elaborate carvings and mock-Norman furniture. And the extensive grounds are home to a dolls museum, two railway museums and a Victorian walled garden.
Think North Wales is all about castles? Think again. To the west is Snowdonia, a huge National Park that’s a huge hit with walkers. It’s also home to Snowdon Mountain Railway, one of North Wales’s most popular attractions. Its trains climb to the top of Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in England and Wales. As you can imagine, the views along the journey are absolutely spectacular. The in-carriage commentary will fill you in on the many mysteries and legends that surround the mountain. And once you’re at the top you’ll be able to enjoy breathtaking views across the Snowdonia range and out towards the Irish Sea. Make sure you take your camera.
Conwy Valley's magnificent Bodnant Garden is found in the Snowdonia National Park too. These magnificent gardens are a must for flower fans. Rhododendrons, magnolias, camellias, laburnums, rose gardens, lily ponds - it’s a year-round floral paradise. The views aren’t bad either. Bodnant Garden is set on a hillside overlooking the Conwy valley and Snowdonia mountains. It’s bliss. And if a particular botanical beauty really catches your eye, you can snap it up in the Plant and Gift Centre.
Want to splash out on your holidays? Then a trip to SeaQuarium in Rhyl is in order! It’s hard to not to be impressed by the resident seals as they show off their tricks. You can also walk under the waves in an underwater tunnel and get close to all kinds of captivating creatures. Including sharks! But if you’d rather meet your animals on dry land, head for Colwyn Bay Mountain Zoo. This caring conservation zoo is home to snow leopards, brown bears, Sumatran tigers, red pandas, camels, penguins, alligators, wild horses and much more.
Finally, just to the east of Llandudno is the city of Bangor. As well as great shopping you’ll find a beautiful cathedral. It was founded in 525 and is one of the UK’s earliest monastic settlements. It’s also thought to be the only cathedral in the UK to have been in continuous use since its conception. Like the rest of North Wales, it’s well worth exploring. Enjoy.