Paul lives in Wales and has decades of local knowledge to share with future visitors to the gorgeous region he calls home.
The UK's Most Beautiful Travel Locations
I decided to write this article because I felt a strong desire to inform you about the wonderful area of North and Mid Wales, a gorgeous part of the United Kingdom with a rich, fascinating history and unique culture. Wales is known worldwide for its natural beauty, rich landscapes, friendly people and endless list of things to do.
Throughout this article, we will uncover must-visit places of unrivalled beauty—from big towns to little towns—and detail some of the activities you can expect to enjoy when in the region. This article has been formed through decades of local knowledge and experience, input from my friends and family, as well as my own primary research. Enjoy!
Llandudno is one of the premier seaside resorts in North Wales. Settlers have been living in North Wales since biblical times, but the area grew expansively in the mid-1800s, when—thanks to the railway that passed nearby on the route to Holyhead—the area became one of the premier Victorian tourist resorts.
Llandudno grew bigger and bigger until the near death of the UK Tourism Industry meant that the town struggled in the late 1970's and 1980's. However, the rise of a new breed of traveller keen to learn about the area has seen an upturn in the town fortunes. This is in no small part helped by the Victorian cultural hub in the town, as well as a large investment from the local authorities, has meant that this town is popular with locals and tourists alike. The area has continued it's successful development and hosts a number of excellent attractions and things to do.
Things to Do
- Climb the Great Orme, or if you're not feeling particularly energetic, take the fabulous Great Orme Tramway or cable car service!
- Take a walk along Llandudno Pier.
- Visit the Alice in Wonderland Museum.
- Relax on either the North or West beach.
- Stay at a holiday park in Llandudno and enjoy being in and amongst the hustle and bustle of the wonderful Victorian seaside resort.
Colwyn Bay, just five miles down the road from Llandudno, has a rich history as a coastal town. Colwyn Bay may not be the tourist hub that Llandudno is, but it has plenty of beauty in its own right.
The town has a number of attractions such as The Welsh Mountain Zoo in the Colwyn Heights region of the town and Victoria Pier, which is positioned right in the centre of the towns glorious seafront. Recent developments have seen a brand new watersports centre, seafront restaurant and permanent beach. The permanent beach allows visitors to enjoy the sand, no matter what the tide says. This was achieved through a 'sand dredging' process that you can watch here.
Colwyn Bay is home to one of Wales' longest established and successful football clubs, Colwyn Bay Football Club, who—despite being Welsh—they play in the English League.
Things to Do
- Hire out watersport equipment such as canoes, kayaks, wind-sail boats and more!
- Dine out at the waterside restaurant. There are a number of other restaurants and delightful cafes throughout the town.
- Check out the wonderful Welsh Mountain Zoo. A brand new media centre and wonderful range of animals.
- Wander through the Pwllycrochan Woods—a magical woodland.
Caernarfon is located within close proximity of Snowdonia National Park. It is probably best known for its magnificent castle. The castle begun in 1283 as part of Edward I conquest of Wales, the castle was constructed as a military stronghold as well as a seat of government and royal palace.
The castle gained worldwide fame in 1969 when it was the setting for the Investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales.
Caernarfon is a lovely little market town, with a small harbour adjacent to the castle, blue flag beach and various bars, restaurants and shops. From the town centre you can see across the Afon Menai towards Anglesey. Caernarfon offers some truly stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
Things to Do
- Explore Caernarfon Castle. Its sheer size will leave you breathless!
- Just a short drive away you'll find Anglesey Sea Zoo, which is full of wonderful sea-critters.
- Visit the Gypsy Wood Children's Park, an activity centre for the whole family located in woodlands!
- Explore the Roman fort of Segontium, built to defend the Roman empire against rebellious tribes.
Snowdonia—a national park which covers an area of 838 square miles—is one of Wales’s most popular tourist destinations. This is no surprise, as it offers stunning scenery and magnificent mountain views.
The Welsh name for the Snowdonia National Park is ‘Eryri’ which means ‘the place of the eagles’. The Snowdonia National Park is the second largest National Park in England and Wales and has the second largest acquiring National Park status since 1951.
The National Park spans from just south of the historic town of Conwy on the North Wales coast over to Caernarfon in the west and further south to the scenic Aberdovey and Lake Bala in the east. The Snowdonia National Park offers rugged highlands, striking valleys and is extremely rich in cultural heritage and wildlife.
Towering over the national park is the mighty Mount Snowdon—the biggest mountain in Wales and England! This mountain has several routes up and down that you could take, deepening on your walking and climbing ability! The views across the rest of Wales are simply breathtaking, so it's no wonder this is the most visited mountain the whole of the United Kingdom!
Many people who visit Snowdonia like to be as close to the National Park as possible and enjoy the outdoor adventures that it offers. There are numerous Holiday Parks in Snowdonia offering you the freedom to be in amongst the Snowdonia National Park. There are also many lodges for Sale in for those that want to make this beautiful part of the country their second home.
Things to Do
- Climb Mount Snowdon! The largest mountain in England and Wales is accessible for all types of walker/visitor! Many routes to take up, as well as a railway for those that want a ride to the summit!
- Explore the Coed-y-Brenin Mountain Bike Woodlands.
- Surf at the world's first Wavegarden, Surf Snowdonia! This brand new surfing complex nestled in the small town of Dolgarrog gathered significant worldwide interest in its opening weeks.
- Try Europe's longest and the world's fastest zip line! Zip World is ready to take you on an 80–100mph journey over a slate quarry and lake for some magical views.
Video Tour of Snowdonia from the sky!
Lladderde and Bala
Lladderde is a beautiful area comprised of Welsh countryside, a refreshing sight for the eyes and provides a relaxing walk whenever you need it. The area includes local pubs and farmhouses rurally populated and linked together by quiet country roads twisting through simple fields and wooded patches. The area, however, is nearby the town of Bala.
Bala is a lovely market town with lots to offer someone who is planning a relaxing stay, close to its famous lake which just happens to be the largest natural lake in Wales, the lake is home to many kinds of water sports and related activities, and promises a great day out, even if it’s just a picnic at the lakeside. Bala has a nice heritage of hosting the national Eisteddfod three times, and its surrounding area is a beautiful verdant Welsh countryside, which provides a peaceful background as you go about your activities.
Bala is famous for the kayaking culture upon the lake and the nearby river Dee, therefore kayaking is widely available as a challenging activity for a day. There are three campsites nearby and a couple of mountains suitable for trekking; Aran Fawddwy and Arenig Fawr which are widely appreciated by local hikers and dog walkers. Overall it provides a relaxing destination, nearby to the means for a leisurely day out in town.
Things to Do
- Visit Llyn Celyn, a large reservoir that measures around 2 and a half miles long by a mile wide!
- Enjoy an adventure up Arenig Fawr, a mountain with an elevation of 854m sitting close to Llyn Celyn!
- Go white water rafting! Enjoy thrilling watersports and rafting at Canolfan Tryweryn.
Welshpool is a lovely market town close to Shrewsbury in Mid Wales which reaches up to the picturesque Severn Valley near the border of England and Wales, surrounded by rolling hills of Montgomeryshire and unspoilt Countryside.
One of the most popular attractions in Welshpool is the 13th Century Powis Castle, a sandstone castle overlooking the Severn Valley. It is a very impressive castle with red walls and beautiful terraced gardens. Other attractions that bring visitors to Welshpool include a narrow gauge steam train which operates during the summer months. For the shoppers, there are some interesting places to visit, and for those that like the more adventurous outdoor activities Welshpool has a lot to offer from fishing and walking to horse riding, quad trekking, golf, country sports and much more.
Welshpool is easily accessible by regular rail services from Shrewsbury and Birmingham to the East and Aberystwyth to the West, and only 1 hour away from the M6 by road.
Things to Do
- Explore Powis Castle, a fortress and country mansion with phenomenal gardens.
- Discover Dolforwyn Castle, a medieval castle above the small village of Abermule. This castle was established to protect Llwyelyn ap Gruffudd (Prince Llewelyn) in the late 13th Century.
- Climb Long Mountain, a large hill that crosses over from Wales borderland to England.
A Quote about North Wales from a Man who's been around. (Bear Grylls)
" I'm often asked where my favourite place in the UK is
...and without a doubt, it is North Wales"
— - Bear Grylls
Map of North/Mid-Wales Picks
Have you been to North Wales? If so Please let us know what is your Favourite Place?
Arthur Russ from England on January 23, 2017:
Yep, we’ve been to most of these places, except Snowdonia. And we had a spectacular time at Colwyn castle while on one of our holiday trips to Llandudno. Of course getting there from Bristol means going through Horseshoe Pass, which in itself is quite spectacular.