Friday, 10 August 2018

Exploring North Wales - Week 1

I've lived, worked and studied in South Wales all my life and to my shame, I had never been to North Wales until my recent trip. It took 30 years of my life to get north of Machynlleth and boy was I silly to leave it that long.

Martyn, Coco and I had two weeks in our little caravan to take in as much of North Wales as possible and this special trip really showed me the splendour and beauty of my home country. #ProudWelshGirl

We based ourselves on the north coast for week one and on the Llyn Peninsula for week two to be able to take in as many of the sights as we could. Our home for week one was the Bron-Y-Wendon Touring Park just outside Colwyn Bay. This site was very well appointed with fully serviced pitches (electric hook up, fresh water and grey water disposal) and spotlessly clean shower facilities. We had fantastic sea views from our pitch and the campsite was very calm with only a few children around during the school holidays. The only negative was some noise from the A55 which ran close to the site. 

We were able to cram lots in to our first week and still have plenty of down time to relax in the caravan. We were not blessed with ideal weather, it was either roasting hot or misty and raining so all the pretty dresses and going out tops I packed weren't much use and I spent most of the time in leggings and a rain coat - who says caravanning isn't glamorous, ey?

There are lots of destinations I didn't take photos of or that we only stopped off at briefly but I've tried to share the edited highlights below (I don't think you all need to see 400 photos, most of which are of my dog).

Llandudno


Llandudno is a classic Victorian seaside town and is popular with visitors from nearby cities like Liverpool and Manchester. It is home to Wales’s longest pier, offers superb views and all the ice cream, dinky doughnuts and candy floss you can dream of.

Once we walked along the pier and enjoyed a Punch and Judy show we headed up the Great Orme which rises 207 meters above the sea. The Orme is home to some interesting flora and fauna and the largest prehistoric copper mine in the world. The main reason that Martyn and I wanted to visit is because we are transport geeks and wanted to travel on the only cable hauled tramway in the UK.

The Great Orme Tramway in Llandudno opened over a century ago in 1902. It's open everyday from late March to October with a adult return ticket currently priced at £8.10. At the halfway station you can learn all about the Tramway's history, before heading to the summit. The views at the top of the Orme were simply stunning and are not to be missed if you are in the area. 

This is a picture of the Llandudno cable cars


This is a picture of the great orme tram



Conwy


Conwy was such a charming walled town with an impressive castle. If the weather is good and you are travelling by train I recommend walking over or to Deganwy railway station for spectacular views of the castle and the surrounding area.
 
There are plenty of lovely shops where you can pick up some lovely Welsh produce and I highly recommend a pit stop at Parisella's of Conwy for some award winning ice cream (the salted caramel and raspberry ripple are divine) and Popty Conwy bakery for some affordable lunch options and a nutella stuffed doughnut of dreams pictured below.  


Don't miss a visit to the marina where you will find the smallest house in Great Britain. It measures just 72 inches wide by 122 high and was once home to a 6ft3 fisherman! 

This is a picture of the the smallest house in the UK

This is a picture of conwy castle


This is a picture of a nutella filled doughnut

Betws-y-Coed

Betws-y-Coed is known as the gateway to Snowdonia and has more outdoor shops catering to walkers than I've ever seen in a tiny town before and plenty of trails heading to waterfalls and forests making it the perfect spot for adventurous travellers. 

Martyn and I headed to the town to see the lovely scenery but also because it has a lovely railway station and links to the Conwy Valley Railway line which I've wanted to explore for a long time. From our departure at Betws-y-Coed to our arrival at Llandudno we were treated views of the castle at Conwy and dramatic landscapes. The 27 mile long Conwy Valley line offers one of the most beautiful rail experiences in Britain, well worth a visit.

The station building and street was home to some great cafes and restaurants. We stopped off at Hangin' Pizzeria as we were ravenous after a day of exploring and to escape the heatwave going on outside. They have a great selection of pizzas with vegan and gluten free options too. A percentage of proceeds go to animal conservation charities so you get to eat pizza and do a good deed. I opted for a garlic butter, goats cheese and caramelised onion pizza which was thin and crispy which is just how I like it and it was enormous. Great spot for lunch!

This is a picture of betws-y-coed

This is a picture of betws-y-coed railway station

This is a picture of a wood fired pizza


Bangor

Bangor was a surprise stop on our trip but I'm so glad we made time to briefly pass through. We had hoped to visit Bodnant Gardens but they do not allow dogs in so we had to think on our feet and visited Garth pier. The pier in Bangor is Grade-II listed and equally as lovely as the more famous pier in Llandudno. It is very charming and not filled with shops and stalls selling tat. It's perfect for promenading along like the Victorians did and taking in the views of the Menai Straights and Suspension Bridge.

The Menai Suspension Bridge was opened in 1826 and is a marvel of engineering. Thomas Telford's' creation helped to link Anglesy to the mainland as previously the only way to travel between the two was to walk at low tide of get a ferry boat.


This is a picture of garth pier. bangor.


This is a picture of the menai bridge


Llanfair PG

There isn't a lot to see at Llanfair PG station but I had to make a quick pit stop at the station with the longest name - Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. In English it means 'Saint Mary's Church in the hollow of white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of Saint Tysilio near the red cave. The name is spelt out phonetically underneath so you can try pronouncing it when you visit. 

This is a picture of llanfair pg station


If these photos haven't persuaded you to book a last-minute weekend break to Wales then next weeks post featuring Barmouth and more of Anglesey certainly will. It get's even more beautiful and remote on the Llyn Peninsula! Can't wait to share the next instalment with you. 


You can read all of my posts about Wales here. 


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Gemma
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6 comments:

  1. Gorgeous pictures! I haven't seen much of Wales apart from Cardiff and I definitely hope to rectify that soon - especially after reading this post

    www.theemeralddove.co.uk

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  2. Oh we love Llandudno! We have had some amazing holidays there over the years, gorgeous photos!!

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  3. I am desperate to visit North Wales and Conwy Castle especially, it looks beautiful. Hubby wants to do zip world so must get up there soon

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  4. Great post! We were there on holiday last week, staying in an amazing holiday house that slept 24 in Llanfairfechan, so we went to Conwy and Llandudno and also did pottery painting in Llanberis where the train up to Snowdon goes from. We also visited Anglesey and did a boat trip round Puffin Island from Beaumaris which was worth a visit just for the Red Boat Ice Cream parlour, and went to the beach at Benllech. I love North Wales! We spent the whole week plotting how we could get a holiday home there! x

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    1. I would 100% relocate there, stunning surroundings and so much to do! The boat trip sounds wonderful, will have to do that when we return.

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  5. I've never been to North Wales either. It looks as if you had an amazing time exploring and you've made me hungry to do the same. Mich x

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