There are plenty of ways to spend a day in North Wales. You can do so many things, from surfing at an inland lagoon to climbing the highest peaks in Snowdonia. There is something there for everyone. In this blog post, I will be talking about some of the best things that you can do and how to spend a day in North Wales!
North Wales is one of my favourite places to explore, I could easily spend weeks exploring the area. But if you only had one full day to explore then here are some of the best places to visit with the limited time. I drove across dramatic mountains to some gorgeous destinations. These locations are perfect for everyone, whether you are travelling by yourself or as part of a family.
There are a lot of things that you can see with just one day in Wales. A lot of the locations are close to each other, this makes them easy to travel too. Despite this, I always drive to Wales the day before. It’s usually in the late afternoon, normally after I have finished work. By doing this it means you get a full day to explore instead of cutting into that time by driving to the location.
I have created a map with my favourite places to visit and routes to drive that is mentioned in this blog post. Feel free to use this map as a reference for your travels or bookmark this page to go back to at an after the date.
Wales has many lovely villages and areas to stay that would cater to everyone’s different needs. For this trip, I chose to stay in Betws-y-Coed. This was a really good location that wasn’t too far from Snowdonia. It was incredibly easy to drive to all of the destinations since Betws-y-Coed is situated along the A5. The A5 is the main road in North Wales that starts around Shrewsbury and goes all the way up to Anglesey.
Since I arrived in the late afternoon, I dropped off the bags straight at the lovely Bed and Breakfast. Then went straight out to enjoy the afternoon sun and have a walk around the town. The room had an unspoilt view of the trees opposite. It was lovely waking up in the morning to see nothing but the luscious green trees!
There are a few areas in Betws-y-Coed where you can park overnight for a decent price. The first carpark is opposite the train station, it will cost £1 to stay between 6pm at night to 8am in the morning. You could also park at Ponty Pair Bridge, this is only 50p for overnight parking for the same hours as the other carpark. Both of these locations have been saved on the map.
For the evening, I went on a short stroll along the river as the sun was slowly setting in the sky. By Ponty Pair Bridge there are a few walks that you can take which is suitable for various abilities. The route that I chose was called the Coed Tan Dinas Trail. This half a mile walk was suitable for everyone as it goes along a boardwalk. This path guides you through majestic Douglas Fir Trees, many of which are decades old.
Once I had finished the walk it was time for some food. Many restaurants in Betws-y-Coed were closed for the evening. Instead, I drove over to Llanwrst for some of the best fish and chips in the area (if I do say so myself). Tir A Mor is an excellent place to get some food. It’s cooked fresh whilst you wait and it always tastes amazing.
I ordered a delicious lamb burger with salad which was probably the best one I’ve ever had. Then took the food down to the river and ate it outside the famous cottage by the bridge! It was nice to watch the sun slowly set whilst tucking into some exceptional food.
In the morning we went to a local cafe called Caban-Y-Pair, this was just up the road from the Bed and Breakfast. I ordered a hearty sausage sandwich on thick bread to share. The food there is amazing, just make sure you have some money as this cafe only takes cash.
Once breakfast is over its time to begin the days’ adventures! One of the best ways to start the morning is racing down the mountain on the Fforest Coaster at Zip World. This is a great activity for both children and adults!
On this ride, you are seat belted into a toboggan and then taken up the hills before being released at the top. You then race through the trees down 1km of twists and turns. In total, you get 3 rides down the track. Each one gets faster as you get more confident.
It might be worth pre-booking your tickets for Zip World. Especially if you plan on going on a weekend, bank holiday or when the kids are off school as it can get quite busy. I went on a Friday when the children were still at school so there was hardly anyone there. Meaning I didn’t need to wait in any lines! I would fully recommend going there in the week as the activities are cheaper and it’s not as busy.
After spending approximately 40 minutes at Zip World, it was time to drive to the next destination. If you didn’t have time to visit Llanrwst in the evening, then this would be an excellent time to go. Llanwrst is only a brief drive along the A5.
Llyn Ogwen is a lake situated between two mountain ranges in Snowdonia. As one of the most popular lakes in Wales, it’s easy to see why. This is also a location that lies alongside the A5.
With hikes that take you across the peaks in Snowdonia, I can see why this is a popular location for many. There are toilets and a cafe here which makes it the perfect spot for a picnic! One of my favourite things to do here is to go for a nice walk along the lake.
Since there’s a limited time to just a day in Wales, I chose not to go on any of the hiking routes. If you are there for 2 days, and there’s good weather I would definitely recommend you going on some of the routes around the area. Be sure to pack some walking boots for this!
From there I actually drove North on the A5. This is a somewhat lengthier route to Llanberis. But, the views of the mountains along this road are worth the longer route. On this route, you drive through tall mountains along winding roads.
Based at the foot of Snowdon, sits Llanberis. A small town packed full of things to do. Some of the activities include paddleboarding on the lake, taking the train up to Snowdon or visiting the Electric Mountain!
I enjoyed spending time along the lake whilst we had a rock skimming competition. There were people on the lake learning to Paddleboard for the first time, which looked like a lot of fun! Unfortunately, it was raining and cold when we were there so the views from Snowdon wouldn’t have been the best. But, next time I’m in Llanberis I plan on taking the train up to Snowdon and possibly even trying my hand at Paddleboarding!
Once I had finished relaxing along the water’s edge, it was time to visit the last location for the day.
This final location is the perfect way to end the day. It is another location that falls along the A5. Llangollen itself is a small town that is situated on the edge of the Berwyn Mountains. The River Dee also runs straight through the town.
This small town is also a popular location for tourists. With plenty of delicious restaurants to eat at. One of my favourite restaurants is situated alongside the River Dee. So you can tuck into some hearty food whilst gazing over the balcony into the river.
Llangollen has its own train station which gets visits from a Thomas the Tank Engine train! If you have more time in Wales, then it looks like a lot of fun to catch the train to another village. Once you’ve explored the town of Llangollen then its time to visit Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, which is just a short drive away.
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct carries narrowboats along the Llangollen Canal at 126 ft in the air. It crosses the River Dee which runs below it. The structure was built back in 1805 and it took 10 years to design and build. This is actually the longest Aqueduct in Great Britain and one of the highest canal Aqueducts in the world!
I love walking across the Aqueduct, but I wouldn’t recommend this if you don’t like heights. There are plenty of boat trips that you can take across the Aqueduct which gives you a whole new view of the scenery.
This was the last stop of the journey, before making the drive home. Wales will always be one of my favourite places to visit, I’m always looking forward to the next time that I can go back.
I hope that you have found this blog post helpful for your next adventure in Wales. I would love to hear what your favourite place to visit is in Wales as I’m always looking for new places to visit!
For more blog posts about Wales click here.