Exploring North Wales

classic mini cooper car


It’s been far too long since I’ve shared any pictures of Wales! Chris has taken me to see his family quite a few times now, and every time we make the trip up there we try to fit in a bit of exploration. I think North Wales is totally underrated – I’m actually looking forward to going there again soon because I still have a lot left to see. If you’re into castles, love quiet walks by the sea, or enjoy mountain hikes, you’re guaranteed to love it too! Bonus points if you drive around in a yellow classic Mini.

I thought I’d share a few special places I’ve discovered in North Wales in the past couple of years…



Penrhyn Castle

I was first drawn towards Penrhyn Castle by the beautiful red leaves covering its walls. The most impressive thing about this 19th century castle is how huge it seems on the inside – you could easily get lost if there weren’t signs telling you which way to go! We went up and down the impressive stone staircase and did a quick tour of the beautiful interior (full of wallpaper inspiration!) before wandering around the castle’s gardens.

Entry to the castle will cost you about £12.50, or you can join the National Trust like we did!

If you’re interested in visiting more castles, have a look at Lady and the Tramper‘s article about Medieval castles in North Wales.



Tu Hwnt I’r Bont

This place looks like it belongs in a fairy tale! Driving though the village of Llanrwst with our friends Katie and Owain, we couldn’t resist stopping here for a bite to eat. We got very cosy in a corner of the tea room and enjoyed some scones and traditional Welsh Bara Brith (bread with raisins). I would love to go back there later in the year to see it covered in red leaves!



portmeirion hydrangeas



Portmeirion is an incredibly colourful little village which looks like no other place in the UK, or even the world! Its quirky architecture draws inspiration from places like Portofino, making it very interesting to explore and photograph. If you like music festivals, you should check out Festival Number 6 which is held there every summer.

A ticket to enter the village will cost you £8.


North Wales, llanddwyn island cliffs

Newborough Beach and Llanddwyn Island

I spotted Twr Mawr lighthouse on Pinterest one day and decided we had to go and see it for ourselves! It almost doesn’t look real, perched on a hill by the sea, with a winding path leading to it. To get there, you drive through part of Newborough Forest before walking along the beach to Llanddwyn Island (only really an island in high tides). Look out for delicious wild blackberries in the summer!

There is a £4 toll per car to pass through the forest to the beach car park.


Bangor’s Garth Pier

Bangor is mostly known for being a university town, but its pier is really worth a visit. I’d never seen such a beautiful pier before, with a little tea room at the end of it and cast iron details from the 19th century. We enjoyed a lovely afternoon tea here on a sunny day in August.



Other points of interest I’d recommend visiting in North Wales:

  • Conwy Castle, Caernarfon Castle, Beaumaris Castle, and Harlech Castle
  • Bodnant Gardens
  • The smallest house in Great Britain (in Conwy)
  • Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch train station
  • Betws-y-Coed village
  • Llandudno’s Victorian promenade
  • Anywhere in the Snowdonia national park

For adventure travellers, there’s also a huge zip line, trampolines in caves, a surfing lake, and many more outdoor activities.

I would definitely recommend exploring in a car because public transport isn’t all that convenient for getting to all the different castles, villages, and nature reserves.

I hope this will encourage a few of you to consider Wales as a tourist destination – after all, it has more castles per square mile than any other country!

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Exploring North Wales