05 Aug Snowdonia, North Wales
Welcome to Snowdonia
Follow our drive Conwy – Llandudno – Betws-y-Coed
Leaving South West Wales of Aberswywth, we drove approximately two hours towards North Wales, where we visited a historic medieval walled town called Conwy, close to the popular seaside resort of Llandudno.
Conwy and Betws-y-Coed make an excellent gateway for exploring Snowdonia National Park, the stunning Welsh coast and is considered the most scenic area of Great Britain.
Explore Snowdonia National Park
Snowdonia National Park is one of the oldest parks in Wales, with almost 1000 square miles of unspoilt beauty. You can take a mountain railway to the top to reach Mount Snowdon for its incredible views. And if you have time and feel adventurous, head over to Cader Idris and go Ziplining at one of the world’s fastest lines.
Places of Interest
The 13th-century Conwy Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the main attractions in Conwy. There are many rooms inside the castle to explore, and if you climb a steep winding staircase to the top, you can admire breathtaking views of the mountains of Snowdonia and River Conwy.
The Smallest House in Great Britain
While at the Quay, take a stroll to the end, where you will see a row of cottages and a tiny red house claimed as ‘The smallest house in Great Britain’. It is six feet wide and ten feet tall, once home to a fisherman who was 6’3″ tall.
There is a lady dressed in a Welsh dress allowing you access into the house for £1.50. You can go inside the property to take a look. There is a small ladder that you can climb up to see the bedroom. All the furnishings are still intact, dating back to the 1900 and make you wonder how such a tall person could have lived in such a small house!
Conwy Town is one of Britain’s best-preserved medieval towns with well-preserved ancient walls. With its quaint medieval cobbled streets to stroll through and cosy coffee shops accessed by thick stone archways, this has to be the prettiest town you will visit.
Conwy Suspension Bridge
Built by Thomas Telford in 1826, the Conwy Suspension Bridge is one of the earliest road suspension bridges ever built and designed to blend in with the medieval look of the castle. It was once the gateway to Conwy, but currently, the bridge is only open for pedestrians and cyclists.
The Great Orme Tramway (Welsh: Y Gogarth)
The Great Orme, which opened in 1902, is a limestone headland on the north coast of Wales, northwest of the town of Llandudno and is the only cable-hauled road tramway in Britain!
Since we were driving, we had to find parking, and once we reached The Great Orme Tramway, this proved challenging, but we finally managed to find a spot, and we made our way to the Victoria Station tram near the Church Walks seafront to buy our tickets for the tram ride.
It’s open every day from late March to October, with the trams departing every 20 minutes, around when a journey from base to summit will take (or vice versa).
The tram climbs relatively steep to the halfway station, passing pretty holiday cottages and gardens. At the midway station, you can learn about the Tramway’s history before or after joining the next leg to the summit. The view opens across the Irish Sea with rolling Welsh hills at the top.
Betws-y-Coed is one of the most bustling mountain villages in North Wales, with cafes, a church, pubs, hotels, museums, spectacular waterfalls, forest walks and quaint Victorian houses. The area has a natural Alpine feel because of the surrounding forest, and a stroll down High Street touches your senses of yesteryear.
Swallow Falls (Welsh: Rhaeadr Ewynnol)
Swallow Falls is a 42-metre cascade that sits within the Conwy County Borough just a few miles from Betws-y-Coed village. Although it’s not the tallest cascade in the country, it’s incredibly dramatic in its wild setting, and there are lots to see while you’re here!
Although most waterfalls in Wales require quite an extensive hike, Swallow Falls is an easy and accessible attraction within Snowdonia National Park!
Fairy Glen (Welsh: Ffos Anoddun)
The Fairy Glen is a secluded gorge and beauty spot on the Conwy River, something out of a fairytale storybook.
It is tucked away for you to discover near the village of Betws-y-Coed and near Beaver Bridge and can only be accessed by walking on private land. This gorge is on private land, so no official signs point you towards the Fairy Glen. But, the landmark is the Fairy Glen Hotel B&B sign on a tight corner of the road! Fairy Glen is open all year round and 24 hours a day with an entry fee of £2, using an honesty box, so come prepared with coins.
There are two walking routes from the carpark to the Fairy Glen Gorge. The ‘scenic’ route will take you next to the River Conwy and then through the forest down to the gorge. The alternative route is to bypass the riverwalk. As you start the walk from the entrance, there is a fork in the road with a sign to choose which way you would like to go.
The scenic route took us approximately 25-30 minutes one way, and the shorter route took approximately 15-20 minutes, depending on how slow or fast you walk.
Once you have reached the gorge, you will be embraced by its amazing nature, with the river rapids cascading amongst the many boulders and its beautiful waterfalls.
Tip: Both routes include a trek down steep, rocky, uneven steps to reach the gorge, so remember to wear good, comfortable ankle-supporting walking shoes, as some places can be slippery.
Where to Stay
We stayed at the Hilton Garden Snowdonia, part of the award-winning Adventure Parc Snowdonia known for outdoor pursuits offering over ten different activities ranging from surf sessions to indoor high ropes and skateboarding.
But from countryside manors to luxury retreats, we recommend using Booking.com for accommodation options.
Some links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions are my own.