The North Wales Way - 4 day itinerary

The North Wales Way follows an old trading route for 75 miles (120km) along the northern coast into Anglesey. It’s the trio of huge castles that immediately grab your attention: Beaumaris, Caernarfon and the walled citadel of Conwy. Together with Harlech, this cluster of immense 13th-century fortresses forms a UNESCO World Heritage site.

This route takes in many of the wonderful and fresh produce in North Wales, as well as sampling some of the regional distilleries of the area.

Getting There

Snowdonia and Llandudno are easily reached by train from most major cities. Direct services run to Llandudno Junction from London Euston (3 hrs), Cardiff (4 hrs), Manchester (2 hrs) and Liverpool (2 hrs). Take the shuttle train (10 mins) from Llandudno Junction to Llandudno town centre.

Day 1

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Llangollen, and Conwy

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Llangollen

Day one of The North Wales Way starts at Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Llangollen. The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is a spectacular piece of engineering, completed in the 19th century to carry the canal over the River Dee. This is the largest aqueduct in Britain, designed by Thomas Telford and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, At 38 metres high, and 307m long, visitors can either walk across (it takes about a 30 minute round trip) or take a leisurely canal boat ride (between 45 minutes or a longer 2 hour chartered boats for groups). One essential item for explorers is a camera because the views are stunning!

Conwy Brewery

Then it’s time for a tour and tasting at Conwy Brewery, a brewery that opened in 2003 which uses the soft water that flows from the Snowdonia mountains to make delicious cask and bottled ales.

Conwy Brewery

Conwy town

The afternoon begins with a visit to the historic town of Conwy, dominated by the 13th century castle and walls, which stretch for over three quarters of a mile  and are guarded by 22 towers. Suggested visiting time for this UNESCO World Heritage Site is approx. 1 hour. Explorer passes are available for the travel trade.

Conway is home to a charming quayside, and not only the smallest house in Britain (1.8m wide!), but also the nation’s finest Elizabethan town house, at Plas Mawr,  famed for its elaborate and colourful plaster work.

Conwy Castle

Lobster Safaris with Sea Fishing Trips

For the final activity of the day, skipper Carl Davies, a qualified Marine Biologist with over twenty years’ experience of commercial fishing, will show visitors what happens behind the scenes on a lobster potting boat and will explain in detail about the life and conservation of lobsters. Visitors can experience first-hand the anticipation of the pots breaking the water to discover whether they contain what’s known as the Black Gold of the sea.

20747 Lobster Safari
Day 2

Llandudno and Bodnant

Llandudno

Day two begins at Llandudno, Wales’s largest resort, with its Victorian and Edwardian elegance and two beaches; the award winning North Shore and the quiet sand duned West Shore Visitors can take a ride on The ‘San Francisco style’ Great Orme Tramway (one of only three still in existence in the world today).

llandudno and snowdonia

Bodnant Garden

The neighbouring Bodnant Garden (National Trust) is a must-see stop for garden enthusiasts with botanical collections from around the globe. It has five Italianate terraces and formal lawns on its upper level, leading down to a wooded valley with a stream running through a secluded wild garden. Booking in advance is essential for groups 15+ for which there is also a group rate. There is adequate parking for coaches.

Bodnant Garden

Gwinllan Conwy Vineyard

Then the last stop of the day is  Gwinllan Conwy Vineyard, set against the stunning backdrop of the Snowdonia National Park in North Wales.

Conwy Vineyard
Day 3

Penrhyn Castle, the Slate Caverns at Llechwedd and the Snowdon Mountain Railway

Penrhyn Castle & Zip World Velocity

North Wales is an adventure playground – both above and below ground.

Starting at Penrhyn Castle (National Trust) visitors can admire the unique architecture and fine art collection of this “neo-Norman” building. Group tours must be booked in advance and both coach parking and ticket collection are at the visitor centre 10 minutes’ drive away, and in total contrast to the opulent interiors of this imposing castle, is Zip World Velocity – the fastest zip line on the planet. Flying head-first for just under a mile at speeds exceeding 100mph down a mountain and over a cliff edge to soar 500 feet above an old quarry lake, visitors can experience the closest a human can get to skydiving without actually leaping out of a plane.

The Slate Caverns at Llechwedd

From up above, to down below (or for those who don’t have a head for heights!), the Slate Caverns at Llechwedd, take visitors down the steepest cable railway in Britain on the deep mine tour to discover what life was like for a 19th century slate worker. Visitors can also experience the new off road adventure to the top of the man-made summits and extreme landscape 1400ft (427m) above sea level. Suitable for groups and coach parking

slate caverns

The Snowdon Mountain Railway

Alternatively, as time permits, visitors  can travel to Llanberis and board the Snowdon Mountain Railway for a 2½ hour round trip to the top of Mount Snowdon. This will involve travelling on Britain’s only rack and pinion railway to Hafod Eryri, the new visitor centre at the summit of Snowdon, the highest mountain in England and Wales at 1086m (3560ft). Tickets are best booked in advance to guarantee availability.

Snowden Mountain Railway
Day 4

The Island of Anglesey

Beaumaris Castle

Day four is all about exploring the island of Anglesey – off the northwest coast of Wales – accessed via the Britannia Bridge (designed by Robert Stephenson) or the Menai Suspension Bridge (designed by Thomas Telford).

For those who fancy a gentle pace, we suggest starting the day at Beaumaris Castle, with its perfectly symmetrical concentric walls within walls design. Even though construction lasted 35 years it was never actually finished. However it has survived in amazing condition, and is regarded by many as the best example of military architecture in Britain today. The nearby Beaumaris Gaol is also well worth a visit, providing a fascinating insight into the life of prisoners in Victorian times.

Beaumaris Castle

Llanfair PG & Halen Môn Anglesey Sea Salt

Next is a quick photo stop at Llanfair PG – the longest place name in Europe. The full name is Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, translated as “St Mary’s Church in the hollow of the white hazel near the rapid whirlpool and the church of St Tysilio by the red cave”.

After the photoshoot it’s time for something more practical, at Halen Môn Anglesey Sea Salt. This one-of-a-kind behind the scenes tour is recommended for anyone interested in salt’s place in history, culture, food and in what makes Halen Môn Sea Salt PDO the world’s finest seasoning. Led by a trained guide, the tour includes a tutored salt tasting (including our delicious salted fudge) and lasts approximately 50 minutes. Visitors can hand-harvest their own salt before blending their own unique flavours.

Halen Mon Sea Salt

RIB riding and Coasteering

For those who prefer a more action packed style of exploration, adventurers can enjoy an exhilarating RIB Ride boat ride from St George’s Pier, Menai Bridge.Various rides are available including a journey under the historic Menai and Britannia Bridges, Caernarfon, Beaumaris & Puffin Island and further afield to Llanddwyn Island.

Alternatively , the rocky coastline of Anglesey is the perfect place to try the sport invented in Wales ‘Coasteering’. After being kitted up in a wetsuit, buoyancy aid and helmet, the important safety briefing, adventurers will scramble and climb along the rugged coastline and finally jump into the sea – seals, porpoise and dolphins are often spotted too!

coasteering wales

Caernarfon Castle

The day comes to a close back on the Welsh mainland at Caernarfon Castle. In 1969 the investiture of the current Prince of Wales took place at this imposing castle  and today, along with three other North Wales Castles, it makes up a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Caernarfon Castle features

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