There can be few better-located cities in the United Kingdom for lovers of the great outdoors than Bangor, sandwiched as it is between the Menai Straits, which divide the North Wales coast from the island of Anglesey, and the spectacular mountains of Snowdonia. But Bangor is a lively and loveable city in its own right, with a university that almost doubles the population during term time and supports some great pubs, cafes and other entertainment and cultural offerings.
Head north from the railway station and you will soon be in the city centre, between the campus of the University of Bangor and Bangor Mountain. The main shopping area is concentrated on the pedestrianised High Street and the streets around Bangor Cathedral. This is where you will also find the largest selection of pubs, cafes and restaurants. There are also a couple of shopping centres - the Deiniol and the Menai - both with many high-street brands.
Close to the cathedral, the Gwynedd Museum and Art Gallery both houses exhibitions on the history of Bangor and everyday life in North Wales, and the new Pontio Arts and Innovation Centre at the university, which opened in October 2015. Also worth a visit is Bangor Pier, stretching out into the Menai Straits to the north of the city centre.
Bangor is extremely well placed for exploring the nearby Snowdonia National Park, with public transport linking the city with Llanberis, Bethesda and Capel Curig, for those looking to explore the valleys and climb the peaks. A more sedate day trip from the city would be to Penrhyn Castle, a few miles west of the city centre, where you can explore the 19th-century castle buildings, parkland, and a model railway museum.