It’s easy to get to North Wales by train, especially from London. Trains from London to Aberystwyth take about 1h 40m, while trains from London to Bangor take just over 3 hours. To get to either Aberystwyth or Bangor, leave from London Euston station.
North Wales is ripe for exploring, full of charming towns and rugged countryside. Here’s a taste of the destinations on our list –
- Blaenau Ffestiniog
- Cwm Idwal Reserve
- Greenfield Valley
Don't worry if those place names sound alien to you! We’ll take you through what’s in store at each of these top Welsh destinations.
1. Blaenau Ffestiniog
This former slate-mining village epitomises the character of North Wales. It's served by direct rail service to Blaenau Ffestiniog station. Your journey doesn't have to stop here, as you can ride on the historic Ffestiniog Railway train through stunning scenery. This journey through Snowdonia National Park is well worth your time!
There's much to see around town. Walk the Poetry Trail running through Blaenau Ffestiniog to buff up on local culture and artistic traditions. A short trip down the A470 takes you to the Cynfal Falls Walk. Tracing its way through a wooded valley, the path offers splendid views of the sea and surrounding mountains.
Looking for some family fun? Make a trip to Zip World Slate Caverns. Soar on zip lines suspended over and through an abandoned slate mine or jump and slide your way through the Zip World Bounce Below course.
Dominated by its 13th-century castle, Conwy is a traditional Welsh coastal town. With its Game of Thrones-like mountainous backdrop and storied history, Conwy Castle is a must-see attraction. Water lovers have their choice of the beach, river, or nearby lakes. You can even try your hand at surfing at Surf Snowdonia's manmade lagoon!
Visit the pretty Llangelynin Old Church overlooking the town for spectacular views of the valley below. Nature lovers will love the RSPB Conwy nature reserve, just across the River Conwy from town. It's a nice scenic walk across the suspension bridge and along the river to get there.
3. Betws-y-Coed, Snowdonia
With its incredible views and rugged terrain, Snowdonia National Park is a haven for hikers. Betws-e-Coed station is a gateway to the rest of Snowdonia. Various coach and rail services connect the village to others throughout the park, including the Talyllyn Railway, the world's first preserved railway. If it’s thrills you’re after, head over to Zip World Fforest. Climb through the trees on a web of nets or zoom straight through the woods on the Fforest Coaster.
Back in town, eat award-winning pub grub and shop for handmade products in the village's shops. For a more relaxing outdoor pursuit, try the Betws-e-Coed Anglers Club. Catch salmon, sea trout, and brown trout on the River Conwy or Lugwy. Snowdonia is becoming an increasingly popular wellness destination, so you can enjoy a massage or attend a yoga class in town.
4. Cwm Idwal National Nature Reserve
Nature lovers will enjoy the scenery on a hike through the Cwm Idwal National Nature Reserve. From either Betws-e-Coed or Bangor station, take a Snowdon Sherpa bus to Ogwen car park. From here, it’s a three-hour loop walk through the hills. On the way, you'll pass jagged rock formations and out-of-this-world scenery. Finish your hike back where you started, with a picnic along the clear waters of Ogwen Lake.
The island of Anglesey is just a short trip from the Welsh mainland, but has a charm all its own. Admire the Menai suspension bridge crossing to the island, with its dramatic backdrop. Check out the lunar landscape of what was once the world’s biggest copper mine at the Copper Kingdom site, in the northernmost town of Amlwch. History buffs shouldn't miss Aberlleiniog Castle. Located close to Llangoed, this little-known castle played host to numerous colourful characters in its history.
If weather permits, catch some rays at Church Bay. Flanked by rockpools, the beach is great for children and adults alike. Anglesey is also the perfect place for cycling. Bring your two-wheelers and tour the island on miles of scenic routes. If you prefer walking, head along one of the island’s geotrails - coastal walks that have interactive displays on Anglesey’s geological history.
6. Greenfield Valley
Greenfield Valley Heritage Park, near Holywell, combines lush woodlands, heritage buildings, and a museum. To get to the park, catch a train to Flint station and hop on a connecting local bus ride. Once you’re there, experience working life as a Tudor family, dress up as characters from various eras of history, or watch the kids have fun in the mega tower maze. The park often holds event days for children, so check the schedule in advance.
Around Flintshire, it’s easy to explore local attractions. St Winefride’s Well has long been an important pilgrimage site, dating back to the days of King Arthur. Read about the miracles that reportedly took place here in the museum. For a bit of fresh air, stroll down to the beaches by the River Dee, or if you’re feeling energetic, follow the trail to Flint Castle.
Wrexham General station is the main stop for North Wales' largest city. Going shopping in Wrexham feels like stepping back in time, with its quirky arcades and pedestrianised area. Check out the massive Monday Market on Queen’s Square, with plenty of local produce for sale. Once a month except in December, the town centre comes to life with its street carnival. Learn about the city’s unique history at the Wrexham County Borough Museum & Archives, or admire the 16th-century church, St Giles' Parish Church.
For some heart-racing fun, take your family on an off-road adventure with Motor Safari. Choose from various adventures through craters, hill slopes, and water; kids aged 12 and over can even take the wheel. For a more tranquil experience, make the journey to Chirk Marina, south of Wrexham. Hire a boat for cruising down the canal, or simply relax on the grassy bank.
Portmeirion is a tourist village designed to mimic an Italian-style seaside village – you won’t find anything like it in the UK! We recommend buying a day ticket in advance. The closest station to Portmeirion is Minffordd, just over a mile away.
First, head to the luxurious grounds of the Portmeirion Hotel. People-watch in the central square over an Italian coffee, or tickle your taste buds in the hotel’s Art Deco restaurant. Take to the hotel's Dome and enjoy views of the surrounding countryside and sea.