Continuing on our Adventure Holiday theme, we’re turning our attention to the array of amazing activities you can enjoy that are off the beaten path, and while there is much to be said for exploring on foot we’re focussing on the alternatives:
Mountain Biking / Cycling
Did you know that North Wales has not only some of the best cycle routes but also some of the finest coastal and mountain scenic routes in the UK?
And it is totally geared up for cyclists of all ages and all experience levels. So families wanting a leisurely bike ride as well as cyclists that want to take on a challenge on one of the many black routes are guaranteed a thrilling ride!
For mountain bike fanatics, your first stop has to be the UK’s first dedicated mountain bike trail centre at Coed y Brenin. Set in a large forest in the Snowdonia National Park, the centre offers a single track network of all-weather routes with some of the most varied and challenging trails in the UK. There’s three red and black routes but also green and blue routes which are suitable for novices and families too.
For road cyclists, why not follow in the wheels of Sir David Brailsford CBE, the British cycling coach responsible for Team GB winning two Gold medals in the 2004 Olympic Games and 8 Golds each in the 2008 and 2012 Games, by cycling the Brailsford Way. The two picturesque routes of 75 miles and 50 miles start at Caernarfon and go past Llanberis and up Pen-y-Pass. The 50 mile route then turns towards Beddgelert while the longer route takes you into Capel Curig and Betws-y-Coed before another large climb towards Blaenau Ffestiniog, and while the climbs are tough the good news is that the descents are exhilarating!
Other cycle routes include an easy and scenic trail of 9.5 miles around Llyn Brenig, a man-made reservoir nestling between the counties of Conwy and Denbighshire or you could try your hand on the Llandegla to Corwen or Trawsfynydd to Dolgellau routes which are both rated as moderate. A popular black route is the 36 miles from Dolgellau to Barmouth which takes in the iconic Cadair Idris, North Wales’ second most popular mountain at 2,930 feet high at the southern end of the Snowdonia National Park.
Closer to home, or The Imperial Hotel, is the Great Orme. You can “Storm the Orme” by taking the 9 mile cycle route around and up to the summit. It’s popular with both families and hard-core cyclists as it’s not without its challenges as the Great Orme rises 679 feet above sea level!
And don’t worry if you don’t want to bring your bikes with you on holiday as there are plenty of places they can be hired. Coed y Brenin has a fleet of bikes which are available for all sizes/ages including a range of children’s bikes.
For a completely unique experience of North Wales why not try a Segway adventure.
Head over to Dragon Raiders Activity Park outside Criccieth and you’ll have 30 acres of scenic woodland to glide through on the electric 2 wheel scooter. These Segways are tough enough to cope with the terrain and the Park offers a choice of forest treks as well as off-road rally treks.
Treks are an hour long and we guarantee you’ll have plenty of thrills and excitement but please note you must be aged 10+.
Rock Climbing or Abseiling
As one would expect with the beautiful Snowdonia Mountain Range right on our doorstep, there are plenty of opportunities for visitors to climb up, across or abseil down these natural rock formations.
Rock climbing is a physically and mentally demanding sport, testing your strength, endurance, agility and balance so if you’ve never done it before why not try a Taster Session to start with. Bach Ventures in Snowdonia run half day taster sessions for the totally inexperienced and the only proviso is that you have the ability to have fun! If you’re hooked after that, you can then progress through a variety of their courses – from the classic beginner to challenging mountain and sea cliff crags. In each course you’ll learn to develop skills and the techniques required.
Off-Roading or Going Underground
Explore the formidable slate mountains dating back to the mid-19th Century with a thrilling guided adventure in a 4 x 4 military truck at Llechwedd Slate Quarries. The 1.5 hour journey takes you to the very top of the quarry at 1,400 feet above sea level, through massive craters and into the heart of these man-made mountains.
Or go below with the Deep Mine tour that takes you 500 feet underground on the steepest cable railway in Britain to tell you the story of how the mine built the incredible slate industry which roofed the world. This fascinating tour is led by expert local guides who take you back in time – over 160 years with extraordinary light projections, enhanced reality technology and explosive special effects to experience what it was like for the men and boys who spent up to 12 hours a day, 6 days a week working underground in semi-darkness.
Horse Riding and Pony Trekking
A canter across an expansive stretch of sand or a trot through the countryside is a wonderful way to see the beautiful Welsh countryside.
Gwydyr Stables, outside Betws-y-Coed is surrounded by National Trust and Forestry Commission land offering scenic rides across the Snowdonia mountains. Horse riding, pony trekking and extended day trail rides are available for individuals or groups from novices through to experienced riders.
For coastal rides, head over to Anglesey Riding Centre. Situated on the banks of the Menai Strait overlooking Caernarfon Castle on the Isle of Anglesey, the stables has 5 miles of purpose built private bridleways along the coast, and offers a variety of rides to cater for all standards – minimum age is 4 and there’s no maximum! There’s introductory rides for children under the age of 7 on a lead rein, one hour rides but with a choice of three standards, and two hour long and fast rides including a beach gallop. There’s also a large indoor arena and a large outdoor all weather arena.
By simply going off the beaten path you’ll be experiencing more of North Wales and the rewards are definitely worth the extra effort.
For details on our Special Breaks, click here.