The natural and beautiful landscape in North Wales is so diverse that it offers something for everyone and as 2020 is the year Wales celebrates the Year of the Outdoors, make this the year you visit to experience first hand the magnificent mountains, stunning countryside and spectacular coastline.
Whether you want to just soak up the views, take part in some leisure pursuits, sports or world-leading adventure follow our guide of top outdoor experiences:
Snowdonia National Park
Snowdonia National Park is the largest park in Wales covering over 823 square miles and it’s a short 20 minute drive from the award winning Imperial Hotel in Llandudno. Snowdon is at the Park’s heart standing at 1,085m (3,560ft) high and it offers many popular walking routes up to its summit or you can scale the summit on Snowdon Mountain Railway, which is Britain’s highest Rack Railway.
Snowdonia National Park has about 250 lakes, or Llyns as they’re known in Welsh, so there are many opportunities for you to enjoy a lakeside walk. Llyn Padarn is the lake nearest to The Imperial Hotel and although is’ small compared to others as it’s only 240 acres, this glacially formed lake is stunningly beautiful. As well as being a popular spot for walkers there are also plenty of attractions to visit in the area including the National Slate Museum, Quarry Hospital Museum and a fun trip on the Llanberis Lake Railway, a narrow gauge steam train that takes you alongside the lake.
The North Wales coastline stretches for 250 miles and has an abundance of beautiful beaches offering mile upon mile of golden sand against a backdrop of outstanding views. Our favourites to visit are Llandudno’s West Shore, a quiet sandy beach with views overlooking Conwy Sands and Newborough Beach on Anglesey which is part of the National Nature Reserve of Newborough Warren. This stunning beach has views of the Lleyn Peninsula and is a popular walking spot for people that want to get to Llanddwyn Island, home of St Dwywen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers, while Newborough Forest which backs on to the beach provides another coastal but sheltered walk.
There’s also the Wales Coast Path which at 870 miles is the first dedicated footpath to follow the entire stretch of a country’s coastline. 34.5 miles of this path is in Conwy county which includes scenic sections in Llandudno from a 5.1 mile walk around the Little Orme or a 14 mile circular route around the Great Orme as well as many trails around the Great Orme Summit.
Wales is renowned for its magnificent castles – in fact there are over 600 and 32 are in North Wales. King Edward I constructed or rebuilt many of these impressive fortresses in the 13th Century when he launched two military campaigns to defeat the Welsh princes and bring the country under English rule. After each campaign he built a castle to maintain a hold of the land that he’d captured and as Snowdonia was seen as the heartland of the Welsh he surrounded it with a ring of castles – Conwy Castle is a must to visit but if you would like to read more about North Wales’ castles see our blog (link to castle blog).
There’s plenty of fun to be had outdoors so if you want to experience an adrenalin pumping activity, then read on:
- Zip World Velocity 2 is the world’s fastest and Europe’s longest zip line which takes adventure seekers on a head first hurtle across a disused slate quarry at up to 125mph at heights of 500ft!
- Zip World Titan is a four person zip line which will see you zipping along at 70mph over moor, mountain and mine.
- Zip World Fforest offers a choice of adventures high up in the trees with a zip safari of zip lines and rope courses, a powerfan tree parachute, Europe’s highest giant swing, a toboggan run and trampolines.
- See the Great Orme from a different perspective by abseiling, rock climbing and/or sea level traversing.
- Stand Up Paddleboarding is the latest craze and it’s easy to learn and offers a peaceful journey around the lakes or North Wales coast.
- Climb, scramble, swim and jump around the sea cliffs with experienced guides by Coasteering around the coast.
- Enjoy an exhilarating and fast paced White Water Rafting ride through the crashing waves and boulder strewn rapids of the fast-flowing River Tryweryn at the National White Water Centre.
- Take to the longest man-made surfable waves in the world at Adventure Parc Snowdonia. The waves are suitable for surfers of all levels and lessons are also available.
- North Wales also has some of the best, and most scenic routes in the UK. Mountain bike fanatics should head to Coed y Brenin, the dedicated mountain bike trail centre set in a large forest in Snowdonia National Park which has all-weather red, black, green and blue routes.
- If you fancy alpine adventures, then Llandudno Snowsports Centre offers skiing, snowboarding, sno tubing and Cresta Tobogganing.
This is just a small selection! For more details on these and all the other outdoor activities click here.
Whatever you decide to do, make the most of your visit with one of The Imperial Hotel’s fantastic breaks for the perfect North Wales experience.