Best Places to Visit in North Wales
North Wales is one of the oldest and most established tourism regions in the UK and offers world-class holiday attractions in a relatively small area. A road sign that reads “Croeso i Gymru” (Welcome to Wales) greets visitors entering the country and witnesses the hospitality of the Welsh people.
The elegant town of Llandudno is one of the oldest and most popular seaside resorts in the UK, and the North Wales Coastal Trail offers a wide variety of scenery. Add in the many open sandy beaches and lively resorts, scenic rugged cliffs, quaint fishing villages and countless secluded coves and it’s easy to see why North Wales is one of the UK’s most popular tourist destinations.
Perhaps the most famous attraction here is the magnificent Snowdonia National Park. Here, Wales’ highest mountain, Snowdon at 1,085 metres, has attracted mountaineers and hikers for centuries, while the Lleyn Peninsula and the Clwydian Mountain Range have also been designated areas of outstanding natural beauty.
The region is also home to many historic sites and charming towns, deep gorges and picturesque valleys, making every trip a voyage of discovery. Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in North Wales and make your trip enjoyable.
10 Best Places to Visit in North Wales
Let’s explore the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in North Wales:
1. Caernarfon Castle
Carnarvon Castle was built by Edward I in 1283 as the residence of his eldest son, Edward of Carnarvon, the first Prince of Wales. The building took nearly 37 years to complete, and the megalithic eagle in the Eagle Tower and the layout of the castle walls and towers symbolize the glory of the British throne.
With its 13 towers and two gates, this massive building is one of the most impressive and best preserved medieval castles in Europe. It occupies the remains of an early Norman castle that once stood to protect the waters of the River Seiont and the Menai Strait, as you’ll learn on a highly recommended tour of the castle.
The castle has a long history and has withstood many sieges. More recently, it was the scene where Prince Charles was made Prince of Wales, an event marked by a special exhibition in 1969. While you’re here, be sure to explore the magnificent Queen’s Tower, home to the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum.
If you’re traveling with kids, be sure to take the time to visit the newest addition to this top attraction: Legends of the Sky. This fun 3D experience lets you control a “virtual dragon” that swoops, swings, and even fires at the castle. Afterward, be sure to visit the on-site gift shop.
Address: Castle Ditch, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, Wales
Official website: https://cadw.gov.wales/visit/places-to-visit/caernarfon-castle
2. Conwy Castle
Not far from Manchester, Conwy Castle is a masterpiece of medieval architecture estimated to have cost 2,000 workers to build between 1283 and 1289. It was completed in time for Edward I in 1290 as it was flanked by its 3.6 to 4.5 m thick walls and eight Welsh towers.
The 38-metre-long Great Hall is now roofless and one of the eight original arches supporting it has been rebuilt, revealing the structure’s original splendor. It is now considered one of the most beautiful castles in Wales and is actually one of the best preserved 13th century castles in Europe. As well as fine examples of medieval royal palaces, Conwy Castle also hosts wonderful exhibits about the history of Edward I and his many Welsh castles.
Afterward, be sure to explore the old town itself. Other Conwy highlights include the well-preserved 13th-century city walls and Aberconwy House, with stunning views of the surrounding area. This 14th-century merchant’s residence was one of the first to be built within the city walls. Also worth seeing is the well-preserved Elizabethan house Plas Mawr and which is said to be the smallest house in England.
Address: Rose Hill Street, Conway, Wales
Official website: https://cadw.gov.wales/visit/places-to-visit/conwy-castle
Lovely Llandudno is one of the most popular seaside resorts in Wales, thanks in part to its two sandy beaches (one on each side of the city) and picturesque coastline. With the rise of tourism in the last century, the city of Victoria has become a meeting place for a new middle class arriving from the nearby industrial areas of Liverpool and Manchester.
The North Shore, east of the two beaches, is bounded by the other headland, Little Orme. One of the most popular things to do here is to ride the Great Orme Tram. Since 1902, it has been Britain’s only cabled tram line, taking visitors to the top of the Great Orme for stunning views of the Irish Channel.
Alternative ways to reach the top of the Great Orme are to hike along any of the scenic trails or take the one-mile-long Llandudno Gondola.
The town’s magnificent late Victorian marina has survived the influence of the modern playground typical of many south coast resorts and is a popular spot for anglers (fishing gear can be rented at the marina entrance). It’s also a great place to sit and enjoy the sea air, especially with a hot drink or snack from one of the food shops here.
If you’re traveling with kids, you should stop in to watch an entertaining “Punch and Judy” puppet show that usually takes place on the promenade. Mostyn Street is worth a visit with its excellent shopping centers and hosts a variety of cultural and recreational activities.
Located on Tremadog Bay on the forested peninsula between Porthmadog and Halleck, Portmeirion is world famous for being a miniature replica of a picturesque Italian village.
Portmeirion was the brainchild of Sir Clough Williams-Ellis (1884-1978), who dreamed of recreating an Italian village in Wales complete with a mansion (now a hotel) on his private promontory and beautiful Gwylt Gardens.
There are also many boutique shops on site, as well as dining options at tearooms, cafes and restaurants. The village is also home to the famous Portmeirion pottery line. Now made in Stoke-on-Trent, England, these Portmeirion-inspired items grace tables and shelves around the world.
This unique property is best visited as part of an overnight stay; When the doors are closed at night, guests can explore the whole place on their own, from the beautiful gardens, fountains and church to the coastal paths of the lower village. The filming location of numerous movies and TV shows, including the cult show The Prisoner, Portmeirion is a must for any North Wales sightseeing trip.
Address: Minffordd, Penrhyndeudraeth, Gwynedd, Wales
Official website: https://portmeirion.wales
5. The Isle of Anglesey
Anglesey is separated from the mainland by the Menai Strait, about a mile wide, spanned by two magnificent bridges, the most interesting of which is the Menai Suspension Bridge (1818-26). Along the coast are a number of small seaside resorts developed from fishing villages, the most important of which is Holyhead. Head inland and you’ll find five market towns and many small villages, all connected by many narrow roads.
In addition to its mild climate and clear sea air, Anglesey boasts more than a hundred kilometers of attractive coastline with rugged cliffs dotted with picturesque sandy coves. Inland, the hills provide fertile pastures for large herds.
Highlights include the South Stack Lighthouse, built in 1809 and now open to the public. Visitors can climb the stairs to enjoy views of the coast and the Irish Sea.
Other popular attractions include Beaumaris Castle (see full list below for details) and Holy Island. Connected to Anglesey by a bridge, this small island is a popular holiday destination with two promenades, one of which is 2.4km long. Puffin Island at Penmon Point is particularly popular with bird watchers.
Anglesey is also known for having the world’s longest place name: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllandysiliogogogoch. A great way to truly experience the island and its many attractions are to hike the 200km Anglers West Coast Trail, which is part of the longer Wales Coast Trail.
Official website: www.visitanglesey.co.uk/en/
6. Pontcysyllte Aqueduct & the Llangollen Canal
One of the most recognizable symbols of industrialization in England in the early 19th century, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is a magnificent 18-arch stone and cast iron aqueduct used to transport coal barges across the Llangollen Valley.
Designed by engineer Thomas Telford and completed in 1805 after 10 years of construction, this bridge is aptly named “a creek in the sky” and is listed as the longest navigable aqueduct in the world at 336 yards, the longest of its kind in the country structure. Today, the structure is used only for yachts, canal boats and pedestrians.
Part of the Llangollen Canal is perhaps one of the most popular inland waterways due to its magnificent scenery, and of course, there is the possibility to cross the Ponzisilt Aqueduct by boat. Now a World Heritage Site, this magnificent building is also open to pedestrians and offers a fun outing.
There are regular enjoyable boat rides along the aqueduct. Better still, wholeheartedly charter a canal barge for a few days and explore this magnificent area of Wales at a very leisurely pace, as canal barges average around 8km/h.
Address: Station Road, Trevor Basin, Wrexham, Wales
Official website: www.pontcysyllte-aqueduct.co.uk
7. Porthmadog & Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways
At the mouth of the Graslin River are the twin towns of Porthmadog, commonly known as Port and Tremadog, two small industrial centers of international importance in slate transport. Today, they have evolved into pleasant seaside resorts with lots of beautiful sandy beaches.
From Ynys Tywyn near the harbour, there are sweeping views of the surrounding area where the poet Shelley lived for a time and Lawrence of Arabia was born. Coed Tremadog Forest is a designated nature preserve that is well worth a visit and offers many great hiking and hiking trails.
Porthmadog is probably best known as the terminus of the world’s oldest narrow gauge railway, built in 1836 to transport slate from the Blaenau Ffestiniog mines. Today, the wonderful Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways give visitors the opportunity to explore this beautiful region on more than 64 km of narrow gauge railways.
Address: Porthmadog Harbor Station, Wales
Official website: www.festrail.co.uk
8. National Slate Museum
In Padarn Country Park you’ll find the National Slate Museum, a world-class museum dedicated to what has been mostly described as ‘Welsh industrial Wales’. This well-preserved 1870s workshop houses the staff and machinery of the once busy Dinorwic slate quarry.
The buildings serving the quarry today and the traditional narrow-gauge railway still in operation vividly depict the workings of the slate mine and the harsh conditions of the people who work hard there. Highlights include the original machinery used to prepare and prepare the slate for export, including a large working waterwheel and four well-preserved workers’ cottages.
You can actually get to the museum by the Llanberis Lake Railroad, which runs frequently to Llanberis. The hotel offers guided tours, a gift shop and a cafe.
Location: Llanberis, Carnarvon, Wales
9. Beaumaris Castle
Beaumaris Castle is a magnificent moat mansion on the Isle of Anglesey, with solid walls and defensive towers, worth adding to your list of must-see Welsh castles. Founded in 1295, it was the last and largest castle in Wales built by Edward I (the church tower display details the story of their construction).
Its outer walls are about five meters thick, with sturdy towers surrounding a square inner courtyard. The flooded ditch formed an impressive first line of defense outside the wall.
Address: Castle Street, Beaumaris, Anglesey, Wales
Official website: https://cadw.gov.wales/visit/places-to-visit/beaumaris-castle
10. Harlech Castle
Built on a rocky hill overlooking the Irish Sea, Halleck Castle was another chain of castles built in the late 13th century by Edward I to conquer Wales. The castle endured numerous sieges over the centuries, including the English Civil War in the 17th century, and has been largely neglected ever since.
Although neglected over the years, the fort is now considered by UNESCO as one of Europe’s finest 13th and 14th century military buildings. Today, the subject of the unofficial Welsh national anthem “The Man of Halleck”, the castle is a treat to explore, with a visitor center showcasing its rich history.
For a real feast, book one of the luxury apartments in the chateau in the heart of the city, which used to be a hotel. Be sure to explore the delightful village of Harlech nearby with its long sandy beach.
Address: Halleck Castle, Halleck, Wales
Official website: https://cadw.gov.wales/visit/places-to-visit/harlech-castle
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in North Wales. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in North Wales, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.