Bank Holiday Weekend. The greatest three words you can ever hear. Yes the roads get busy with traffic but its worth heading somewhere if it means being able to make the most of three whole days of no work! In my opinion Wales is the perfect place to spend a long weekend and in North Wales there is also tonne of stuff to do!
Where to stay
If you can live without your luxuries then Wales is the perfect place to enjoy a bit of camping (or a hostel if you can’t face staying in a tent). We stayed at the Llechrwd riverside campsite between Ffestiniog and Maentwrog. A pitch for 3 nights cost only £45, although this price will change depending on the size of the tent, how many people there are and how many vehicles you have. The campsite was a nice small size with a patch of grass surrounded by stunning views and beautiful waterways. Check in time was fairly flexible and if you turned up late you could pitch your tent and check in in the morning. The campsite had everything you needed for a short stay, showers, toilets and washing up facilities.
There are so many campsites in Wales but this is just one recommendation which was perfectly located for a lot of North Wales best known attractions.
What to do
Ziplining in Blaenau Ffestiniog
Blaenau Ffestiniog is an old slate mining town in Wales and now houses Zipworld. If you are the adventurous type then this is the place for you. At this site there are a few different activities you can take part in, including entering the caves for either a trampolining or high ropes experience. We however did the zip lining. Zip lining costs £50 per person and lasts for around 2 hours. You book a timed slot so that you are part of a small group. Within the main visitor area at the bottom of the last zipline you get weighed and kitted out ready to head up the mountain (thankfully in a minibus). There are three different zip line runs and you go down in groups of four. As I was waiting for our turn the adrenaline was certainly pumping but I love this sort of thing and zip lining here is the best I have ever done! You feel as if you are flying through the air, picking up speed and dangling high above the ground. After the first run you can casually make your own way down to the second zip line at your own pace by foot.
The views from the zip line on a clear day are incredibly memorable and the experience is definitely worth the money. There is a café and shop on site so you could easily do one activity in the morning and one in the afternoon with a break for lunch. There is also plenty of space for friends and family to wait for you and watch you come down the last zip line.
Explore Caernarfon Castle
For me no trip away is complete without a visit to a Castle and was I in for a treat. Caernarfon was only an hours drive from where we were staying and the castle is incredibly impressive! We managed to park right next to the castle as we arrived early and the weather wasn’t very good (classic bank holiday).
Entry costs just under £10 for an adult but I would say that it is well worth the money as there is an incredible amount to explore here. My favourite kinds of castles are the ones where you can go up stair cases and go round hidden corners and really get lost and immersed in what the place would have been like. There was also plenty of indoor exhibitions to enjoy as well and we spent a good couple of hours going around the whole castle.
Caernarfon although largely famous for its castle is also a quaint little town with loads of cobbled streets and little shops to enjoy. We took a little walk around the town before stopping for some lunch at a very busy pub down one of the little side streets where we both had a fantastic pie and chips! I can imagine that on a sunny day this town gets incredibly busy, so make sure you get there early!
Visit the National Slate Museum in Llanberis
The National Slate Museum can be found in the little town of Llanberis, a popular stop for people climbing Mt Snowdon. The best thing about this museum is its free to enter! You can walk around the Victorian buildings and workshops and see how this Industry was so important in this part of Wales. There are even talks and demonstrations to see how slate was mined and cut. A great day out for adults and children, with a gift shop as well! Llanberis itself is also nice to walk around and visit the local shops and take in in the amazing views!
Climb Mt Snowdon
This was on my bucketlist and I was lucky enough to tick this off on my 25th Birthday. Climbing Mt Snowdon can easily be fit into a long weekend in North Wales. We decided to do the easiest route which starts in Llanberis. There are plenty of car parks and everything is signposted. In the summer months the train runs throughout the day taking people to the top of the mountain however, in my opinion, that is totally cheating. I do recommend not eating something dodgy the night before though as my experience of walking up and down the mountain was somewhat hindered by having a dodgy belly.
The Llanberis path is doable, especially during the summer months, but remember it is a Mountain! Wear sensible walking clothing and take plenty of water and snacks. There is also a café half way up and of course the big visitor centre at the top with toilets (thank god), so you can take it easy and have a bit of a rest if you need to. Even though we did our climb in summer the top of Snowdon was in complete fog and it was pretty cold so those stunning views were slightly missing. We sat and enjoyed a sausage roll and a can of cider (probably not the recommended food to take – but it was my birthday) when we reached the summit. It is definitely worth taking in the atmosphere when you reach the top. It only took us around 4 hours to complete the round trip, I would say the hardest bit was near the top where the ground becomes quite loose. My other half would disagree and say the descent was the hardest.
I definitely recommend climbing Mt Snowdon if you can, it’s a challenge but it’s an obtainable one. Keep a look out for a more in depth blog post about climbing Snowdon in the future.
North Wales is a brilliant place and holds a special place in our hearts, I would love to have some recommendations of other places to visit for any future long weekends in North Wales.