If Wales is the adventure centre of the UK then North Wales is its capital. Not only is it a brilliant place to camp but it’s also an amazing place to find true adventure while you are at it. And it doesn’t matter whether you stay at a glamping site or a good old fashioned farm camp site in Snowdonia, the adventure is still the same. So strap yourself in, put on your walking boots, squeeze into that wetsuit and prepare for the adventure of a lifetime in North Wales.
Here is our list of the very best things to do there.
1. Surf Snowdonia
This is a brand new sensation that’s been hitting the media consistently since it opened in 2015. A half decent, rippable wave on a man-made lagoon that anyone can ride has long been a dream of surfer and wannabe. Now it exists you can book up to ride it in the surfing Mecca that is North Wales. But seriously. No, seriously this is for real. The surfing lagoon at Surf Snowdonia opens for business in April 2016 and anyone can have a go, hire a board or get lessons with an instructor. So now there is no excuse for you not to fulfil your dreams. Go ride those waves…
2. Climb Snowdon, if you want to
Actually, you don’t have to climb Snowdon if you don’t want to. You can take the train all the way to the top, smile, have your photograph taken on England and Wales’ highest peak and then take the train down again. Or you could actually climb it. Put aside a few hours for the ascent on well travelled paths that converge on the peak from all directions and you’ll be fine. There’s even a café at the top for a nice cuppa when you get there. And the views of the mountains and coast are unbelievable.
3. Learn to wake board in Pwllheli
The Offaxis wake boarding school in Pwllheli says they can get you riding if you are 8 or eighty. So there’s no excuse not to have a go at this exciting adrenaline sport. You don’t even have to do any tricks to enjoy it. Out on the lagoon behind Pwllheli’s marina you’ll find flat water enough to learn the basics in the company of a G21 Series boat and a driver / instructor who knows his stuff and is a lot of fun to be with. It’s a great day out on the water for those who want to learn, take a refresher or need to try new tricks.
4. Real surfing at Hell’s Mouth
Don’t be put off by the name. The surf at Hell’s Mouth is good but rarely gets out of control. So you’ll be perfectly safe when you book a surf lesson or two with Hell’s Mouth Surf School. They have all the gear and plenty of idea how to teach everyone and anyone how to ride the real waves on North Wale’s favourite surfing beach. It’s at the end of the Llyn Peninsula and it’s the perfect place to enjoy standing on a board for the first time. And there’s plenty of Après Surf in Abersoch too… great times.
5. A world of superlatives at Zip World
It takes a full twenty minutes to reach the top of the ‘Velocity’ zip line and yet only a few minutes to reach the bottom. That’s because Europe’s longest and the world’s fastest zip line departs from the top of what was once the world’s biggest slate quarry. It’s all about the superlatives here. So when you strap in to the mile long cable you can expect to reach speeds of up to 100 miles per hour as you fly, face down through a gorge-like gap in the quarry workings and out over the man-made lake. It’s the closest you’ll ever come to flying like Superman and it is a-maze-ing. Just go.
6. Take to the mountains
Climbing is big business in North Wales. And so it should be, given that the area’s dominant feature is Snowdon. Of course you can walk up Snowdon without any previous training but some peaks can’t be reached unless you know what you are doing. This is when you need the help of Mountaineering Joe, a company based on Anglesey. They can teach you the ropes, literally, on a series of intensive, hands-on courses that range from complete beginners to the more serious stuff like sea cliff climbing and rescue techniques. This is serious stuff and it’s not for the acrophobic.
If it all sounds too tough then you could always head to Beacon Climbing Centre in Caernarfon, where you can do the indoor stuff on a series of difficulty rated wall. From age 5 up wards.
7. Get slated in Blaenau Ffestiniog.
The underground tour of the Llechwedd Slate Caverns is a real eye opener. It’s fun for the kids to go underground and see genuine slate caverns and their workings, but it’s an extraordinarily enlightening process for adults to find out about the politics of mining in Blaenau Ffestiniog. The whole town is slate grey and here’s where you can find out why and how slate dominated the town and made some people rich and others impoverished – and why it is such an incredible resource. It’s a great one for a wet day as you’ll spend most of it underground.
8. Train, boat, walk, swim the Fairbourne Barmouth route.
Most people come to Fairbourne to ride the narrow gauge railway. But the journey it starts for you is more than just sitting in a tiny train that’s been lovingly restored and run by a bunch of hearty steam enthusiasts. This area gives you an opportunity to take the ferry to bustling Barmouth across the river Mawddach then walk back along the fabulous Barmouth Bridge, a magnificent wooden structure that still carries the Cambrian Coast mainline. The scenery is stunning and the diversity breathtaking. Once back in Fairbourne a quick hike into the hills brings you to a secret swimming spot at The Blue Lake. No one knows how deep it is and it’s very hard to find. Go searching. You’ll be well rewarded when you find it.
9. See the finest castle of them all at Caernarfon
A visit to North Wales would not be complete without checking out at least one castle. Better make it Caernarfon then. This castle is one of the best. It is a World heritage site, an imposing monolith of a building and as fine an example of mediaeval architecture and pomp as you’ll ever hope to see. It’s got cannons and Keeps and murder holes galore and is a fascinating day out for everyone. Just remember your manners or you could find yourself in the polygonal tower. They were all the rage in the 1260s, apparently.
10. Geocaching in the Elan Valley
Deep in the heart of Mid Wales, far from the madding crowd, you’ll find Elan Valley. It’s an oasis of 72 square miles of forest, lake and stunning vistas that supplies clean water to the rest of the UK. As such it is a well managed, natural but man-made space that’s owned by Welsh Water. It’s perfect for a good walk. But it’s also perfect for hiding little boxes of geocached treasure. There are around 20 of them to be found in the Elan Valley so every walk can be a treasure hunt. And every search will take you somewhere new.
Any visit to North Wales will get you in touch with the outdoors, guaranteed. And with a great selection of campsites, glamping and touring sites available on Campsited you’ll never be short of somewhere to stay at the heart of the action.
Don’t forget to pack your walking boots! Have fun!
Check out our other blog on the top things to do in South Wales