Why North Wales is worthy of your Bucket List
This Summer we had our family holiday in North Wales. Last Summer we had our family holiday in North Wales too. Isn't two years in a row a tad excessive I hear you cry? Quite simpIy, no, no it is not. I genuinely feel if we took an annual trip there every year for the rest of our lives it still wouldn't be too much.
I want to find the right words to explain my love for North Wales to you, but I fear I can not do it justice. Instead I am just going to let my images speak for me, and share our favourite places with you. When you've had a read, do yourself a favour and book yourself a trip. It is more then worthy of your bucket list and for all my fellow UK residents it is a priceless gem right on your doorstep.
Beddgelert and Llyn Gwynant
We spent the week camping at Llyn Gwynant near Beddgelert. A great location for exploring across North Wales with ease. The town of Beddgelert is steeped in legend and a walk to Gelert's grave to learn the tragic tale of this faithful dog is a must. The walk along the river is very easy for families too, and our 3 year old managed it with no complaints, plus the views are stunning. I can also highly recommend you pop in to Glandwr cafe and Glaslyn Ices whilst in town too. The pizzas there were amazing, and the ice cream was perfection; it was a firm favourite from our week long trip where we took ice cream tasting very seriously and only lost it's top spot on the very last day, but you'll have to read on to find out who stole the coveted first place.
Llyn Gwynant is a stunning lake set at the foot of Snowdon, and being surrounded by the mountains was just breathtaking. Sadly the campsite was very water logged when we visited, despite it being a fairly dry week, and we essentially had a moat around our tent. So I can not in good conscience recommend it to any fellow campers, but it is well worth a visit, and if you have a camper van you would probably fair a lot better than we did.
The lakes at Llanberis are yet another example of how breathtaking Snowdonia is. The town is great for a wander around, and there is a big park next to the lake which was a big hit with our children, and meant we could enjoy stunning views whilst they played. You can also hire boats and get out on the lake. Llanberis is also where the train to the top of Snowdon is located, but at upwards of £130 for our family of 5 we decided to give it a miss. Hopefully once Youngest is a little bit older we will be able to head up Snowdon on foot.
The Llyn Peninsula
The Llyn Peninsula is famed for its beautiful beaches, so much so that we toyed with the idea of spending our whole holiday here, but I suppose when you have the Gower on your doorstep the call of the mountains is louder than that of the coast. That being said we couldn't pass up the opportunity to visit for at least one day. We managed to choose the only rainy day of the holiday to visit, but it was still beautiful.
Whistling Sands is so named due to the squeaky sound the sand makes underfoot, not one to argue with the powers that be, but we couldn't hear a thing. It is, however a stunning beach all the same. There is a handy National Trust car park located within walking distance and a very handy cafe right on the beach.
If you visit North Wales and don't go to at least one castle did you even visit? Probably not. We took in several castles on our trip last year, which you can read about here, and this year we couldn't resist checking out Criccieth castle. Located on a hill overlooking the coast it promises stunning views, however since we chose such a rainy day it hampered that a little. But it was still very pretty and the children all enjoyed a good climb amongst the ruin.
North Wales and the National Trust
We well and truly made the most of our National Trust membership this year in North Wales. There are so many amazing places to visit, we were spoilt for choice. I have already mentioned that we made the most of the free car park at Whistling Sands, but we also parked up at Craflwyn and had a lovely explore around the woods there. They have a number of marked walks to do, and we chose to do the child friendly walk which was the perfect length for our 3 to minimise moaning and took us to a beautiful waterfall amongst the trees. Craflwyn is located just outside Beddgelert, and is well worth a little explore.
We visited Penryhn Castle last year and couldn't resit having another explore. As well as a very modern, but very stunning castle, with amazing decor, they also have beautiful grounds and gardens, not to mention stunning views of the mountains of Snowdonia. They have an amazing collection of old railway carriages, some of which the children can go inside. A big hit with all 3 of our children. Plus they have a great playground, so parents you can't go too wrong here.
Bodnant Gardens was one we didn't make it to last year but having seen some images of it I pushed a little harder for us to go this year and I am so glad I did. We didn't realise just how huge it was and it is a seriously beautiful place. I feel we could walk around there for hours and still not see it all. Fields, gardens, waterfalls, streams, it really is stunning and it was a definite highlight of the holiday.
Another amazing area of outstanding beauty looked after by the National Trust. I don't know if words can do this place justice. It was far and away my favourite walk of our holiday. It's about a mile up to the lake, nestled amongst the mountains, and the paths are well kept and easy for little feet. There's plenty of scope to lengthen your walk further too if you feel so inclined.
Skimming stones in a secluded lake in amongst the breathtaking mountains of Snowdonia. It is what my childhood was made up of and it filled my heart with so much joy to let my children experience that little taste of heaven. If you go nowhere else I've mentioned in this blog, just promise me you'll go to Llyn Idwal? Please? It would be impossible for you to regret it.
The Isle of Anglesey
I'll be honest, I am a little bit in love with Anglesey. I'm already dreaming of a holiday next year spent solely on Anglesey. We visited for a day on both our trip last year and this year and I feel we have barely scratched the surface of this stunning island.
A recommendation from a fellow Instagrammer took us to Newborough for an explore. We undertook, possibly somewhat foolishly, a 3 & 3/4 mile walk with the children in tow. We had naively assumed we'd end up on a beach, but high tide meant that wasn't going to happen. But we did get treated to stunning views over the Menai Strait to the mountains of Snowdonia, and a very beautiful (if not a tad long) family adventure.
Another National Trust place, and another stunning one. A beautiful house, landscaped gardens, an amazing treehouse for the kids to climb in, a huge adventure playground and stunning views to boot. We went in hopes of seeing red squirrels as they have a large red squirrel woodland, but sadly it was not meant to be. Just another excuse to go back there though.
Our day on Anglesey was finished off perfectly with chips on the pier in Beaumaris. A stunning little seaside town with a beautiful castle and lots of quaint shops. Well worth a visit.
Portmeiron is quite possibly one of the most surreal places I've ever visited. A town inspired by Italian architecture, built to prove a point, but never lived in. I have to admit once I'd bought our family ticket the day before we visited I felt a tad apprehensive. It was my idea to visit and I was concerned it was going to be a waste of money. Thankfully I needn't have worried at all. It's a hard place to explain but it is such a beautiful and special place. The whole family fell in love with this tiny town. I'd highly recommend a visit, especially if you love photography, it's a bit of a dream to photograph. And if you're still wondering who won the much coveted, and very much not official, "best ice cream in North Wales" award it was hands down Portmeiron. I had an apple crumble flavour ice cream to die for. Don't believe me, go taste test it for yourself.
Hopefully you can now see why North Wales needs to be on your Bucket List. I really hope you will plan yourself a little trip there, I know you will fall in love just like we did.
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If you want to read a little bit about our holiday to North Wales last summer click here.
If you want to find out lots more info about North Wales and start planning your own trip head to Visit Wales site for everything you need to know.
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