The epic landscapes of North Wales are alive with action, and a rich, distinctive culture. You’ll find three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and some of the UK’s best adventure. Within the region of North Wales you'll find Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Gwynedd, Wrexham and Ynys Môn (the Isle of Anglesey).
North Wales is an A-Team kind of place. It’s the adventure, activities and adrenaline capital of the UK.
Up in the air and down below
Slate quarries have been transformed into new adventure centres. How about riding the world’s fastest zipline (we’re talking 100mph/160kph)? Or 'bouncing below' on a giant trampoline in an underground cavern? Or tearing down mountain biking trails carved into a jagged slate mountain?
On the water
Splash around in our rivers, seas and lakes. We’re big on sailing and stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking and surfing. We’ve even got the guaranteed perfect wave.
You’ll have to travel inland to find it – to Adventure Parc Snowdonia in the lush Conwy Valley, home to the world’s first inland surfing lagoon.
Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) is the alpha-mountain in this rocky landscape. But it’s got serious competition from its 13 neighbouring peaks that dominate North-west Wales’ landscape. Snowdon gives its name to the Snowdonia National Park. It’s a vast swathe of countryside (823 square miles/2,176 square kilometres) with deep gorges like the Aberglaslyn Pass, and valleys clothed in ancient oakwoods (see them from narrow-gauge railways). Idyllic mountain lakes like Llynnau Mymbyr look too good to be true. Waterfalls don’t come any wetter or better than the Aber Falls near Llanfairfechan.
Highs and lows
Further east, the landscape is a little lower but no less spectacular. The Denbigh Moors are so beguiling that they are known in Welsh as Mynydd Hiraethog (“The Hills of Longing”). The Welsh border is guarded by the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Climb to the smooth summit of Moel Famau for far-reaching views across Wales and England.
We have hundreds of miles of coastline. The Isle of Anglesey (connected to the mainland by road and rail bridges) and wild Llŷn Peninsula are both Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The north coast is dotted with seaside resorts, the most celebrated of which is Llandudno.
Wales is a “land of castles”, nowhere more so than in the north. History and heritage are etched across the landscape in the form of medieval fortresses built by native Welsh princes and English invaders.
The most famous – the mighty trio of Beaumaris, Caernarfon and Conwy – share World Heritage Site status. Travel inland to discover ruins like Dolbadarn and Dolwyddelan, mountain strongholds of the Princes of Gwynedd.
The story of slate
Penrhyn Castle, Bangor, is a relative newcomer. This fabulous 19th-century mock-fortress was built with the wealth generated by North Wales’ slate industry, which completely reshaped this part of the world during the Industrial Revolution. This part of Wales was one of the biggest producers of slate, quarrying it in huge amounts for shipping all across the globe. The importance of this unique industry has recently been recognised by UNESCO, with the slate landscape of Northwest Wales becoming one of the UK's newest World Heritage Sites. Learn about slate's impact on the people and places of North Wales with a tour of Blaenau Ffestiniog’s slate mines or a visit to the National Slate Museum at Llanberis.
A language lesson
The Welsh language is at its strongest in some of these parts. One of Europe’s oldest living languages, it underpins a rich culture and heritage. Learn more at Nant Gwrtheyrn’s Welsh Language and Heritage Centre, spectacularly located on Llŷn’s cliff-backed north coast.
An insider's guide
- Are we in Italy? Or Wales? You’ll get a taste of both at Portmeirion, the unique Italianate village.
- “The canal in the sky.” That’s Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, a dizzying World Heritage Site that carries the Llangollen Canal high above the Dee Valley.
- See Anglesey at its best from its rugged – and romantic – coastal path. Walk the big beach to Llanddwyn Island, home of Santes Dwynwen, Wales’ patron saint of lovers.
- Bodnant Garden is a green jewel, where formal flowerbeds lead down to the wild and wonderful Dingle.
- Taste North Wales’ bountiful larder of farm-and sea-fresh produce. Head to Gwledd Conwy Feast, held every October.