Snowdonia National Park

24 Hours in North Wales

more than a year ago
Wales is a beautiful place, a proud nation teeming with history, culture and scenery, but it also happens to be a pretty small place (in a geographical sense). Those travelling with their own wheels will be able to put together plenty of whistle-stop tours of various regions, although we’re going to rely on public transport for this little one here. 24 hours in North Wales? What, is that a challenge?

Morning: Get the Train to You Know Where

We’re going to base ourselves in Bangor for this glorious day, so check into your hotel and get yourself straight to the train station. Don’t even stop for coffee or breakfast, no sir. Bangor is right on the tip of north Wales, just a stone’s throw from Anglesey, so make the most of this and make the short train ride to Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch, or Llanfairpwll as it’ll say on the ticket. This is the longest one-word train station name in the world, a real Bucket List spot, so don’t miss out.

In truth, there isn’t a huge amount to do in Llanfair PG. The train station is the most interesting part, and that is largely because of the preposterous nature of the village’s name. Snap a few shots of the various signs and try to pronounce it, before nipping into James Pringle Weavers to pick up some souvenirs and have that much needed cup of coffee. Be sure to check out Naughty Gull before getting the train back — this is one of the most creative souvenir and design shops in North Wales.
© Valdis Skudre Snowdonia mountains in winter 2014\2015, in evening. Wales, England, Uk

Afternoon: Oh We Do Love to Sit Beside the Seaside

Get the train from Llanfairpwll all the way through to Llandudno, the Queen of Victorian seaside resorts. Are its best days behind it? That isn’t an incorrect statement but it also isn’t as negative as it might seem, as this place remains a fabulous coastal spot with plenty of fascinating bits and bobs to explore. The pier is the longest in Wales and absolutely demands a stroll, but not before picking up some ice cream from Fortes or the Looking Glass.

Once you’ve conquered the pier, get the cable car up to the top of the Great Orme, a monolithic headland on the edge of town. The view from the bottom doesn’t do justice to how massive this thing is, and only from the top will you understand. The views are spellbinding too. The Church of St Tudno might just be the most picturesque church in Great Britain too.

Evening: The Most Beautiful Town in North Wales

With the Great Orme (and the great pier) behind you, make the very short trip to nearby Conwy, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful towns in the United Kingdom. This place is the definition of ‘small but perfectly formed’, a gorgeous place that takes the breath away and reminds you just how gorgeous this part of the world can be. Conwy is the architectural gem of North Wales.

Conwy Castle is the main event, but you can get just as much of an idea looking from the outside as you can from within. We like to gawp at the walls from the exterior, imagining ourselves as fearful yet intrepid travellers from yesteryear, about to enter a completely unknown world. That might just be us though. The Conwy Suspension Bridge is also an iconic piece of engineering, one of the first of its kind in the world.

Stroll up and down the high street, clocking the many gorgeous buildings as you go, before watching the sun go down from the Quay, next to what is officially the smallest house in Great Britain. Stop for a pint at the Blue Bell before getting the train back to Bangor.

Night: Boozy, Boozy Bangor

Bangor is one of the smallest cities in Wales (not to mention the oldest) but its meagre population is more than doubled annually with the arrival of students from all over the UK and the wider world. This makes for a nightlife that is best described as boozy, and the town is home to a fine range of pubs and bars that will tick plenty of boxes.

The Tap & Spile probably wins out on the pub front, a gorgeous old boozer found next to the Garth Pier. They do fantastic pub grub and the best pint in town, along with some of the friendliest service, an out and out winner and then some. You can make your own pub crawl on the way back, but be sure to stop to check out Bangor University all lit up on the hill, and the gorgeous Bangor Cathedral in the centre of town. You might have a hangover the next day, but what better way to get rid of that than by climbing a mountain…


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