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Things to do in North Wales

North Wales includes the north east coast of Wales and borderlands between Wales and England, encompassing several areas each with its own unique scenery and attractions.

Unspoiled coastline, beaches, historic sites and gardens enrich North Wales. It boasts lovely countryside, such as the Vale of Clwyd, the Dee Valley and the Conwy River Valley.

Caernarfon Castle in Snowdonia
Caernarfon Castle in Snowdonia


Llandudno is Wales's largest seaside resort. Overlooking Conwy Bay, it is sheltered between its two famous landmarks Great and Little Orme.

The town retains its old world charm, with traditional attractions, cable car, fine gardens, good shopping and dining facilities.

Nearby at Llandudno Junction is Conwy RSPB Reserve, the most important site for birdwatchers on the North coast of Wales.


Conwy Estuary

On the Conwy Estuary is the ancient walled town of Conwy and 13th century Conwy Castle, designated a World Heritage Site.

View from top of Conway Mountain
View from top of Conway Mountain

This medieval fortress was built by Edward 1st as part of the ring of castles to contain the Welsh.

The town is a centre of historic and cultural interest, with attractions such as Plas Mawr Elizabethan Town House - one of the best preserved Elizabethan town houses in Britain.

Bodnant Gardens
Bodnant Gardens

Even older is Aberconwy House, dating from the 14th century.

Along the coast to the east is Rhos-On-Sea and Colwyn Bay. Both have a choice of shops, restaurants and cafes.

There are sandy beaches, a pier, launch facilities for visiting boats and an area dedicated to jet skiing.

A marked cycleway runs along most of the north coast. Inland is the Welsh Mountain Zoo.

The Conwy River valley is well worth exploring. A few miles south of Conwy, on the east side of the valley is Bodnant Garden, one of the finest gardens in Britain.

To the south, at the picturesque village of Trefriw, is Trefriw Wells Spa. This spa was discovered by the Romans. The village is also a centre of the woollen industry, with a mill and shop on the banks of the Crafnant River.


Betws-y-Coed is in the heart of Snowdonia. Its mountain situation with woodlands and spectacular waterfalls attracted Britain's first artists' colony.

Today it has become a centre for walkers and climbers and is ideally placed for exploring Gwydyr Forest. South east is Dolwyddelan Castle, built by Llywelyn the Great - ruler of Snowdonia in the 13th century - and occupying a magnificent location.

Caernarfon Castle
Caernarfon Castle

North Wales Tourist Information can be found in Denbighshire's seaside towns Rhyl and Prestatyn. Both resorts have award winning sandy beaches, traditional seaside attractions, good shopping and dining facilities.

A few miles south of Rhyl is Rhuddlan Castle. It's well worth a visit.

Offa's Dyke and Sustrans

Prestatyn is the start of the northern end of Offas Dyke Footpath. Cyclists can enjoy the Sustrans cycle route along the seashore between Rhyl and Prestatyn.

Inland, Denbighshire's County Town Ruthin is a historic market town with many interesting listed buildings and a medieval parish church. Situated at the foot of the Clwydian Range, there are many lovely walks and fine views in the surrounding area.

Denbigh, or 'Denbych' in Welsh meaning Little Fortress, the old town is dominated by the town walls and 13th century Denbigh Castle. Other attractions in the town are Denbigh Museum and Art Gallery and St Asaph Cathedral, reputed to be the smallest cathedral in Britain.

South Stack Lighthouse, Anglesey
South Stack Lighthouse, Anglesey


Llangollen is famous for the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod held annually in July. Attractions include Llangollen Motor Museum and the LlangollenRailway, which runs along the Dee Valley.

In the Vale of Llangollen at the entrance to the Horseshoe Pass are the ruins of Vale Crucis Abbey. Many original features remain including the glorious west front.


Three miles east of Llangollen, crossing the River Dee at 126 feet, is Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. It forms part of the Langollen Canal and was designed by Thomas Telford with construction commencing in 1795. it was opened in 1805. The Aqueduct is over 1000 feet long. It's the the longest and highest cast-iron aqueduct in the world and is still used for its original purpose.


Wrexham is the largest town in North Wales, and offers visitors plenty of modern facilities, as well as the interest of a historic market town. The spire of St Giles Parish Church is a landmark, considered to be 'One of the Seven Wonders of Wales'. It's a magnificent example of ecclesiastical architecture.

Formal Gardens at Erdigg Hall
Formal Gardens at Erdigg Hall

Two miles south of Wrexham is Erddig Hall, Gardens and Country Park. Erddig is a fascinating house to visit and its walled garden is one of the most important surviving 18th century gardens in Britain.

For those who enjoy a day at the races, Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse lies a few miles to the south, and racing takes place here throughout the year.

Menai Bridge
Menai Bridge

In Flintshire, the county town of Mold is a good centre for exploring the Clwydian Range - an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. A busy market town, Mold was the birthplace of the Welsh novelist Daniel Owen.

Prime Minister

To the east is Hawarden, complete with two castles. The 'old' castle was built by Edward I, the other was the home of William Ewart Gladstone the famous Victorian Prime Minister. In the town is St Deiniol's Library. It's one of Britain's finest residential libraries. Founded by Gladstone, it is now the nation's tribute to his life and work.

A short distance north at Mancott, the whole family will enjoy a great day out at Greenacres Farm Park. Set in 80 acres of Welsh Borderland, there are lots of animals to see and feed.

Penrhyn Castle
Penrhyn Castle

On the banks of the River Dee Estuary the ancient town of Flint is best known today for its castle built by Edward I. It was a vital link in the history of the Welsh struggle for independence. There is much of interest to see here and the site is well worth visiting.

The market town Holywell is home to the famous St Winefride's holy well and has been visited by pilgrims since the 7th century seeking a 'cure' by the holy well water. It is another of the 'Seven Wonders of Wales'. A car trail linking all seven wonders is available from Tourist Information Offices.


Days out in North Wales

  • Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse
    There's a warm welcome at Bangor-on-Dee Races throughout the year. Set in glorious countryside beside the River Dee this perfect country course provides exciting racing with top trainers and jockeys at every meeting.
    Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse
  • Bodnant Garden
    The garden at Bodnant is one of the finest in the world. It is situated above the River Conwy on ground sloping to the south-west and looks across the valley towards the Snowdonia range.
    Bodnant Garden
  • Chirk Castle
    Few places welcome visitors with a "bloody" hand, but the Myddelton family coat-of-arms above the elaborate gates does indeed incorporate just such a symbol.
    Chirk Castle
  • Conwy Castle
    This gritty dark-stoned fortress has the rare ability to evoke an authentic medieval atmosphere. Conceived and created in just four years, Conwy Castle remains one of the outstanding achievements of medieval military architecture.
    Conwy Castle
  • Denbigh Castle
    The striking ruins of Denbigh Castle, crowning a steep hill above the town, enjoy commanding views of the pastoral Vale of Clwyd and the round backed hills of the Clwydian Range.
    Denbigh Castle
  • Dolwyddelan Castle
    In a land of castles, Dolwyddelan stands apart not as a stronghold erected by Norman or English forces but as a fortress of the native Welsh princes.
    Dolwyddelan Castle
  • Erddig Hall, Gardens & Country Park
    Erddig is a very special place. It is a unique family home that has captured the way of life of a bustling household community during the early years of this century.
    Erddig Hall, Gardens & Country Park
  • Greenacres Animal Park
    Set in 80 acres of Welsh Borderland, the Animal Park creates a friendly, relaxing atmosphere for the whole family
    Greenacres Animal Park
  • Llangollen Motor Museum
    See the cars that Grandad used to drive. More than thirty vehicles are on display, ranging from the 1920s to the 1970s - so there's sure to be something you remember from your own childhood - whenever that was.
    Llangollen Motor Museum
  • Llangollen Railway
    Part of the Ruabon to Barmouth line, the Railway closed to passenger traffic in 1965, and to goods in 1968. The track and signalling were removed the following month, and for seven years the buildings and trackbed were left at the mercy of nature.
    Llangollen Railway
  • Llyn Brenig Reservoir and Visitor Centre
    Set in 920 acres of forest and moorland, Llyn Brenig Reservoir and Visitor Centre is located in the heart of the Denbigh Moors, only 35 miles from Wrexham.
    Llyn Brenig Reservoir and Visitor Centre
  • Plas Mawr Elizabethan Town House
    Plas Mawr is possibly the best preserved Elizabethan townhouse in Great Britain. It was built by Robert Wynn between 1576 and 1585.
    Plas Mawr Elizabethan Town House
  • Portmeirion Village
    This unique village is set on its own private peninsula on the southern shores of Snowdonia. It was created by Welsh architect Clough Williams-Ellis (1883-1978) to demonstrate how a naturally beautiful place could be developed without spoiling it.
    Portmeirion Village
  • Rhuddlan Castle
    Rhuddlan may not be as well known as some of the north Wales castles, yet it shares much in common with its illustrious neighbours Caernarfon and Conwy.
    Rhuddlan Castle
  • Rug Chapel and Llangar Church
    These delightful religious sites are located close together in beautiful countryside just west of Corwen. Rug is a rare example of a little-altered private 17th century chapel. Llangar Church is even older than Rug.
    Rug Chapel and Llangar Church
  • Valle Crucis Abbey
    The evocative ruins of Valle Crucis lie in green fields beneath Llangollen's steep-sided mountains. In medieval times, this was a remote spot (ideal for the austere Cistercian monks, who deliberately sought out wild and lonely places).
    Valle Crucis Abbey

Places to Visit in North Wales

  • Abergele
    Situated on the North Wales coast, Abergele, which used to be a Roman Trading port is now well known for its beautiful long white sandy beach.
  • Betws-y-coed
    The village of Betws-y-Coed (pronounced Betoos - er - koid ) is in the wooded Conwy valley of North Wales.
  • Capel Garmon
    Capel Garmon is a small village off the beaten track in an idyllic setting in Snowdonia. As you approach from the A5 on a summer evening the narrow road takes you over a hill. As you reach the top the whole of the Canarvon mountain range li
    Capel Garmon
  • Colwyn Bay
    Colwyn Bay is a popular coastal resort town in Conwy,North Wales. Set on a sweeping bay in a bowl-shaped depression it is surrounded by some of the most attractive scenery in Wales.
    Colwyn Bay
  • Conwy
    Conwy in North Wales is set on the Conwy River Estuary, dominated by the majesty of Conwy Castle. Fine views over the harbour and Snowdonia form the backdrop to this medieval walled town.
  • Denbigh
    Denbigh, set on an isolated hill on the west side of the Vale of Clwyd, is a bustling market town where you will hear as much Welsh spoken as English. The heart of the town is the High Street, which is set on a shelf half-way up the hill.
  • Dyserth
    Dyserth is a pretty village in the Welsh county of Denbighshire, on the North Wales coast between Rhyl and Prestatyn. It is situated in the shadow of Moel Hiraddug Mountain in a pleasant rural area.
  • Llandudno
    Llandudno is one of the largest and most popular of the Welsh seaside resorts, and still retains much of its Victorian character and charm. The golden sandy beach at North Shore is set in the magnificent crescent shaped bay.
  • Llandudno Junction
    Llandudno Junction is a lovely little village which has a number of nice shops,take aways, restaurants, little independant shops and a pleasant atmosphere.
  • Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr
    Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr is approx 3 miles from the village of Cerrigydrudion and 10 miles from the market town of Ruthun (Ruthin).The village is situated on the B 5105 which runs between these two places.
    Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr
  • Prestatyn
    The seaside resort of Prestatyn is on the north east coast of Wales, between Rhyl and Holywell.
  • Rhos-on-Sea
    Rhos-on-Sea is a small town and seaside resort on the north coast of Wales. Although quite separate, it is almost a suburb of Colwyn Bay. Generally the town is known simply as Rhos, although in Welsh its full title is Llandrillo-yn-Rhos.
  • Rhyl
    Rhyl is on the north east coast of Wales between Prestatyn and Colwyn Bay. Like its neighbours, it is a well-known seaside resort in the county of Clywd.
  • Ruthin
    Ruthin is a lovely market town at the head of the Vale of Clwyd. Approaching from the north you can look across flat meadows to the town set on its hill.
  • Talacre
    Talacre is a small and friendly town on the Flintshire coast of North Wales. Its sandy beach and dunes along with the broad estauary of the River Dee make it very popular with summer holidaymakers.
  • Trefriw
    Situated on the meandering B5106, Conwy to Betwys y Coed road, in the shadow of the Carneddau mountains, within the Snowdonia National Park.
  • Trelawnyd
    Trelawnyd has a lively sense of community, with various events taking place throughout the year. It also features a fine carved cross in the churchyard and Gop Hill, the second largest Bronze Age burial mound in Britain.

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