Home to miles of coast and epic landscapes, including an Area of Outstanding Beauty (AONB), north Wales is easily accessible via a short train journey from Liverpool or Manchester.
Along with the sweeping coastal views and majestic cliffs, you’ll find multiple World Heritage Sites, medieval 13th century castles built by Edward I, plenty of outdoor adventures and walks, and even a town with the longest name in Britain. Here are 5 towns to discover in north Wales.
Wrexham is North Wales’ largest town and is situated near two of the seven wonders of Wales. One is St Giles Church, the largest medieval church in Wales and home to the tomb of Elihu Yale, the benefactor of Yale University. And a 15-minute drive north will take you to another wonder, the Gresford Bells at All Saints’ Church which are rung regularly during church services. Head out to Erddig, and relax in the 18th century walled gardens, discover preserved 20th century rooms inside the house and take a stroll through 1,200 acres of parkland managed by the National Trust.
Additionally, don’t miss unparalleled views of Welsh countryside while walking or taking a leisurely boat ride (or kayak!) across Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, the highest aqueduct in the world and named a World Heritage Site.
The village of Portmeirion is the brainchild of architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis who envisioned bringing a bit of the Italian Riviera to Wales in 1925 - his vision was finally completed in 1973. Seventy acres of woodland surround colorful buildings, a central piazza, shops, cafes and Hotel Portmeirion. The village is located between Snowdonia National Park and The Llŷn Peninsula, named an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), so make this village your base while exploring north Wales.
A visit to Caernarfon is centered around Caernarfon Castle, built by Edward I in the 13th century and is now a World Heritage Site. Discover the intriguing history behind this royal palace and military fortress that has withstood the test of time.
Caernarfon is also the starting point of the Welsh Highland Railway, a 25 mile long journey to Porthmadog offering views of Snowdonia, the coastline, mountains, rivers and castles along the way. A few of their original locomotives that are more than 150 years old are still in service today. Back in the center of town, stroll through the narrow streets, walk along the waterfront and have a meal or stay at Black Boy Inn for a traditional Welsh experience.
Much of the island of Anglesey in north Wales is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Expect to find plenty of low coves and pebble beaches, stunning limestone cliffs and expansive stretches of sand dunes. See the beauty of the island from the world’s first modern suspension bridge at Menai Suspension Bridge, go hiking along the Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path, ascend to the tallest point at Holyhead Mountain and with 125 miles of coastline around the island, there are endless choices for beaches and water sport activities. And the island is home to the town with the longest name in Britain, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.
With Wales known as the castle capital of the world, it’s no surprise that Anglesey is home to another impressive castle created by Edward I, Beaumaris Castle. It was never finished but featured innovation that was ahead of its time.
For a getaway at a Victorian seaside town, Llandudno has plenty to do. Walk on the longest pier in Wales, take a cable car or tramway up the Llandudno’s mini-mountain called the Great Orme and take in the sites of the town by following in the footsteps of Alice Liddle, the real Alice in Wonderland. As with coastal towns, you can look forward to easy access to beaches like Llandudno Beach or the quieter West Shore Beach.
Llandudno is just a short drive to the world’s fastest zip line at Zip World Fforest and to yet another castle built by Edward I in the 13th century and today a World Heritage Site, Conwy Castle. The castle is well-preserved with eight towers you can climb, and grand Great Hall and Kings Apartments to walk through.