A World Heritage Site, this beautifully preserved 13th-century castle is a magnificent piece of medieval history. Made up of 8 splendid towers and mighty town walls, the ringed fortress is one of the Wales’ most spectacular sights. Get there on the 5 bus from Llandudno (20 mins).
Tour Wales by train
Snowdonia thrill-seeker itinerary Bala Lake, Snowdonia National Park ©VisitBritain/ Lee Beel
One of Britain's National Parks, Snowdonia’s epic landscape ranges from deep valleys and craggy peaks to the dramatic coastline of Llyn Peninsula and beyond.
There are endless possibilities for the adventurous traveller - from climbing Wales’ highest mountain to zip-lining through the caverns of abandoned mines. But it doesn’t all have to be high-octane action, the relaxed seaside setting of Llandudno is just the spot to relax and unwind.
A BritRail pass will give you the freedom to explore North Wales' many attractions at your leisure, all for a fixed price. For shorter trips, you can book individual rail tickets in advance through the Trainline, ACP Rail, International Rail and Rail Europe. A Wales Explorer Pass would also be an option for visitors spending most of their time in Wales.
Start your journey
Snowdonia and Llandudno are easily reached by train from most major cities. Direct services run to Llandudno Junction from London Euston (3hrs), Cardiff (4hrs), Manchester (2hrs) and Liverpool (2hrs). Take the shuttle train (10mins) from Llandudno Junction to Llandudno town centre.
Day 1-2: Llandudno and Conwy
Wales’ biggest beach resort, visitors have been flocking to beautiful Llandudno since Victorian times. With 2 sandy beaches, a pier, a promenade and even Punch and Judy shows, it’s the quintessential British seaside experience.
Along with its many vintage attractions, the town’s other big draw is Great Orme, a striking limestone headland offering spectacular views of Snowdonia and the coasts of Rhyl and Conwy.
Things to do in Llandudno and Conwy
A funicular railway running since 1902, this original Victorian tram car is one of the best ways to take in the fantastic views of Llandudno and Great Orme as it slowly bumps and creaks its way up to the summit from Victoria station.
The lush green Conwy Valley isn’t the first place you'd expect to find record-breaking waves but at Surf Snowdonia you can ride 6ft swells in the huge man-made surf lagoon, or give canoeing, kayaking or paddle-boarding a whirl. Hop on the 19 bus from Llandudno Junction station (30min).
Day 3-4: Betws-y-Coed and Snowdonia National Park
Known as the gateway to Snowdonia, Betws-y-Coed (pronounced bet-us-ee-koyd) is a natural base for exploring the splendour of the National Park. Overlooked by Gwydyr Forest Park, the picturesque stone village is packed with accommodation options and outdoor gear shops, with easy transport links to the area's many attractions.
There are regular trains running from Llandudno Junction to Betws-y-Coed (25 mins).
Things to do in Betws-y-Coed and Snowdonia National Park
Ride on Britain's highest rack railway. Majestic Snowdon dominates the glorious, ancient landscape of North Wales, at 1085m it is the highest mountain in Wales and England. Since 1896 visitors have been travelling to the summit of Snowdon by train. On a clear day you can see Ireland, England, Scotland and the Isle of Man from Hafod Eryri, the unique Snowdon Summit Visitor Centre. Subject to weather conditions and passenger demand, trains run every day from mid-March until the end of October. Booking ahead is recommended.
Travel 650ft underground to marvel at the enormous caverns, wonder at the underground lake and hear the fascinating real life stories of the miners who worked in this former slate mine. Easily combined with a visit to Zip World, take the train or X1 bus from Betws-y-Coed station (25min).
For the ultimate adrenaline rush, visit Europe’s biggest zip zone at Zip World. Located in Blaenau Ffestiniog, speed junkies will love the Titan, or for little adventurers, there’s Bounce Below, a remarkable subterranean playground. Trains to Blaenau Ffestiniog or the X1 bus from Betws-y-Coed station (25min) will get you there. It's recommended to book before you go.
A lovingly restored 16th-century manor, Gwydir Castle has a reputation for being one of Wales’ most haunted homes. Visit by day to uncover the castle’s many historical connections or stay overnight to experience its more ghostly associations. Take the X1 bus to Llanrwst Bridge (10min) and walk ½ mile to the castle. The castle is closed on Mondays and Saturdays.
Taking you underground into converted old mine workings, Go Below’s thrilling adventure challenges allow you to try your hand at zip-lining through caverns, boating across lakes and traversing over an abyss. Get the 19 bus from Betws-y-Coed station. Booking ahead is recommended.
A verdant woodland dotted with shimmering lakes and rocky mountains, Gwydyr Forest is a joy to explore on foot or in the saddle. The forest is a leisurely walk from the town or if you’re feeling adventurous, rent a bike and hit the famous Marin cycle trail.