Outdoor activities in stunning countryside. Rich culture and history. Family attractions aplenty. And enough shopping to satisfy even the most ardent shopaholic. Forget work for a few days, and enjoy a fun bank holiday weekend in Snowdonia.
Snowdonia is easily accessible by road and train from most parts of mainland Britain – and by sea or air from Ireland – so a few days in Snowdonia is one of the nicest ways to spend a bank holiday weekend.
Come rain or shine, and whatever your age, there is something for everyone in Snowdonia to help you spend a happy bank holiday weekend in beautiful surroundings. Here are our top five ways to spend a bank holiday weekend in Snowdonia.
1. Outdoors activities
Snowdonia is known as the UK’s number one outdoor activities centre, and with good reason; as well as lush mountainous countryside stretching as far as the eye can see, Snowdonia has a beautiful 200-mile coastline that’s perfect for bank holiday outdoor activities.
There are many ways to enjoy the great outdoors in Snowdonia. Walking is one of the most popular; there are many excellent routes to follow, which include quiet country lanes, public footpaths, woodlands, beaches and, of course, mountains.
Top spots for walking include the Llyn Coastal Path, which takes in all the spectacular scenery of the Llyn Peninsula‘s coast; Foel Ispri Path, near Llanelltyd, Dolgellau, which includes a 300m stretch that’s accessible to wheelchair users; and, of course, Snowdon, which has several paths ranging in difficulty from moderate to extreme.
If you’d rather see Snowdonia on two wheels, you’ll find many excellent cycle paths criss-crossing the region. One of Snowdonia’s most popular cycling spots is Coed Y Brenin Forest Park, where you can hire a bike on-site. You can also hire bikes at Beddgelert and cycle your way around some of Snowdonia’s most picturesque scenery.
Watersports are also very special in Snowdonia. From surfing and wakeboarding to sailing and white water rafting, watersports are a big deal in Snowdonia. As well as that dramatic coastline, we have countless rivers and lakes that are popular with watersports enthusiasts all year round. Top spots include the two beaches at Abersoch, the National Whitewater Centre at Tryweryn, and the National Watersports Centre at Plas Menai, Caernarfon.
If you’d prefer to spend your bank holiday weekend immersed in Welsh culture, you’ll find plenty of museums, galleries and theatres in Snowdonia to keep you occupied for a whole month of bank holidays.
Ty Siamas in Dolgellau is a museum with a difference; it’s dedicated to the history of Welsh folk music, and includes many hands-on exhibits, demonstrations and fun activities for the musically-minded. Galeri in Caernarfon hosts all sorts of events, like art exhibitions, concerts and workshops; as does Theatr Harlech, whose recent events have included sand sculpture workshops on Harlech beach. And if you want to immerse yourself in the Welsh language for a few days, book a residential course at Nant Gwrtheyrn, the National Centre for Language and Culture.
3. Time Travelling
A small confession: there isn’t a time machine in Snowdonia, so you won’t be able to take an actual trip through time. But we have enough castles, Iron Age remains, Roman ruins and other historic sites to give you a sense of Snowdonia’s heritage, and that’s the next best thing.
Snowdonia has lots of historic houses, too, like Conwy‘s Plas Mawr, Bangor‘s Penrhyn, and the Llyn Peninsula’s Plas Yn Rhiw. And if you like your history really ancient, try the Roman ruins of Segontium at Caernarfon, or the remarkably preserved Tre’r Ceiri hill fort near Nefyn.
No weekend away would be complete without a souvenir or two to take home, and you won’t be disappointed with the shopping in Snowdonia.
From the big-name shopping centre at Bangor to the local market at Pwllheli; from the potter’s co-op in Conwy to the craft workshops at Corris; from the farm shop at Glasfryn to the huge delicatessen at Llanrwst – Snowdonia is a shopper’s paradise. Whether you’re shopping for locally-brewed beer, gifts carved from millions-of-years-old Welsh slate, paintings inspired by the Snowdonia landscape or ice cream made to an old, secret family recipe – you’ll find it all in Snowdonia, and still have change for a few award-winning sausages.
5. Family fun
If all this sounds too adult-oriented, don’t worry – there’s plenty going on in Snowdonia for children, too. Smaller children will love Gypsy Wood near Caernarfon and Dwyfor Ranch Rabbit Farm and Animal Park, Llanystumdwy (even adults have been known to ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ at the baby animals). Kids of all ages will appreciate Greenwood Forest Park, the eco-friendly amusement park with its human-powered rollercoaster. And King Arthur’s Labyrinth at Corris is fun for all the family, with its underground boat trip punctuated by tales of King Arthur’s adventures.