With mile after mile of open space, majestic mountains and rugged coast, Snowdonia is the ideal destination for visitors that enjoy an active holiday. From walking and climbing to sailing and wakeboarding, keeping active in Snowdonia couldn’t be easier.
No other part of the UK can offer so diverse a range of year-round activities and attractions as Snowdonia, which was described by The Rough Guide as “the most dramatic and alluring region in Wales” and is considered by many as the UK’s leading outdoor activities centre.
If you’re planning an active break, here are a few suggestions of ways to keep active in Snowdonia – whatever the weather.
Snowdonia is renowned for its mountain biking, and has some of the best facilities in the UK. Coed y Brenin, near Dolgellau, is perhaps the most notable mountain biking centre in Snowdonia – but with all the regeneration work that’s been going on in the mountains around Blaenau Ffestiniog, Coed y Brenin has some competition! Work in Bro Ffestiniog sees the creation of several mountain biking trails as well as a Velorail, which is expected to be up and running by the end of summer 2012.
Some of Britain’s most iconic golf courses are to be found in Snowdonia, and many of these are part of the North Wales James Braid Golf Trail, which takes in ten North Wales golf courses designed by this famous course architect. Of note is Nefyn and District Golf Course, on the Llyn Peninsula, which is instantly recognisable for The Point, the beautiful peninsula that provides some of the best views golfers can experience in the UK.
There are many excellent marinas along Snowdonia’s coast. The 400-berth marina at Pwllheli is the largest and most modern in Wales. Caernarfon, Conwy and Y Felinheli have marinas too. If you haven’t sailed before and would like to take lessons, pop over to Plas Menai, which has excellent facilities for sailing and other watersports.
Snowdonia is famous for its mountains, and is home to the highest mountain in England and Wales – the mighty Snowdon. But Snowdon isn’t our only mountain, of course; Cadair Idris in Southern Snowdonia is just as impressive, and Cnicht – AKA the Welsh Matterhorn – is another favourite. Y Rhinogau, Y Glyderau and Y Carneddau mountain ranges are all popular with climbers and walkers too. On days when the weather is too rough for outdoor climbing – or if you want to get in a spot of practice – the Beacon Climbing Centre is an excellent place to improve your climbing skills.
There are so many excellent walking routes in Snowdonia, we couldn’t possibly list them all. But for starters, there’s the Wales Coast Path, the Llyn Coastal Path, the North Wales Path, the Slate Valleys Path, the Mary Jones Walk, and of course the many walking paths up Snowdon itself. Snowdonia also boasts several fantastic nature reserves, where walking is a real treat; in fact, the Snowdonia National Park has more National Nature Reserves than any other UK National Park.
We’ve already talked about sailing – but of course, other water sports are available! Abersoch is a great place to start if you’re planning a wet and wild break in Snowdonia; it has two beaches that are very popular with water babies, where surfing, wakeboarding and windsurfing are especially popular. Hell’s Mouth on the Llyn Peninsula is another great place for surfing. Llyn Tegid in Bala – the largest natural lake in Wales – is jam packed with watery activities, and just up the road is the National White Water Centre, where you can enjoy all the thrills of white water rafting among some of the UK’s most dramatic scenery. And Snowdonia even has its own dedicated wakeboarding centre: check out the Wakeparc at Glasfryn Parc, where there are tons of other fun activities to enjoy too.
There are numerous bridle paths in Snowdonia, and many of our accommodation providers also cater for guests’ horses – Ddol Helyg Barn and Farmhouse near Llanberis is one of many offering stabling facilities. If you don’t have your own horse, or want to take a few lessons, there are many excellent riding centres and stables in the area, like Snowdonia Riding Stables at Waunfawr, near Caernarfon, and Cilan Riding Centre at Abersoch.
We’re the first to hold our hands up and say the weather in Snowdonia isn’t always ideal for outdoor activities. But don’t let a drop of rain stop you being active – Snowdonia’s geography is such that it can be pouring down in one valley, and hot and sunny in the next. But on those days when the weather really has you beaten, there are several excellent leisure centres in the region, offering facilities as diverse as badminton, climbing walls and swimming. Being active in Snowdonia has never been easier, so no excuses – do something active next time you visit!