A holiday in the UK isn’t usually at the top of peoples lists. Especially to the people that live here. Most of the time, its residents are trying to find the best way to leave the country, rather than find a staycation. Though with the current rise in holiday makers in Britain, more and more of us are searching for the best spots to escape to. Wales is already a popular haven for tourists. Most of them take advantage of the dramatic landscape the area is known for. Snowdonia National Park is perhaps one of, if not the, most famous of these hubs for natural wonder.
As the largest National Park in Wales, Snowdonia has a wealth of diverse landscapes and settings. This, naturally, lends itself perfectly to visitors. The Park is filled with things to do, from heart-racing thrills to wind-down relaxation. All surrounded by the striking Welsh countryside. Here’s why Snowdonia should be your next staycation site…
As the root for the name of the Snowdonia Park, scaling Mount Snowdon is a must for anyone in the area to complete. As one of Wales’s most famous and recognisable landmarks, it’d be a shame to skip it. The jagged peaks here form a shield around the mountain, creating a concentration of sheer cliffs and hills. Severe terrain and stunning beauty are hallmarks of the area.
To summit the peak, there are six different routes to choose from. Each with different difficulty levels and lengths. From the lengthy but easy Llanberis Path, to the short-but-steep Llwybr Track. No matter which you pick, you’ll be treated to unmatched views of the expansive countryside around you. Weather permitting, you can even see Ireland one way, and England the other!
All this hiking and excitement can become quite tiring. So, to renew your energy and zeal, a visit to the Snowdon Café should be entertained. Though not open year round, the Café sits atop the mountain summit, a perfect spot for a pit-stop. They supply delicious locally sourced (when available) treats for those needing a little refreshment. A great place for the family to rest after a long trek!
On the Eastern Shore of Lake (Llyn) Tegid sits the curious town of Bala. Isolated by looming mountains on all sides, Bala has historically been a stronghold for the Welsh language and culture in Snowdonia.
Walking through the lakeside streets of Bala, you can’t help but notice the perfect postcard setting it is situated in. It sometimes looks more like an Alpine village than a British one! But the innate Welsh-ness of the village is what snaps you back. With countless pubs and inns serving home-cooked staples, you get the feel you’re in the heart of the community while visiting. The unique Welsh language is often spoken more than English here too, furthering the connection to the culture.
For a small piece of serenity to match the stillness of the mountains, Caerau Gardens could be the thing you’re looking for. Meticulously groomed by husband and wife duo Toby and Stephanie Hickish, the Gardens offer a less strenuous look into what Snowdonia has available. Stephanie’s delicious cakes also help matters greatly!
On the flip-side, The National White Water Centre can provide a more fast-paced approach to your trip. With canoeing and kayaking lessons available, the centre makes good use of the ideal conditions famed here. Plus, the café is great for lunch for the whole family, so you wont have to worry about lugging your food along with you on your adventure.
I never said the place names would be easy!
Nestled in a gorgeous valley in Snowdonia Forest Park, Betws-y-Coed is a popular inland resort and accommodation setting. With countless inns and hotels offering stellar service for guests. The combination of man-made quaint buildings and welcoming locals, with natural wonders galore, all add to the charm of the village.
Situated at the intersection of 3 river tributaries, water forces have changed the look of the area over time. Swallow falls is the epitome of this. Misty white water cascades eerily down the slate-grey rocks before plunging back into the main fast flow. This all contributes to the idyllic look of Betws-y-Coed. The village makes a great home-base for those exploring Snowdonia, with plenty of outdoor activities to keep you entertained.
On the main street, Holyhead Road, you’ll find the numerous inns and bed and breakfasts you could use as your hub. But plenty of other shops line the street too. Specialised and outdoor clothing stores are very popular here, just as the surroundings would suggest. The tourist centre can also give you details on more must-see items to add to your list. Near the rail station, the museum and a restaurant are also worth a visit. This way you can learn more about the area, and begin to understand what makes Snowdonia the place it is today.
With an area so concentrated with interest and intrigue, it would be impossible to cover everything Snowdonia boasts. There’s simply too much! But, here are a few activities to really throw yourself into the spirit of things…
Activities in Snowdonia National Park
Zip World –
After the hiking and kayaking previously mentioned, it may be valuable to see the Park from a different angle. Even if it is a more extreme one…
The company Zip World provides quality outdoor activities and sports across much of Wales. Most activities include a zip line, all safety tested and guided by qualified professionals. They have small lines and harnesses for the little thrill-seekers in the family. Along with longer and faster ones for the more grown up adrenaline junkies.
For those who really are daring, the Velocity 2 is an exhilarating experience. It is the worlds fastest zip line, clocking in at 100mph! All while soaring over the unbeaten views on offer. You will zoom down their 1.5km line, providing riders with a 2 hour long heart-pounding descent. You even travel over an old quarry lake, alongside whoever you choose to ride beside. That’s right! You can even ride next to someone the whole way, allowing you to share an amazing experience, together.
Though if heights or speed aren’t your thing, spectators are given the VIP treatment. Tuck into delicious food and drink at their bistro-style restaurant Blondin. Share the same views as the riders, from the comfort of your chair.
Other adventures here include the quarry flyer, and quarry karts. Let gravity do the work as you slalom down old quarry hills, and through the obstacle course.
Snowdon Mountain Railway
Mount Snowdon does have some routes on the easier side to climb, but still this is not accessible to all. So, provisions for this have been made. The Mountain features its very own rail service, all the way to the summit.
Beginning at Llanberis and ending at the top of the mountain, the service is a truly breath-taking journey. Shortly after departing, you will cross over 2 picturesque viaducts over the Afon Hwch river, where the Ceunant Mawr waterfall dramatically plunges into the gorge below.
Once you have moved from the settled area, pure and unadulterated countryside greets you with its majestic peaks and valleys. This stretch of nature will continue until the summit, as you pass by local landmarks and famed beauty spots. You may even see a peregrine falcon on your travels, the worlds fastest animal! At Halfway Station, the steam engine refuels ready for the final ascent up the mountain.
As you reach the top, awe-inspiring views of the surrounding Snowdonia valleys are sure to make your trip worth it. Along with the UK’s highest visitors centre to welcome you!
It’s A Small World
Most of what’s been covered about Snowdonia has been the natural attractions and activities. Which is understandable, the area is gorgeous! But Snowdonia also has something for those looking for a more particular experience.
It’s A Small World is a lovingly created hub of indoor activities. Placed perfectly in the centre of the National Park, the centre is ideal for a half-day trip or just a pitstop on your travels. Choose from a wide range of fun, mini activities like crazy golf, R/C boat racing, a Scalextric track with 6 lanes, and much more!
The centre is jam-packed with activities suited to the whole family, no matter the age or ability. Plus, there’s no need to worry about bringing your own food, the on-site Bridge Café serves tea, breakfasts, cakes and light-lunches. A great get-up-and-go activity.
Neighbouring attractions here include a Cave-In, a tour through their very own activity cave. Plus they have laser gun battles for those craving a more hectic trip. Next door also, the 3D Jigsaw exhibition is worth a detour. Marvel at the handmade jigsaw landmarks on display, all free of charge!
This Welsh pocket of natural splendour is filled-to-the-brim with things to do. A trip here will certainly be one to remember. The unforgettable scenery, and welcoming locals will ensure your stay is one for the books. The sky-scraping peaks and dipping valleys become so enchanting, alluring you to stay for longer. If you manage to tear yourself away from this special region of Britain, absence does make the heart grow fonder in this case. You’ll want to keep going back, again and again.
So, why not make Snowdonia your next staycation?