Things to do in North Wales holiday cottages

Things to do in North Wales

Ed Roberts 21 June 2021

Towering mountains, golden beaches, blue oceans, iconic castles, and untamed wilds, North Wales is a holiday destination like no other. From the tip of the Llyn Peninsula to the dunes of Talacre, the banks of the spectacular Mawdacch Estuary, and the heights of Mount Snowdon, there are activities and places to visit galore the length and breadth of this dazzling region of Wales. 

Our guide to the best things to do in North Wales will help you discover some adventurous and cool ways to spend your holiday. To get the most out of your visit, browse our collection of self-catering holiday homes close to North Wales' attractions so that you can enjoy somewhere comfortable to fall back to between your adventures.

Climb Mount Snowdon

Climb Mount Snowdon

One of the top things to do in North Wales is to scale Wales’ tallest peak (1085 feet above sea level) on foot or by train. Enter Mount Snowdon, one of the British Isles’ most visited and beautiful mountains. Several trails wind up to the top, each one offering a different type of challenge for wayfarers; choose from Llanberis Path, Pyg Track, Rhyd Ddu Path, Snowdon Ranger, Miners Path or Watkin Path.

The Snowdon Mountain Railway, built in 1896, is a superb way for everybody to witness world-class vistas as they reveal themselves through the windows - the journey to the summit takes three-quarters of an hour. The service does not operate all year round and is also weather dependent, so check online in advance to book a ticket. This is sure to be one the most memorable of days out in North Wales. If you love beauty spots you can find the most Instagrammable places in Wales in this inspirational guide.

Address: Mount Snowdon Railway, Llanberis, Caernarfon LL55 4TU | OS ref: 6094 5434 | Map OL 17

Facilities: Parking, WCs, café, gift shop, visitor centre

A stroll through Gwydir Forest Park

A stroll through Gwydir Forest Park

One of the coolest day trips in North Wales is to Gwydir Forest Park. Situated near Betws-y-Coed, Gwydir is a trekker’s top pick. Follow mysterious old miners’ paths, forest walks and cycle tracks that encircle mirror-like Snowdonia lakes such as Llyn Elsi, Llyn Parc, Llyn Geirionydd, and Llyn Crafnant; the beauty happens on forever in Gwydir. Seek out the Coed Dan Tinas Trail, Cyrau Trail, and the Pen yr Allt Trail that set challenges for walkers of any ambition. There are two red-level mountain bike trails in the forest to seek out called Gwydir Mawr and Gwydir Bach. If you have time left during your trip to the Betws-y-Coed area, you could also enjoy the waterfall walks to Fairy Glen and Swallow Falls.

Address: Gwydir Forest Park, Llanrwst, Conwy LL27 0JB | OS ref: SH 790 609 | Map OL 17

Facilities: Parking

Take a sea cruise from the Llyn Peninsula

Take a sea cruise from the Llyn Peninsula

A great family day out in North Wales would be out on a boat in Cardigan Bay. Head to Pwllheli, which is the largest town on the Llyn Peninsula (it’s still very small) and popular with sailing and water sports enthusiasts; there is a lively centre and marina with views out across Cardigan Bay and the Irish Sea. On a coastal cruise, you can see the abundant sea life such as seals, seabirds, and dolphins.

A number of providers operate out of the marina including Shearwater Coastal Cruises; trips take in the spectacular cliffs and off-shore islands of St Tudwal’s, Gwylan’s, and Bardsey. The boats are also available for diving charters if you fancy some scuba diving exploits. This is one of North Wales' most exceptional tourist attractions we know of.

Address: Shearwater Coastal Cruises, Eriador, Lon Pin, Llanbedrog, Pwllheli, Gwynedd LL53 7PG

Facilities: WCs onboard

Go mad on a giant subterranean trampoline

Go mad on a giant subterranean trampoline

Looking for unusual things to do in North Wales? Look no further. Bounce Below is a family-friendly attraction designed by nutters for nutters. Venture underground to discover a giant trampoline in a vast cave! It’s based at Zip World Slate Caverns in the heart of Snowdonia National Park; hours of fun await you. If you are travelling with kids, then it is double the fun! This is one of the coolest things to do with kids in North Wales. Besides Bounce Below, Zip World can be found at two more locations in North Wales: Penrhyn Quarry, home to Velocity 2 (Europe’s longest zip line), and Fforest where you can live like an Ewok in the network of treetop walkways! 

Address: Zip World Slate Caverns, Blaenau Ffestiniog, LL41 3NB

Facilities: Parking, WCs, café, gift shop

Go wild at the fun park

Go wild at the fun park

North Wales’ leading family attraction, Knightly’s Fun Park is the place to be. The kids will need no persuading; a day trip to a fairground with rides galore is a must, no arguments. With classic rides like bumper cars, a swinging pirate ship, waltzers, go-karts, teacups and something called the Extreme Machine, there is a week’s worth of fun to unleash let alone a day’s worth. There are places to eat on-site too, along with a gift shop to delve into. This is a superb choice of destination for an awesome family day out in North Wales.

Address: Knightly's Fun Park, Sandbank Rd, Towyn, Abergele LL22 9LD

Facilities: Long Bar and Restaurant, shops, cafés and pubs in the seaside resort of Towyn just behind the fun park.

Enjoy some bird spotting

Enjoy some bird spotting

RSPB Conwy is a prime place for a day of bird spotting in North Wales. Situated on the east bank of the Conwy Estuary, the bird reserve offers visitors a gentle and quiet atmosphere in which to watch birds in their ministry. Regular species to train your binoculars onto include lapwings, black-tailed godwits, and sedge warblers. The scenery is exceptional across the low-lying reserve and it feels like a retreat even though this corner of North Wales can become very quiet at certain times of year. What a delightful and unusual thing to do in North Wales.

Address: Llandudno Junction, Conwy, LL31 9XZ

Facilities: Visitor centre, parking, gift shop, WCs, café, viewpoint, picnic area, children’s play area, binocular hire

Hike the Snowdonia Way | Map OL 17

Hike the Snowdonia Way | Map OL 17

Challenge yourself to walk the Snowdonia Way in less than a week. North Wales’ premier route for wayfarers of all disciplines is 97 miles long and is loosely divided up into six chunks. Let yourself off the leash and follow its course from Machynlleth to Conwy on the north coast.

Highlights to enjoy along the Snowdonia Way include the adventurer’s town of Betws-y-Coed, Dovey Forest, views of Cadair Idris and Tarren Hendre, the River Mawddach, Dolgellau, Coed y Brenin Forest, the hills of Rhinogydd, Trawsfynydd Lake, Cnicht, Llyn Glaslyn, and The Moelwyns. You can even catch sight of the mighty Mount Snowdon during your trails. This is one of the most arduous activities to do in North Wales; make responsible preparations before embarking on a long-distance walk of this kind. 

Location: Ordnance Survey Map OL17

Facilities: Parking, WCs, and cafes exist along the length of the Snowdonia Way. 

Visit a castle with a fine view

Visit a castle with a fine view

You could argue for days about Wales’ most beautiful castles, but we guarantee that once you have visited Harlech Castle and its magnificent views, it will become a firm favourite. Towering above Harlech’s long dune-fringed beach, this castle graces the views for miles around, and it has competition too, because you can see Mount Snowdon when you look inland, and the bewitching distant peaks of the Llyn Peninsula across Cardigan Bay.

This castle may have loomed in Edward I’s day, but nowadays it is primed to evoke pleasant memories of all those who visit. Castle bagging is one of the top things to do in North Wales.

Address: Harlech Castle, Harlech, LL46 2YH

Facilities: Gift shop, WCs, bike storage, parking, digital trail, dogs welcome, water refill station, refreshments

Browse a map of Wales

Don’t forget to check out our interactive map of Wales and get to know this incredible country even better.

Stay in a self-catering holiday cottage in North Wales

We have a lot of self-catering holiday homes all across North Wales, from sea view apartments to valley farmhouses and everything in between. We offer the perfect holiday backdrop to your action-packed escape to North Wales, so browse our collection of exciting properties today to find your perfect hideaway.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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