Snowdonia really puts Wales on the map. But it’s not the only place worth exploring in this part of the world.
If you ask us, North Wales ticks all the boxes for a family holiday. There’s beautiful beaches, epic adventures, rare wildlife, and well-preserved historic sites that span from Roman settlements to the Middle Ages.
Of course, Mount Snowdon and Snowdonia National Park are the highlights. But if you can find the time to spend at least a week touring the rest of North Wales, you certainly won’t be disappointed. Here’s why...
4 must-see sights in North Wales and Snowdonia
1. Snowdonia National Park
Did you know that 26,000 people live in Snowdonia National Park? Talk about having a great backyard!
Once here, you (literally!) can’t miss Mount Snowdon: the peak that gave its name to the whole area. Sitting at 1,085 meters, this is not only an incredible sight but a popular spot for climbers and walkers of all ages. If you plan a hiking trip with your kids, prepare well — it takes between 5 to 8 hours to reach the top!
But if you want all the scenery, with less of a walk, you can still access the summit on the Snowdon Mountain Railway. For £25 for adults, and £16 for children, you’ll be taking a family selfie at the top within an hour!
And don’t miss a chance to explore the foot of the mountain via the Snowdon Sherpa bus service. This gives a great insight into life in Snowdonia National Park, by dropping you off in all the local villages.
2. Anglesey Island
Anglesey, in the north west, has to be one of the top family destinations in Wales.
On warm days, build sandcastles and paddle on the blug flag accredited Newborough Beach — you’ll even have views of Snowdonia in the distance! And if the weather’s a little less desirable, then Anglesey Sea Zoo is a great way to spend a rainy day.
The island is easily reached via road bridge from mainland Wales, and it’s worth just driving around to get your bearings; Anglesey is a Green Flag ‘Great British Drive’, thanks to its stunning coastline.
3. Whistling Sands and Splash Point beach
If you’ve not got time to reach Anglesey, there are plenty of stunning beaches on the mainland, too.
Whistling Sands and Splash Point are among the most popular beaches in North Wales, where you can enjoy endless sands or surf the waves. Dogs are welcome as well — great if you’re bringing the family furrball along for the ride.
Then, when you’ve had enough sun, simply hop to the nearby towns of Pwllheli and Rhyl for some delicious Welsh food. Crumpets with cheese? Now that’s something even the fussiest of eaters will love!
4. Conwy Castle
Conwy Castle was built by Edward I in the 11th Century, making it almost 750 years old. That said, it’s still in pretty good shape and makes for a mind-blowing day out for explorers. Climb the spiral staircases and look out over the sand and sea below.
The fortress was attacked on various occasions, and kids will really be able to imagine what it was like to defend the keep from all sides. There’s nothing like a history lesson right in amongst the action.
3 must-do family activities in North Wales and Snowdonia
1. Discover the wild side of North Wales
North Wales is home to many traditional Welsh farms, giving kids the opportunity to see Welsh mountain ewes, Black cattle, and even a few alpacas! For the most family-friendly experience, Children’s Farm Park in Llanfair, Gwynedd is specifically designed for little wildlife lovers.
But for something a little less domesticated, keep your eyes peeled for ospreys, merlins, ravens, welsh mountain goats, and otters who also live in the area. You might even catch a glimpse of the elusive European polecat!
Many stores nearby sell child-sized binoculars, so why not set your kids the challenge of spotting as much wildlife as they can? That’ll keep them quiet for… a minute or two?
2. Explore Roman ruins across the county
North Wales and Snowdonia have strong Roman connections, something kids love learning about.
Visit the forts of Aberffraw, Brithdir, and Bryn-y-Gefeiliau to help the whole family better understand how Wales developed into the country it is today. (Psst: the Tomen y Mur is a true hidden gem that’s not signposted, but certainly worth hunting down. Just keep the secret to yourself!)
3. Whizz across Europe’s longest zipline
If you’re still not tired, Zip World near the Penrhyn quarry is a big favourite with the kids.
Here, brave hearts can see the world from a whole new angle, while zooming across the longest zip-line in Europe (it’s over a mile!). There’s also go-karting, a quarry tour and another, mobile, zip line called the Big Red. Guaranteed to wipe the little ones out before bedtime!
The best time to visit North Wales and Snowdonia?
Being one of the wettest areas in the UK, you have to make smart choices when it comes to travel plans in North Wales and Snowdonia. The summer months are your best bet, but it’s still likely to be chilly during the mornings and evenings.
What to pack for North Wales and Snowdonia?
As temperatures can drop pretty low at the start and end of each day, we’d recommend lots of layers when packing for North Wales and Snowdonia.
If you’re taking on the challenge of any mountain trails, good quality hiking shoes are an absolute must. There’s nothing like a broken sole to ruin a fun family day out!
Getting around North Wales and Snowdonia
The Cambrian Coast Line scenic railway carries you straight into North Wales and Snowdonia from elsewhere in Wales — it takes you all the way to the Llŷn Peninsula!
But if you’re driving from home in the UK, you’ll find it easy enough to explore North Wales by car. Remember to set off on foot a few days though; so much of Snowdonia National Park is best explored with nothing but a map in hand!
Visitors from Ireland will find easy ferry journeys from Dublin to Holyhead in Anglesey. There’s 10 crossings each day, taking around 2-3 hours.