After a very traumatic camping experience, you’d think North Wales would’ve left a bitter taste in my mouth. While initially, it did, I now look back with fond memories of truly beautiful scenery and landscapes. Whether camping is for you or not, there’s no doubt that anyone and everyone can appreciate this beautiful part of the country. So, here is a list of the best things to do in Snowdonia National Park, and the surrounding area.
Portmeirion is a small picturesque village on the West coast of North Wales, which opened in 1926. It’s made up of iconic architecture, historic cottages, a hotel, restaurants, a spa, and beautiful gardens. It’s somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for a long time, and it was even more stunning in person. You may recognise Portmeirion as the backdrop to the 1960’s cult classic series, The Prisoner.
Before I visited Portmeirion, I thought it was just a cute village you could visit. When we got there though, it became apparent that you actually have to pay to buy a ticket. At £12 per person it’s not particularly cheap, but it was something I’d wanted to see for so long so we just bit the bullet.
If you book online you can get 10% off advanced tickets. You can also find discount vouchers in the attractions booklets available in local tourist offices.
For more pictures of Portmeirion, visit my Instagram page.
Snowdonia’s Secret Infinity Pool
I’d read about the secret infinity pool while I was researching North Wales. I’d been reading loads of other blog posts about the best things to do in Snowdonia and as soon as I saw photos I knew I had to find it.
After trawling the internet for about 2 hours (seriously) I finally found it’s location. It’s kept a secret for good reason, as we were the only people there and I’d hate for it to turn into a huge tourist attraction, as it’s actually a farm’s water supply. Apparently people often go up there to have late-night parties, and have been known to leave litter and all sorts there, so I think it’s best kept a secret.
Obviously I’m not going to give out its location, but I’ll give you a clue. It’s not far from Llanberis, and it’s only visible on Google Earth – NOT Apple or Google Maps.
Once we’d parked, we began the walk up the hill to find it. It’s not that far, but obviously it is all uphill and very rocky, so it’s difficulty will depend on your fitness level. My husband found it very easy, but if you aren’t much of a hiker, or have a chronic illness like I do (you can read about that here), you’ll find it more challenging. I had walking poles with me which was a huge help, so if you struggle with this type of thing I’d highly recommend using some. I knew I was going to be exhausted after doing it, which I was, but it was totally worth it and I felt so proud of myself afterwards. This was definitely my favourite of all the things to do in Snowdonia.
Bodnant Garden National Trust
Located just outside of Conwy, there were two specific reasons I wanted to visit Bodnant Garden:
The Laburnum Arch is usually in bloom around late May/early June. If you’re a photographer like me, I’d recommend either going as soon as they open, or towards the end of the day when everyone is starting to leave. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself silently cursing all the other humans that exist and are getting in your shot that day.
The Pin Mill
You don’t even know how long I was stood there trying to get a shot with no people in. Seriously. We were there on a sunny Sunday of a bank holiday weekend. Can you even imagine? Luckily, my persistence paid off and I managed to get a few shots before my camera battery died.
The other parts of Bodnant Garden were also stunning. We didn’t get a chance to see everything because the whole site was so huge, but next time I’ll definitely go back to see the rest.
I’d had Swallow Falls on my mental list of things to do in Snowdonia while we were there, but I was so exhausted and very much NOT enjoying the camping side of my trip so I’d completely forgotten about it. It was only by sheer chance that we passed it and decided to stop.
The falls are accessed by a turnstile on the main road. It costs £2 per person, and you can either park in the nearby lay-by for free, or I’ve heard you can also park at the hotel across the road for £2 as well. Once you’re through the turnstile it’s really not far, as the river & falls run alongside the road. Definitely well worth seeing if you’re going there for photos.
Beddgelert is a small town/village in North Wales where our campsite was located. It’s very close to Mt Snowdown so it’s great if that’s what you’re there for. We went there for dinner one night, and it’s a lovely village to walk around on a sunny evening.
Other great things to do in Snowdonia that I didn’t get around to doing are: obviously hiking Mount Snowdon, visiting the Fairy Glen Gorge, exploring Conwy and Conwy Castle, and boating on the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct on the Llangollen Canal.
We had some amazing vegan meals out, too. If you want to read about the best vegan spots and restaurants in North Wales, click here.
What’s your favourite part of North Wales?