Staycation is the new vacation: 10 Top Tips for North Wales ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ท๓ ฌ๓ ณ๓ ฟ

North Wales is a stunning part of the world! I may be slightly biased as I used to live there. As international has mainly stopped during the pandemic, the boyfriend and I decided to take a staycation with his family in the heart of North Wales, so here are 10 top tips.

I lived in Bangor for nearly 10 years, so every time I cross that border I get the warm fuzzy feeling of being home.

The drive was around 4 hours, but I would recommend taking a car as it makes it easier to get around. The buses and trains are good but can be irregular at times and not everywhere you might want to go is accessible on public transport.

1. The Lone Tree at Llyn Padarn (Llanberis)

Park in the car park by Lake Padarn and follow the path around to the left until you spot the lone tree. There is even a bench there so you can sit and enjoy the tranquility. It’s also fun to walk to the other side of the lake (approx 20-30 minutes) to see the old quarry and to walk along one of the trails for beautiful lake views. It is possible to scuba dive in the quarry lake and paddle boards and kayaks can be hired for Lake Padarn.

Top Tip: Best view is at sunset

The Lone Tree

2. Llanberis and Snowdon

Llanberis itself is a cute and brightly coloured little village, set just above Llyn Padarn, with a great chippie! I also love how the sheep just wonder freely.
It is also in close proximity to Mount Snowdon. You can jump on a shuttle bus in the village, which will take you to Pen-y-Pas where you can pick up the mountain trail.It’s so hard to judge the weather for walking up but walking up in driving wind and rain isn’t for me!A few summers ago I took the train to the summit. Expensive at ยฃ31 return but worth it I think! It was a nice sunny day when I went up and stayed like that the whole way up. Unfortunately I couldn’t see the view from the top but luckily there was no wind or rain.

Top Tip: You are in Wales so bring walking boots and a raincoat!

Cloudy summit
Cloudy Summit
half way to the summit
Half way to the summit
Summit in wind and rain
The summit in wind and rain

3. Betws-y-Coed

This is a lovely village about a 20 minute drive from Llanberis. There are beautiful stone tea rooms so sit and watch the world go by (or a pub if you prefer that!) At the station there are old fashioned carriages that have been converted into a cafe and this is a fun place to have a snack. During the summer season, I’d recommend booking.

This village is also a place where there are plenty of activities. My group decided on doing the Zip Forest. There you can toboggan or zip line down the mountain, plummet and much more! I declined to join them in the trees but followed them with my camera with my feet being planted firmly on terra firma!

Swallow falls is a beautiful waterfall a couple of miles outside of the village. You can walk right down to it, but I think the best view is from about half way up. There is an entry fee of ยฃ2.

Swallow Falls, North Wales
Swallow Falls


4. Menai Bridge

This is the first village if you arrive on the island from over the Menai Bridge. There are some great pubs serving delicious food, my favourites being the Anglesey Arms and Tafarn-y-Bont (unfortunately closed due to covid) and the Four Crosses. Occasionally, you can spot a film crew filming the Welsh soap ‘Rownd a Rownd’.
There are some beautiful walks along the Menai Straits looking up at the bridge and along the Belgian Promenade, viewing the bridge from the opposite direction.

Menai Bridge, North Wales
Menai Bridge

5. LLanfairpwll

The next village along is named Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (all together now!) and is always worth a stop. The name, the 2nd longest in the world, is pronounced Llan-vire-pool-guin-gill-go-ger-u-queern-drob-ooll-llandus-ilio-gogo-goch and is roughly translated as The Church of St. Mary of the pool of the white hazels near the rapid whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio of the red cave.
If you go to the station, you can take a great picture of the sign (and even stand underneath it) and there is a very interesting shop there too.

Llanfairpg, North Wales

6. The Giant’s Stepping Stones

These are also known as the Rhuddgaer Stepping Stones and are down a long track between Dwyran and Newborough. It can be quite hard to find as the path looks private, but it is open to the public.

Top Tip: Don’t go at high tide as you won’t be able to see them!

Stepping Stones, North Wales
Now you see them….
Stepping Stones, North Wales
….and now you don’t

7. Newborough Beach

Anglesey has lots of beautiful beaches but my favourite will always be Newborough Beach. It is 3.5 miles long of beautiful sand and beautiful views. If you’re lucky you might even see a red squirrel in the forest behind.

At low tide it is possible to walk over to Llanddwyn Island for some pretty walks and even prettier views. The name Llanddwyn means ‘The Church of St. Dwynwen’. She is the Welsh patron saint of lovers, making her the Welsh equivalent of St. Valentine. Her feast day is January 25th.

Llanddwyn Island, Anglesey
Llanddwyn Island

8. Beaumaris

This is a very pretty village in the opposite direction from Newborough. As you enter the village there is a row of pretty, pastel-coloured houses. It is a nice walk along the Straits and you can see across to Bangor and Llanfairfechan and on an extremely clear day, the Great Orme at Llandudno.

Beaumaris Castle (complete with moat) is fun to visit and there are lots of little huts near the pier offering cruises to Puffin Island. I’m very unlucky as I have still yet to see a puffin! There are also rib rides being offered – lots of fun but not for the faint hearted!

After all this it’s probably time for a sit down. I’d recommend the Pier House Cafe, which does the best food in Beaumaris and has a lovely little garden overlooking the Menai Straits. When you are eating outside, beware of the seagulls!

Beaumaris Castle, Anglesey
Beaumaris Castle
Beaumaris, North Wales

9. Penmon

There are some brilliant views along the coast road on the way here. At the entrance there is a ruined priory but drive to the end of the track and you will be rewarded with the view of the lighthouse.

The beach here is stony and good for bird watching (so I’m told) and there is a little cafe that opens on sunny days. Sometimes, when the Northern Lights are visible from North Wales, Penmon is the place to go to watch this phenomenon as there are no street lamps or house lights. Phosphorescent sea has also been spotted here.

Penmon, North Wales

10. Llandudno

This is a town about 20 minute drive down the A55 from Bangor. It has some lovely shop fronts, a beach and of course a pier, complete with a variety of arcades. This is always popular with the little ones.

Llandudno is also home to the Great Orme, a mountain with brilliant views and now a disused copper mine. To reach the top you take Britain’s only funicular that runs on public roads. It is possible to spend the night in the lighthouse. This is definitely on my list of places to stay!

11. Aber Falls

I’m going to sneak one more in here as I love a good waterfall. Aber Falls is about 30 minutes from Bangor and is one of the tallest waterfalls in Britain. It is a short walk up to it (steep in places) but worth it once you get there!

Aber Falls, North Wales

Where to stay

There are always plenty of places to stay in Bangor, surrounding towns such as Llanberis and on Anglesey. Check out my handy travel apps page with apps for hotels, B&Bs and AirB&B!

For other staycation ideas, have a look at my posts on Edinburgh and Cornwall.


Brit girl on a bummel. A solo female traveller accompanied by her camera, aiming to see as much of the world as possible and sharing what she's learnt along the way!

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