Wet weather ideas / rest days
Key: Beach Castle Wet weather / rest day idea
If you are spending any amount of time in North Wales, then the chances are that you will have at least one day when it is just too wet and windy to go into the hills. Alternatively, it is possible (not likely) that you may have two weeks of sunshine and just want a couple of days without walking. The purpose of this section is to provide a few suggestions to fill those non-mountain days. There are clearly going to be other activities which I have not mentioned, and there are numerous tourist offices to advise of these, and to give further details on those which I have briefly touched on here.
The choice of beach is large. I will just describe a few here. Black Rock sands is a big "drive on" beach (please note kiting is not allowed during popular periods). As you can see it is very sandy, and ideal for the younger members of the family. It takes a good hour to walk from one end to the other. From Caeernarfon take the A499. After a few miles branch left onto the A487 to Prthmadog. Half way along the high street, turn right (signpost to Black Rock Sands) and follow to the beach.
Harlech beach is similar in quality. It is used by BVGS as an enjoyable afternoon for students following a morning tour of Llechwedd slate caverns and a walk around Harlech castle. Harlech itself is a town situated on the coast, just off the A496.
Porth Dinllaen (Morfa Nefyn) is a beach which I used to go to frequently with my parents. It is towards the end of the Llyn Peninsula off the A497. There is a walk away from Morfa Nefyn which can take you along the beach till you arrive at the lifeboat building. You can then make your way on to the headland and walk back by the edge of the golf course. In the other direction you can walk ase. In the other direction you can walk along the top to Nefyn where there is another good beach. Depending on the tide it may be possible to walk back along the sands.
There are several beaches on Anglesey. The one which I have visited most frequently is Red Wharf Bay. There are several small rock pools which always appeal to John (an Ocean Scientist shown below), and there is an expanse of sand too. To reach it cross Menai Bridge and follow the A5025. You turn off onto the B5109 and then left shortly after. Other beaches on the island include Newborough, from which given the right tidal conditions you can reach Llanddwyn island.
For those people interested in Birds, given the right conditions a trip to Bardsey Island may go down well.
The castles of Wales mark an important part of Welsh history, having being built by Edward I during his invasion of Wales. There are several all around Wales. I am recommending some which I have visited, and have found to be still in good condition and also educational. Caernarfon Castle is just down the coast from Bangor, and the location of Harlech has been described previously. I have included Criccieth which is not really as good for a trip since it was the holiday resort where I stayed for over 18 summers. Beaumaris Castle (on the A545 Anglesey) is also open to the public.
Penrhyn Castle is a 19th century fantasy castle run by the National Trust. It contains mock Norman furniture and a collection of paintings. There is also an industrial railway museum, a model railway museum and a dolls museum on the site.
Having been to Caernarfon Castle the air museum is just a little further around the coast. Here you can have a look around or even book a pleasure flight around Snowdon.
Further out of the region we are looking at is Llangollen (on the A5). If you go there then you can take a walk up the back of the town to an old fort, and if you are there on the ce back of the town to an old fort, and if you are there on the correct day then you may even see Thomas.
There are two power stations I have been around. Trawsfynydd is off the A470, and is a nuclear station that is been de-comissioned. I am unsure of how much longer they will do tours for. First Hydro in Llanberis run an excellent tour of their pumped storage power station. There is an audio-visual presentation followed by a tour of the station which is built inside the mountain Elidir Fawr. There is also an exhibition. A recent school trip found this very interesting.
If it is waterfalls you are after, then there are three which do not require too much effort to see. Aber Falls has been described elsewhere in this site. Pistyll Rhaedr is up a long narrow road off the B4580. It is on the Berwyn range of mountains but you can drive right up to it, and there is a good cafe. Swallow Falls is just outside Betws y Coed on the A5. If you want you can pay to walk right down to the falls, or walk along a forest track from the Ugly House to see the falls from the other side for free.
I have never been to Bodnant Gardens which is on the A470 between Llandudno and Betws y Coed. Those who have say that it is well worth a visit at the right time of year.
The Sea Zoo on Anglesey (signed from the A4080) is a good value for money trip which gives an insight into the wide variety of life in the sea. There are live fish and excellent explanations. There are hands on exhibits and the collection includes seahorses, hand raised lobsters in various stages of development, and a pearl exhibition.
The Butterfly Palace (again I have not visited) contains many exotic butterflies and birds. You are able to walk through the exhibit with the butterflies.
Shearwater offer two daily cruises from Pwllheli Marina (bookable at the tourist information centre in Pwllheli). The first is 2 hours long and gives an opportunity to see seals and seabirds as well as the dramatic coastline of Hells Mouth. The second is a longer 3.5 hour cruise which goes around the shores of Ynys Enlli (Bardsey Island) and gives you an opportunity to see dolphins and porpoises in addition to the above. Their web site contains more information including maps of the routes taken and where wildlife may be found on the cruises. Although I have not been on a cruise myself they look interesting.