We were in the Lake District in England for a wedding and thought it would be fun to do something different for the last couple nights so we headed to Wales. Snowdonia National Park is the perfect location for a long weekend getaway if you have an extra 36 hours in the UK.
HOW TO GET THERE
We set off for Conwy in Snowdonia, which boasts both the sea and mountains - the best combination in my opinion. It’s an easy 90 minute drive from Manchester airport, which has direct flight access from Vancouver on Air Transat. Direct flights are really the only way to go, especially if you’re travelling with kids like we were.
WHERE TO STAY
Unfortunately things didn’t go according to plan with our Wales accommodation. The first AirBNB we’d reserved had major construction going on next door (like jackhammering so loud we couldn’t hear each other speak) so we immediately got out of there and found a new place to stay. Our new B&B was located in the charming hamlet of Dwygyfylchi near Penmaenmawr (gotta love the Welsh for their incredibly complex language), the most northern tip of the Snowdonia National Park. And we really lucked out. Woodbriar B&B was an absolute dream and resembled a boutique hotel more than a B&B. No detail was overlooked, from tea and espresso stations in each room to phone chargers and hair irons. All of the linens and bathroom product were luxurious. And the full breakfast was delicious. I could have stayed forever.
WHERE TO EAT
There were a couple charming restaurants and pubs just a few doors down so we never needed to go very far. If you’re craving something different, you have the choice between an Austrian Restaurant and an Indian Restaurant, or you can check out the traditional Welsh pub The Fairy Glen. The latter has quite the storied past, too! Conveniently, there’s a playground across the street so kids can burn off some extra energy while parents relax over dinner or drinks.
THINGS TO DO
Our first day there was went for a hike right from our door. It was super pretty and had a small stream at the start then quickly climbed in elevation. It was an immediate reminder that the Snowdonia Mountains were no mere hills - they’re steep.
The next day we ventured further afield and sought out the Druid Circle. While this hike can be done right from Dwygyfylchi, we thought it might be a bit far for the kids so we drove up to the trailhead.
What I love about hiking in the UK is that public paths allow you to go through farmland that’s still in operation (so long as you close the gates behind you and don’t venture from the footpath). It really gives you a special look at how shepherds and farmers must have lived hundreds of years ago.
It took us about an hour to hike up to the Druid Circle, an ancient rock formation of thirty large stones much like Stonehenge. Nobody really knows the history or meaning behind the Druid Circle; it’s believed to be 5,000 years old and in recent history, cremated remains of children have been found. Pretty incredible. The Druid Circle sits high above Conwy county and overlooks the sea, so be sure to bring your camera and a picnic to enjoy at the top.
You’ll need a rental car to efficiently get around Wales. This is a good reminder to have confidence when driving on the roads there. They were so narrow and winding at points, I didn’t think our wee car would get through let alone an ongoing vehicle.
Alas, our short jaunt to Wales was soon over but we know we will be back. Have you ever been to Snowdonia? What did you think?