My great British road trip has started strong with stops in some of England’s most beautiful destinations. But after a week on the road, it’s time to head to Wales. I’ve spent time in the Brecon Beacons and the south over the last few years, and I’ve been itching to explore more of the north. Now my patience is being rewarded with the discovery of 7 great places on my road trip in North Wales.
Road Trip in North Wales
After traveling to the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, and Chester, my boyfriend and I hop in our camper van and spend 5 days driving around North Wales. Here’s what we find.
We choose Denbigh as our first stop, mostly because it’s a good place to break up the drive from Chester to Snowdonia National Park. But when we arrive we discover it’s a lot more than that. The high street is lovely, and the side street we park on is called Love Lane. Swoon. Add to that the ruins of a hilltop castle and Denbigh becomes a highlight of our time in North Wales.
2. Snowdonia National Park
But what comes next is even better. The drive from Denbigh to Snowdonia is nothing short of breathtaking. As flat ground gives way to rolling hills and mountains, the drama unfolds as the road curves.
Once in Snowdonia, we spend two days doing as much outdoor exploration as we can. We’re unlucky with the weather on our first day, but it doesn’t stop us from walking around Llyn Idwal lake. The two-hour hike takes us by stunning peaks and past the Idwal Slabs, a mountaineering training area for serious climbers including Everest conqueror Edmund Hillary.
Down south, we walk in the Coed Ganllwyd National Nature Reserve. The three-hour hike takes us along the River Gamlan and past the magical Rhaeadr Ddu waterfalls. Heavy rain the previous night means the water is gushing and the views are spectacular.
3. Penrhyn Castle
Traveling north, we leave Snowdonia for the next stop on our road trip in North Wales: Penrhyn Castle. Built in the 19th century, it’s less a fortification than a fantasy. But that’s okay with me, because it’s pretty spectacular to see a Victorian interpretation of a medieval fortress.
Beyond the castle lies Anglesey, an island at the edge of North Wales. We spend a night here, exploring everything we can while we’re in the area. From crescent beaches to stunning lighthouses, the island’s wild beauty and remoteness capture our hearts.
After Anglesea we head back across the Menai Strait to the fortified town of Caernarfon.
The town is known for its castle, which we could spend all day exploring. But we also find a lot of pretty streets, hilltop views, and cozy pubs to enjoy while we’re here.
Driving south again, we spend two nights in one of the most hotly anticipated places to visit in North Wales—for me, anyway. The coastal village of Portmeirion is straight out of a fairy tale. Or a picture of seaside Italy. Brightly colored buildings of all styles climb the hillside, and everywhere I look I find some new detail that delights.
7. Powis Castle
As if Portmeirion isn’t impressive enough, the last stop on our road trip in North Wales is Powis Castle. Perched on a hill above topiary yews and fanciful sculptures, the castle is the stuff of dreams.
It’s the perfect place to end our time in North Wales, and gives us a great send-off as we continue our trip in England. I’ll be writing more about some of these places over the next week, so make sure to come back for the rest of the story.
In the meantime, the next stop on our great British road trip is Wiltshire. Stay tuned…
How about you? Where would you go on a road trip in North Wales?