Beyond the spectacular mountains and beaches, Snowdonia offers you the chance to explore the mysterious heritage of the surrounding towns, the fascinating history behind the Welsh landscape and the hidden gems to be found in-between.
A region in North Wales with a national park of 823 square miles, Snowdonia is best known for its breathtaking views, rocky terrains, stunning seascapes and hidden valleys.
But how about we explore the area’s secrets?
1. Scramble up Nantlle Ridge for breathtaking views
Discover the challenge of mountainous hill walking with fewer crowds on the Nantlle Ridge, a small range of mountains which runs south west from the village of Rhyd Ddu and ends above Nebo in the Nantlle Valley. You’ll have some of the oldest, toughest Welsh rocks beneath your feet and spectacular views to feast your eyes on.
2. Get tongue-tied at Nant Gwrtheyrn Language Centre
The Welsh language is part of the fabric of life in Snowdonia, so what better way to embrace the culture than by visiting Nant Gwrtheyrn Welsh Language and Heritage Centre, tucked away near Llithfaen on the beautiful Llyn Peninsula?
3. Take a dive into Fairbourne’s secret Blue Pool
Set inside a mysterious cavern entered via a short, dark tunnel, the deep blue waters of Fairbourne’s Blue Pool promises to leave you refreshed. Take a daring dive off the rocks or a leisurely swim in the clear, cool waters as you reconnect with nature.
4. Discover the hidden beaches of the Llyn Peninsula
‘Snowdon’s arm’ is a wildly beautiful peninsula, which will provide you with a fantastic blend of culture and heritage. With a wide range of stunning cliffs, bays and beaches, it is little wonder that the coast is a protected ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’. Rest your feet on the squeaking sand of Porth Oer, known as Whistling Sands, or go surfing at Porth Neigwl, also known as Hell’s Mouth.
5. Ride the world’s first preserved railway
Running for over seven miles from Cardigan Bay through the green mountains of the sourthern Snowdonia National Park, Talyllyn is the world’s first preserved railway. Explore the strong steam heritage and the inspiration behind the stories of Thomas the Tank Engine while soaking up the classic rural landscape.
6. Follow in the footsteps of the Princes of Gwynedd
Visit the sites of Sharon Penman’s ‘Princes of Gwynedd’ novels, which cover the period from 1183 to 1283. There is a wealth of history here for you to delve into, from archaeological sites to churches and majestic castles.
7. Stumble across the mysterious Bardsey Island
Also known as the ‘legendary island of 20,000 saints’, Bardsey Island lies off the Llyn Peninsula in Gwynedd and has been an important religious site since Saint Cadfan built a monastery there in 516. The island is now famous for its rugged scenery and beautiful wildlife, for you to explore its remoteness, spirituality and sacredness, and its legendary claim to be the resting place of King Arthur.
8. Soak up the beauty of Plas Brondanw gardens
The Brondanw Estate lies in the Snowdonia National Park, between Snowdon and the sea, and the gardens are considered to be Sir Clough Williams-Ellis most marvellous creation. As well as marvelling at the spectacular flora and fauna, you can take a relaxing break in the garden café, which serves up tasty Welsh produce.
9. Drink in the exotic plant life of Parc Glynllifon
Once described as Wales’s best kept secret, Parc Glynllifon offers 70 acres of exotic trees and plants, which were imported and planted over 150 years ago. You can enjoy a leisurely walk through the grounds, visit the craft and design workshops or enjoy a snack at the Black Cat Café.
10. Test your tyres on Penmachno Mountain Bike Trails
With its 30km of scenic forest trail, riding through Snowdonia National Park should be high on your to-do list. The trails are split into two loops, which can be ridden individually or as one amazing 30km ride. Catch your break after Loop 1, before the views of Loop 2 take it away again.
Plan ahead, and put Snowdonia in your plans for 2015.
For further information, visit www.visitsnowdonia.info.