The Perfect Getaway to Northern Wales
PHOTO: Conwy Castle, Conwy, Wales. Courtesy VisitBritain
The perfect break takes you away from it all and, if you're lucky, transports you to another time and place. For those seeking a true escape, Northern Wales is ideal. It blends the old and the new, the city and the shore, the quaint and the chic. And it's all within easy distance.
Start your weekend in Llandudno, known to Victorians and Edwardians as the Queen of the Welsh Resorts. Steeped in the kind of elegant seaside architecture fans of Victorian Britain can only dream of, Llandudno's pier and prom will charm even the most diehard modernist. Built in the 19th century as a new type of seaside resort, Llandudno provides visitors the opportunity to slip back in time, with Punch and Judy shows and beachside donkey rides. And, its immaculately preserved Victorian Pier -- jutting 2,200 feet out into the sea -- is the longest in Wales.
After a lazy morning strolling the pier, head to the headland on the Great Orme Tramway and explore a copper mine dating back to the Bronze Age. The mine's spectacular Bronze Age Cave, thought to be dug out by miners 3,500 years ago, is a highlight and not to be missed.
Head back down to town for lunch in the Clubs Quarter area before falling down the rabbit hole and setting off on the Alice Trail. Eight-year-old Alice Liddell, the inspiration behind Alice in Wonderland, first visited Llandudno with her family in 1861 and was to return many times thereafter to her family's home on Llandudno’s West Shore. There's even a smartphone app to guide you through the town’s sites associated with the book. Be sure to save some room for an afternoon tea — you might even spy the Hatter or the March Hare, if you’re lucky.
Day two of your weekend getaway takes you to the tiny town of Conwy, whose size belies the huge amount of things to see and do. Start out with a climb to the top of one of Conwy Castle's eight towers to get a lay of the land. Once back on terra firma, take a second to stroll by Britain's smallest house, clocking in at just 10 feet by 6 feet. (Interestingly enough, its previous owner was 6 feet, 3 inches tall.)
Conwy is home to several stunning examples of homes that date back as far as the Middle Ages. The Aberconwy House, for example, was built in the 14th century and is the only surviving medieval merchant house in town. Plas Mawr, a splendid example of how a wealthy merchant lived in the 16th century, is sure to impress.
Relax and take a break at the Conwy Marina and Quay before continuing on to Bodnant Gardens. Named as one of Wales' best gardens, Bodnant’s sprawling lawns, ponds and terraces are home to an impressive variety of plants from the world over.
Complete your visit to Northern Wales with a stop at the Albion Ale House, named one of the best pubs in the world by The Guardian, and plan when you will next return, for surely you will.
Want to learn more? www.visitwales.com
More by Kristina Rundquist
Get Travel Deals and Travel News
Recent Travel Opinions
Airlines & Airports
Features & Advice
Destination & Tourism