Just over an hour from Manchester and Liverpool, with frequent public transport links from major UK cities and airports, arrive into Wales and a world away from busy city life.
The north of the country is quite different to the south, with a dramatic and rugged mountain range of the Snowdonia National Park domineering the skyline, two UNESCO World Heritage Sites and an abundance of outdoor activities on offer, all set in its natural landscape. It is easy to see why Lonely Planet named it as one of the best places in the world to travel in 2017.
A stop for brunch
In the beautiful countryside and village of Hawarden in Flintshire North Wales, sits Hawarden Estate Farm Shop. Set in 20 acres of farmland of The Hawarden Estate, it's an ideal place to go back to nature and take in some fresh Wales air. With local produce on offer and a food hall packed with independent producers, there is quite a range available here. In the walled garden, Xanthe, an organic farmer and freelance chef, who is undertaking restoration of the walled garden, offers exclusive group talks. Passionate about sustainability and through cooking, Xanthe discusses beliefs on how eating seasonally and being connected with the provenance of food, has a positive impact on not just health, but the health of the planet.
After spending a short time browsing the offer here, it's time for brunch with a selection of hot and cold dishes, only using the best locally sourced produce, exclusive group tours can be arranged on the restoration of the estate, including the eagerly waited pavilion project. Beautifully renovated to become one of the most unusual event spaces, with two large rooms, amazing views and full access to over 2.5 acres of cricket pitch – how’s that for impressive.
A number of adventures to choose from
Adventure Parc Snowdonia, the UK’s first inland and manmade surfing lagoon is located amongst the mountains, rivers and woodland of the Conwy Valley on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park. Exclusive group tours can be arranged on the engineering inspiration behind this attraction, that draws professionals and beginners to improve their surfing skills, in a safe environment with guaranteed waves. With dedicated surf instructors on hand, get ready to challenge colleagues to who can ride the wave the longest and reign team champion surfer. A great team building and incentive offer.
For dry land activities, Adrenaline Indoors is also located in this amazing Adventure Parc and has one of the longest artificial caving courses in the world. But don’t be fooled, crawling and manoeuvring inside these artificial caves feels just like the real thing. There’s also a warrior assault course, a playground of nets, climbing walls, freedom jumps, and the UK’s only kicker flight slide, and if that’s not enough, there’s even a zip wire across the outdoor lagoon to finish like a true champion.
A tour around the Isle of Anglesey
On the Isle of Anglesey is the beautiful town of Beaumaris. Declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) for its landscape and unspoiled coast. Anglesey not only has a wealth of history, its range of activities and attractions will keep anyone coming back to this region of Wales time and time again.
It's home to Halen Môn Anglesey Sea Salt Company. This inspiring family run business offers private behind the scenes tours, giving exclusive access on how the company developed the business and the process used to create, what many regard as the finest sea salt in the world. Make sure to take in why the seahorses at their sea zoo agree. The proof is in the tasting here, as this fascinating tour ends with tutored salt tasting.
Château Rhianfa is a beautiful French style château. It was built in 1849 by Sir John Hay Williams, Baronet of Bodelwyddan as a gift for his wife Lady Sarah and has become popular as a filming location due to its unspoiled view of the estuary and glorious gardens. Château Rhianfa, meaning lady abode, has 27 beautifully designed rooms so can be hired exclusively, with six meeting spaces including an outside terrace for drinks receptions and for corporate events.
Take to the waters. With exclusive access from the mooring to those who are staying at Château Rhianfa, Rib Ride is a thrilling adventure across the Menai Straits by boat. From zero to scream on Velocity, the newest edition to the tours, an experience on Velocity is invigorating and refreshing. Travel across the safest areas of the waters, testing out the speeds and sights of this beautiful area of Wales. But for something more cultural and calmer, there are plenty of other experiences to try, including the castles and islands or puffin and seals tour, a fascinating way to discover more about the region.
Back on dry land at Château Rhianfa and take a wine tasting or cocktail making course before finishing with afternoon tea on the terrace. This group activity is a fun way to learn how to perfect the sniff, swirl and slurp technique with wines from the Château's own atmospheric wine caves or learn how to create the perfect Martini, good enough to impress 007.
Exclusive tours of the grounds of Château Rhianfa are also available, along with private receptions on the beautiful terrace, overlooking the Menai Straits. Enjoy the gourmet dining, with a private dining experience. The chef will ignite the taste buds with Welsh local produce including crab and lobster straight from the waters in front of the hotel, infusing a French cuisine style into the dishes and the wines are selected from their vintage caves.
A medieval walled town tour
Conwy is a beautiful medieval walled town that creates the feeling of being transported back in time. Discover the fascinating history through this majestic town as you take a stroll around the incredible 13th century castle and walled town, just one of four castles in North Wales built as an iron ring which make up one of the UNESCO World Heritage site in Wales. Meet the custodian of the castle and hear more about the restoration and interpretation of the site. Personal guided tours can be arranged for VIP groups.
Just a short stroll from the castle, and almost hard to spot in the main street against the small independent shops, is Plas Mawr Elizabethan Townhouse, the finest townhouse of its period in Britain. Walk through the door and be amazed at the scale of the property, which is hidden from the main entrance. Venture around this fascinating townhouse, hear of the stories of its past owner and history. The gardens themselves have been restored with an abundance of herbs and plants from its time, find out more about how these were used for cooking and medicines. Back into the 21st century outside and just a short walk to the quayside is the smallest house in the UK, just six foot wide and 6 ft high, it’s hard to believe it was once owned and occupied by a 6.3 ft tall fisherman.
A Victorian seaside town
Just outside Colwyn Bay and a stones’ throw from the sea and beautiful relaxing beach is Bryn Williams at Porth Eirias bistro. This AA and Michelin award-winning restaurant offers the best of local ingredients and turns them into mouth-watering bistro dishes. A place to relax and unwind, taking in the beautiful sea air.
The impressive 4* St Georges hotel, set on the seafront of the Victorian seaside town of Llandudno, has 82 beautiful and contemporary designed bedrooms, many with sea views which include the suites and deluxe rooms with their own private sea view balconies. This hotel is an ideal base to explore this fascinating town and wider region. With seven function rooms available to hire from 2 to 250 delegates, it’s also a great place for conferences and meetings, whilst the terrace lounge bar and restaurant overlooking the sea is a great place for dining and sampling the best of local produce by season.
Explore the surrounding area, take a walk along the promenade and longest pier in Wales, a trip on the cable car across the Great Orme, named by Vikings meaning sea monster or sea serpent, or travel by tramway to the top of this headland, an impressive 206 meters high and straight out over the sea.
An evening out
Dining options in North Wales are plentiful, with many great restaurants in the area to try. Dylan’s is one of a chain of three in North Wales. From its ambient private dining and drinks receptions areas to the spectacular sea views from this prominent position on the promenade, it’s a great place for dining and experiencing local produce, character and the natural beauty of North Wales. The Seahorse Restaurant and Bistro, set just off the promenade provides a cosy setting with private dining options and a set menu to choose from, with fresh local fish, seafood and locally sourced meats by season. There is even the opportunity to order fresh lobster in advance of a visit, which will be caught fresh from the local waters. There’s also a great range of Welsh wines, beers and spirits to try at both.
For evening entertainment, visit Venue Cymru. This purpose built theatre, conference venue and arena is just a short stroll along the promenade and positioned on the beachfront, with an annual programme of comedy, theatre and music on offer, including international artist performances and performances by the Welsh National Opera. The venue is also available to hire exclusively for conferences, events and smaller meetings. When booking in advance with the events team here receive exclusive benefits on rates, booking periods and pre-theatre dining options, where meals are served in the seafront on site restaurant and bar, again using only the best of local produce by season. Fall in love with the food and drink offer available across the destination.
A visit to the highest mountain in England and Wales
How about a visit to Mount Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa in Welsh) in the Snowdonia National Park? Discover this jaw dropping and breathtaking mountain range - the highest mountain in Wales and England. Standing tall over the village of Llanberis, Snowdon, the range, with its jagged peak offers far-reaching views towards Anglesey, Pembrokeshire and Ireland. For experienced climbers there are six different paths on offer to challenge and conquer this 1,085 metre (3,560 feet) giant, but don’t worry, there’s also the Snowdon Mountain Railway, a train that travels to the top, to enjoy the spectacular views.
An experience to remember.
Adventure Tours UK offer something different and will leave the team feeling rewarded. Just an hour’s drive south east of Llandudno is Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, or more easily translated to (pont-ker-suck-tay), which means the bridge that connects, is the highest aqueduct in the world and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Exclusive groups can travel in canoes and paddle across the aqueduct, taking in the breathtaking views, learning more about this inspiring piece of engineering, which was developed during the industrial revolution. The aqueduct at its highest point spans an eye watering height of 126 foot/ 38.4 metres high, and is not for the faint-hearted when looking down, but an inspiring lifetime experience to remember, if brave enough to do it.
Adventure Tours UK run a number of activities and courses in Wales, including coasteering, hiking, climbing and wellbeing retreats and can arrange everything from transport to guiding.
A good night's sleep.
In the idyllic Conwy Estuary is the Quay Hotel & Spa, with striking views of Conwy Castle, the quayside and mountains and located within easy reach of the medieval town of Conwy and the Victorian town of Llandudno. This elegant and sophisticated 4* hotel and spa has 74 spacious bedrooms including suites and penthouses on offer, meeting spaces, conference rooms and spa and leisure facilities. Sample some of the best locally sourced produce, including fresh seafood from the Menai Straits, or finest Welsh beef and lamb from the local farms of the surrounding areas. Perfect for conferences and meetings.
A playground for adults.
Zip World offers extraordinary experiences in a unique setting. Based between three stunning locations in North Wales, there are 13 unique experiences including the world's fastest and Europe's longest zip wire, the UK's only alpine coaster and the UK's only mountain cart experience. The Gallery at Penrhyn where the world's fastest zip lining experience is situated also offers an exclusive use space including a terrace, restaurant and viewing platform which can hold drinks receptions and private meetings.
A distillery tour with a difference.
The first of its kind in North Wales for more than 100 years, Aber Falls Distillery offers a range of award-winning, premium gins and liqueurs. Their single-malt whisky will be available from 2020. Distillery tours for incentive groups are offered and include master classes, lab experiences, and an opportunity to sample and purchase from the range of premium quality spirits. Tours are currently available and there will be a new visitor centre open late this year.
A luxurious hideaway
North Wales’ first five-star hotel, is based in the idyllic Welsh countryside. With a variety of exclusive corporate activities on offer such as clay shooting, archery and white-water rafting, Palé Hall is a unique luxury destination for memorable corporate incentives. The hotel has 18 luxurious guest bedrooms and suites that have been individually designed to have their own unique personality and history, from the Victoria Suite to the Churchill Suite.
A historic railway adventure.
Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway is the longest heritage railway route in Britain. They offer an opportunity to hire a private carriage with catering options – booking is essential well in advance. Delegates will travel through the stunning Snowdonia National Park from Caernarfon to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
A fun way to learn.
Combine your meeting or event and offer your delegates the chance to have fun learning some Welsh phrases at Nant Gwrtheyrn. The refurbished Victorian village offers conference facilities for up to 350 delegates. Accommodation is also available in the refurbished Victorian quarry cottages. The village can also be hired exclusively.
An adventure underground.
Exploring the abandoned mines of Snowdonia, Go Below offers personally guided underground caving experiences. With zip lines across caverns, boating across underground lakes, climbing walls and waterfalls and abseiling, this is a unique offer with no experience required. Teams will together overcome fears, feel the adrenaline rush and the encouragement from each other will leave your team with a huge sense of achievement.
This article has been designed to showcase just a flavour of the experiences on offer in the region. If you would like further ideas or information please get in touch with the team who will be happy to help.