The A5 gateway
As an alternative gateway to North Wales, the A5 does the job nicely. The historical route to Holyhead crosses the border near Chirk Castle, heads up through Llangollen (take the aptly-named Horseshoe Pass road for a scenic diversion), and on to Snowdonia. The stretch after Capel Curig through the Ogwen Valley is one of our best roads, cutting between the Carneddau and Glyderau ranges, which includes the knife-edge spine of British climbers’ favourite peak, Tryfan.
Clwydian Range and Dee Valley
A lap of Snowdon
For a tour of Snowdonia's highest peaks, there’s a spectacular circuit from Bangor to Capel Curig, across to Beddgelert, up to Caernarfon and back to Bangor. This forms a 50-mile (80km) square that’s bisected by the Llanberis Pass, where the Pen-y-Pass car park is the most popular starting-point for a walk up Snowdon.
The Menai Strait
There are two bridges onto Anglesey: you can cross on Thomas Telford’s 1826 original masterpiece, or the slightly more modern Britannia alternative. The latter is quicker, and has better views of the former (and of the Swellies whirlpools below). Either way, it’s worth diverting along the Menai Strait to visit gems like Beaumaris Castle, Llanddwyn Island, and that small town with the very long name - Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch - which all Welsh people are obliged to recite on request.
The Anglesey coast
A circular tour of our largest island is around 75 miles (120km) on the main roads – that’s a pleasant half-day excursion. If you walk on the Anglesey Coastal Path you’re looking at 12 days to cover the 130 miles (200km). Highlights include RSPB South Stack Cliffs Reserve, sea arches at Rhoscolyn, dunes at Aberffraw, the Cemlyn Beach nature reserve, and dozens of beaches.
Exploring the outdoors is fantastic fun, but please read up on the risks and make sure you are prepared.