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.

A wide green valley with mountains in the background.

The countryside near Capel Curig, Snowdonia, North Wales

Clwydian Range and Dee Valley

Starting just inland from Prestatyn, the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty stretches south as far as the Berwyn Mountains. There’s a chain of heather-clad peaks crowned with hillforts, dotted with medieval towns like Rhuddlan, Ruthin and Denbigh.

A ruined castle with a person walking through an entance.
A town square with a circular garden in the middle, surrounded by old buildings.

Rhuddlan Castle and Ruthin, Denbighshire, North Wales

A lap of Yr Wyddfa

For a tour of Eryri'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 Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon).

A winding road in a deep valley heading up a pass.
Stone houses and bridge in Beddgelert by the river.

Pen-y-Pass and Beddgelert, Snowdonia, North Wales

The Menai Strait

Please note that the Menai Bridge is currently closed for essential repair work and is scheduled to reopen in early 2023. The footway across the bridge remains open for pedestrians and dismounted cyclists. All other traffic will be diverted to the Britannia Bridge.

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.

A brick columned suspension bridge over water.
Blick auf die Gezeiteninsel Llanddwyn Island.
entrance to castle.

Menai Suspension Bridge, Llanddwyn Island and Beaumaris Castle, Anglesey,  North Wales

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.

lighthouse on grassy outcrop.
A person on a stone bridge looking towards a beach.

South Stack Lighthouse and Aberffraw, Anglesey, North Wales

Be safe!

Exploring the outdoors is fantastic fun, but please read up on the risks and make sure you are prepared.

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