Ahhh North Wales, my home country, the Motherland. It’s been nearly ten years since I left Wales for good, but as I still have family living there, it’s a place we often visit.
I adore the medieval history of north Wales, along with the gorgeous coastlines and beautiful, rugged ranges of Snowdonia. There is simply something for everyone in Gogledd Cymru.
North Wales also excels with its variety of places to stay, whether you’re a camper, prefer a more luxurious hotel stay or are happy with a rustic cottage, there’s something for everyone to base yourselves while you visit these seven of what I consider to be the most beautiful towns in north Wales.
My favourite seaside town in North Wales, which comes with not one, but two beaches due to it being located on a peninsula. The Great Orme located on the far north of the peninsula is a hive of activity with cables cars, vintage tram line, artificial ski slopes and an ancient bronze mine.
Every year on May Day bank holiday, Llandudno hosts the Victorian Extravaganza celebrating Victorian entertainment with vintage fairs, steam engines, parades and bands. It’s not to be missed if you’re ever in the vicinity.
Llandudno also boasts a beautiful pier, the longest in Wales. On it you can find cafes and shops selling buckets and spades, as well as amusement arcades and children’s funfair rides. A landing stage is situated at the end of the pier and from here you can take boat rides to Puffin island.
Photo credit: Rachel Cooper
As a child, I loved shopping in Llandudno and you can find big brands like Marks and Spencer, Debenhams, River Island and Mothercare, as well as smaller boutique shops. I bought my wedding dress from a small independent store on Vaughan Street back in 2013 and have fond memories of finding it before having a vintage afternoon tea in a local cafe afterwards.
If you’re looking for a truly Victorian seaside town with plenty to see and do, Llandudno cannot be missed.
Just a little further down the road from Llandudno is the gorgeous, picturesque town of Conwy, another of my must visit towns in North Wales.
The castle and its walls are absolutely outstanding and I could spend a whole day alone exploring them. The views from the top of walls over the estuary cannot be beaten!
My favourite gem of Conwy is Britain’s Smallest House, we adored coming here as children, loving the fact that the last resident was a 6ft 3 fisherman whose legs dangled out of the window as he slept.
Photo credit: Ella Jones
Conwy quay is a hubbub of seafood vans, fishing boats for hire, traditional pubs and an amazing view across the estuary. There is nothing better than picking up a pot of prawns as a snack to enjoy on a bench in front of the quay or even treating yourself to full blown fish and chips. They seem to taste even better when you’re breathing in that sea air while eating them.
Another gorgeous walled town in North Wales is Beaumaris, located on the isle of Anglesey. As well as the medieval castle, there’s also a Victorian gaol to explore, one of the oldest courthouses in Britain and a beautiful pier where you can catch a boat ride to Puffin Island.
Photo credit: Claire Bones
As well as the super touristy stuff above, Beaumaris boasts a wide range of eclectic shops and boutiques including my favourite Little Chilli shop which sells home made chilli sauces perfect to pour on fajitas, cottage pies and chicken sandwiches.
I couldn’t have a list of the best towns in North Wales without my lovely hometown of Denbigh, or in welsh Dinbych. A traditional medieval market town which boasts a ruined castle sitting high above the town built by Edward I in the 13th century. The town is also part of walled towns community along with Conwy, Carrnarfon, Beaumaris and Chester.
The town centre has a vibrant shopping area with a busy Post Office, chemist and plenty of independent shops including an award winning chocolate shop situated on Vale Street.
The derelict North Wales Hospital has been a hotspot for the urbexing community over the past twenty tears, but is now finally under redevelopment which will be a huge boost for our little town.
Photo credit: Emma Boileau
Before exploring the castle, its walls and Goblin Tower, I highly recommend a visit to the library which used to be the town hall and boasts a small museum on the history of our beautiful town. From here you can also borrow the key to access the castle walls walk along to Goblin Tower. Beware of the White Lady who is said to haunt the walls and will push you off the edge if you’re not looking!
Another walled town of North Wales (I think I’ve pretty much included them all, but I do love my medieval history!) which has an impressive castle, a beautiful town square and many pubs, cafes and restaurants serving delicious food. Despite my grandparents living only a few miles from Caernarfon town centre, it is a place I have neglected for many years, before a recent breakdown meant we had to stay overnight in the Black Boy Inn, a historic pub which dates back to 1522. I was majorly impressed with the restaurants the walled town boasts, offering everything from seafood to Italian to traditional Welsh cuisine.
Photo Credit: Rebecca Rice-Roberts
The castle is probably the most famous in Wales due to the investitures of the two most recent Princes of Wales, it is also probably the least ruined of Edward I’s castles and also houses the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum in one of its towers.
Just a few miles down the road from Caernarfon is the picturesque town of Llanberis which is the gateway to Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales. From here you can catch a steam train up the famous mountain, or find your own way to the summit on foot.
Llanberis has a rich industrial history and you can find a slate museum housed inside an old Victorian workshop. Another local attraction is the Dinorwig hydroelectic Power Station which has an underground tour deep below Elidir mountain.
I simply enjoy browsing the small shops or feasting on a delicious breakfast at the famous Pete’s Eats, where tourists and hikers come to fill up on a hearty meal before tackling Snowdonia National Park.
Betws Y Coed
Situated at the bottom of Snowdonia National Park, Betws is a gorgeous town popular with hikers who use it as a base to explore Snowdonia and beyond. Betws is my go to place when I really want to get back to nature and I love spending time hiking along the riverside of the river Llugwy and exploring the various waterfalls.
For the little ones there’s the Conwy Valley miniature railway and museum which also hosts a range of cafes and tourist shops. I highly recommend an ice cream and a sit on the wall as you watch the tourists and hikers pass by and you soak up the beautiful environment.