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North Wales day trips from Conwy

We are spending 3 nights in Conwy in June, arriving late Saturday afternoon. Our full 2 days are Sunday and Monday. We will have a car, but are not looking to fill every minute. My thoughts are:

Saturday evening: Walking tour, see the town.
Sunday: Conwy Castle in the AM. In the PM, Bodnant Gardens for a while, then drive to Beaumorris Castle (don't know if this is too much. Probably more interested in driving to Angelesy and the castle than the gardens.)
Monday: Drive to Caernarfon Castle for the AM, then to Llanberis for lunch, then the 2 pm Snowden Mountain Railway. Drive back to Conwy thru Betws-y-Coed.
Tuesday: Drive to York.
Any thoughts, additions, changes?
Thanks!

Posted by
279 posts

We were in Wales last July. We were unable to ride the Snowden Mountain Railway because it was booked solid. I would suggest reservations ASAP.

Posted by
541 posts

Thanks for that. It is the one thing I have not taken care of yet. I'll do it before we leave.

Posted by
1834 posts

The trouble with pre-booking the Snowdon Mountain Railway is that you don’t know what the weather will be like. I turned up on a fine morning in September and they told me they had 1 seat left on a train that was leaving in 1 hour. So, by not pre-booking you risk not getting on a train but by booking, you risk paying out money to end up in the clouds. I would suggest that going earlier in the morning is more likely to have fine weather as if the day is hot, you have more risk of storms in the afternoon. My guess is that you would have more luck of getting a seat on the Monday than the Sunday as many Brits drive out to Snowdonia for long weekends - adding to greater demand on Sundays.

I would not do Conwy Castle first - do the places further out first.
Bodnant Gardens are wonderful. I visited on June 1st 2009 and the famous Laburnum tunnel was at its peak. I would get into Bodnant when it opens in order to have it quieter. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/bodnant-garden

I would then consider driving from Bodnant south to Bettws-Y-Coed & then A5 to Capel Curig > A4086 > A498 to Beddgelert. When in the Aberglaslyn Pass - turn left onto A4085 and drive down to Portmeirion. http://www.portmeirion-village.com/visit/
Then, return back through the Aberglasyn Pass having gone via Porthmadog. From Beddgelert, follow A4085 to Caernarfon - which is scenic. If you want a faster not scenic route - use A487 from Porthmadog to Caernarfon. See the castle and return to Conwy via A55 expressway. (If you have done too much by the time you leave Portmeirion - simply drive straight back to Conwy - possibly via Blaenau Ffestiniog = an old slate mining town).

Monday - it all depends on when you can get a slot on the Snowdon Railway. Do Beaumaris Castle on this day and maybe consider Bodnant as well if you think it is too much on the Sunday.

When going to York, be sure to call into Chester.http://www.visitchester.com/things-to-do

Posted by
541 posts

James, thanks for your great ideas. I will re-plan based on your advice. I had thought about going to the mountain railway in the AM on Monday, so will work on that, along with your other suggestions. It makes sense to go out from Conwy first, then come back to it.

Posted by
541 posts

Thanks James, I had wondered about the possibility of going to LLuandudno for dinner and a stroll one evening. I also checked out Plas Newydd online. We were traveling this weekend, so will get down to more planning tomorrow.

Posted by
541 posts

James, based on your recommendations, I've planned the following:
Arrive late Saturday afternoon in Conwy. Do RS town wallk before or after dinner.
Sunday--Bodnant Gardens, then your suggested drive thru Snowdonia, doing Portmerrien only if time, then Caernarfon Castle, then back to Conwy, hopefully with time to see Conwy Castle.
Monday--Snowdon Mountain Railway at 10:00, already booked (and hoping for good weather!) Drive to Beaumaris Castle, back to Conwy to do the Castle if not already done.
One of those evenings, go to Lluandrano for dinner.
We're not looking to pack every minute, so this seems like a good pace for us. Thanks for your help.

Posted by
1834 posts

I would try and do Portmeirion and if you ran out of time and had to return straight to Conwy, you could see Caernarfon Castle on the second day - having done Snowdon in the morning. Although I have been into Caernarfon Castle, I think it looks most impressive from the outside. You will see a creek on the west side. If you cross the footbridge, you can get some nice photos of the castle with the water in the foreground. This is best in the afternoon with the sun behind you.

Please note that another impressive castle lies about 5 miles south of Portmeirion - at Harlech. http://www.harlech.com

When you go from Conwy to Llanberis, you have the possibility of 2 routes. One is the A55 which is an expressway as far as Bangor and is probably the way you would go to reach the mountain railway for 10am. The other way is via the Llanberis Pass - which you will see far below you on the north side as the train climbs the mountain. (They stop briefly for you to take photos - try and do this through an open window).

I think you may find it difficult to park in Llandudno for a restaurant - and I did not observe many in the town. Perhaps they all eat in the hotels? One person on this forum said they had wonderful Fish & Chips in Conwy. If you have not tried British Fish & Chips - give it a shot. The chips are what you call French Fries but much larger.

https://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Snowdon/forecasts/1085

This link should show you the weather at the time you click it. Click PLAY arrow to project ahead for about a day. Friday is going to see a front move through with cooler fresher weather behind it
.http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/forecast/map/#?map=CloudAndRain&fcTime=1403233200&zoom=6&lon=-4.00&lat=51.74

Try using this map to see the roads in the area. You can zoom down and drag on the yellow man to see street view.https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@53.0353338,-4.0389563,69311m/data=!3m1!1e3!5m1!1e1

Posted by
541 posts

Thanks. I'll keep all that in mind. I want to make sure we leave enough time to see Conwy Castle too.

Posted by
386 posts

Newborough Forest beach on Anglesey isn't that far from Caernarfon or Plas Newd. It is a stunningly beautiful beach at low tide, one of our favorite places to visit from our recent trip. There are great views of the Snowdonia mountains from the beach. It's a little off the main roads; check out the drive times perhaps on Via Michelin if trying to fit it into your itinerary. BTW there are restrooms, outdoor shower and what seems like a frequent ice cream truck at the main beach parking lot.

Posted by
541 posts

Lia, thanks for that tip. I'm not sure we'll have time to fit it in, but it definitely goes in the "good to know about" list. It's so difficult to fit everything in without rushing things.