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North Wales in May

Hi.
I am looking to travel to N.Wales in May (from Canada) Primarily to see my grandparents towns. The areas that I am looking to see are:
Llandudno,Betws-Y-Coed, and Ruthin area (3-4 days)
Anglesly and area (2-3 days I have family there )
And Chester, England(2-3 days I have family there)

I would like my total trip to be 14-17 days including time to adjust from the oversea flight.
I will be traveling without a car.

1) can anyone recommend a good tour guide for the Llandudo,Betws-Y-Coed and Ruthin portion
2) what will be the easiest way to get between areas without a car
3) what would be a logical sequence and itinerary to see these areas
4) any tips on great hotels or b&bs would be appreciated
5) do I need to worry about any closures or national holidays or constraints when traveling in May?

Thank you.

Posted by
1834 posts

Check Air Transat for air fares. Also see if it is cheaper to fly into Dublin and take the ferry (Stena or Irish Ferries) as a foot passenger to Holyhead. The nearest airport to north Wales is Manchester - for trans Atlantic flights.

Click this link & you should see a route map of the railways in Wales & nearby England:>
http://www.projectmapping.co.uk/Reviews/Resources/ATW%20Route%20Map%20-%20Dec%202013.pdf
Virgin Trains also operate along the north Wales coast from Holyhead > Llandudno Junction > Chester > London (Euston).

For trains use www.nationalrail.co.uk
To find buses to places off the rail network - such at Ruthin - use www.traveline.info or https://www.traveline.cymru

Starting Sat. 27 May > Sunday 4 June is going to be a school holiday week = expensive for accommodation and more people travelling about - avoid if possible! (Monday 5 June is a Bank Hol in Ireland).

That week also corresponds to when Bodnant Gardens is at its peak - including the famous Laburnum tunnel. Try & include in your trip! http://www.greatorme.org.uk/Bodnant.html (Click the other links on this site as well).

As you have family on Anglesey & at Chester - can’t they drive you about the various places in NW & NE Wales? (Chester to Llandudno is only about 1 hour on the A55 Expressway. Llandudno to Bangor is only about 45 minutes on the same expressway).
http://www.visitwales.com/explore
www.festrail.co.uk
http://www.snowdonrailway.co.uk/visit-planner
https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/plas-newydd-country-house-and-gardens
http://cadw.gov.wales/daysout/conwycastle/?lang=en
http://www.portmeirion-village.com

Posted by
5817 posts

That is not the easiest area to do without a car.
There is public transport but it isn't comprehensive and relying on it will limit the areas you will be able to visit.
You will find details of the local bus network here
https://www.arrivabus.co.uk/wales/
Train information can be found here
http://www.nationalrail.co.uk

Is there anyway you could hire a car? It will make your trip much easier when you are in Wales and the driving is no where near as bad as it sometimes appears during discussions on this site :-)

I can't provide any advice for a local guide but I know I have seen some recommendations on this forum before so it is worth doing a search. You are allowing yourself more than enough time to visit the locations you have listed. You could certainly fit more in.
Snowdonia is beautiful and the castles at Conwy, Caernarfon and Beaumaris are worth a visit.
Portmeirion, Bodnant Gardens and Plas Newydd are all nice trips if you like gardens and country houses.
The small town of Llangollen is pretty and has some nice shops. Mold is not pretty but has a good traditional market!

Chester is a good base to take the train to Liverpool which is definitely worth a visit. Port Sunlight is also an interesting "village"easily visited by train.

As a tourist town Chester has a good range of hotels and B and Bs. Those in the town centre tend to be more expensive and car parking is in short supply.
Two slightly more suburban areas worth looking at are Hoole and Hough Green/Curzon Park.
Hoole is a Victorian suburb that has become quite cool (coole?) in recent years, but not unbearably so. It has a nice high street with some good pubs and restaurants. It also has Seabreeze the best fish and chip shop I have ever visited. It's one of the few things my brother and I agree on,! :-)
Hough Green is on the Welsh side of town so has good links over the border.

If you can try and stay somewhere on the same side of the city as your relatives, if you planning to visit them regularly. There is a lot of building work and road works going on over the next few months and it is causing havoc with the traffic ( according to the daily phone updates I get from my mum!)

Posted by
81 posts

I agree that Air Transat is the way to go.
They fly direct to Manchester, from which it is a easy train ride to Chester.
Spend time in Chester, then bus to Ruthin. It looks like you have to transfer buses but Google shows several trips a day which all take about 2 hours. Spend a night or two in Ruthin then train and bus to Llandudno, again you will need to transfer and it should take about 2 hours. Spend several nights in Llandudno. There are direct trains to Betws-y-Coed and it makes an easy day trip. You could also visit ( or stay in ) Conwy which only a few miles from Llandudno.Then take the train to Anglesey. There is one train line to Holyhead and buses to smaller villages. From Anglesey take the ferry from Holyhead to Dublin. Air Transat flies from Dublin direct to Toronto.
As you are planning 14 - 17 days and only have about 10 picked out, I would suggest 2 days covering Caernarvon ( castle ) and Llanberis ( walk in the mountains ). Dublin can be a fun place for a few days.
Enjoy the trip