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Visiting Bodnant in Wales

My visit to Wales will start from Chester I think which means catching a train(preference) to Conwy. It seems the train leaves around lunch time so I'd arrive in Conwy mid-afternoon? Would that be only enough time to go for a wander about or could I go visit the castle. I'd have to find my accommodation of course. I want to spend the following day at Bodnant and would catch a bus from there to Beddgelert for an overnight stay and a wander about before catching another bus to Caernarfon. I would like to see the castle but not sure I'm up for exploring all of it. A walk along the walls for a bit and then an exploration of one or two of the towers would be enough for me. See a little bit more of the town and then onto Bangor. I know this means catching another bus. Would there be regular buses going that way of an afternoon or will I have to watch the time? I'd stay in Bangor the night I think rather than head back to Conwy because I find long bus trips too tiring and won't want to go any further. I like the idea of visiting Penhryn Castle but probably won't have time unless I cut short my visit to Caernarfon. Not sure how long a day it will be considering I start in Beddgelert. I'll be catching a train to York from Bangor and won't be returning to Chester.

The alternative is to stay overnight in Caernarfon and catch a bus first thing to Bangor. Perhaps this would give me a chance to go see Penrhyn Castle? As long as I arrive York before evening I'll be happy.

What do you think of that itinerary? Is there anything else I might enjoy instead. The only thing set in stone is Bodnant.

I'm considering a few more days in the south of England so I can see a bit of Cornwall which might mean only 2 nights in Wales. If I decided on Cornwall I'd stay the second night in Conwy and give Caernarfon a miss. I'd also hire a car. Is it worth a drive on to Beddgelert just for a look-see? I'd be backtracking to Conwy for the night and would then catch a train to York from there I think.

Be glad of anyone's thoughts and opinions.

Posted by
1838 posts

When you asked a question in the England forum about The Cotswolds, I gave you the Traveline site for finding buses. In Wales, you may find this one is better:>https://www.traveline.cymru

The Snowdonia National Park has wonderful scenery and you will see many places where you might wish to take photos - so driving a hire car would be good option if you are up for it.

This is the bus that serves Bodnant :>https://www.arrivabus.co.uk/wales/services/25---eglwysbach-to-llandudno/?direction=outbound

If you are not hiring a car, I would take a train from Llandudno Junction - just E of Conwy - to Blaenau Ffestiniog. From BF, the narrow gauge Ffestiniog Railway goes down to Porthmadog - where you might like to stay overnight - possibly in the Travelodge. Anyway, next day - consider taking the Welsh Highland Railway (which skirts Beddgelert) to Caernarfon - which has a wonderful castle. Then you can bus back to Bangor - and maybe Penrhyn Castle - or continue by train east.
For the narrow gauge railways mentioned see > www.festrail.co.uk
Also consider visiting Portmeirion and the Snowdon Mountain Railway.https://www.snowdonrailway.co.uk
https://www.portmeirion-village.com/visit/

Rather than go in and out of NW Wales via Chester, also consider going to Shrewsbury (which is worth a look) by train and then westward by train to the Cambrian Coast (Aberdovey/Aberdyfi) > Barmouth > Porthmadog. This route is scenic but can be slow going.

Please note that it is quite a way down to Cornwall.

Posted by
8889 posts

start from Chester I think which means catching a train(preference) to Conwy. It seems the train leaves around lunch time so I'd arrive in Conwy mid-afternoon?

That statement confuses me. Nowhere has just one train per day. You can look up train times on the National Rail site: http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/
For example, next Wednesday (7th March) there are the following trains:

07:19 Chester, Conwy 08:18
08:55 Chester, Conwy 09:46
10:24 Chester, Conwy 11:18
13:24 Chester, Conwy 14:15
15:25 Chester, Conwy 16:22
16:27 Chester, Conwy 17:18
17:25 Chester, Conwy 18:27
18:55 Chester, Conwy 19:52
19:23 Chester, Conwy 21:18
20:34 Chester, Conwy 21:31
22:04 Chester, Conwy 23:01

And it only takes 58 minutes!

Cornwall takes a long time to get to (or from). It would take most of the day to get there from North Wales, by car or train. It would also take a long time from Cornwall to York. Unless you had 3 or more days spare, I would use the time in North Wales and go from there direct to York.

Posted by
905 posts

I don't know about bus routes or anything but both Conwy and Caernarfon Castles are worth visiting. Skip Cornwall it will take you way too long to get to and back from when your already going to be in Wales and want to head to York. Bodnant was lovely. We were there in June when the roses were in full bloom. Magnificent!!

Posted by
44 posts

Thanks everybody.

Sorry I didn't make myself perfectly clear. I am in the early stages of planning an itinerary that will include England, Wales and Scotland. I would visit Cornwall before going to Wales. I'll be in the UK for about a month and I'll be arriving in Chester from the Cotswolds.

At the moment I'm only drawing up a general itinerary to see what's feasible before I get into the detail.

Thanks for all the information re transport. I did look up one train site and there didn't seem to be early trains. I'm glad to know there is . If I can leave Chester early I will have a day to explore Conwy and will see most of what I want to see there I think. My original idea was to drive across to Anglesey to see Beaumaris but then someone here mentioned Bodnant and I was sold. Does it make sense to keep going onto Caernarfon from there or would I be better served by returning to Conwy and going onto Anglesey. f I could fit both Bodnant and Beaumaris in I'd be a happy traveller. As it is I feel as if I'm 'making do' with a trip to see Caernarfon castle although I know I will see a lot of beautiful scenery along the way.

Posted by
1838 posts

Please click this link to get a map of N Wales:>https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@52.9937971,-4.01634,9.96z/data=!5m1!1e1

Now, you can zoom down/out and move the map about and switch to satellite view. This is what I do - using Google Earth - to try and get familiar with places that I have never been. So, for example, you wonder about Beaumaris Castle - zoom down on Beaumaris and then go to street view. Then you can consider how much of a priority you would wish to give it. When planning for places to visit, it is also worth considering other sites that are not far away. When I visit Beaumaris, I also visited Plas Newydd = https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/plas-newydd-country-house-and-gardens

Of course, much depends on whether you are hiring a car or using public transport. If hiring a car, check out the roads. For example, find Llanberis on the map and zoom down on the road at the Llanberis Pass - then go to street view.

Posted by
44 posts

Thanks James again and especially for the link to Plas Newydd. I would really enjoy a couple of hours there especially as I can see Snowdonia in the distance. It must be a coincidence that you mentioned it because I was reading that the base of the old (original?) High Cross in Chester is there. I actually used google earth to check out Betws-y-Coed and Beddgelert as a place to stay and decided on the latter. Both lovely small towns though.

I was wondering if it was an easy drive to Llanberis from Beddgelert and onto Caernarfon. I was thinking I might really enjoy the ride on the Snowden Mountain Railway up to the summit. Would need to take the early bird option which means an early start. How practical is this idea in a car. I know it would mean spending less time in Caernarfon but that won't matter to me. I might have a quick look at the castle and drive onto Beaumaris so I can see a bit of Anglesey. And Plas Newydd of course.

Posted by
1838 posts

So, how easy is it to drive these roads through the Snowdonia National Park? If you click the link that follows, it will take you to a street view of the junction of 2 of the main roads through this mountainous area. If you click / scroll forward on the road that goes straight ahead, you will descend through a valley to Beddgelert. If you take the road that you see on the right of the image, you will go over the Llanberis Pass and eventually reach the village of Llanberis = staring point of the Snowdon Mountain Railway. Unfortunately, Google filmed these scenic routes in cloudy weather. If you wish to follow both roads, then you should bookmark the link so that you can return to the start point and try the other route.

If you go up Snowdon in bad weather - you will obviously be up in the clouds. I checked the forecast and turned up at Llanberis station on a fine morning. I had to hang around for about an hour before they had 1 spare seat on a train.
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@53.0822316,-4.00207,3a,45.5y,204.33h,88.85t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s6haOSwXtow_LaFL4n1iWbw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!5m1!1e1

You mentioned that you would like to visit Cornwall. You will also find nice beaches in Wales. I visited the one at Morfa Nefyn on a very hot day and it was lovely. Click link to see map of location and zoom out to see where it is:> https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@52.9424593,-4.544703,3987m/data=!3m1!1e3!5m1!1e1

PS. Here is info on Cornwall:>More info on Cornwall:>https://www.visitcornwall.com
A short video on Cornwall:>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oM1T6NXjTeo

Posted by
22 posts

Thanks, James, for the bus schedule for the line that goes to Bodnant Garden. Does it run on Sundays? Hard to tell on the bus web site. We hope to arrive in Wales by train in Llandudno Junction, then go to Bodnant for a visit by bus before heading to our lodging in Betws-y-Coed (again, by bus.) Does anyone know if one can leave luggage at reception/ticket area of Bodnant so we can tour the gardens unhindered?

Thanks.

Posted by
1838 posts

It does not look like a Sunday service operates at present. This could be because this is winter - so really not sure what will happen in spring/summer. Beware of travelling by train on Sundays as engineering work can disrupt journeys.

I would think that the National Trust would allow you to leave your baggage at reception. Best for you to try and e-mail them.

Posted by
44 posts

When I go to Beaumaris if I have time up my sleeve I'd like to drive up to Pentraeth and perhaps further to Amlwch. Wondering which route to take back. I'll be heading straight back to Conwy to catch the train onto York so I'm just looking for a scenic drive and nothing else. If the route was too circuitous I might get lost and I'll have my eyes on the time so would rather keep it simple. Would appreciate some suggestions. Thanks.