In June 2017, I had the chance to visit North Wales with my roommate Luna’s family.
Honestly, after living in Wales for two years, I didn’t think that there would me much more to see of Wales. After all, it is a rather small country. However, I couldn’t be more wrong!
What surprised me the most about North Wales is just how beautiful it is! Abounding with beautiful beaches, stunning castles, pristine forests, and quaint villages, North Wales really is a great place for a relaxing weekend getaway. Even the drive to get there will leave you in awe!
📷The view on the walk from the beach.
The other thing that I loved about North Wales is how culturally different it is from the rest of the UK and the rest of Wales. When I was there, I visited the county of Gwynedd. There, all public schools are taught in Welsh, and most people actually speak Welsh as their first language.
Welsh is honestly one of the most unique languages I have ever encountered. It truly is fascinating to visit an area where most people speak a language is generally considered to be “dying”. While there are only about 500,000 speakers of Welsh in the world today, Wales is doing an active job of trying to improve that number and save the Welsh language.
📷My awesome new friend, Freddy, a fluent Welsh Speaker and bilingual four year old.
In addition to fighting against the death of Welsh as a language, the people of North Wales are actively preserving Welsh culture. People from North Wales are proud of their culture and their heritage. People from North Wales often exclusively consider themselves “Welsh” instead of “British”, and their culture abounds with traditions. From enjoying traditional fare such as faggots and mash or laverbread to visiting a pub during a Welsh Rugby match, North Wales truly is a great place to experience real Welsh culture.
Here’s a little re-cap of the incredible time that I had while visiting North Wales this summer:
Visiting the Beaches
North Wales has some absolutely lovely beaches. While it can be bit cold in the evenings or on rainy days, the lack of crowds, the cool sea breeze drifting off the ocean, and the beautiful sunsets and sunrises make beaches in North Wales some of the most beautiful to visit.
They are the perfect place to read a book, talk with loved ones, wade in the water (paddling as the Brits call it), and take long strolls in the sand.
Exploring Unique Welsh Cultural Events
While I was visiting a village known as Harlech, I happened to get to witness their annual Harlech Fire and Sea Festival, which combines legendary myth with Welsh folklore in weekend of liver music and reenactment that ends with burning a huge arch on the beach.
This is just one example of the cool things to see in North Wales, as there are literally dozens of festivals happening all throughout the year in various Welsh towns!
Find out more about events in North Wales here.
Seeing History EVERYWHERE
When travelling through North Wales, it wasn’t uncommon to see a random castle on the side of the road.
North Wales has an incredibly deep and marvellous history, and that can clearly be shown just by the sheer number of castles!
This happened to be the Harlech castle, located just meters away from the beach parking lot.
Where else in the world are castles a normal roadside view?
Learning the Unique History of North Welsh People
Most of North Wales was settled my miners due to the vast natural resources in the area.
When visiting my roommate’s family’s hometown of Blaenau Ffestiniog, I was able to go on a tour into one of the area’s old slate mines.
It was incredible interesting to learn so much about traditional Welsh mining life and how mining shaped the industry and culture of North Wales.
Explore Quaint Welsh Villages
My absolute favourite village to visit was Blaenau Ffestiniog. Because of the Slate mine, millions of tons of slate that were not at quality grade were dug out of the ground and placed in heaps around the village.
Today, the slate piles have created dozens of mountains around the town, making for an incredibly unique and beautiful village to explore.
When stopping by a Welsh village, arguably the best way to be acquainted is to grab a pint and a meal at a local pub!
As expected in Wales, it does rain a lot! However, don’t let rain ruin your holiday! There is still so much to see in North Wales, rain or shine!
Rent a Traditional Welsh cottage on Airbnb and Enjoy the Simpler Things in Life
While I loved sightseeing, I really really enjoyed relaxing in a traditional Welsh cottage in the countryside.
My roommate’s grandma had an absolutely lovely cottage complete with a forest and bubbling brook in the backyard. From playing music, to swimming in the brook, to enjoying cookouts in the sun, staying in North Wales really was one of the most rejuvenating and peaceful experiences ever!
If you are visiting the UK and looking for a great weekend getaway; I highly suggest a jaunt up to explore magical North Wales
Are you interested in experiencing the ease and relaxation of renting an Airbnb? If so, as a thank you for reading my blog, I have a link to help you get $40 off your first stay here!
Have you ever been to North Wales? If so, what was your favourite thing? Mention below in the comments!