2 days in North Wales: The Best Things to Do and Where to Stay

2 days in North Wales: The Best Things to Do and Where to Stay

For a long while, Wales had been a country on my bucket list. From the end of September till December 2017, I studied abroad in the UK at the University of Warwick. At the end of my stay, I knew there was one thing I still wanted to do very much, namely to visit Wales. So, when I saw a Black Friday sale on the Virgin trains website, I bought a return train ticket to Banger in North Wales for 11 (!!) pounds.

Two weeks later I hopped on a train to the north of Wales to explore several of the many things to see in North Wales, such as the castles of Conwy and Caernarfon.I really liked Wales, so why not visit North Wales on your next trip? Visiting Wales in December was completely fine. It was a little cold, but it didn’t rain, so I guess the weather was great.

Caernarfon Castle
Caernarfon Castle

Is two days enough for exploring North Wales

Frankly, no. To be fair, two days is far too short to discover North Wales. There are so many things to do in North Wales that I didn’t have the opportunity for, because I was short on time, such as hiking in Snowdonia or visiting more of Anglesey. However, two days is enough to catch a glimp of this lovely region.  My 2 day Wales itinerary included a visit to Conwy, Bangor, Caernarfon, and Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. So, if you have two days left on your trip to the UK, make sure to visit North Wales!

Where to stay in North Wales

I recommend staying in Caernarfon. It may be less central than Bangor, but the city is great and there are lots of opportunities for good food. I’d booked a bed in Totters Independent Hostel, a hostel which I would certainly recommend! My room was of a decent size, the bathroom was clean, and breakfast (which was included) was sufficient. Moreover, the location perfect: the hostel is in the old centre of the town. Not that I can compare this hostel with many other hostels in Wales, but I would still want to argue that this hostel is the best hostel in Wales.

Interested in the local dishes of Wales? Check out this post.

Things to do in North Wales

Conwy

There are a lot of places to visit in North Wales, and I would recommend starting in Conwy. If you’re going to North Wales by public transport, get off the train at Llandudno Junction. From there, it’s a 15 minute walk to Conwy Castle. The route is very scenic, so have your camera ready! During the walk, you’ll have lovely views of the harbour at Conwy.

View of the water and Conwy harbour
View of the water and Conwy harbour

Visit the castle first. Don’t expect elaborately furnished rooms with antique furniture and beautiful ceilings, because you won’t find them there. Instead, Conwy Castle is a castle in which you can explore every tower, every staircase, and every little corner. In this way, it’s easy to imagine what life was like centuries ago. The signs were very informative and allow you to learn something about the history of the place. They also help you visualise how the castle would have looked centuries ago when people still lived there.

Conwy Castle
Conwy Castle

After the castle, it’s time for lunch! (I had my pre-packed lunch with me, but there are various restaurants in Conwy). After lunch, it’s time to explore the rest of Conwy. Conwy isn’t a large town. Nevertheless, it’s certainly not just the castle that is worth visiting. You can climb the fortification walls which provide some amazing views over the city, the water, and the castle. Another tourist attraction in Conwy, is the smallest house in Great Britain. To be fair, it’s not that special. However, when you’re in Conwy, it’s one of the things to see.

Smallest house in the UK
The smallest house in the UK can be found in Conwy

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

I was surprised by the bus timetables in Wales. For example, from Conwy to Bangor, there’s a bus every 15 minutes! In Scotland, I sometimes had to wait for 3 hours for the next bus. The next stop on my visit to North Wales was a town I had heard loads about, but had no idea that it was in North Wales (or the be more precise: on the island Anglesey). Of course, I’m talking about Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, a town with one of the largest place names in the world.

To get there from Conwy, hop on the bus to Banger and change there for the bus to this famous town. However, besides the sign with the name of the village, there’s not much to do or see. So, take a few pictures and hop on the bus again, back to Bangor. If you’re exploring North Wales by car, make sure to visit Holyhead’s Cliffs on Anglesey as well.

Did you know that it’s relatively easy to get around in Wales when you solely rely on public transport?
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

Bangor

In Bangor, I walked to the pier. Unfortunately, it was just closing as it was already late afternoon. The scones you can get at the Garth Pier are supposed to be heavenly. Luckily, in front of the pier, the views were also quite nice. The sunset was a lovely pink and in the distance you could make out the snowy peaks of Snowdonia. Bangor is a lively university town. However, I would recommend staying in Caernarfon as it is a more charming village. You can take a bus to Caernarfon.

Bangor sunset
Bangor sunset

Caernarfon

After breakfast, I checked out of my hostel and walked to the water (which was only 30 meters from the hostel). If you cross the bridge to the other side you have stunning views of the castle. Caernarfon Castle is a truly magnificent castle and one of the must-see attractions of Wales. However, save the castle for last. Head first to the archaeological site that can be found in Caernarfon. As a student of Classics, I had to visit these site. The Segontium Roman Fort can be found a little out of the city centre and is free of charge. This fort was founded in the late 70s AD by Agricola. That term at university, I was studying Tacitus’ Agricola in Latin. I found it very interesting to see ruins that had a connection to Agricola.

Do you want to know more about the Romans in the UK? Check out this Penguin Classics edition of Tacitus’ Agricola in English.
Segontium Roman Fort
Segontium Roman Fort

Caernarfon castle

After you’ve visited the Roman ruins, it’s time to head back to the castle. Built at the end of the 13th century, this castle was built at the same time as Conwy Castle, at the time when Edward I had invaded Wales. Caernarfon castle is also the castle where the investiture of the Prince of Wales takes place. The last time was in 1969 for the investiture of Prince Charles. Like Conwy castle, Caernarfon castle is a castle where you can explore every corner, tower, and the fortification walls. Take the time to admire the view from every tower: the Menai Strait at one side, the city of Caernarfon and Snowdonia on the other side.

Another castle in Wales that is worth a visit is Harlech Castle, on the western shore of Snowdonia. Click here for more information.
View from Caernarfon Castle
View from Caernarfon Castle

After exploring the castle, I took the bus back to Bangor as that’s where the train depart. If you have some time left, take your time to explore this university town further.

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12 Replies to “2 days in North Wales: The Best Things to Do and Where to Stay”

  1. Beautiful photos! That castle is amazing 😍 I have a friend who comes from Wales. The pictures I’ve seen are breathtaking. Thank you for the guide of where to go, hopefully, one day I can visit and check out the places you recommend!

  2. Seems like you had a really busy couple of days but I would love to check out those castles someday! They look like such a neat place to explore.

  3. I absolutely love visiting Wales but I’ve never been to either of the castles you mentioned, I’ll definitely go if they’re close to where we stay next time as they look really nice! Your photos are stunning and I’m glad you enjoyed your trip! I’ll definitely keep my eye out for another Virgin Trains sale this year as those tickets were a bargain!

    Jess // foundationsandfairytales.wordpress.com
    xx

  4. I absolutely love North Wales. It is so beautiful. I haven’t been to Caernarfon and only saw Bangor passing through, but they both look like wonderful places to explore. I would also recommend Llangollen if you travel to North Wales again!

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