Don’t be deceived, its not always covered in snow …
The U.K. is one seriously underrated country! Before making the move to London from good old Australia, I’d never thought much about what else the U.K. had to offer. I had my sights set on exploring mainland Europe and living the London Life. But oh, how naive I was! Luckily, I got out of this narrow minded bubble and realised that there is so much more to the U.K. than just London! Check out my other U.K posts if you want to start planning your own adventures across the U.K.
When thinking about Wales, most people tend to think about rain, rain, rain and more rain, oh and some sheep. But that is not it at all! Sure, you can find plenty of sheep in Wales, and yes, the weather can be rather wet but it is an absolutely incredible place. There are some people that have even likened parts of Wales to New Zealand. And well, New Zealand is just next level scenic right?!
By far the best way to explore Snowdonia is with a car. It is possible to get the train to a nearby town, but the public transport within the National Park is very limited so I really wouldn’t advise it.
Train & Bus or Taxi
If a car is not an option for you, I would suggest getting the train to the nearby town of Bangor. Trains run direct from London Euston. Getting into the National Park, you’d need to look into what buses are available or consider taking a taxi to your final destination.
Where to Stay
There are lots of little villages nestled within the National Park, all offering different levels of accommodation. During my visit in the summer we stayed at the lake side hostel, YHA Bryn Gwynant. The site was gorgeous, perfect for an evening bonfire to devour s’mores or for the brave, a fresh dip in the stunning lake.
The Heights Bunk House is another option in the area. After hiking Mt. Snowdon, we spent a night here in Llanberis before heading back to London. The bunkhouse was more centrally located, being within the village, but it definitely could not compare to the views and serenity of the YHA Bryn Gwynant.
What to Do
Being a National Park, Snowdonia is a nature and outdoor lovers dream. There are countless hiking trails, the most famous of which lead to the summit of Mt. Snowdon, the highest point in Wales. The summit hikes are extremely popular, due to being part of the Three Peaks Challenge, a hiking endeavour that involves climbing the three highest peaks in the U.K.:
Mt. Snowdon - Wales
Scafell Pike - England
Ben Nevis - Scotland
For the adrenaline junkies head to Zip World to experience the world’s fastest and Europe’s longest zip wire. Book in advance, as sessions do sell out.
Snowdonia Mountain Railway
For those that want the epic views that Mt. Snowdon offer but don’t want to (or are unable to) do the work, jump on board the mountain railway. Departing from Llanberis the railway journey takes 2.5 hours return, including thirty minutes at the summit.
I would definitely encourage the hike instead though, the hike is absolutely stunning, and we found the best views along the way, rather than at the summit (the visibility was really poor at the summit when we hiked).
Hiking Mt. Snowdon
Trail head – Pen-Y-Pass Carpark - £10 parking charge
In July 2017, I explored the north of Wales, venturing to Snowdonia National Park. My visit was prompted by an adventure organised by the ever lovely travel blogger Where Mollie?, bringing together a bunch of fun and travel loving individuals from across the globe for a weekend of outdoor adventure.
I carpooled with some lovely ladies from the English midlands with the drive taking us a little over 4 hours. After an evening bonfire and delicious s’mores we went for an impromptu lake dip before resting up for our big hike the following morning.
We set out to hike the Pyg track up to the summit and return via the Miner’s track, covering a total distance of 7.3 miles. The Pyg track was incredibly scenic, especially so thanks to the beautiful sunny weather we were blessed with. So, very unlike Wales!
Wales showed itself off along the trail with views of Crib Goch, Llyn Llydaw and Glaslyn. The views were quite simply stunning! The trail until this point was rather easy with gradual ascents but from here on it got extremely more challenging. Some parts we were practically rock climbing for the final ascent. It did make us question as to whether we’d lost the trail, but nope, that’s just how the trail is.
Nearly at the summit, the rock climbing was over and the remainder of the trail followed along beside the railway line. A final gradual ascent to the summit, but unfortunately, we had used up all our luck with the weather along the trail. Heavy cloud cover sat above the summit, offering poor visibility and thus, no panoramic views.
After spending some time, not too much due to the poor visibility, at the summit we started our descent. This time heading down the Miner’s track. This slightly longer route follows beside the lakes Glaslyn and Llyn Llydaw offering up a different perspective on the divine National Park. The initial descent is rather steep, but once beside the lake, the remainder of the trail is flat and very easy. Returning back to the trail head, we had conquered the highest mountain in Wales!
Wales is seriously incredible, and I am so glad that I went out and explored the Snowdonia National Park region. It was so much more than I could have ever expected! If you’ve got any other recommendations for the U.K please let me know, I’d love to discover more of this incredible country!!