You’ve bought your brilliant new-to-you motorhome from Threeways, so let’s presume you’re based in the Conwy area. You’re thinking about ‘getting your sea legs’ with her, so you can really master things before that bigger, longer and more adventurous trip you’re eyeing up for next summer. You want a few weekends of visiting great spots in the north of Wales in your motorhome, staying a night or two and then returning to your actual home - but you’re not quite sure where to start.
Or you may be coming to the area for a staycation and have taken advantage of motorhome or campervan hire from Threeways and need some suggestions of things you could do while exploring the area.
Either way, this edition of our blog can help! We’ll run down our specially prepared list of ten suggestions, each of which offers you a worthy destination – simply point your motorhome in their direction and off you go!
- Caernarfon Castle: This is one of the most well-preserved medieval fortresses in Europe, meaning you can get a real glimpse into the past – 1283 to be precise. That was the year Edward I began construction (we’re not sure he did all the labouring himself – although he might have done as it took almost 37 years to complete). You could partake in one of the castle tours, and you’ll learn that Caernarfon Castle occupies the site of an earlier Norman building that protected the River Seiont and the Menai Strait. In 1969 the castle was the site of King Charles III’s investiture as Prince Of Wales. Whatever your feelings about monarchy – ancient or modern – this is a wonderful place to visit, rich in feeling and atmosphere.
- Llandudno: North Wales motorhome holidays must always include the coast! So if the seaside is your thing, then Llandudno will never disappoint. With two sandy beaches (one each side of the town) and a ‘postcard pretty’ promenade, this Victorian town is unspoiled by the usual commercial trappings of seaside resorts. It’s a great place to wander and explore and soak in the sea air.
- Portmeirion: Famed for being a replica of an Italian village, stunning Portmeirion was put together by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis who had it built (between 1925 and the mid-1970s) on his own private promontory on a wooded peninsula between Porthmadog and Harlech. The town is incredibly photo-worthy, and you’ll have a lot of fun checking out the exquisite architecture and unusual layout. Famously, Portmeirion was used as the main location for the cult 1960s TV series The Prisoner, and also for a few episodes of Doctor Who back in the 1970s – so if you like your sci-fi as well as your sightseeing then Portmeirion is a must!
- Porthmadog: We mentioned this place just a moment ago, and it’s a wonderful place worth mentioning in itself, and looking at a little closer. Just 200 or so years old, the town began as a port for the slate trade – but that declined at the dawn of the 20th-century. If you like your history, you may be interested to know that the poet Shelley once lived here and it was also the birthplace of the actual Lawrence Of Arabia, TS Lawrence, archaeologist, army officer, diplomat and writer, who was immortalised by Peter O’Toole in David Lean’s multiple Oscar-winning and epic 1962 film. Today, Porthmadog is a picturesque seaside resort.
- The National Slate Museum: As we mentioned, Porthmadog was integral to the slate industry, and the National Slate Museum sited at Padarn Country Park will give you a vivid insight into this way of life for many North Wales workers. You’ll see the original machinery used to mine and work the slate for export, a huge working waterwheel and four preserved workers' cottages. The Museum is well worth some of your leisure time away from your motorhome.
- Llechwedd Slate Caverns: If the Museum has really piqued your interest in the story of slate in north Wales, then Llechwedd Slate Caverns, located in the town Blaenau Ffestiniog, are going to tip you over the edge into absolute joy. You can go on a deep mine tour, taking the country's steepest narrow gauge railway 152 meters down to explore spectacular slate caverns. If staying on the surface is more your thing, the Quarry Explorer is a 4x4 vehicle experience offering a tour of the vast mine area.
- Harlech Castle: We mentioned the wonderful Caernarfon Castle earlier, and if that kind of historic site is of interest then you are also going to love Harlech Castle, one of Europe’s best-surviving military structures from the 13th-century. Again it was built by Edward I (though we’re not sure he did any of the bricklaying on this one himself, either) and has endured numerous battles through the centuries, including during the English Civil War in the 17th. The Visitor’s Centre is highly informative and the whole area is worth a visit.
- Pontcysyllte Aqueduct: You may be thinking “why would I go look at an aqueduct when I’m on a North Wales motorhomes holiday!?” – but as soon as you see the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct on the Llangollen Canal, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site the penny will drop. It’s a stunning piece of civil engineering, begun in 1795 and completed a decade later – and is still the world's highest navigable aqueduct and the longest in the UK at 336 yards. You could even park up your motorhome nearby and take a boat trip across – the views are truly spectacular.
- Wrexham: Head into town! The spotlight has been on the town in recent months due to the highly entertaining fly-on-the-wall documentary TV series about Hollywood actor Ryan Reynolds buying and running the famous football club – but there’s much more to the place than Deadpool’s interest in ‘soccer’! It’s the largest town in north Wales and historically has always been one of the most populated parts of the country, being over a thousand years old and developed in the Middle Ages as a regional centre for trade and administration. There’s plenty to do and see – parks, historic building and, of course, shops and places to eat!
- Bodnant Gardens: Get back to nature – carefully curated nature – at Bodnant Gardens, a National Trust location near the village of Tal-y-Cafn, and sited on a hillside offering a great view across the Conwy Valley, including the beautiful Carneddau peaks. Bodnant was established in 1874 and contains thousands of examples of flora and fauna – including a spectacular 55-metre-long laburnum arch which was originally planted almost 150 years ago.
All of our suggestions are easily accessible and hugely enjoyable. If you’re part of the ‘campervans north Wales cognoscenti’, whether as an owner of one you’ve bought from Threeways or by hiring one from us, you’ll already know that North Wales has a massive amount of interesting beauty spots. Good luck exploring them all! Happy motorhoming!