We visited North Wales last year and loved it so much, we went back again this summer! The weather may be a little unpredictable (!), but there really is so much to do over there. Sometimes you just need to speak to someone who’s already been. So for any of you that are looking for inspiration, here are a few of the things our family got up to!
(I’ve included the postcodes so you can find these places easily)
Beaches in North Wales
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Colwyn Bay is a vast sandy beach which is great for collecting shells. There are also rock pools which our girls loved peering into. There is a promenade with lots of benches along it so you can have a lovely wander along there or sit and admire the view.
There is a watersports centre here so we had lots of fun watching the jet skiers! Be aware that the beach is fully submerged at high tide but there is a lovely pirate-themed playground on the front which we spent a long time in.
Next to the playground is the Bryn Williams bistro – the roof slopes right down to the ground and you can walk to the top and see right across the bay.
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Llanfairfechan is truly breath-taking – an extensive beach bordered by mountains! There are also some gorgeous houses on the front, painted lots of bright, beach-y colours. If you’re looking for a nice place to have a picnic, this is it (!) because you can park right on the promenade.
Because the sand is so flat, the tide goes out a very long way! It also means that the children can go quite a way into the sea and still only be knee deep in water.
This is quite a soggy beach so sit near the top where the sand is firmest. If you’re planning to play on the beach, I recommend keeping to the right hand side of the café and ramp (going straight forward means you get a muddy patch of beach).
If you head left along the promenade, you reach a play park, large duck pond, and giant paddling pool. This was a great way to keep the children entertained while we waited for the tide to go out.
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Penmaenmawr was our favourite beach from our visit to North Wales last year, so we had to pop back again. This year was a bit breezier than last time so we sheltered in the café / souvenir shop on the promenade. We’re also in the throws of potty training so it was very useful to have the public toilets close by (20p charge).
The paddling pool here was brilliant again as the sand is fully submerged during high tide, but you can still get onto the pebbles and our girls had great fun throwing stones into the sea. There is also another play park.
But when the tide goes out, a large expanse of sand is revealed.
We have always used the on-street parking near the paddling pool before, but this year we discovered that you can park on the promenade if you go a little further along the North Wales Expressway (A55) and turn off towards the beach.
We had a lovely walk along the promenade here and the sea just seemed to go on for miles and miles!
North Wales Towns
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We actually stayed in Conwy (camping at Conwy Holiday Park which was fab!). It’s a great town that is close to all the North Wales action! The girls loved driving under the Conwy Castle arch every day and assessing the height of the tide by the amount of water in the estuary.
The town is full of quaint little streets and there are plenty of souvenir shops for little ones to spend their pennies. We parked in the Morfa Bach Car Park (postcode above) and walked in on the city walls.
We spent a lovely afternoon down at the harbour watching the boats and eating ice cream. There is crabbing available and lots of benches and walls to sit on.
It did get quite busy, though, so we headed over to the grassy bank by the estuary bridge. There were lots more benches here and the girls could run about without me panicking about them careering over the edge of the harbour wall!
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Llandudno is the tourist town of choice in North Wales. With two beaches, plenty of shops, and the Great Orme to have a look at, it’s not surprising.
I would recommend parking at the Maelgwyn Road Car Park (that’s the postcode I’ve listed) as it is close enough to walk to either beach, depending on what you fancy doing.
We started off with a wander along the famous Llandudno pier which is by the North Beach. It is packed full of amusements and souvenir shops. I get a little anxious on piers that have big gaps between the floor planks, but thankfully that wasn’t a problem here. Also the fence along the edges only had small gaps so I was confident that the girls wouldn’t be taking an unexpected dip in the ocean!
The view from the end is just amazing, even on the rainy day that we visited!
North Beach isn’t really a beach to play on, but there were donkeys for the children, a Punch and Judy show, and lots of benches along the promenade. The United Beach Missions (UBM) hold free bible-themed children’s entertainment here over the summer (2:30pm) if you fancy a few child-free minutes!
Next we went to West Shore. The tide was in and there were lots of people doing kite surfing. The children played in the park here (more public toilets for 20p) and then we went for a walk round/over the Great Orme. The path starts just where Abbey Road becomes Marine Drive and is quite a steep climb initially before levelling off. Don’t be put off, though, because our 2 year old managed it and the view (and café) at the top are well worth the effort!
North Wales Attractions
RSPB Nature Reserve
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This was a really lovely, well-kept place. We’ve never visited an RSPB before, but we’ll definitely try more after seeing this one. It cost us £12.50 for a family ticket and we spent the whole day there. It’s open 9:30-5pm, but we noticed that there is gate allowing you onto the land for free after 5pm.
The lady at reception was lovely and chatted away to our girls about all the different creatures they might see at the reserve. There was a free children’s treasure hunt and an additional one for a small fee. We decided to do both!
At the entrance, there is a lovely little play park and some toys for the children to play with. There were also picnic benches dotted around so we could take our own food in (although I think there is a café too).
We had a map but ended up just wandering around the little paths and seeing where we ended. We went out onto the longer walk which comes back along the bank of the Conwy estuary. This gives some fantastic views of the castle. It also gave us a chance to see some wild ponies as they graze on the land at certain times of the year.
We managed to go on a sunny day, but don’t worry if the weather turns because there is an “eco room” (made out of straw) which had some toys in for the children to play with.
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We originally went to Erias Park because there is a swimming pool there and we needed a rainy day activity. But once we’d finished swimming, the sun came out so we decided to explore the rest of the park.
There is lots of open grass and a lovely duck pond with some picnic benches. We decided to have our lunch here, but watch out for the seagulls – they were very keen to join in!
Just next to the pond is a large playground with areas for older and younger children.
The park backs onto Colwyn Bay (see above) so we wandered down there next and spent some time at the beach.
Conwy Water Gardens
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In all honesty, we weren’t expecting much from Conwy Water Gardens because it’s free. How wrong we were! There was so much there!
The otters were my favourite bit, but there were lots of creatures to look at. Little paths wind their way around ponds and enclosures and you just wander around and have a look. They were selling duck food (there are A LOT of ducks) but we didn’t bother.
I think it is closed on Mondays so make sure you check before heading over.
There was also a little play park, a reptile house, and a pancake house. We didn’t eat there but it is highly recommended by some friends of ours.
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Conwy Castle is impressive! It is very well preserved and there are lots of towers to climb and walls to walk along. It costs £26.60 for a family ticket, and it was the highlight of our childrens’ holiday!
You definitely have to keep your wits about you, taking a 2 year old up the towers; most of them are open and drop hundreds of feet with only a hand rail as a barrier. But you could see for miles up there and the scenery in North Wales is fabulous.
Conway Castle is a bit smaller than Caenarfon Castle (which we visited last year) but there were lots of interesting information boards around, some aimed at children too. We were particularly impressed with the augmented reality game (free) which encouraged us to hunt for baby dragons around the castle.
So that is the end of our whistle-stop tour around North Wales. Which places took your fancy? Have you ever visited North Wales? Where does your family like going on holiday? I’d love you to tell me in the comments section below 🙂
Disclaimer: I have not received compensation to mention any of these places. I wrote about them because we enjoyed our visits. For more info, please check out my disclosure policy.
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