North Wales Holiday PhotosClick thumbnail to view full-size
North Wales is a great place to take a relaxing vacation by the sea, with beautiful countryside mixed in. Facing north over the Irish Sea to the Isle of Man and the Scottish Coast are the seaside resorts of Prestatyn, Rhyl, Colwyn Bay, Llandudno, and further west down the Menai Strait is Caernarfon Castle and the Isle of Anglesey. Our ultimate destination was to visit the summit of Mount Snowdon before travelling to Llangollen on our way home to take a barge trip over the river in the sky, so more of this below:
North Wales Guest House
This small seaside town was to be our stop for the first night, so having booked into our guest house, we left home early for the 3 hour drive, to give us time to visit a few resorts on the way.
The guest house was so good for quality home-grown food, comfort and location that we stayed here for our second night.
For an outdoor holiday such as this, dry weather helps a lot, and after waiting for 6 weeks for the weather forecast to predict sunshine for just 3 consecutive days, we were off at last.
First we stopped off for lunch at Prestatyn, where there is a lovely promenade just next to a golf course and a very large holiday camp. There are great views across the bay from here, with a wind farm of 50 turbines out to sea.
Rhyl was the next stop, a very busy seaside resort with plenty to occupy the holiday maker. The car park is right on the sea front, underneath a fairly large fairground complex, and a sky tower offering great views over the vast beach and the bay, the whole town and the mountains behind.
A £20million investment plan to regenerate the Rhyl and Colwyn Bay area has just been approved.
Llandudno Pier, North Wales
We were pleasantly surprised to discover this Victorian Pier, built in 1878 and a grade 2 listed building.
Stretching half a mile out to sea, it is the longest pier in Wales and an award winner in 2005.
A fishing pier is at the end, and on looking back to land, there is a great view of the Great Orme, like the Rock of Gibraltar, with a cable car stretching right over it.
Live family entertainment is provided for visitors every afternoon, and we really enjoyed our stroll to the far end of the pier and back.
Llanberis Mount Snowdon Railway, North Wales
Mount Snowdon Railway
Mount Snowdon Railway leaving from Llanberis Station, is a nostalgic railway trip to the top of Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales at 3,560 feet high in the Snowdonia National Park.
Visitors from Colorado will be at home here as the scenery is very similar, only on a smaller scale, as the railroad at Pikes Peak near Colorado Springs rises to 14,115 foot at the summit, four times higher than Mount Snowdon. Imagine that!.
The journey to the summit of Mount Snowdon takes one hour each way, but plenty of people walk either up or down, and get the train for the return journey.
A couple who joined us on the train for the journey down, told us it had taken them 5 hours to walk up the mountain from Llanberis.
Betws-y-Coed Station, North Wales
Betws-y-Coed is surrounded by thick woods, thunderous waterfalls and natural beauty.
It is here where 3 tributaries flow into the River Conwy and is the busiest village in the Snowdonia National Park, and a magnet for walkers and day trippers alike.
A miniature railway is housed in a museum at the railway station, Telford’s Waterloo Bridge dating from 1815 carries the A5 across it, and waterfalls are numerous here.
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Llangollen Canal, North Wales.
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Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Llangollen Canal, North Wales.
The visit to Llangollen was the highlight of our vacation, with the main purpose to cross the aquaduct by barge.
This grade 1 listed building, recently being granted world heritage status by UNESCO, is the highest and longest aquaduct in the world, a Welsh National Monument, and possibly the oldest working aquaduct in the world, having been open since the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
Thomas Telford and William Jessop were the designers and engineers, and it took 500 men 10 years to complete.
The aquaduct is over 1000 feet long, 11 feet wide, with the water trough 63 inches deep.
19 arches, each 116 feet high with a span of 45 feet support the entire structure, and the aquaduct holds 330,000 gallons of water which is so clean, with very little processing, it serves as household water to the Cheshire area.
Pontcysyllte is pronounced "pont-kersulty".
Llangollen is an interesting, busy town, with plenty of parking in the town center from where you walk over the bridge and up to Llangollen Wharf.
Once on board, we enjoyed the 2 hour journey along the Dee Valley and finally over the aquaduct, all with a live commentary from the skipper.
Their is a bar available, and light lunches are available.
A courtesy coach was waiting at the end of our journey which took us back to Llangollen and dropped us off right in the center of town near to our car park.
Perhaps for the more romantic, or for those who have already sailed over the aquaduct or maybe for those who have not got 2 hours to spare, a 45 minute trip in a barge drawn by a horse is another great experience.
Parties of 30 or more can take in the splendour of the Horseshoe Falls at the head of the canal.
It's a leisurely ride along the last stretch of the Llangollen canal, not navigable by any other boats.
A stop at the end allows you to admire the chain bridge across the River Dee, and marvel at the man-made Horseshoe Falls, another masterpiece by Thomas Telford.
This is possibly the most beautiful length of canal you will ever see, and the horse drawn trip is definitely the most peaceful and relaxing way to see it.
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