Driving Tours of Wales
Driving Route Wales
Conwy Water Gardens Free Admission
YHA Rowen hostel. Starting point for Pass of the Two Stones walk.
Degannwy Castle ruins (near to) confirm from photo map on hub.
Great Orme Tramway
Conwy Castle - in tact 13th Century Castle.
Leave Conwy through the Upper Gate in town to Penmaenmawr via Dwygyfylchi.
Abergwyngregyn car park.
Sightseeing Tours of Wales by Car
The Aber Valley
For this route I recommend you hire a four wheel drive vehicle, as some of the terrain involves single track off road routes. I've provided the Sat Navigation references and a map above which I am happy for you to use and share. If you want to repost the site information please provide credit to myself and use this link: Driving Tours of Wales by Eliza Doole.
The route contains sights of significant historical interest, fantastic photographic opportunities and sights of natural beauty from walking trails nearby. Welsh citizens would like to keep their heritage intact, so avoid disturbing stonework or cairns, burial chambers, standing stones or stone circles as you travel, keep litter at bay and respect the environment and of course, the wildlife.
Start point: Betws-y-Coed LL24 OBN to Conwy Water Gardens LL32 8TP
Drive North to Conwy Water Gardens where free admission provides a brilliant day out, with the added attraction of signposted nature walks through ponds, waterfalls and woodlands. There is a Dutch pancake house and an aquarium display with over 100 types of fish, a reptile centre as well as three fishing lakes where you can hire equipment and try your luck with abundant stocks of salmon and rainbow trout. There is outdoors picnic and children's play areas, otters, capybaras, ducks and wildlife to see.
The Pass of The Two Stones Legends of Rowan
Rowan - The Pass of The Two Stones
Second point: Conwy Water Gardens LL32 8TP to Rowan YHA and the Pass of the Two Stones LL32 8YN
From 2012, YHA Rowen is bookable for families and other travellers, and it is worth checking out the hostel network if you plan to travel the heritage places in the Snowdonia and Conwy regions.
There are three walks available from the hostel starting point including the path to Rowan and The Pass of the Two Stones. As you travel you will pass many Roman standing stone structures on your way to the Two Stones which indicate a planned path of significance to the occupants around 60AD.
The Pass of The Two Stones is a legend from the time of giants.
Giant's Causeway Legend - Ireland
Third point: Rowan YHA and the Pass of the Two Stones LL32 8YN to Degannwy Castle LL31 9DA.
This is a famous ruined castle, completely decimated by the last King of Wales, Llywelyn the Last in 1257. It is a lovely site to walk through as you can only appreciate the former grandeur of the castle by walking through the structures of the ruins. The original castle had two mottes on closely adjacent hillocks linked by ramparts and ditches and overlooking the River Conwy.
Fourth point: Degannwy Castle LL31 9DA to Great Orme Summit via Landundo Great Orme Tramway LL30 2NB:
It is worth taking an extra detour to see The Great Orme or Y Gogarth which is an incredible lookout point. Park at the the Landudno Great Orme Tramway, and take the tram to the Great Orme summit. This is the only surviving cable operated street tramway in Great Britian and one of only three left in the world.
Llandudno Map of Attractions
Conwy to Penmaenmawr
Fifth point: Great Orme Tramway LL32 2LB to Conwy Castle LL32 8AY
Constructed between 1283 and 1287 Conwy Castle was a vital part of English King Edward I in his battle against the Welsh King Llewelyn Fawr. A monastery was already on the site, and Edward I forced the monks to move from their Aberconwy Abbey site and relocate so that he could build his "Iron Ring" castle.
You can go and visit the new abbey at the site of Conwy Church. You will see a road by the side of the British Legion, the entrance to St Mary's Church is a short distance down – the key is kept at the Vicarage house at the front of the church so just go and ask for it if you want to go inside. (Note this is common in Wales, you can get the key to any closed church if you want to look around). Afterwards, walk up to the town square to see the statue of Llewelyn Fawr on a plinth. Another church to visit is St Benedicts Church, Henryd Road, Gyffin – LL32 8H where Llewelyn Fawr's headstone rests.
Sixth Point: Conwy Castle LL32 8AY to The Sychnant Pass Road Penmaenmawr LL34
Conwy to Penmaenmawr via Dwygyfylchi walk or drive/walk.
The Sychnant Pass is one of Conwy's best kept secrets and the northernmost pass in the Snowdonia National Park. Known locally as the North Wales walk.
The road leaves Conwy via the Upper Gate in the town walls. This is because In mail by horses and coach days it was choice whenever the tide was in and the otherwise faster and safer route along the sands not useable. The road runs westerly along the wide valley on the south side of Mynydd y Dref (Conwy Mountain) with its Neolithic Stone Circles and the Castell Caer Seion. Drive this section.
Drive/walk sections - stop and explore anywhere along these bits that take your fancy. This is Fairy Land.
The Sychnant Pass Road runs between the high stone walls of the Pen Sychnant Estate to emerge Conwy Mountain. There is a prehistoric axe factory on Penmaenmawr Mountain and the 'Druid's Circle', which has no associations with the ancient Druids, but has remains of two bronze age stone circles. Within the circle archeologists found a food vessel and the cremated remains of a child, possibly evidence of human sacrifice.
Sychnant means "Dry Valley" you have a downhill walk Allt Wen to meet the Valley of the Afon Gyrach that comes in from the left, lower down.
The Sychnant Pass Road drops rapidly to the left until it reaches the valley floor at Capelulo above Dwygyfylchi. An old road seen in the valley, takes an alternative route to the sea via Dwygyfylchi church. The views of the sea are spectacular taking in the Great Orme.
Fairy Glen - The Victorian Tourist Inn and the start of a delightful walk through the woods of fairy folklore. Almost next door - Y Dwygyfylchi - The Old Coaching Inn and other foodie restaurant stops.
From this point the road takes the traveller into Penmaenmawr.
From Conwy to Penmaenmawr is about five miles. There is a frequent bus service back from Penmaenmawr to Conwy via the A55 express way if you fancied walking the whole North pass.
Fairy Glen Waterfall Penmaenmawr
Penmaenmawr to Abergwyngregyn
The Seventh Point: The Sychnant Pass Road Penmaenmawr LL34 to Abergwyngregyn LL33 OLD
Drive to Abergwyngregyn, the ancient home of the Welsh Princes of Wales and take the lower road on the A55 towards the sea. You will reach the
Menai Strait, with Beaumaris in front of you and mud and sand banks in-between. Called Treath Lafan or the Lavan Sands, these were how people crossed over to Anglesey in medieval times but are unpassable now.
In the village opposite the chapel, behind the houses, there is an earth mound with a flat top called Pen-y-Mwd. This is the site of Abergwyngregyn Castle which was an earthwork motte, which incorporated rough stonework and a conical flat-topped mound made from river boulders.
Walks: Aber Falls or Rhaeadr Fawr - 4 miles.
From the chapel there is a 4 mile round and back walk to the spectacular Aber Falls waterfall. There is an exhibition hut about halfway, and plenty of signposted guidance and a clear trail from the town car parks.
To get back to the start of the route, drive back to Betws-y-Coed and LL24 OBN to begin exploring the north of Snowdonia Wales.