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Even to some Brits, North Wales is the land of the unknown. It’s a little wild and rugged.  Adventure travel fits right in with medieval castles in these parts. Kayaking and mountain biking for natural highs; a surfing wave park and ultrafast zip lines take the adrenaline up a few ticks. 2017 is designated Wales's “Year of Legends”. Here’s an itinerary to help you write a few legends of your own.

 

Checking in

A converted Gothic Victorian church with six individually designed guestrooms, Ffynnon is a stylish boutique hotel in the market town of Dolgellau.

The Italianate holiday village of Portmeirion is a magical place to stay. Choose one of the quirky cottages, or the grand seafront hotel whose guests have included Noël Coward, H.G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw.

There are plenty of affordable camping options, and then there’s Wonderfully Wild glamping on the isle of Angelsey, for those who want to be close to nature without sacrificing home comforts.

Isle of Angelsey

DAY ONE

9:00 AM Conquer a World Heritage Site Castle

Wales has more castles per square mile than anywhere else on Earth. Get medieval at Caernarfon, Conwy and Harlech, where for the first time a newly built “floating” bridge lets you enter the castle through its original 600–year–old entrance which was not accessible prior to this renovation.

11:00 AM Direct an Arthurian Adventure

Directed by Guy Ritchie, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is an epic film coming in 2017. North Wales has historic links to King Arthur – his sword Excalibur is said to lie in nearby Llyn Ogwen lake. Snowdonia National Park at Capel Curig plays a prominent role in the film.

12:00 PM Ride a Steam Train to the Land of Eagles

Hikers of all abilities have the choice of several paths to the summit of Snowdon Peak – known in Welsh as Eryri (Land of Eagles). Or save yourself for a different kind of adventure and take the Snowdon Mountain Railway, whose steam locomotives date back to 1896. 

1:00 PM Enjoy High Tea on a Mountaintop

Enjoy the views from Snowdon's peak, at visitor center Hafod Eryri. It’s the highest place in the region, and you can buy a souvenir, drink tea and eat a Welsh oggie (a local meat–filled pasty).

3:30 PM Step Out to a Quirky Italianesque Village

Inspired by classic Italian resorts, Welsh architect Sir Clough WilliamsEllis designed and built Portmeirion between 1925 and 1975. With its architecture and colorful cottages, it was famously used as the location for cult 1960s TV show The Prisoner and is home to events such as Festival No.6.

7:30 PM Taste Fresh Local Seafood

Housed in a beautifully restored Art Deco pavilion, Dylan's house specialties include a bucket of drunken mussels – steamed in local cider and embellished with leeks, the national vegetable of Wales.

 

DAY TWO

10:00 AM Fly Through the World's Largest Zip Zone

Zip World’s newest attraction is Zip World Fforest, a treetop zip safari in the woods near the village of Betws–y–Coed. Conceived by a former Royal Marine commando, Zip World also has a velocity line at Penrhyn Quarry, where riders soar at speeds that reach 100 mph.

12:00 PM Follow the Path to a Legendary Isle

Located off the coast of Anglesey, tiny Llanddwyn Island is considered one of the most romantic spots in North Wales – even Prince William and Kate visited right after the royal wedding in 2011. It’s reachable by a mile–long walk along windswept Llanddwyn Beach, whenever the tide isn’t at its highest.

In the mood for lore, not love? Visit Bardsey Island, a tiny island just off the coast, instead. Known as the “Island of 20,000 Saints,” it has inspired countless artists, writers and musicians, and boasts an abundance of wildlife.

1:00 PM Picnic Like a Local

Assemble a gourmet picnic from the shelves of Bodnant Welsh Food Centre in Conwy. A cooking school and farm shop with its own in–house bakery, butcher and delicatessen.

4:30 PM Surf Before Supper

The first of its kind in the world, Surf Snowdonia is a man–made surfing lagoon on the edge of the Snowdonia mountain range. There’s a perfect wave every 90 seconds, and the park's newest attraction is the Crash & Splash Lagoon, a watery assault course that ends with a giant catapult!

7:30 PM Eat Local in Style

Hailing from North Wales, renowned chef Bryn Williams recently returned home to open Bryn Williams at Porth Eirias, a stylish beachfront restaurant, café and bar in Colwyn Bay. Menu highlights include Porth Eirias fish pie, Welsh beef, and local Conwy goat cheese and honey.

Bryn Williams at Porth Eirias

Posted in Wales