North Wales by Campervan. Be Inspired.
As soon as I enter North Wales I feel as if I’m in another country. Well theoretically I am, and officially Wales sits within our magical Great Britain. Yet North Wales stands alone in its sheer majesty and strength.
There are so many reasons to visit North Wales with a campervan hire. Too many to mention in a short article. Travel to fine beaches, through rugged landscapes, past incredible history, and around majestic mountains. Tempted? Before you pack up your campervan and set off, here’s a snippet of three of best camper routes, castle stop offs, beaches and views.
Camper routes – three of the best
#1 The A470 North from Llanidloes to Machynlleth
Start at Machynlleth on the A497. Through the Corris valley where the sound of gushing rivers is never far away. Stop off at King Arthur’s Labyrinth and sail by underground boat through a magical waterfall. Join the A470 and park up for a brew at the Llyn Cywedog reservoir, the views are spectacular here. On past the imposing slopes of Cadair Idris and up and over the mountains of Snowdonia through breathtaking mountain scenery. Down through Betws y Coed and Llanrwst, and along the Conwy valley. Often dubbed the Welsh route 66, this is a ‘highway to heaven’.
#2 Aberystwyth to Rhayader
Through the Cambrian mountains and the spine of Wales, a pretty route that starts at Aberystwyth and picks up the mountain road that soars through the mountains. Past the dams and reservoirs of the Elan Valley – the working legacy of remarkable Victorian engineering – and through a wonderful living landscape. Drop down to Rhayader, a great base for exploring mid-Wales and the heart of lakeland Wales.
#3 The A5 from Llangollen to Snowdonia
Cross into North Wales from the Midlands and visit the medieval castle at Chirk. Head on to Llangollen where the white waters of the River Dee flow through the town centre. Full steam ahead into the majestic Snowdonia National Park, past the towering peaks of Tryfan, the Glyderau and the Carneddau, and final stop at pretty Beddgelert.
Camper castles – three of the best
#1 Harlech Castle
Set on a cliff-top position looking out across the Irish Sea, Harlech castle was built with incredible speed between 1283 and 1295. It was virtually impregnable from every angle. Step across the recently installed ‘floating’ bridge and visit the castle as it was originally intended. Enjoy a slow drive along this pretty coastal route, and stay at Cae Du camp site, ‘the campsite of your dreams’.
#2 Conwy Castle
Conwy Castle is true medieval splendour. Set against a backdrop of the dramatic Snowdonia skyline and commanding a rock above the Conwy estuary, this 13th century beast is one of the key fortresses in Edward I’s ‘iron ring’ of castles. Head for the battlements and take in breathtaking views across mountain and sea.
#3 Caernarfon Castle
Fortified to the hilt, this impenetrable castle sits overlooking the River Seiont and was once the home of a Norman Motte and Bailey castle. Today it is one of Wales’ most prized architectural treasures. You’re free to road around, so clamber around the castle as much as you like, then head into the small town of Caernarfon and explore the web of 17th and 18th cobbled streets.
Camper beaches – three of the best
#1 Fairbourne and Friog
Three miles of glorious sandy beach and not a soul in sight. Fairbourne is a little-known oasis of beach heaven. Park up the campervan, get out the picnic hamper, and enjoy the expanse of sky, sea and sand. If it’s not beach weather, drive to the bottom of the old Goleuwern Slate Quarry and walk up to the eerie Blue Lake. Or take the Fairbourne Steam Railway to the mouth of the Mawddach Estuary and hop on a ferry to Barmouth.
Got your surf boards with you? Excellent. Ride the waves at Aberdovey Beach, they are some of the best in the country (although tides can be dangerously strong). The sand dunes are pretty good too, kids will love getting lost in them. Enjoy ice creams at the thriving little harbour where the river Dyfi meets the blue waters of Cardigan Bay.
#3 Shell Island
Love shells? I mean real sea shells? Then this is the place to come. South of Harlech and looking across to the Llyn Peninsula, you can gather shells washed up by the winter storms by the bagful in the spring. The sunsets are pretty amazing too. It’s remote here. So, get those camper deck chairs out, look up at the milky way, and you could well spot a shooting star.
Camper views – three of the best
#1 Cwm Idwal, National Nature Reserve
Drive your campervan to this National Nature Reserve and see landscapes and plant life that have barely changed since the Ice Age. On a calm day, Llyn Idwal lake is as smooth a mirror, with beautiful reflections of cliffs and sky. The unmistakeable shape of Tryfan mountain makes a striking backdrop.
#2 Swallow Falls, Betws-y-Coed
Easy to park up, this waterfall on the River Llugwy is one of the loveliest features of North Wales. Since the Llugwy’s catchment area gets more rain than anywhere else in Britain, the falls usually have plenty of oomph. There are easy-to-reach viewpoints on each bank, very close to the rushing, foaming water.
#3 Cregennen Lake, Snowdonia
Drive around Cregennen Lake and you will want to stay. Under a brooding dawn sky, with autumn mist tumbling down from Cadair Idris, the lake looks quite spectacular. It’s lovely at other times of the year too with tremendous views overlooking the beautiful Mawddach Estuary and Barmouth Bridge.
Want to find out more about campervan hire and beautiful North Wales? Visit http://www.visitwales.com
Featured Photo by ArchieImages