Starting at the Wales/England border and running westwards for 75 miles/120km to the tip of Anglesey, The North Wales Way is one of three Wales Way touring routes created to guide and inspire visitors. Each ‘Way’ has been designed as a fluid experience, not a route that’s set in stone, with plenty of diversions off the main path that allow you to explore further and deeper.
This four-day cultural itinerary will introduce you to North Wales’s rich heritage and cultural life. Along the way, you’ll find everything from contemporary art and ancient monuments to imposing castles and immersive explorations into the industrial past.
We’re trying to pack as much into this journey as possible, so the night before you set off catch a movie or show at Theatr Clwyd close to the border at Mold. Day 1 proper begins with a visit to Wrexham’s Tŷ Pawb, a unique community space that combines art exhibitions, theatre performances and locally run market stalls (if you have time, call into nearby St Giles Parish Church, the largest medieval church in Wales).
St Winefride’s Well, which gives Holywell its name, is quite simply unique in the world. One of the seven wonders of Wales.
Gladstone’s Library was founded by four-times Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone. With 32,000 of his own books. Now it’s the National Memorial to his life and work.
Download the North East Wales Digital Trails app here www.northeastwales.wales
Then it’s on to Ruthin Craft Centre, the National Centre for the Applied Arts, to pick up some one-of-a-kind gifts, before a scenic drive over the twisting Horseshoe Pass takes you to Llangollen for a ride along the Dee Valley on the historic Llangollen Heritage Railway.
Suggested overnight: Llangollen.
Follow the A5 to Betws-y-Coed, then the A470 along the green Conwy Valley to spend the day exploring the medieval town of Conwy. There’s a lot to see. Mighty Conwy Castle is one of Europe’s most fabulous fortresses and a UNESCO World Heritage Site (climb up to the towering battlements, then walk along the amazingly well-preserved town walls for a breathtaking overview).
The new Conwy Culture Centre reveals more insights into the town’s robust history, while a trip to see a changing programme of art exhibitions at the Royal Cambrian Academy gives you a glimpse into Conwy’s creative strengths.
Suggested overnight: Conwy.
Drive along the A55 to Penrhyn Castle near Bangor, a flamboyant 19th-century mansion built with the immense wealth generated by North Wales’s slate industry. Then cross to Anglesey on the historic Menai Suspension Bridge (designed by celebrated engineer Thomas Telford and opened in 1826).
On the island, visit Bryn Celli Ddu near Brynsiencyn, one of the most impressive of Anglesey’s many Neolithic monuments, before heading to Copper Kingdom at Amlwch to learn about the metal that has been mined here since the Bronze Age. Finally, call into Oriel Ynys Môn in Llangefni, where you’ll find a changing programme of works by Welsh artists, alongside an extensive permanent exhibition of paintings and drawings by one of the greatest, Anglesey-born Sir Kyffin Williams.
Suggested overnight: Beaumaris.
Return to the mainland via the Britannia Bridge (the Menai Bridge’s younger neighbour) and make your way to Caernarfon. The town is known for its monumental medieval castle (another World Heritage Site), but its atmospheric narrow passageways, town walls, modern quayside and contemporary food scene are well-worth exploring in their own right.
Finally, follow the A4086 to the National Slate Museum at Llanberis, dedicated to an industry that completely reshaped this part of North Wales. It’s an authentic, arresting experience, for the ‘museum’ is, in effect, the old slate works left as though the workers have just downed tools and ‘clocked off’ for the last time.
Suggested overnight: Llanberis.