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.
Here, we’ve created a four-day itinerary with the theme ‘Adventure’ that takes you mountain biking, ziplining, riding and surfing, with exciting heritage attractions thrown in for good measure.
Kick off on a real high close to the Wales/England border at Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, built in 1805 to carry the Llangollen Canal 128ft/39m above the River Dee. It’s an astonishing engineering feat and a true wonder of the world, reflected in it being the jewel in the crown of the 11-mile UNESCO World Heritage Site between the Horseshoe Falls (Llantysilio) and Gledrid (Shropshire).
Drive over the A542 Horseshoe Pass to Llandegla. Mountain bikers won’t want to miss One Planet Adventure, which makes the most of the trails in the Llandegla Forest. If you prefer horse power go to Bridlewood Riding Centre outside Prestatyn, where you can ride on green hillsides or along sandy Talacre Beach. If you’re happier in the water head on to Rhyl for a splash around at the SC2 waterpark, packed with slides and play areas, or challenge yourself on Ninja Tag Active a fantastic indoor multi-level assault course. For younger visitors, there’s Junior Ninja Tag, the first of its kind in the UK.
Aura’s Skate Park is the first indoor Extreme Sports arena in Wales and one of the largest of its type in Europe. 1,452 square metre indoor wooden ramp area providing facilities for skateboarders, BMX riders and in-line skaters.
Deeside Ice Rink is the National Centre for Ice Sports in Wales. It boasts an Olympic size pad, catering for a wide variety of ice sports and activities. Whether you’re an experienced skater or a novice you’ll enjoy the fantastic facilities at Deeside Ice Rink.
Suggested overnight: Rhyl or Abergele.
First stop is Abergele and Adventure Trail, which promises a ‘surprise around every corner’ with more than 40 fun games and challenges for all the family. Then it’s on to Colwyn Bay Watersports on the revitalised promenade and beach at Porth Eirias, where high-quality taster sessions and full tuition in sailing, windsurfing and powerboating are on tap.
But who needs the sea? From the coast, drive inland on the A470 down the lovely Conwy Valley, following signs to Adventure Parc Snowdonia, the world’s first inland surfing lagoon where perfect waves are guaranteed to arrive like clockwork. If you don’t want wet feet, there are fly-by-wire zip lines too.
Suggested overnight: Betws-y-Coed.
Zip World Penrhyn Quarry is the daddy of them all. Snowdonia’s reputation as a zip line capital was born here. It’s the world’s fastest, where you’ll reach eye-watering – make that hair-raising? – speeds (think 100mph/160kph) as you fly 1,640ft/500m above the quarry lake.
Things are a little less white-knuckle at GreenWood Family Park near Caernarfon. It’s aptly named. This multi-award-winning attraction takes its green credentials very seriously. Hop on its people-powered rollercoaster or the UK’s first solar-powered ride.
Then head to Llanberis and Llyn Padarn, one of the largest natural lakes in Wales, where a busy watersports scene includes stand-up paddleboarding (the ‘best place to go paddleboarding in the UK,’ says The Independent newspaper).
Suggested overnight: Llanberis.
Take the A5 road bridge across the Menai Strait to the Isle of Anglesey. You’ll soon be acquainted with the Strait’s waters up close and personal. Just over the bridge at picturesque Porth Daniel there’s RibRide, a company specialising in boat trips with a difference, including the super-fast, adrenaline-fuelled ‘Velocity’ ride.
Nearby Beaumaris is home to what’s regarded as the finest of all the medieval castles built by English King Edward I in his campaign against Wales. With its moat and concentric walls-within-walls fortifications, Beaumaris – now a World Heritage Site – would have presented a formidable challenge to any attacker.
Follow the A5 across Anglesey to Rhoscolyn to round off your North Wales Way adventures by kayaking with B-Active@Rhoscolyn. And look out for motorsports action at the Anglesey Circuit near Aberffraw, one of the most scenic and challenging in Britain.
Suggested overnight: Trearddur Bay.