Five easy yet beautiful ambles in North Wales

Looking for a romantic evening stroll in North Wales, or simply have a couple of hours to kill? Not enough time for a mountain hike, but too much time to stay indoors?

We’ve compiled a list of five great easy ambles to help you make the most of your North Wales stay. These are low level walks, with very little up and down involved, perfect if you’ve just enjoyed a nice dinner or simply want an hour or so outdoors to work up an appetite.

Let’s go for a stroll, shall we?

1. Moelfre Fisherman’s Walk, Anglesey

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Just 20 minutes’ drive from Britannia Bridge on the A5025 Amlwch road, Moelfre is one of the prettiest fishing villages on the island. This short coastal amble takes in the cove, lifeboat station, a pebble beach and a wonder row of fishermen’s cottages.

From the main village car park, cross the lane and take the path along a stream down to the cove. Turn left, past the Kinmel Arms pub and follow the surfaced path around the coast. This brings you to the RNLI’s shop at The Seawatch Centre, open through the year except January. Take a while to learn more about Dic Evans, a member of the Moelfre lifeboat crew who was awarded two RNLI gold awards as well as an MBE for his bravery and service – and fully deserving of his fabulous statue by the path.

The next highlight along this lovely walk is already in view – the new lifeboat station, completed just a few years ago. You can visit between the hours of 10am and 4.30pm, so long as they’re not on a call-out, of course.

Shortly after the path reaches a small pebble beach and on your left, leading inland, a lovely row of whitewashed fishermen’s cottages. Out to sea, separated by a narrow channel known as the Swnt, Ynys Moelfre is home to many different species of seabirds. If you’ve brought a pair of binoculars it may be worth having a look.

The path, no longer surfaced, continues for 200 yards to a small promontory where the Hindlea Seat commemorates a remarkable sea rescue. The lifeboat crew, including Dic Evans, saved all eight crew of the Hindlea in 1959 by using the huge waves to bring the lifeboat level with the steamer eight times and jumping from deck to deck to rescue the men one at a time.

Return to the village along a footpath through a field, or continue onwards, past a caravan park, to arrive at the beautiful golden sands of Traeth Lligwy beach.

2. Belgian Promenade, Menai Bridge

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Like the Fisherman’s Walk, this stroll in the small town of Menai Bridge packs in lots of interest in such a short, easy walk. It’s buggy and wheelchair friendly too, with the exception of the paths on ancient Church Island.

Starting from the small pay and display car park by Jade Village Cantonese Restaurant, head down the surfaced path through woodland to the edge of the Menai Straits, where immediately you’ll want to explore the tiny Church Island via a causeway and St Tysilio’s Church, built in 630 AD. Back on the mainland, turn right and stroll along the promenade, built by Belgian refugees in 1916.

Where the path reaches a walled road on your left, turn left and head up this road, then at the main road turn right for a short walk onto Menai Suspension Bridge to admire the views and the amazing architecture. Return back down the walled lane to continue the walk.

Stay on this lane where Belgian Promenade joins it from the right and walk under the bridge, again marvelling at this feat of engineering from a wholly different angle. Follow the road below a bowling green and above a tiny port, then keep left past The Liverpool Arms and the Auckland Arms before reaching the busy crossroads in the centre of town.

Cross the road (to the left of the bank) and look out for the mock street on the right hand side, the set for Welsh soap opera Rownd a Rownd. Climb gently to a large roundabout, cross the road to the left before bearing right to return to the car park after a hundred metres or so.

3. Coast and Country, South of Caernarfon

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At just under 5 miles long, this is our longest walk featured here, yet as it’s virtually completely flat it’s fairly easy to complete in a couple of hours.

From Castle Square in the centre of Caernarfon, follow signs for the Welsh Highland Railway, down by the quay. Alongside the railway and the smart new station, look up for a bicycle sign above the footpath. This is the start of Lon Eifion, the cycle and offroad path that sets out towards Criccieth. Don’t worry, we’re not going that far!

Follow the railway, first under a footbridge and then a road bridge, and continue on this terrific surfaced path. Ignore the first crossing and go over the river visible down to your right. Go under a second road bridge, ignore the next railway crossing, and go straight ahead.

After having walked under a third road bridge, look right for a white house. Leave Lon Eifion now and go straight ahead through a gate to meet the road, and cross (to be facing traffic) and turn left. Pass Fron Goch garden centre and farm shop, and continue to Llanfaglan Village. Take care on this road as there are no pavements and cars can travel quite fast.

In the village, turn right (a phone box on your left) and continue up a short uphill stretch, past a converted chapel on the left. Head over the low hill and enjoy the views of the Menai Strait and Anglesey beyond.

Follow the lane to Plas Farm, and go through the gate. Turn right into the farmyard, past the barns, and straight ahead is a double gate; go through this and follow a grassy track between two hedges.

At the end of the track, go through a narrow gate in the wall on your left, with a golf course now on your right. Pass a house on your left and walk down the grass drive to the main road by the sea. Now turn right and follow the road back to Caernarfon, crossing the harbour via the footbridge.

4. Trefor, Ynys Fawr and Ynys Bach

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This walk starts from the tiny village of Trefor on the Llyn Peninsula’s north coast. Hidden off the fast A-road between Caernarfon and Pwllheli, this easy stroll takes in a historic harbour and some stunning coastal scenery, the best in the area.

The walk starts at the free car park by the shore, with a walk to the end of the breakwater offering views back to the beach as well as across to Gyrn Goch and up along Yr Eifl. Don’t be tempted to clamber on the fenced-off wooden pier – it makes for a striking photograph, but it’s clearly not safe to walk on.

Turn right along the coastal path and when you reach signs for the National Trust property of Morfa, cross the stile and zigzag to the top of the grassy hill. Keep close to coast and enjoy views of the sea stack of Ynys Bach, and then the pinnacles of Ynys Fawr, a wild and wonderful scene with the cliffs of Trwyn y Gorlech plummeting nearly 250 metres into the sea behind.

The path soon ends with a short diversion to the beach. Leave the coast at this point and turn left, inland, following a good farm track for about 800m, before passing through a gate and along a tarmac track. Turn left here, along the track which becomes a path after a short while, before rejoining the coastal path at the stile into Morfa. It’s then a short stroll back to the start.

5. Glan Faenol and Menai Strait

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Hidden away down a lane round the back of Parc Menai Industrial Estate, this walk in the grounds of the Faenol Estate takes in glorious woodlands and fantastic views across the Menai Strait to Plas Newydd. Drive through the estate buildings and the lane ends at a small parking areas and picnic site, the start of this walk.

From the bottom of the picnic area, go through the kissing gate and continue straight down the field (dogs on leads) towards the Menai Strait. Follow the path as it turns sharp left to follow the shoreline. Check out the bird hide and see if you can spot oystercatchers, cormorants, curlews and, if you’re lucky, seals as they feed in the Strait.

Take the gate into the woodland and follow this delightful path through the trees. Leave the woodland through another small gate and take a few moments to enjoy the views from the elevated viewing platform. Now leave the Strait (it can be a wrench!) and walk up the field to a bridge and kissing gate on your right. Go through the gate and enter Boat House Wood.

Eventually you’ll cross another bridge and then come to a track. You can shorten the walk here by turning left and following the track up until you reach some green gates. Go through the gates and follow the tree-lined avenue to another gate, where you turn left to return to the car park.

Otherwise, cross over the track and into more woods. After climbing some steps go through a kissing gate into a field. Follow the fence on your left. At the top of the field enter Cefn Gwyn Woodland through another gate and then emerge into another field through a second gate. Follow the fence across the top of the field to third gate, turn left and walk diagonally across the field to the gate under the trees.

You’ll see a triangular gate, designed to allow sheep access but stop cattle using the path. Go through and follow the path until you reach a large kissing gate. Turn left to return to the picnic area. Now relax!

Images courtesy: Moelfre Lifeboat Station © Copyright Andrew Woodvine and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence. Belgian Promenade David Dixon / Menai Suspension Bridge and Belgian Promenade / CC BY-SA 2.0. Trefor Harbour © Copyright Jeff Buck and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence. Glan Faenol by © Copyright Meirion and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Discover… Betws-y-Coed ‘gateway to Snowdonia’

​In our latest edition of our ‘Discover’ series, we’re exploring the Snowdonia gem that is Betws-y-Coed – a fairytale village surrounded by majestic mountains, mythical forests and cascading waterfalls.

Roughly translated, Betws-y-Coed means ‘the prayer house in the woods’. Why? Well, once upon a time, that’s quite literally what Betws was – a chapel surrounded by dense, untouched woodland. It’s believed to refer to St Michael’s Church which sits on the outskirts of the village today; here, the yew trees are over five centuries old.

Today, the ‘Gateway to Snowdonia’ is a vibrant and bustling adventure hang-out all year round. Surrounded by the beauty and splendour of Gwydir Forest and the Snowdonia mountain range, you’ll find walking trails, outdoor stores, countless adventure activities and wonderful boutique shops, pubs and cafes to boot.

One of the best things about Betws-y-Coed is the atmosphere – fresh mountain air, stunning scenery, a leisurely pace of life and an authentic Welsh welcome are just a few of the things that make this little village so special.

If you’ve never visited Betws before, 2019: the Year of Discovery is your perfect opportunity to fall under its charming spell!

Things to do in Betws-y-Coed

1. Swallow Falls

Just outside the village, the river Llugwy dramatically pours down a glorious cascade called Swallow Falls. You have to see this area of outstanding natural beauty to truly understand how spectacular it is – it’s a must-see on your visit to Betws-y-Coed.

Just head along the A5 and stop in the carpark opposite the Swallow Falls Hotel. The dramatic scene has easy-to-access viewpoints which cost £2 per person, so remember to bring some change – trust us, it’s more than worth it.

2. Fairy Glen

We love the Fairy Glen – it feels like a real-life fairytale! Mythical spirits are said to roam this idyllic wooden dingle, waiting for the fairies to arrive. Complete with rapids, waterfalls and lush fauna and flora, it’s a great place to refresh, unwind and take some Insta snapshots.

You can find the footpath towards the Fairy Glen via the A470. It can be slippy, so do take care and wear good walking shoes.

3. Conwy Valley Railway Museum

Train enthusiasts, get ready – you’re going to love this one! The Conwy Valley Railway Museum sits right in the heart of Betws-y-Coed and features a railway museum chock-a-block with vintage rail artefacts, as well as a miniature railway which takes you on an 8-minute ride along glorious landscaped grounds. Dogs are welcome to ride, too!

4. Llyn Elsi

You can’t come to Betws-y-Coed and not put your walking boots on! The 4-mile walk from the village centre to Llyn Elsi is almost as beautiful as the lake itself. It’s an easy, 1-2 hour jaunt which takes you through wild woodlands to a tranquil, scenic mountain lake – don’t forget the camera!

5. Zip World Fforest

Whether you’re visiting with kids or just having a romantic getaway, you can’t go wrong with a little bit of adventure. Head to Zip World Fforest and ride on the UK’s only alpine coaster. It offers some amazing views; though you’ll probably be more focused on hanging on for dear life. Next, climb, bounce and jump across the treetop nets or swing on Europe’s highest 5-seater swing, Skyride – it’s all great fun and only a few minutes’ drive out of the village!

Where to eat

1. Hangin’ Pizza

After all that adventuring, walking and sightseeing, you’ll definitely be ready for a pizza. This great little pizza joint is open for eat-in or takeaway – so if it’s busy, just grab a slice and head to the village green for a pizza picnic! Great food and a lovely atmosphere – plus, they donate a percentage of their profits to ape and orangutan charities in Africa.

2. Alpine Coffee Shop

This dog-friendly, palm-oil free cafe is run by the same company as Hangin’ Pizza – that’s right, more donations to ape and orangutan charities! This place is always thriving and serves up a huge range of coffees, tea, cakes, lunches and snacks. Their vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free ranges are particularly impressive – there’s something for everyone here.

3. Olif

It’s not just a tapas bar… it’s a Welsh themed tapas bar! Olif is a wonderful place to relax, unwind over some great-quality food and wine. Absolutely all their produce is local, so it truly is a taste of Wales. Make sure to try their amazing range of cocktails – they’re raved about!

4. Cwmni Cacen Gri

You’ve got to try Welsh cakes on your trip to North Wales – after all, it’s the Year of Discovery! Cwmni Cacen Gri has all the welsh cakes you could ever need, of both the traditional and quirky variety – we recommend chocolate & mint or cranberry & white chocolate.

Where to shop

1. Galeri

Looking for an extra-special souvenir or gift to take home from North Wales? You’re sure to find it at Galeri. This wonderful shop & gallery showcases arts, crafts, jewellery, books and prints of local Welsh artists and creators – you can pick up some truly unique pieces here.

2. Tandderwen Bakery

Before you head out for a long walk, stock up on freshly-made sandwiches, paninis, bakes, cakes and biscuits from this incredible local bakery. It’s just inside the Spar shop in the centre of the village and is your one-stop-shop for all your picnic (or just a an indulgent treat) needs!

3. Rock Bottom

Betws-y-Coed is perhaps one of the only places in the UK where outdoor stores outnumber pubs – there’s literally too many to count! However, we chose this clearance store because it’s a great place to pick up some good-value bargains from leading brands.

4. Iechyd da Deli

After trying out all that fantastic local produce at Olif, you’ll probably want to take some of it home. Well, Iechyd da Deli stocks all the Welsh food producers you could ever need – and much, much more. Think chutneys, Welsh cakes, bara brith, cheeses and honeys – need we say more?

Discover… Betws-y-Coed

Mountains, waterfalls, lakes, endless adventure, an atmosphere so wonderful you’ll want to bottle it up and take it home, an eclectic mix of modern and traditional cafes, restaurants and pubs – we could go on and on! There’s so much to discover in this charming village.

In fact, if we had to pick a place in North Wales which truly had it all, it’d probably be here! Located less than half an hour from the Royal Victoria Hotel, why not visit Betws y Coed on during your next stay with us?