Ten terrific days out in Snowdonia when it rains

With mountains, countryside, rivers and the coastline all around you, it’s no surprise that much of your time in Snowdonia is spent exploring the Great Outdoors, but what can you do here when it rains? Well, the good news is, rain doesn’t stop play!

If getting soggy isn’t your cup of tea, there are many excellent all-weather attractions across the region suitable for all ages and tastes. In this week’s blog, we’ve selected our top ten favourite rainy days out.

1. Piggery Pottery, Llanberis

Perfect for all ages and budgets, the Piggery Pottery gives you a chance to create a super special souvenir or a unique gift for a loved one. You can even try your hand at throwing pots! Prices start at £2.50 for a cute DIY piggy bank and it’s a lovely, creative way to spend a rainy day near the hotel.

2. Electric Mountain, Llanberis

Set against the beautiful backdrop of towering mountains, the Electric Mountain visitor centre is a great place to spend a rainy afternoon. Have a bite to eat in the cafe or mooch around the gift shop before heading 750m into the Elidir Mountain where you will see how the gargantuan Dinorwig Power Station transforms all that Welsh rain into electricity. It’s a fascinating day out and, only a few minutes walk from the hotel, not to be missed!

3. National Slate Museum, Llanberis

Located on the shores of Llyn Padarn, a ten minute scenic walk from the hotel, the National Slate Museum tells the story of the slate industry in North Wales. Once the biggest single export in the region, North Walian slate literally roofed the world and was exported across the globe by boat from nearby Caernarfon and Bangor. Visit the museum for a hands-on encounter and experience the workshops and buildings exactly as they were in the quarry’s heyday.

4. Conwy Valley Railway Museum, Betws-y-Coed

Hop in the car and head to Betws if you have a train fanatic in the family. First, hoods up to brave the rain for a short journey on the miniature railway that runs near the main line (a thrilling moment if the ‘big’ train pulls up alongside!) and around landscaped gardens. Afterwards, head inside the museum where you can operate model trains at the touch of a button and browse railway memorabilia.

5. Go Below, Betws-y-Coed

Create your own legends at the ultimate underground adventure centre – Go Below. Forget the rain above and try your hand or test your mettle ziplining through caverns, boating across an underground lake, traversing over an abyss or abseiling to the deepest point in the UK. Rain or shine? Absolutely zero daylight is needed to get the full experience here!

6. Llechwedd Slate Caverns, Blaenau Ffestiniog

The slate caverns in Blaenau offer a choice of three fascinating tours, but on a rainy day, we recommend heading 500 feet underground and doing the Deep Mine Tour. Here, technology and history join to take you back more than 160 years, to meet the men and boys who worked the mines for 12 hours a day, 6 days a week.

Please note: for winter 2017 the mine train will be undergoing essential maintenance and will be replaced by Winter Walking Tours.

7. Penrhyn Castle, Bangor

Beautiful in sun or rain, this 18th century castle, now managed by the National Trust is like something straight out of a fairytale. Stay dry and explore the gloriously restored rooms then enjoy a bite to eat in the delightful tearooms. If there’s a break in the weather, head outdoors to follow miles of walking trails or explore the exotic jungle-esque bog garden.

8. Pili Palas, Menai Bridge

This nature centre on the island of Anglesey whisks you away from the rain in Wales and transports you thousands of miles away to the tropics. Get up close and personal to beautiful butterflies or, if you’re feeling brave, cockroaches and giant snails. If cuddly animals are more your thing, head to the farm barn!

9. Anglesey Sea Zoo, Brynsiencyn

Another fascinating wildlife attraction on Anglesey, this marine aquarium works tirelessly to protect British marine life, including eels, seahorses, lobsters, octopus and even sharks! It runs several breeding programmes for rare and endangered sea life. You’ll find out about some of the weird and wonderful creatures living off our coasts.

10. King Arthur’s Labyrinth, Machynlleth

With 2017 being the Year of Legends, what better place to visit than a place inspired by the Welsh tales of our legendary King Arthur? The labyrinth is a unique underground riverboat tour, taking visitors back to the magical dark ages, where tales of fiery dragons, colossal giants and fierce battles take centre stage. Situated deep beneath the mountains of Snowdonia, it’s the perfect place to spend a dark, dreary day!

So there you have it; contrary to popular belief you absolutely do not need the ‘right’ weather to enjoy a great day out in Snowdonia. Rain or shine, we have it covered!

Wine or spirits? North Wales pubs with spooky stories

North Wales has a fantastic selection of pubs to choose from and many are housed in old buildings with long histories and fascinating past lives. You’ll probably visit one or two during a stay with us – perhaps to sample some great local food or a craft beer from one of the many microbreweries in the region.

Be on your guard, just in case you attract an unwelcome drinking buddy – who won’t be drinking pints but prefers spirits!

Many of our regional pubs claim to have ghostly residents. Along with them come some truly spine-tingling tales to listen to over a drink and, whether you believe in ghosts or not, everyone loves a good story.

For this week’s blog, we’ve been on the trail of some of the most haunted pubs in North Wales.

The Black Boy Inn, Caernarfon

Built in 1522, the Black Boy has been a welcome sight for weary travellers for centuries and is one of the oldest hostelries in North Wales. There have been hundreds of paranormal sightings here over the years, but three spirits in particular are firm fixtures: at the spirit of a prostitute, the ghost of a nun and the sinister ‘Strangler’.

Martha, as she’s believed to be called, frequents the taproom of the pub and has been known to interact with the staff. She’s a friendly if sad spirit thought to have been a prostitute who worked the neighbourhood in the days when Caernarfon was a busy port.

Behind the pub is the site of a convent from Caernarfon’s medieval period. A nun is often seen passing through the bar, presumably on her way to the convent.

The pub’s most nefarious character, however, is the ‘Strangler’, a ghost that manifests itself with a feeling of hands being placed around the neck – eek! It’s thought the Strangler was responsible for the murder of several prostitutes in Caernarfon in the 1800s, North Wales’ answer to Jack the Ripper.

The Fairy Falls, Trefriw

This quaint country pub on the road to Betws-y-Coed in the Conwy Valley is home to two ghosts, named John Lucas and Lucy. The current landlady even claims to have seen them herself!

The Castle Hotel, Conwy

Along the corridors of the hotel an angry housemaid makes her presence felt. Falling ill very suddenly she requested that her body be returned home for burial but the hotel manager ignored these last wishes.

It’s rumoured that strange incidents started to take place after she was buried in the local graveyard – water jugs would shatter, people would be tripped up by invisible feet – shortly after, her body was exhumed and returned home to Anglesey but ghostly goings-on still occur from time to time.

Penryhn Old Hall, Penrhyn Bay

If the regulars are to be believed, there’s barely room for the living at this ancient pub!

The ghost of a monk resides above the Baronial Hall, while an angry soldier (frustrated at not being able to go to war) haunts the the old dance floor.

Elsewhere, a mournful noblewoman murdered in the house drifts on the stairway, refusing to believe she is really dead.

An old lady has been seen seated at the bar, occasionally getting up to mount the stairs nearby, and in the restaurant a cheeky young male spirit likes to sprinkle salt across the tables.

The Bull Hotel, Abergele

It’s such a hotbed of paranormal activity, regular ghost hunts are held at the pub. As well as all the usual ‘things that go bump in the night’ the Bull is home to some very specific ghostly residents, including an unlucky monk who died after a fall and a young man in bike leathers killed in a motorcycle accident nearby.

The Owain Glyndwr, Corwen

This inn is ancient, dating back to 1329. Originally a monastery, the site then became a coaching inn before hosting the very first Welsh Eisteddfod in 1789.

Despite its many uses, the pub has a sad and gloomy past. A local clergyman and young woman were having an affair but when discovered by outraged locals the clergyman ended the affair abruptly.

The poor, cast-off girl died of a broken heart. It is said that she still haunts the inn, waiting for her lost love to return to her and make amends.

But never fear, here at the Royal Victoria, we’ll be on hand with a stiff drink and comfortable surroundings to settle your nerves when you return after a terrifying day of ghost hunting.