North Wales in a weekend: the Great Outdoors

​If you’ve chosen North Wales as the destination for a weekend getaway, it’s likely you’re already aware of the world-class outdoor adventures and spectacular landscapes we’ve got to offer. We’re talking rolling hills, wide open fields, sparkling waves, babbling brooks, sandy beaches, rocky cliffs… you name it, we’ve got it!

The Royal Victoria Hotel is perfectly located for making the most of the great outdoors – we’re right on the border of the Snowdonia National Park while the fascinating island of Anglesey and the many attractions of the North Wales coast are just a short drive away. To help you get the most out of your break in North Wales, we’ve picked a duo of outdoor adventures you can enjoy over a weekend. They are within easy reach of the hotel and can be done over a weekend or in isolation, whatever suits you best!

Saturday – Snowdon, Snowdonia

On Snowdon summit

No mention of North Wales is complete without mention of ‘our mountain’, Snowdon or Y Wyddfa as it’s known in Welsh. The highest peak in Wales and England is a perennial favourite for outdoorsy types, families, students and holidaymakers and hikers. What’s more, the iconic mountain is very easily accessed from our hotel, putting this adventure right on your doorstep.

The Snowdon Mountain Railway (opening for the 2019 season on the 15th of March) is just a few minutes’ walk from the hotel, offering a relaxed way to enjoy the mountainous landscape. It’s a popular choice for families and less experienced hikers to reach the summit. Alternatively, you might decide to head out on foot – a particularly good option for keen photographers or nature lovers. There are several walking routes accessible from the hotel, or guests can catch the Snowdon Sherpa bus to Pen Y Pass and start the journey to the summit of Snowdon along the Miner’s Track.

Snowdon is over 1,000 metres high and presents a challenging yet rewarding climb for walkers and climbers of all abilities. As with any hill climb, it’s essential to be prepared. Even the nicest of days at ground level can transform into chill winds and dense cloud cover at the summit, so dressing appropriately is a must. You can let our reception team know you’re heading to Snowdon before you leave, and check the weather forecast so you know what to expect.

As well as all the usual kit, we highly recommend making sure your camera or phone has plenty of battery – this is a day out you’ll want to document. On the journey up to the summit you’ll pass charming slate villages, mysterious lakes, deep valleys and legendary sites.

There are six recommended routes up Snowdon, and your choice will depend on your experience and what you want out of your day. The 14.5km Llanberis Path is a top choice for first-timers here – though it’s the longest path it offers a gradual gradient up to the summit. Experienced walkers with a head for heights might choose to tackle the Rhyd Ddu Path (12km), which traces its way along a narrow pathway near the top. One route option for confident hikers might be to start from Pen Y Pass and take the Pyg Track (11km) – the start of the path is quite steep, but you’re rewarded with jaw-dropping views as you make your way along; just before the final climb the Pyg Track joins with the Miners’ Track, so you might opt to descend along that track, or even reverse the route and start with Miners’, which also begins in Pen Y Pass.

Once at the top you can rest and refuel at the Summit Café, before beginning your descent back to the hotel. However you choose to conquer Y Wyddfa, it’s the ultimate Welsh outdoor adventure.

Sunday – South Stack, Anglesey

South Stack near Snowdon

Yesterday’s epic adventure took you to the very top of Wales, but today’s stays closer to sea level. With so much coastline, North Wales is blessed with amazing marine life, seaside scenery and lovely beaches. There are plenty of fantastic spots all along the coast to take in the views, but we’ve got a soft spot for South Stack Cliffs on Anglesey. Reached in under an hour by car from the hotel, the cliffs are on Anglesey’s furthest tip from mainland Wales and are also an RSPB Reserve.

Set on dramatic coastal cliffs and surrounded by heaths and farmland, the landscape here is remarkable. There’s lots to explore here, including the fully-operational lighthouse (reached by a dizzying traverse of a bridge above churning waves) and many walks around the headland through the nature reserve. Last summer visitors were lucky enough to witness killer whales swimming just off the coast of South Stack, a rare treat indeed!

Indeed, from a wildlife point of view, it’s one of the most important habitats in North Wales. The reserve is home a variety of bird and animal species, including almost a dozen breeding pairs of rare chough (a relative of the crow). The spectacular cliffs themselves give shelter to more than 9,000 seabirds, including guillemots, kittiwake and puffins, while the heathland – beautifully technicoloured in the summer – is a perfect habitat for lizards, rare butterflies and other land dwellers.

Spend the day exploring the area, perhaps visiting the historic South Stack Lighthouse or simply keeping your binoculars trained for the variety of species that call this place home. After exploring, why not pop into the South Stack Café for a bite to eat and enjoy even more marvellous coastal views?

Ideally located in Llanberis, the Royal Victoria Hotel is the perfect base for adventures in North Wales’s great outdoors. View our range of rooms here.