6 Hidden Gems to Visit In North Wales

1. Ynys Llanddwyn, Llanddwyn Island, Angelsey

Image Credit @geograph

Ynys Llanddwyn is situated along Llanddwyn beach on the south west coast of Anglesey.  It can be reached by walking along the sands to the right from the car park, or through the Newborough Nature Reserve.  The island is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). It is also a site of ancient Celtic romance.

Discover the ruins of the Church of Saint Dwynwen, built in the 16th century.  St Dwynwen is the Welsh Patron Saint of Lovers.  St Dwynwen’s Day is the Welsh equivalent of St Valentine’s Day and takes place on 25th January each year in Wales, when it is tradition to exchange cards, lovespoons and flowers.  The island of Llanddwyn has an enchanting mystical feel and is a very special and unique place to visit.

To explore this beautiful area, you can either walk the pathway across the centre of the isle, or follow the meandering gentle coastal trail which takes you around the entire island.

On your walk you will discover several small secluded coves.  Some have beautiful sandy beaches whilst others are mainly fine shingle.

At the far end of the island there are two lighthouses, Twr Bach and Twr Mawr. There’s also a row of small white cottages housing an Interpretation Centre. The cottages were once the homes of the Menai Straits Pilots.  They are quite isolated and have stood the test of time and stormy weather.  The cottages have been preserved as they would have looked in the 19th century.



2. Parys Mountain, Anglesey

Image Credit @Anglesey Info

Parys Mountain has been mined for copper since the Bronze Age 3,500 years ago.  The height of production was towards the end of the 18th century, when over 3,300 tons of ore was being extracted every year.  Once mined, the copper was shipped all over the world from the nearby port of Amlwch.  The site was the largest producer of copper in the world until mining ended in 1911.  Other metals found on the site include gold, silver, lead and zinc.  The landscape is a rainbow of colour with shades of yellow, orange, red, purple, grey and black, and has been used by the BBC as a film location when filming the Dr Who series. Some areas of Parys Mountain have been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

The area is open to the public every day with free access to a network of paths allowing you to explore the site. At the top of the mountain you will discover a nineteenth century beam-engine house and a windmill.  There’s a viewing area at the start of the trail where you can see the remains of the great open cast.  An interpretation board provides information about different aspects of the site.

Trails are signposted and visitors are advised keep to the paths.

There is a new award winning interactive heritage centre in the port of Amlwch telling the story of how Anglesey was once the world’s leading copper producer.



3. The Smallest House in Great Britain, Conwy

Image Credit @Visit Wales

Situated on Conwy’s quayside close to Conwy Castle, this little dwelling also known as the Quay House, sits at the end of a row of terraced cottages. The house measures 72 inches wide by 122 inches high and was once the home of local fisherman Robert Jones up until May 1900.  Mr Jones was 6ft 3 and was not able to stand up fully once inside the property.  The bedroom is just big enough to house one bed and a bedside cabinet.

Before Mr Jones lived there, the Quay House was the home of an elderly couple.  It has been a residence since the 16th century and is still owned by Mr Jones’ descendants.

A lady dressed in traditional Welsh costume waits to welcome you outside the house most days



4. Portmeirion, Minffordd, Penrhyndeudraeth

Image Credit @surreydock@flickr

This enchanting compact Italianate village was a dream and then the creation of architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis.  Construction began in 1925 and continued post-war until completion in 1976.

Portmeirion sits snuggly amongst rambling woodland on a hillside along the Dwyryd estuary.  Take a look at the Bristol Colonnade, the Gothic Pavilion, and Hercules Hall.  You will notice statues and quirky architecture everywhere.  Stroll through the ornamental gardens and woodland, filled with rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias.  There are also coastal walks from the quay with lovely views across the Dwyryd estuary.

Portmeirion was the location of the 1960’s cult series ‘The Prisoner’.  Festival No 6 takes place over three days each September when there is a range of entertainment to enjoy.



5. Aber Falls, Abergwyngregyn, Llanfairfechan

Image Credit @The Guardian

Aber Falls is a spectacular waterfall, one of the most beautiful in Wales and is located in the scenic Snowdonia National Park.  The walk to the falls is pleasant with lots to see on the way.  You will pass the Visitor Centre which houses an exhibition of the Princes of Gwynedd.  If you’re lucky, you may even encounter wild Welsh ponies.

The walk can easily be completed in under three hours with resting time at one of the picnic spots.  Or, once you reach the falls, sit and watch the water of the Afon Goch as it plunges almost 40 metres down over the rocks into a pool at the base where it is possible to take a dip – if you’re brave enough!  Take great care though, the rocks can be slippery and the water is cold.



6. The Ugly House (Ty Hyll), Betws Y Coed

Image Credit @The Ministry Of Information

Nobody knows who built the Ugly House, or when, but it was mainly constructed using big crude boulders and is believed to be a ‘ty unnos’.  Acording to myth, if a house was built on common land overnight, had a fire burning in the fireplace and smoke coming out of the chimney by the next morning, then the person who built it could claim ownership of the land.

Today Ty Hyll is used as a tea room, set amongst woodland and beautiful gardens which have been  planted up to attract birds, butterflies, bees and other winged insects. There are beehives in the woodland.  You can learn about the breeding programme by visiting the honeybee room located upstairs at Ty Hyll.

This unique cottage is cared for by The Snowdonia Society.  The gardens and woodland and beehives are managed by a team of volunteers.



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