Must see locations in a Campervan tour of North Wales

Here’s our local’s guide to Towns and Special Places of North Wales

Conwy Castle
Conwy Quay and Castle

 

Where do we start, there’s so much on offer here but here’s our pick of the best so enjoy!!

Llandudno

Known as the Queen of Welsh Resorts…..with not one but two shores a West and a North to choose from with the Great Orme Headland, a mass of ancient Limestone connecting the two and the Victorian town built on the low lying valley basin below.  It’s an elegant seaside resort swathed against the long expanse of the wide promenade which stretches across the Northern bay joining the Great Orme to it’s little sibling, the Little Orme.

There’s plenty to do here for the active type, history buff’s or the more relaxed visitor, walk the longest pier in Wales at 2,220ft and one of the UK’s best, complete with a Punch and Judy show near its promenade entrance.

If you want to see the town from the comfort of a seat, then there are quite a few options…take the daredevil way of a speedboat or more leisurely open top bus tour, vintage coach, land train or even a cable car, the longest in the UK, taking you up to the summit of the Great Orme with the breathtaking views across the sea and mountains.

The Great Orme also boasts a tramway, another option to get you to the summit, or like me, why not just do it the traditional way, using both feet and a bit of lung capacity to hike your way up the hills, you can also walk round, a peaceful but hilly route of 5 miles taking you from the North Shore to the West Shore, look out for Dolphins and Seals en-route and the famous goats which happily roam the grassy banks.

Llandudno also has a war museum, award winning art gallery and a good theatre, often hosting top quality shows.

CAMPER PARKING: West Shore Promenade or Maelgwyn Road Car Park (strictly no overnighting!!)

Toilets: West Shore Promenade, Llandudno North Shore Prom (next to the paddling pool), Great Orme by Cable Car top and bottom stations, Town centre on side street behind Barclays Bank.

Llandudno The Great Orme
Conwy Mountain to Llandudno and The Great Orme Headland

Conwy

A fascinating 13th Century Castle and World Heritage Site walled town with a number of amazing historic buildings, home to Britains smallest house on the quaint quay and a pretty harbour side walkway past lobster pots and fishing boats.

Walk the Castle walls, over 3/4 mile long with an incredible 22 towers and tour the castle with its fabulous views reaching across the Conwy Estuary and hills of Snowdonia.  Spend a moment to relax in one of the many cafes or if the weather’s fine pop in to the Conwy Mussel Company next to the lifeboat house, hand-raked from small wooden boats, the mussels are gathered in this natural way ensuring a bigger more tasty variety for you to enjoy!

With plenty of independant shops to spend your pennies, from craft, arts and antiques to wine, patisseries’ and great butchers, you’ll be guaranteed a feast back at the van!

Walks around Conwy are in abundance, from a short stroll around the headland from the Quay to the more energetic Sychnant Pass and Conwy Mountain, pick up some leaflets from the tourist office in town.

If you pick your dates right, then be in for a treat at one of the numerous festivals and events held throughout the year, from Food Fest to Honey Fair or Pirates Weekend to name a few.

CAMPER PARKING: Dedicated camper parking provided by Conwy County Borough Council in the car park on Llanwrst Road (not overnight).

TOILETS: In the above car park or on the Quay.

Betws-Y-Coed

Located at the ‘gateway to Snowdonia’ in the glorious scenery of the Conwy Valley, with water falls, scenic walking, forest tracks and mountain biking routes, this pretty Welsh town, once an historical stage coach stop for the journey to London from Holyhead also became  a hub for Victorian artists.

Outdoor enthusiasts will have a wealth of activities to choose from surrounded by the wooded hillsides and meandering river through its centre, stroll the craft and outdoor shops, take a break or lazy lunch after enjoying one of the many walking or biking routes on offer.

The local tourist office in the centre has information on local forest walks and mountain bike trails, many accessible from the town itself.

CAMPER PARKING: Large car park with Dedicated camper parking places in the main car park at the end of Station Street. It’s operated by Snowdonia National Park and there is an option to pay for overnight parking on the meter, we have stopped several times with several other campers using the same spot.

TOILETS: At the start of Station Street and in the car park at Pont-Y-Pair Bridge.

Llanwrst

A traditional market town next to the River Conwy, it has a really good Indian restaurant, Asha Balti House and the renowned and extremely photogenic tea rooms of Ty Hwnt I’r Bont situated on the edge of the river, this ancient residential dwelling and former courthouse with foliage fronted exterior glows a glorious gold and red in the Autumn, be sure to catch it on the front of a National Newspaper!

Lots of walking in and around Llanwrst, the flat route across the flood plains of the valley floor leads to Trefriw where the Woollen Mill and several pubs await, it’s also the route to more strenuous walking in the forest at Gwydyr or up to the mountain lakes of Crafnant and Gerionydd.

CAMPER PARKING: Good sized car park adjacent to the play area across the road from Ty Hwnt I’r Bont tea rooms off the B5106 (no overnight).  Also parking in Trefriw in the road opposite the Woollen Mill.

TOILETS: In the above car parks.

LLanwrst bridge & house
LLanwrst Ty Hwnt I’r Bont

Porthmadog

A busy harbour town within Snowdonia National park and situated in an enviable position on the Glaslyn Estuary.  There’s lots of shops to stroll around but the main attractions are the Ffestiniog Railway, the Welsh Highland Railway and the stunning backdrop of the Snowdonia ranges with Portmeirion Village just a short 3 mile drive away. There’s also some great beaches, such as Black Rock Sands, stretching along the coast with lovely views in the distance towards the Welsh coastal town of Harlech.

Portmeirion itself has an admission charge but is worth the experience of the unique Italian design of Welsh architect, Sir Clough William Ellis with quirky gardens and ornate features, scenic trails and famed for the old TV series, The Prisoner.  It really is something different and is also home to the Portmeirion Pottery designs!

CAMPER PARKING: Behind the tourist office in Porthmadog and at Portmeirion (not overnight).

TOILETS: On the high street near the tourist office in Porthmadog and several in Portmeirion Village.

Lleyn Peninsula Porthmadog
Borth Y Gest near Porthmadog, Lleyn Peninsula

Abersoch

A lovely and extremely popular upmarket holiday destination, it’s a thriving, bustling town with some good independent shops, cafes and fab sandy beaches located either side of the pretty headland, it’s blue waters and stunning mountain scenery make it a great water sports hub and the colourful beach huts add to the glamour!

Good walking up to Mynydd Tir-Cwmwd, it’s a bit of a hike up but you’ll be rewarded with amazing coastal and mountain views aswell as being greeted by the lonely ‘Tin Man’ iron figure which looks down over the stunning beaches of Llanbedrog below.  Local walking books available at the tourist office will help you on your way.

CAMPER PARKING:  In the centre of Abersoch behind the main street, pay the attendant.

TOILETS: In the above car park.

Beaumaris, Isle of Anglesey

A stunning location on the mouth of the Menai Straits, this charming town has some very interesting historic buildings, a fine selection of shops, cafes’ and restaurants and charming promenade and small pier.

It’s most famous and outstanding structure though is the Castle, one of Edward I’s masterpieces which was never actually completed due to this 13th Century Monarch running out of money and so Beaumaris Castle still stands today in a majestic state and recognised as a World Heritage Site at that!

A little further along from the castle sits the Gaol and Courthouse, dating back to 1614 it’s well worth a look.

CAMPER PARKING: Large parking on the sea front payable to the attendant at the kiosk on entry (no overnight)

TOILETS: In the town centre.

Penmon Priory and Penmon Point, Anglesey

A little further along the coast from Beaumaris (about 7 miles) lies the remains of Penmon Priory, a 13th Century monastery.  It’s a narrow road which leads from here past the payment point (pay attendant at the gate) arriving at the well known Penmon Point overlooking Puffin Island and the pretty Lighthouse.

Look out for dolphins, an abundance of Sea Birds and seals, it’s just a lovely spot and although Puffin Island is uninhabited, it’s still a site of special scientific interest, so visits aren’t permitted although a boat trip from Beaumaris will take you as close as is allowed.

A cafe provides refreshments and there are some lovely walks from the car park, buy a walking book from a local store or tourist office.

CAMPER PARKING: Large unsealed car park with overnight parking permitted, payment to the attendant on the gate near the Priory, if there is no one present, just pay on the way out the next day.

TOILETS: No, only for the cafe.

Penmon and Puffin Island Angelsey
Looking out over Puffin Island

Newborough Forest and Beach, Anglesey

Located just off the A4080 near the village of Newborough is the warren of marked forest trails, sand dunes, walks and wildlife and one of the most picturesque beaches linking up to Llanddwyn Island at the far tip of the sands.

Fabulous on a hot summer’s day, this beach becomes very busy due to its vast expanse of sands and stunning location looking out to Llanddwyn with its gleaming lighthouse and the Snowdonia mountains.  There’s so much walking here, all well marked out along with bike trails, taking you through forest or across the sands to Llanddwyn where low tide provides access to winding paths take you past rocky coves where seals rest upon the rocks and wild ponies graze on the open grassland.

For the romantic types, you’ll be pleased to learn that Llanddwyn actually has its roots in romance, the name meaning ‘The church of St.Dwynwen’, our very own Welsh Valentine and celebrated on the 25th January each year!  Dwynwen lived in solitude on Llanddwyn in the 5th Century after falling in love with Maelon, a young man whom she was never to marry when he was turned to ice.

She then became known as the Patron Saint of Lovers and pilgrims flocked here to the island to visit her holy well.  A chapel was built in the 16th Century with the funds raised from these pilgrimages, the remains of which you can still see today.

CAMPER PARKING: A large car park adjacent to the beach down a long forest road, pay at the machine (no overnight).

TOILETS: In the car park.

Viewpoint of Menai Straits and Snowdonia Mountains

One of the most superb stunning views in North Wales is this one!  Pull over into the viewpoint lay by off the main road and admire this amazing outlook.  Located on the Menai Straits side of the road, it’s easier to approach from Menai Bridge direction.

Located on the Holyhead Road just after the Britannia Bridge but before the Menai Bridge.

TOILETS: NO

South Stack Lighthouse, Holy Island, Isle of Anglesey

A seabird lovers paradise! Home to a staggering 4000 sea birds during the Summer months, it’s also home to one of Wales’ best lighthouses, dominating the rocky headland and warning ships of the dangers below since 1809.

Open during the Summer months with 400 steps and a bridge to cross to Holy Island and the actual lighthouse, if you prefer an easier stroll, there are nature trails at South Stack Reserve that have well surfaced paths and benches run by the RSPB. There’s also a visitor centre, guided walks and tearoom and hopefully you may spot a Puffin or Peregrine, so don’t forget the binoculars.

CAMPER PARKING:

Take the A55 to Holyhead and follow the brown signs to the reserve about 3 miles from the town. (no overnight)

TOILETS: Yes

 

Beddgelert

A pretty Snowdonia village with a very special legend – the story of ‘Gelerts Grave’ in a very traditional Welsh village surrounded by mountains on the banks of the lovely Glaslyn river, it’s a magical little place with fantastic walking too.

Walk the river path to Gelerts’ Grave itself, located in the fields under a towering old tree, with paths to take you up to the tombstone.

As for the legend, here’s a little snapshot from tomb itself……….

“In the 13th century Llewelyn Prince of North Wales, had a palace at Beddgelert, one day he went hunting without Gelert, the faithful hound who was unaccountably absent.   On Llewelyn’s return the truant, stained and smeared with blood joyfully sprang to meet his master.  The Prince, alarmed, hastened to find his son and saw the infant’s cot empty, the bedclothes and floor covered in blood.  The frantic father plunged his sword into the hound’s side, thinking it had killed his heir when the dog’s dying yell was answered by a child’s cry.  Llewelyn searched and discovered his boy unharmed but, nearby, lay the body of a mighty wolf which Gelert had slain.  The prince filled with remorse is said never to have smiled again.  He buried Gelert here”

CAMPER PARKING: In the centre of Beddgelert next to the Welsh Highland Railway, National Park car park where you can park overnight for a fee.

TOILETS: By the stone bridge in the centre of the village.

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Beddgelert

Dinas Dinlle 

Situated off the main Caernarfon to Nefyn road, this popular beach is marked as a “site of special scientific interest” and is a great location for a day on the beach in fine weather or a good flat walk along the coast.

It’s a beautiful location overlooking the Lleyn Peninsula and mountains of Nefyn which fall into the sea below with views stretching over to Llanddwyn Island situated across the water on Anglesey, it’s just a good place to park up and enjoy the outlook.  It’s also a place of Iron Age history and home of Caernarfon Airport, which has a small museum, scenic flights and great cafe for refreshments, watch the small planes come and go and the Air Rescue and Air Ambulance helicopters as they go about the amazing rescue work across the region.

CAMPER PARKING: Plenty along the sea front (no overnight parking)

TOILETS: On the promenade and at the airport.

Caernarfon
Dinas Dinlle from Caernarfon

Porth Dinllaen, Near Morfa Nefyn

This little gem of a place is just adorable! So what exactly is it you may ask? Porth Dinllaen is a pretty little fishing village in one of the most glorious of locations, a sandy bay with a breathtaking outlook and charming little pub right on the beach, The Ty Coch Inn, it actually has been listed as one of the Top 10 Beach Bars in the World!!

You’ll need to park in the National Trust car park about a 20 minute walk away as there’s no vehicle access for visitors.  You can walk through the gold course a little further along the road and follow the road down to the secluded hamlet.

There’s some good walks, download a route from the National Trust website. A new £9.8 million lifeboat station was opened in 2014 by TV veteran David Dimbleby, naming the resident lifeboat at the same time.

Sit and just watch the world go by as the fisherman bring in their little boats, take a picnic on the shore…..lovely!

CAMPER PARKING: In the National Trust pay & display car park at Morfa Nefyn, drive through the village and the car park is on the right (not overnight).

Porth Dinllaen, Morfa Nefyn
Porth Dinllaen, Morfa Nefyn

TOILETS: On the beach.

Campsites

Llanwrst:

Bodnant Caravan Park – Tel: 01492 640248

Bron Derw Caravan Park – Tel: 01492 640494

Betws-Y-Coed:

Caravan and Motorhome Club Site, Riverside,  – Tel: 01690 710310

Rynys Farm – Tel: 01690 710218

Dolgam – Tel: 01690 720228

Llandudno:

Dinerth Hall Farm, located between Penrhyn Bay and Rhos on Sea  – Tel: 01492 548203

Conwy:

Conwy Touring Park – Tel: 01492 592856

Lots of CL’s and CS’s around the Conwy Valley and several small sites between Conwy and Betws-Y-Coed

Porthmadog:

Tyddyn Llwyn – Tel: 01766 512205

Black Rock Sands – Tel: 01766 513919

The Caravan and Motorhome Club has a site a few miles outside of Portmeirion, lots of CS & CL sites throughout the LLeyn Peninsula region

Beddgelert:

Camping in The Forest Camping and Caravanning Club

Bryn Gloch, Betws Garmon: Tel: 01286 650216

Anglesey:

Penrhos Caravan and Motorhome Club Site, Marianglas, Benllech: Tel: 01248 852617 Caravan and Motorhome Club

Pen-Y-LLyn Caravan Site, near Holyhead : Tel: 01407 740017

Outdoor Alternative, Rhoscolyn Tel: 01407 860469

Britstops

 

 

2 Comments on “Must see locations in a Campervan tour of North Wales

  1. Pingback: Must see locations in a Campervan tour of North Wales — vanlife4x4 – Pronorthwales

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