Looking for amazing adventures in North Wales? From zip lining and water sports, to mountain hikes and road trips, find out some of the top things to do on a weekend away.
Last summer when Visit Britain invited me on an adventure packed trip to North Wales, I immediately said YES! I hadn’t been to Wales in over 10 years, and the last proper holiday I had there was when I was 6 years old! I couldn’t wait to get back there and create some new memories… this time with a camera in my hand ready to capture every moment.
It looked set to be a weekend with a difference. It was time to leave our comfort zones, try some new activities and return home with great memories and a sense of achievement. Like many people, Macca and I have spent a huge chunk of the last 12 months cooped up at home, staring at the same four walls, wondering when there would be some positive news.
With travel back on the cards, it was time to celebrate life again and remind ourselves why we love travelling in Great Britain!
While the world hadn’t returned to normal, it was exhilarating to be free to explore again, enjoy some views, meet some locals and escape the everyday norm of staring at my laptop. I was really impressed with the safety measures in Wales (face coverings, social distancing etc) and pleased to see how quickly local businesses were adapting to new guidelines.
On a personal level, I was also really excited to see some mountains again! We’d be a few miles from Snowdonia National Park so I knew we’d be able to see the rugged peaks. Our schedule was packed, but I was hoping we could squeeze in a little mountain hike or a road trip too.
So, it’s time for the lowdown on our active weekend in North Wales. If you’re looking for a UK break this summer, love being outdoors and enjoy a bit of adrenaline too, this is the weekend for you! If you fancy a different style of trip, don’t forget to check out the Escape The Everyday site. It’s packed full of amazing staycation inspiration.
5 Amazing Adventures In North Wales
Try eFoiling on the Menai Strait with FoilRide
From kayaking and surfing, to sailing and diving, there are lots of cool adventure activities in North Wales. eFoiling is the region’s newest addition. An eFoil is basically an electric surfboard that flies above a hydrofoil wing. Inside the board is a big battery (charged from renewable sources), which powers a propeller under the water. You adjust your speed using a wireless controller, and once you get going, you can lift up and… errr… fly!
FoilRide is based in Menai Bridge, moments from the Menai Strait. It’s one of the first places in the UK to offer this unique activity.
I’ll admit that before our 3-hour session, I was extremely nervous. I’d got anxious watching videos of pro eFoilers, who went seriously fast and seemed to fly through the air with no fear. I had butterflies in my tummy, and was wondering if I’d even make it onto the boat!
The instructor assured me it would be fun, even if it felt like a big step out of my comfort zone. I agreed to give it a go – try anything once, right?
It turned out to be a lot of fun! After learning the basics on dry land, we hopped in a boat to reach a calmer section of the Menai Strait. My heart was racing as I lay on my tummy on the board and used the wireless hand controller to start up the propeller.
Adrenaline was rushing through my bloodstream, and I found it a battle of fear and fun! In order to enjoy it more, I needed to be braver – to press that trigger a little harder to pick up some speed.
Over the next few hours I tootled around on my tummy and gradually made it up to my knees. I picked up speed, and channelled my inner eFoiler – someone I never knew existed. Then, as I zoomed towards the Menai Bridge, I lifted up.
I. Was. FLYING!
Everything went quiet as I raised up, hovering over the water as I sped towards one of North Wales’ most famous landmarks. I felt elated at my achievement.
While Macca was straight up onto his feet, in true surfer style (yep, he’s one of those people who has zero fear) I felt super proud of myself for not only trying something challenging, but also for flying through the air at serious speed after only a few hours on the water. Two hours earlier, I would have laughed if you’d said I’d get to that stage!
If you’re looking for a North Wales adventure that’s different from the norm, this is a great option. A 3-hour introductory session with FoilRide costs £200. You can find out more here.
Ride the fastest zipline in the world at ZipWorld
Adventures in North Wales don’t come speedier than this one. ZipWorld in Penrhyn Quarry is home to the fastest zip line in the world. Yes, you heard me correctly – the world! We arrived on a sunny morning and looked over the edge of the quarry to the deep turquoise water below.
It probably sounds surprising, but while the eFoiling made me really anxious, the idea of riding Velocity 2 brought me all the happy feelings! Yes, I was a little nervous, but I’ve been zip lining lots of times before and have always loved the sensation.
It’s a slick operation at ZipWorld, with timed entry and wristbands. Due to government guidelines, we were required to wear face coverings in all indoor settings, but could remove them once we were ready to fly.
After being kitted out, we took a short walk over to the first zip line. You ride two in total. The first one is a great warm up as it gets you used to the feeling of flying through the air, as well as teaching you the body position to be in (essentially lying on your stomach staring out at the view!)
After the first zip line the adrenaline was pumping! We clambered aboard a truck to reach the top of the quarry. From up there, the views were unbelievable. Epic mountain landscapes over Snowdonia, the vast quarry and bright emerald water below. We had a short briefing, before preparing to fly again.
While you can’t take your own cameras or GoPros on the zip line, you can rent one of ZipWorld’s REVL ARC cameras for £15 extra. I couldn’t resist. I wanted to see my flobbery face flapping in the wind, and hear my screams as we left the platform. Not only do they make a video of your flight, they also capture some rather fetching photos too…!
The flight itself was incredible. 1,555 metres of pure exhilaration! I screamed most of the way and giggled the rest. It’s a spectacular place for an adrenaline adventure in North Wales, so definitely book in for a flight.
Tickets for the Velocity 2 zip line experience start from £65. You can find out more here.
Walk to a tidal island
We stayed on the island of Anglesey for our first two nights in North Wales. With no big plans on the first day, we set off on a road trip around the island. It’s an island overflowing with natural beauty, home to undulating rugged coastlines, beautiful beaches, all with a backdrop of the mountains in Snowdonia National Park.
A few people recommended we visit Newborough Beach, and wow were we happy we did. It’s such a spectacular beach with vast swathes of soft sand, its very own sand dunes, a pretty pine forest and even a tidal island at one end.
We wandered along the shore, taking in the views of the calm ocean with the magical peaks of the mountains behind. Eventually we reached the crossing to Llanddwyn Island. At low tide you can walk across without getting your feet wet, but we’d managed to arrive a little too early for that!
Shoes and socks off, we waded through the refreshing channel of chilly water – all part of the North Wales adventure!
Llanddwyn Island is a gorgeous place to explore on foot. There are trails around the edge of the island, plus a few through the middle. Highlights include two lighthouses, a row of cottages, and the ruins of the 16th century St Dwynwen’s Chapel (the Welsh patron saint of lovers – similar to St. Valentine!)
For me, it was all about the views. It’s a beautiful place for photography. As the tide went out, paradisiacal beaches were uncovered, with pristine sand and turquoise water. With the sun shining, I couldn’t quite believe we were in Wales! It felt like we’d been transported to somewhere a lot more exotic.
Hike to some beautiful views
Llanberis is a hub for adventures in North Wales. It’s one of the key locations for those hiking up Mount Snowdon, with trails starting and finishing in the village. It’s also where you’ll find the station for the Snowdon Mountain Railway. As if the mountains didn’t make the village pretty enough, it also sits on the banks of Llyn Padarn and Llyn Peris – two large lakes, perfect for paddle boarding and kayaking.
While we had enough activities in North Wales to fill our weekend, we had a few hours spare one afternoon and decided to squeeze in a trip to the mountains. We parked in Llanberis and explored some of the landscapes close by.
From the village you can hike up to two incredible spots – a castle and a waterfall.
Dolbadarn Castle was constructed in the late 12th century, and was used as a strategic watchtower. The ruins of the round tower are impressive to see, especially set against such a dramatic mountain backdrop. It was one of my favourite photo spots from our entire weekend in North Wales.
After visiting the castle, we headed back down to Llanberis and found the sign for Ceunant Mawr Waterfall. To reach the waterfall, you follow a picturesque trail along the river. It’s a really pretty route, with several smaller waterfalls along the way. At around 100 ft, the waterfall itself is really impressive. It’s also in a lovely position, with the choo choo sounds of the Snowdon Mountain Railway passing close by.
Road trip through the mountains
How to round off a weekend of adventures in North Wales? With one last drive through the mountains. The Llanberis Pass is one of the most famous driving routes in Wales, and takes you between the mountains in Snowdonia National Park.
The views are absolutely breathtaking. It’s one of those drives that reminds you that you’re just a tiny dot on a huge planet. A place for reflection, in what has been an unusual 12 months.
We couldn’t resist but hop out of the car a few times too. We stopped at Llynnau Mymbyr – twin lakes with a backdrop of Snowdonia’s highest peaks. I also loved Llyn Ogwen – another stunning lake with deep blue water and jagged peaks and rocks surrounding it. I couldn’t believe how few people were there. It felt like we’d found one of North Wales’ hidden gems!
My trip to North Wales was the perfect escape from daily life. It was the injection of fun and excitement I’d been missing, and a reminder that travel still brings so much happiness. I’ve returned feeling ready to take on whatever the world throws at me next… oh and excited to plan another adventure in the UK again soon!
A big thanks to Visit Britain and Visit Wales for inviting me to be part of their #EscapeTheEveryday campaign. You can search for more inspiration for your next staycation here. As tourism reopens, remember to travel safely and responsibly, always respecting the government guidelines.
From white water rafting, surfing at Surf Snowdonia and canyoning, to mountain biking and hiking there’s plenty more on offer for adventure lovers in North Wales. Check out the Visit Wales website for more tips.
If you’re keen to explore more of Wales, without the hassle of planning, check out Adventures Tours UK. This tour company offers a mix of self-guided and hosted trips, and takes care of all the little details (from hotels to tickets) so you can switch off and enjoy!
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