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Wales: a country of green, rolling countryside. Visiting the Welsh countryside will take you on a journey through nature and history. During our visit to the United Kingdom, we went on an extended weekend getaway from London to Snowdonia National Park in the Welsh countryside.
Wales is known for its beautiful countryside with rolling green hills and quaint Welsh villages. It is very easy to get to Wales if you’re down for a drive. Driving through the Welsh countryside is one of the best ways to take in all the views! It was about a 4-hour drive into the heart of Snowdonia National Park.
Here is how we spent three days in Wales and Snowdonia National Park.
Exploring the Welsh Countryside in 3 Days
Staying in Authentic Welsh Cottages in Penmachno
During our visit to Wales, we stayed in an 18th-century cottage in the village Penmachno. Penmachno is a small, beautiful Welsh village worth visiting if you want a taste of the authentic Welsh countryside. In the town, there is one small bar called The Eagles and an old church called Saint Tudclud’s. Spending time in a quiet village for a few days was a wonderful city break from London.
Hike at Fairy Glen or Ffos Anoddun
Hiking in Snowdonia National Park will make you feel like you’re in a fairytale forest. At Ffos Anoddun, meaning deep ditch, or Fairy Glen, is a beautiful hike that takes you down into a secluded gorge, which is stunning for photographs.
Fairy Glen is located near the village of Betws y Coed. The hike down to the gorge could be considered challenging, as there is a steep, wet, stone stairway leading to the gorge. So if you have children or are with older people, you might want to consider hiking somewhere else. There is a 50p fee to enter the trail to maintain the paths.
Take a Day Trip to Harlech Castle
If you’re visiting Wales, you have to visit a castle! Wales is known for its many historic castles. If you’re visiting Snowdonia, you have the option of some of the popular ones like Conwy, Cardiff, Caernarfon, or Harlech. We decided to visit Harlech Castle, which is located on the western shore of Snowdonia.
Harlech Castle was built in the 1280s by Edward the First, the English king, during his invasion of Wales. The castle served as a fortress for the military. During the War of the Roses, the castle was under siege which inspired the song “Men of Harlech.”
Today you can tour the grounds of the castle and climb to the top to get beautiful views of Snowdonia. According to the UNESCO World Heritage Organization, Beaumaris, Conwy, Caernarfon, and Harlech castles are considered the finest examples of late 13th century and 14th-century military architecture in Europe.
Before visiting Harlech, take some time to explore the surrounding town. We decided to have lunch at the Plas Cafe and Bar, which gave us beautiful panoramic views of the coast and the castle. Our lunch was delicious!
What: An authentic castle
Where: Harlech, Wales
Explore Saint Grwst Church in Llanrwst
The Saint Grwst Church in Llanrwst was constructed in the 1470’s on the east bank of the River Conwy. The church is in the gothic style and inside, you can see its exposed beams. You can also see the original Chancel Screen and Rood Loft.
Tour Trifrew Woolen Mill
In the village of Trifrew, you can visit a fully operational wool mill that processes fresh wool into woolen home goods. The wool industry was once an instrumental part of the Welsh economy. Trifew Woolen Mill has been operating since 1825 by the Williams family. Today, it is one of the fully operational woolen mills left in Wales.
You can tour the wool mill and see how the wool is cleaned, turned into yarn, and woven into materials. It was amazing seeing the whole process from start to finish. It was so mesmerizing to watch the antique machines working.
After touring the mill, you can visit the gift shop and buy a variety of tweeds, rugs, and bedspreads! Trifrew Woolen Mill rotates their patterns and colors throughout the year so there is always something different to shop for!
Hike Around Llyn Crafnant
Not far from the village Trifrew in Gwydir Forest Park is a beautiful reservoir that you can hike around. Originally the lake served a nearby town. Interestingly Llyn is Welsh for lake, Craf means garlic, nant means valley, which is appropriate because wild garlic flowers grow in the area!
At the lake, you can grab some lunch at the Lakeside Cafe and Tea Garden for some sandwiches and afternoon tea. You can start your hike at the cafe on the Llyn Crafnant circuit trail. It’s two and a half miles and is considered very easy.
Drive Through the Welsh Countryside
One of the best ways to experiences the beauty of the Welsh countryside is to simply drive! Driving around the beautiful lush, green rollings hills with the old stone fences. You’ll see lots of sheep and stunning views!
As you might have noticed on our blog, we always seem to come upon the ancient Roman’s wherever we go. The ancient Romans built roads through Wales and mined for gold, copper, and lead throughout the countryside.
Speaking of natural resources, Wales is known for its slate, so you’ll see slate mines. Slate has been used as building materials in Wales for centuries.
Snowdonia National Park was established in 1951 and is Great Britain’s third national park. It is home to more than 26,000 people with over half speaking traditional Welsh.