The best things to do in North Wales holiday cottages

The best things to do in North Wales

Ellen Drowne 07 September 2023

North Wales is packed with everything you could want from a holiday destination. Glorious landscapes, including three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the highest mountain in the whole of England and Wales - Mount Snowdon / Yr Wyddfa, which sits inside the awe-inspiring Eryri / Snowdonia National Park. An abundance of historical sites – houses, castles (lots of castles!) and locations nodding to the area’s industrial heritage. And for those with a taste for the outdoors, all manner of activities to get the blood pumping: walking, cycling, skiing and zip lining, as well as boat trips galore.

With so many things to do in North Wales, there is something for everyone. If you’re thinking of booking a family holiday or a getaway for two, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favourites – and added some dog-friendly and unusual suggestions for good measure. And there’s no need to worry about accommodation: our range of holiday cottages in North Wales covers the whole area, including top destinations such as Snowdonia, Anglesey and Llandudno. Click the link below to browse the whole collection.

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Best things to do in North Wales for families 

There are plenty of fun things to do in North Wales that will keep the kids enthralled and entertained. In fact, the whole family will get a thrill out of these attractions.   

Greenwood Family Park

This award-winning adventure park prides itself on an eco-friendly and sustainable approach to family fun. Hop aboard the Green Dragon Roller Coaster (the world’s only people-powered coaster) or take a boat ride along the enchanted river. A truly sensory experience awaits on the Barefoot Trail, while those who enjoy a puzzle will get a natural high out of the Dragon Maze, Britain’s only boardwalk maze. All this plus so much more, including the Forest Theatre and indoor play areas.

Price: See the website for a range of group discounts and online saver deals

Location: Y Felinheli, Gwynedd LL56 4QN 

Facilities: Rides and activities, soft play, café and snack bars

Stay nearby: Hen Dy | Sleeps 6 + 1 dog 

Zip World Slate Caverns 

Slate Caverns is the ultimate destination for thrill seekers of all ages. From Bounce Below, where you can jump, bounce and slide through an underground playground, to Titan 2, Europe’s first four-person zip line looking out over Eryri / Snowdonia, it’s easy to while away an action-packed day full of high-octane activities. Will you try out the Caverns course featuring zip lines, rope bridges and tightropes (suitable for older children) or perhaps the Deep Mine Tour will take your fancy? It’s all here on this one fascinating site. 

Price: The website has prices and information on the different experiences available, as well as details of Zip World’s other North Wales sites

Location: Zip World Llechwedd, Blaenau Ffestiniog LL41 3NB

Facilities: Photos and head cam hire available (selected adventures only, additional cost applies) 

Stay nearby: Ty Manod | Sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Welsh Mountain Zoo

What started as a family-run enterprise in 1963 has blossomed into something truly special, nestled on a site overlooking Colwyn Bay. With an eye on conservation and education, and the welfare of its animals at the forefront, this is a fabulous attraction for all ages. It’s home to around 100 species, and kids will particularly be attracted to the children’s farm which is home to guinea pigs, chickens, ducks and rabbits. There is also a chance to become a keeper for a day or get up close with sea lions or meerkats. 

Price: Visit the website for prices and opening times

Location: Colwyn Bay LL28 5UY

Facilities: Species talks, sea lion feeding, experiences including becoming a keeper for a day

Stay nearby: 1 Dolwen Farm Shop | Sleeps 4 + 1 dog

To find the ideal holiday property for your nearest and dearest, take a look at our family-friendly holiday cottages in North Wales.

Best things to do in North Wales for couples 

Conway castle, Portmeirion, Great Orme tramway

Packed with history and culture and offering plenty of scope for adventure, North Wales is a brilliant destination for couples. Here is a taste of what you and your significant other can enjoy. 


A colourful slice of Italian Riviera on the North Wales coast, this village is nothing short of spectacular. Portmeirion as we know it today was the brainchild of Welsh architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis; it’s perhaps most famous as the setting for 1960s TV series The Prisoner. As well as the village itself, check out the Gwyllt, a 70-acre sub-tropical forest, or Amis Reunis, the stone boat of Portmeirion, while the Dwyryd Estuary offers the chance to take a romantic stroll on the sand.

Price: The Portmeirion website has all you need to know about tickets, including annual passes

Location: Minffordd, Penrhyndeudraeth, Gwynedd, LL48 6ER

Facilities: Village, gardens, estuary, eateries, shops

Stay nearby: 2 Efail Wen | Sleeps 4

The Great Orme Tramway

Treat yourself to a tram ride that really puts the fun in funicular. Heading out from Victoria Station in Llandudno, the journey takes you to the 207-metre summit of the Great Orme which provides breathtaking views to the Isle of Man, Blackpool and the Lake District. Head back in time with a visit to the Bronze Age copper mines, Iron Age fort and 6th-century church. At the summit, take a look around the visitor centre, have a picnic or enjoy one of the many walks available.  

Price: Adults - £8.50/£9.50, children (3 to 16) - £6.00/£7. Family tickets and single journey tickets also available. High season prices: July and August. Tickets cannot be purchased in advance

Location: Victoria Station, Church Walks, Llandudno, North Wales, LL30 2NB  

Facilities: Visitor centre, Summit Complex for snacks and drinks

Stay nearby: Naw Stryd y Capel | Sleeps 2 + 2 dogs

Conwy Castle

There’s something quite magical about exploring a castle, imagining those that have gone before and the history within those imposing stone walls. At around 700 years old, Conwy Castle is a magnificent representation of medieval craftsmanship and a great example of the castles in North Wales just waiting to be explored. By taking the spiral staircases located in its striking towers, it’s possible to walk the whole way around the battlements. From here, there are gorgeous views of Conwy and its harbour, and further afield, you’ll catch glimpses of Snowdonia’s impressive mountains.

Price: All ticket information is available here – book online or on arrival

Location: Rose Hill St, Conwy LL32 8AY

Facilities: Gift shop, exhibition, water refill station, Wi-Fi, accessible WCs

Stay nearby:  Beudy Bach | Sleeps 2 + 1 dog

If these ideas for things to do in North Wales for couples have inspired you to book a romantic getaway, browse our full collection of delightful cottages for two in North Wales below.

Things to do in North Wales with dogs  

Husky on Snowdon, Point of Ayr lightouse, Dolgoch Falls

For anyone with a dog (or dogs), it’s understood that these canine companions are an integral part of the family. As such, they deserve a holiday too. Here are some suggestions for dog-friendly places for the whole pack to sniff out while on holiday in North Wales.

Point of Ayr Beach (Talacre)

If you’re considering which North Wales beaches to visit with your pup, Point of Ayr is a good starting point. Situated near the village of Talacre and flanked by delightful dunes, this sandy expanse is sure to set tails wagging. Paws for a photo by the eye-catching lighthouse; a Grade II-listed building built in 1776, it was decommissioned in 1844 and is now privately owned. This is an idyllic spot for strolling along the shoreline while your canine companion takes in the salty sea air. 

Price: Free to enjoy

Location: Station Road, Talacre, Flintshire, CH8 9RD

Facilities: Café and WCs 

Stay nearby: Piw Gwyn Cottage | Sleeps 2 + 1 dog

Dolgoch Falls

While you won’t be short of choice when it comes to waterfalls in North Wales, this is a dream location for doggos who like getting their paws wet. They can be let off the lead and explore to their heart’s content, with the bonus of enjoying a doggy paddle if they’re so inclined. There are many opportunities along the path between the two main falls where your canine companion can take a swim. After admiring the awe-inspiring surroundings and spectacular falls, two and four-legged pals can enjoy a treat at the tearoom.

Price: Free to enjoy

Location: B4405, Tywyn, Gwynedd, Wales, LL36 9UW

Facilities: Tearoom, free parking

Stay nearby: Llidiart y Llyn | Sleeps 6 + 2 dogs

Yr Wyddfa / Mount Snowdon

Four-pawed pals can accompany you on treks up sensational Yr Wyddfa / Mount Snowdon. There are six routes to choose from on your way to the summit. The Snowdon Ranger Path, in particular, affords spectacular views of some of the less-known parts of the area. While pets are welcome, they must be kept on a lead to protect the surrounding wildlife – but that shouldn’t stop them feeling like top dog when you complete the ascent. 

Price: Free to enjoy, but please check parking fees

Location: Head for Betws Garmon LL55 4UL. 

Facilities: There are public WCs at the start of all the major paths up Yr Wyddfa / Mount Snowdon

Stay nearby: Swn y Nant | Sleeps 6 + 2 dogs

North Wales is truly a dog-friendly destination, indeed the whole of the country is a haven for four-legged visitors. Paw through our dog-friendly cottages in North Wales and plan your next pup-approved holiday. 

Free things to do in North Wales

Barmouth beach, slate museum, Basingwerk Abbey

Holidays can be an expensive business, so it’s reassuring to know that having fun in North Wales doesn’t have to cost the earth. In fact, many things to do in North Wales are completely free of charge. Here are three of our favourites.   

National Slate Museum

The slate industry is carved into the very landscape of Wales and the slate museum provides a fascinating insight into its history. Education and entertainment mix beautifully here - you can walk around the workshops and buildings and attend talks and demonstrations which bring the past to life. Set against the backdrop of Dinorwic quarry, which once employed 3,000 men, the museum powerfully evokes what life was like for those workers at a time when Wales fulfilled four-fifths of all Britain’s slate needs.  

Price: Free to enjoy

Location: Llanberis, Gwynedd LL55 4TY

‌‌‌‌‍‌‌‌Facilities: Shop, café serving hot and cold drinks, cakes and snacks 

Stay nearby: Jentrea Cottage | Sleeps 6 + 1 dog

Barmouth Beach

Barmouth is a gem on southern Snowdonia’s coastline. It has all the ingredients for a quintessential British seaside holiday, including a land train, donkey rides and swing boats. The beach is the perfect place for some rest and relaxation – find a spot on the sand and doze the day away or perhaps stroll along the shoreline and dip your toes in the lovely water. Dogs are welcome too, and while a ban is in place on part of the sand from April to September, a generous section of the beach allows pets all year round. Take a look at our guide to top Llŷn Peninsula beaches for even more sandy inspiration. 

Price: Free to enjoy

Location: Barmouth, Gwynedd, LL42 1NE

‌‌‌‌‍‌‌‌Facilities: WCs, parking, cafes and shops close by 

Stay nearby: Seren Fach | Sleeps 3 + 1 dog

Basingwerk Abbey

Founded in 1131 by Earl Ranulf II of Chester, this remarkable site played a significant role in the religious history of the area and is still used as the starting point for the North Wales Pilgrim’s Way. Parts of the Grade I-listed attraction near Holywell date back to the 12th century, such as the chapter house where you can see remains of the benches where monks would have once sat. Life at the abbey came to an end in 1536 as part of the Dissolution of the Monasteries on the orders of King Henry VIII.   

Price: Free to enjoy

Location: Greenfield, Holywell CH8 7GH

Facilities: Parking, dogs welcome

Stay nearby: Groesfaen Bach | Sleeps 14

Unusual things to do in North Wales

 St Cwyfan’s Church, alapaca walks, night paddleboarding

It’s fun to follow the path less travelled and try something a bit different or quirky when on holiday. Here are a few suggestions of unusual things to do in North Wales which might fit the bill. 

Night-time paddleboarding

A guided stand-up paddleboarding experience on Anglesey that you won’t forget in a hurry. Run by Psyched Paddleboarding, it’s the perfect opportunity to get on the water under the magical moonlight. And as North Wales is home to a Dark Sky Reserve (one of just 18 internationally), stargazers can indulge their passion for spotting constellations due to the lack of light pollution and outstanding quality of the night air. Spend a starry night creating special memories while drinking in the peace and tranquillity of your surroundings.  

Price: Prices start from £60 – visit the website for everything you need to know

Location: 8 Bridge St, Menai Bridge LL59 5DW

Facilities: Full stand-up paddleboarding equipment supplied, including changing robe and hot drinks and biscuits! Photos are taken to help capture the moment for posterity

Stay nearby: Pumpkin Lodge | Sleeps 4 

Alpaca walks

One of the quirkiest among the many options for walks in North Wales, Snowdonia Alpacas is situated on a farm roughly in the centre of Eryri / Snowdonia National Park. You’ll ‘buddy up’ with your alpaca walking partner during an introductory talk then set out on a stroll of around 40 minutes, going at a leisurely alpaca’s pace to make the most of the gorgeous scenery of mountains and woodland. It’s also possible to book a meet and greet with these friendly animals, which involves hand-feeding them. This is an activity ideal for larger groups.   

Price: Walks - £25pp (age 9+); meet and greet - £15pp. Book here 

Location: Bryn Awelon, Gellilydan, LL41 4ES

Facilities: Parking on site

Stay nearby: Stabal y Gelli | Sleeps 4

Cycle to the church in the sea

Just one of the exciting excursions run by Green Lane Bike Tours, this a guided bike ride with a difference on Anglesey. Crossing wetlands, dunes and a packhorse bridge, the journey leads to St Cwyfan’s Church, known as the “little church in the sea”, which sits on a small island only accessible at low tide. The Grade II-listed building was once part of the mainland, but centuries of erosion left it stranded on its own. On arrival at the coast, you’ll have the chance for a picnic and a walk out to the church, a favourite among photographers. This intriguing destination is only half the story, however, as during the ride, you’ll learn all about the rare mammals, plants and birds that call the wetlands home. 

Price: From £42.40. Book online – advanced booking is essential   

Location: Anglesey (each tour starts at a pre-arranged location)

Stay nearby:  Llofft Marian | Sleeps 4

Map of things to do in North Wales

This handy map shows all the places mentioned in our guide to the best things to do in North Wales.

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Stay in North Wales

Beudy Erw'r March

Whether planning a holiday packed with outdoor activities or looking to learn more about the history of this fascinating area, we hope that the suggestions above have inspired you to think of North Wales for your next holiday. And booking one of our North Wales cottages ensures a wonderful base for that next family adventure or romantic retreat.   

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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