Caernarfon & Llandudno
The wide promenade, with views of the deep blue waters of the bay, is lined with small, yet grand, hotels. The shopping district beyond retains its original canopied walkways.
The majestic mass of Caernarfon Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site, looms over the waters of the Seiont River. Numerous bloody encounters were witnessed by this castle, erected by King Edward I in 1283 as a symbol of his determination to subdue the Welsh. Its towers, unlike those of Edward’s other castles, are polygonal and patterned with bands of different-coloured stone.
The most famous of Wales’ 641 castles is part of the World Heritage site that also encompasses Beaumaris Castle, Conwy Castle and Harlech Castle.
This is an intimidating castle, Polygonal towers are the order of the day, with the Eagle Tower being the most impressive of these. The site of the castle had previously been the location of a Norman motte and bailey castle, and before that a Roman fort stood nearby. The lure of water and easy access to the sea made the banks of the River Seiont an ideal spot for Edward’s monster in masonry.
In 1969 the current Prince of Wales, HRH Prince Charles’s investiture took place here.
The Great Orme headland is a massive chunk of limestone rising 207m straight out of the sea ... little wonder that its name, given by the Vikings, means ‘sea monster’. Ride the aerial car or tramway to the summit of Great Orme to take in the extraordinary views over Llandudno and the bay.
Its different habitats, ranging from rich heathlands to sheer sea cliffs, and limestone grassland to woodland, support a wide variety of plants and wildlife. Some species are very rare – choughs, for example – while others, like the silver-studded blue butterfly, are unique to the Great Orme. You should have no problem in spotting its most famous residents, the wild Kashmir goats with their shaggy white coats and fearsome horns.
The little seaside town of Porthmadog stands at the gateway to the Llyn Peninsula, with its virtually unspoilt coastline and undulating, wildflower-covered hills. Porthmadog is a busy harbour town and a mecca for rail enthusiasts, with four narrow gauge railway lines.
The town’s Maritime Museum tells the story of the town’s rapid 19th-century growth into a thriving slate-exporting and shipbuilding port for handsome three-masted schooners known as Western Ocean Yachts. It's also a good base for walkers and cyclists.
The Infinity Experience