When you’re looking for unusual activities in North Wales, keep your eyes, mind, and heart open.
Snowdonia with its romantic, frozen name rightly attracts the crowd. But elsewhere, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, tiny churches in rugged landscapes, groundbreaking art centers, and medieval market towns all offer a rich landscape with unique activities.
And channels. Miles and miles of slow, beautiful canals.
Without noticing gravity, unmoved by the trembling nerves of the hikers, the P.ontcysyllte aqueduct strides across the Dee River.
At a remarkable 38 meters above the river valley, it is technology that makes it one of Wales’ UNESCO World Heritage Sites. But the beauty and experience here make a visit to the most rewarding, unusual things to do in North Wales.
You can go for a walk and bike for free, but for reasons of space one after the other. Canal boats also squeeze past, with skippers with nerves of steel.
The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is not only the longest in Britain, but also the tallest in the world. Eighteen stone and cast iron arches rose out of the country and were completed in 1805 to transport the Llangollen Canal from A to B. The planning and construction of canals only took ten years and underlined the importance of the canals for industry at that time.
Today the area is all about leisure and relaxation. The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is only part of an 18 km long UNESCO World Heritage Site.
THE FIRST WELSH BIBLE
With Google Translate, it’s difficult to take a step back and imagine what life was like before. When translation was an acquired art and almost all information, education and authority came through the hands of the Church.
The first Welsh Bible St Asaph’s Cathedral in Denbighshire is not only known for the power of translation, but also to preserve the Welsh language as a whole.
In 1549, King Edward VI passed. A law called The Act of Uniformity that required all public services to be held in English rather than Latin. The idea behind it was to strengthen the Protestant Reformation, begun by his father, the notorious King Henry VIII, with all women. And also to weaken the strength of the Welsh people, since the Tudors themselves came to the throne through Wales.
There were rebellions in which several lost their lives in Cornwall. But only a few years later, during Elizabeth I’s reign, Wales was granted special arrangements for political alliance and expediency.
Instead of English, a public service could take place in Welsh. In the following years, a number of translations of the Common Book of Prayer and the New Testament took place. But it was the work of Bishop William Morgan when the first full translation arrived in 1588.
And now you can see it at St. Asaph’s Cathedral with minimal effort.
Unlike the big queues to see the Book of Kells at Trinity College in Dublin’s St. Asaph’s, just go inside. It’s a small, humble, and still functioning place, but there’s no less sense of wonder when you stare at pages that are almost five hundred years old.
It takes a lot to stand out as a castle in Wales, especially along the border.
Where Holland has mills, North Wales has castles, but only a few manage to summarize so many different experiences in a castle like Chirk.
Looking for medieval knight costumes to wear? Done!
Vegetable beds to stroll? Yes.
Forests to enter? Stately house stairs to whirl around? Time libraries to think about? A café where you can have coffee?
Yes, yes and again yes.
The first Chirk Castle dates from 1295 as part of King Edward I’s chain of forts in North Wales. It guarded the entrance to the Ceiriog Valley and served as the headquarters for the deliciously sounding title of the Marcher Lordship of Chirkland. Today it is owned and managed by the National trust, A charity that preserves heritage and the outdoors with membership and PAYG options.
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Historic market towns in North Wales
As with castles, there is no shortage of historic market towns in North Wales. Think cobbled streets, winding streets, tudor beams and stony arches. But when it comes to unusual things in North Wales, it’s best to combine the old with the new. Here are my favorite historical market towns … because they also offer a twist.
Ruthin itself offers visitors everything they expect from a beautiful Welsh market town. Half-timbered streets, ivy falling down walls, a castle.
But it has also created space for an explosion of the arts.
The hub for that is Ruthin Craft CenterHere artists, exhibitions, shops and activities for children rub their shoulders next to a brightly lit coffee and cake café.
But it is the art trail through the city that really caught the eye. You can Collect or download a guide to the Ruthin Art Trail and go on a sophisticated scavenger hunt across the city. Find hidden figures on roofs and annoying pictures in peepholes, cheeky guys on park benches and much more.
Mold (yes, that’s really the name)
It’s hard not to get carried away by the names in this part of Wales. Either you have no idea how to say it, or when you do, you wonder what on earth people thought.
Despite its name, Mold is another pretty medieval market town, surrounded by natural beauty. Official beauty actually the designated area of natural beauty that is the Clwydian Range.
As a result, mold is a great base for wild and natural exploration.
The Clwydian Ranage and the area of natural beauty
The Clwydian Range area of natural beauty runs from Prestatyn in the north to Llandegla in the south. As one of only eight protected landscapes in Wales (a country with breathtaking landscapes), the purple, heather-clad country culminates in hilly forts and spaces for loneliness.
- The highest point, Moel Famau, can be reached after a 30-40 minute climb, making it easier for Snowdon to look for fresh air than further west.
Conwy – UNESCO World Heritage Site
Conwy has stone walls and a castle built on the orders of King Edward I as part of his conquest of the Principality of Wales. As a result, it follows UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Harlech Castle, Beaumaris Castle and Caernarfon Castle.
It is also a good starting point for day trips to the west coast: Snowdonia, Anglesey Island, the Victorian coastal town of Llandudno and the beautiful Lyn Peninsula.
But Conwy has its own overlooked qualities. Like Quay House, the smallest house in the uk, This is literally easy to miss. It’s a 16th-century fisherman’s house, just 10 feet high, but still has two floors and is open for sightseeing once you’ve found your way around the castle.
Zip World Bounce Below & SLATE
Yes, that’s an unusual thing in North Wales. This underground adventure park in Blaenau Ffestiniog mixes zip lines with bouncy nets in a natural but illuminated cave. Zip World Bounce below. You go first!
Then you drive back into the underground Llechwedd slate mine: Access with the steepest cable car in the UK. One of the best things about Wales is its ability to turn its industrial past into a quirky present and future!
Britain’s oldest miniature railway
There is nothing better than an unusual claim to fame and Rhyl’s claim to own Britain’s oldest miniature train is the kind of thing a smile is made of.
It was opened in 1911 and still runs along the grassy edges of the sea lake with plenty of coal, steam, and frills. Afterwards, children can run around freely on the wide, sandy area of Rhyl or adults can stroll along the coast.
Sandy beaches at Rhyl
For all the fame of the rugged coastline and engineering, add sandy beach games to your list of unusual activities in North Wales. The Rhyl coastline offers the largest space, but is supported by a happy resort-style main street, which may not suit every style.
However, the water and the hiking trails bring nature to life and a look at the sunrise is fascinating.
Cool New Arts Center – WREXHAM REGENERATION
I love a bit of urban renewal and that Ty Pawb center in Wrexham brings thought-provoking art to the heart of the city center.
Wrexham itself is the largest city in the north of Wales, with history, culture and all the usual conflicts that go back to Roman times. Wrexham played a key role during the Anglo-Welsh border dispute and during the English Civil War. During the industrial revolution, it developed a reputation for its iron, steel, masonry and leather work, as well as for nearby mines and breweries.
After the end of the First World War, however, the mines declined, which was not supported by one of the worst disasters in British mining, in which 266 men died.
Today’s Wrexham still has its historic markets and breweries are on the rise. It’s a place that tries to bring its diverse community together, and that’s where the Ty Pawb Center comes in. It is designed as a center for art, coffee, street food indoors and as a place for children to play. The exhibits focus on what makes Wrexham Wrexham and show impressive images of the few remaining refugee possessions.
There is also good coffee. And great playgrounds for children 😉
Chirk Aqueduct – Go from Wales to England and back
Pontcysyllte may steal all the headlines, but it’s not the only aqueduct in the city. Within the 18 km UNESCO World Heritage Site around Llangollen you will find many other unique and unusual activities in Wales.
To take Chirk aqueduct, For example, where you can stroll from Wales to England and back again. You can even buy ice cream through a canal boat window. Perfect livelihood to cross borders. Chocolate flakes included.
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