2019 is the Year Of Discovery for Wales. Following on from the successful Years of Adventure, Legend and Sea, this year is the year to make your own discovery in Wales. Whether it be your first time visiting or a chance to see or try something different. One of my favourite local tales of discovery is the one that America is said to have been founded 300 years before Christopher Columbus by Prince Madoc… yes you’ve got it, the Prince of what we now know as Porthmadog!
To give you some inspiration, here are some of the things we think are worth seeing or doing in The Year Of Discovery, North Wales…
If you were to ask me of one place in North Wales that sums up The Year Of Discovery, it is Portmeirion Village. This mystical, magical Italian inspired village base on the coast is a sight to behold. You can enjoy lots to do and see once you are there and after visit the lovely cafes and gift shops. They run a number of events throughout the year which are always worth looking into.
The secret little beaches and hidden coves around the Llyn Peninsula really are a secret worth discovering. From beaches where the sand whistles to bays with crystal clear turquoise seas, on a sunny day there is simply no better place to be. You might be interested in the blog post we did for more information: Hidden Coves Of The Llyn Peninsula
The marble staircase at Penrhyn Castle really needs to be seen to be believed – stunning white carved marble from floor to ceiling over 3 floors. Penrhyn Castle is based just outside Bangor and is a beautiful place to spend the day. During your visit there is a railway museum that must be seen, along with the slate bed that was commissioned for a visit from Queen Victoria.
There are some pretty amazing golf courses around the world, and the one in Nefyn on the Llyn Peninsulas is up there as one of the most stunning. A championship layout, this 27 hole course has some of the most stunning views in the world. It has been likened to teeing off from an aircraft carrier due to its position so close to the sea.
A little known fact is that the largest painting in the UK is housed at Plas Newydd in Anglesey. By Rex Whistler, the painting takes up the entire wall of the dining room (I might add it’s a very large dining room!). The canvas had to be shipped in from France as there we no canvases big enough in the UK at the time. The painting has lots of quirks to it so when you look at it from different angles, parts of the painting change!
Part of the National Trust, Dinas Emrys is the place where the remains of a fort belonging to the ancient Princes of Gwynedd is located. It is a place of legend and where the famous battle between the red and white dragon took place. The red dragon remained victorious and what we now associate as a national emblem of Wales.
The North Wales landscape is bursting with wild food and its one of the few places you can go and experience wild food foraging. In Snowdonia, bilberries are aplenty during July and back in the day, many locals made their living picking them. A cross between a blackberry and blueberry, bilberries are found in the forests. Another delicacy that you can forage for yourself are mussels. You can go and collect them from the many mussel beds around the coast when the tides are right out, then cook them on the beach later. Here is a post we did on collecting mussels: Seafood Foraging In Snowdonia
Explore The Rhinog Mountains
Just outside Harlech, the Rhinogs are the perfect place for a bit of wilderness mountain walking. There are two main entry places; from the stunning Nantcol Waterfalls or the more popular route via the Roman steps. It is a great place to walk, particularly as a family as it isn’t as steep as most of the other mountain ranges which means it is caters to a wider range of abilities.
It isn’t just places to see and things to do when it comes to discovering North Wales. There are a number of amazing restaurants that have opened in recent years. The Michelin Star, Sospan and The Old Butchers in Menai Bridge is a great find. A set menu set over 11 courses. Make sure you book as far in advance as possible as it has a fab reputation and a long waiting list.