Why visit Wales, with beautiful history, breath-taking scenery & only 90 minutes away from Liverpool!
History of North Wales
North Wales is so old that rocks found near Llyn Padarn are pre-Cambrian more than 540 million years old!
Glaciation during the ice age formed North Wales it’s what makes Snowdonia so distinct and it's why the area is so mineral rich.
Mining began in the Bronze Age, 4,000 years ago. The Great Orme Copper Mine was then the world’s largest with more than 5 miles of tunnels.
Around 800 years ago, in order to stamp his authority on Wales, King Edward 1, built an iron ring of stone castles across North Wales. These were constructed in Conwy, Caernarfon, Beaumaris & Harlech – all still stand & form the Welsh World Heritage Site.
The turn of the 19th century with railways brought a new form of tourism with health Spas and workers enjoying their one-week holiday in a sunny seaside resort. This made towns like Llandudno extremely popular thanks for its beautiful bay. The town has preserved its Victorian characteristics today with its rows of houses, puppet shows like Punch & Judy, Donkey Rides on the Beach and its recently renovated and magnificent Pier with visits from Paddle Steamers like the Waverley.
There are 42 Blue Flag Beaches around the coast with warmer water and more sunshine than the more mountainous inland area and with easy links to Liverpool & Manchester North Wales is truly an unmissable destination whether it’s for a holiday or for a day excursion.
English Border Towns
Medieval Chester is a great visit and whilst technically speaking Chester is in England, with its magnificent cathedral and intact walls around the city its a great idea to couple a visit to Liverpool with a visit to Chester on route to your North Wales Adventure. There is an ancient law which still exists that once the curfew bell sounds (which is still housed in the Cathedral tower) if a Welshman remains within Chester city walls he shall be shot with a bow & arrow! The clock faces in Chester facing north Wales have all been removed as a reminder of those days when it was once said that Chester didn’t want to give the Welsh the time of day its a different story now though as Chester truly is the gateway to North Wales with views of the Clywdian hills and beyond to the mountains of Snowdonia.
Tourism is a huge factor in North Wales as it diversifies and transforms the former mines and quarries into Zip Wires, Surf Lagoons, Canoe & Water-sports Centres, while the traditional crafts continue as souvenirs with visitors enjoying locally sourced food and traditional dishes and cakes like drop scones and Bara Brith.
Holyhead & Anglesey
Holyhead lies on the northwestern tip of Anglesey on Holy Island and is the gateway to Ireland with frequent high speed and freight ferries.
Holyhead also receives many Cruise Ship Calls and it's a superb destination to explore the heart of Snowdonia and the welsh castles. Anglesey also has the village with the longest place name in Britain:
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch - translated into English, means "The church of St. Mary in a hollow of white hazel near a rapid whirlpool & near St. Tysilio's church by the red cave. No trip to Anglesey is complete without a photo stop at this quirky railway station.
Rivers in the Sky
Thomas Telford built the tallest aqueduct in the world. The result is impressive. Pontcysyllte carries the Llangollen Canal across the Dee Valley. They call it “the river in the sky & to reach this location which is perhaps North Wales best-kept secret it's less than one hour’s journey from Liverpool and only 30 minutes from Medieval Chester.
If you don’t fancy a boat trip you could climb aboard the only standard gauge Heritage Railway in Llangollen and take a steam train ride to Corwen through stunning scenery and where your coach or MPV driver can pick you up to continue your day out.
Surfing in the World’s largest artificial lagoon!
Surf Snowdonia, a 300-metre surf lagoon roughly the size of six football pitches plus adrenalin thrills & spills is a great stop for the intrepid or just for the curious with its amazing restaurant and café to enjoy as part of your day to Wales.
Bounce Below, Zip Wires Railways.
With the fastest & longest zip wire in the world, underground trampolines train deep underground in former mines and lots more North Wales truly reveals hidden gem after hidden gem.
Narrow Gauge Railways
The Ffestiniog Railway is a narrow gauge steam railway from Porthmadog through 13 miles of stunning countryside passing waterfalls & cascades as streams froth down mossy rock sides. Swathes of deep green grass soar on one side with welsh valleys on the other Exiting tunnels and narrow cuttings there are splendid views of the Fairlie steam engine as it hauls you and the carriages to Blaenau Ffestiniog, where you can take a trip on another train deep into a former slate mine. The ugly slate-waste landscape at the top of the line makes a startling contrast with the unspoiled surroundings.
The Welsh Highland is the longest heritage railway in the UK & starts at Porthmadog journeying across the Snowdonia national park, to the walled town of Caernarfon. The 25-mile steam train journey is two hours of pure pleasure and it’s possible to have a meal while enjoying the scenery, including Snowdon & the Aberglaslyn Pass.
Its possible to take a single journey on either of the above trains and your coach or MPV can drop you at the start and meet you at the other end of your journey.
Conwy is perhaps the most magnificent castle in North Wales situated at the mouth of the River Conway estuary guarding the town, eight imposing towers, two fortified gateways and thick walls are in a remarkably good condition. It's not hard to imagine and to travel back in time to the days when Edward I made Conway his home
Conway or Conwy also has the finest example of an Elizabethan House as well as the claim to the UK’s smallest house and it’s a great fishing town where you can eat traditional fish and chips and enjoy an ice cream.
Rhuddlan Castle is often overlooked yet is only an hour from Liverpool. Its known as the place where in 1284 King Edward I set up the government of Wales under his rule. A plaque on the wall of the Old Parliament House in the town today commemorates the event.
King Edward built Caernarfon Castle in 1280, at the same time as he built Harlech & Conway castles. The cost to build the ring of castles was enormous, 90% of the nation’s annual income. He was a cultured, wealthy ruler & wanted to be sure everyone knew it and of course to intimidate any further attempts to overpower him and his armies.
Prince of Wales
More than 4,000 people were at Caernarfon Castle on 1 July 1969 for the investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester.
A worldwide audience of 500 million people - including 19 million in Britain - watched the event.
There were 4,000 guests in the castle and 90,000 on the streets of Caernarfon.
Snowdonia, North Wales
Eryri or the Snowdonia National Park has been a National Park since 1951. It is the second largest National park with the most spectacular scenery in Britain
With a dramatic coast, rolling foothills & dramatic mountains, Snowdonia has it all. You can be sailing in the morning and then on the summit of Mount Snowdon in the afternoon!
Snowdonia is hailed as the Adventure Capital of Europe, with many world-famous attractions for thrill seekers; from inland surfing at Surf Snowdonia, the world's fastest zip wire & some of the UK's best downhill mountain bike tracks. It was here that Sir Edmund Hilary himself did all his winter preparation and training for his attempt to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
The highest peak in England & Wales at 1,085m (3,560 feet) with a dramatic upland range of rocky summits and challenging ridges for aspiring mountaineers. This whole area is unsurprisingly a tourism magnet.
Since 1896 visitors have travelled to Llanberis at the foot of the Snowdon pass to take the Snowdon Mountain Railway on a journey of a lifetime to the very top of Wales!. A real mountain, its a place of legends! Snowdon is famous to claim to be the burial place of the giant ogre Rhita vanquished by King Arthur
Snowdon Mountain Railway is one of the most unique and wonderful railways in the world. With stunning scenery and incredible views it's all part of a great day out for you and your family in North Wales. This railway trip and others can be booked as an extra from your day out to North Wales with Brilliant Liverpool Tours.
Buried deep below the mountains of Snowdonia lies rock which shaped the look & feels of the world with slate easily split into perfectly flat layers appearing on rooves to replace thatch. It’s still used in Snooker and Pool tables today. This way of life mining the stone was dangerous and built communities in North Wales with many villages having Male voice choirs.
The story of slate started 500 million years ago, with deposits of mud and clay from the seabed. Slate was used by the Romans in the first century AD and by medieval kings to shore up their defences. But it wasn’t until the advent of the Industrial Revolution that demand for the mighty grey rock really exploded. At its peak, the slate industry in Wales employed an army of 17,000 men. By the end of the 19th century they were extracting half a million tonnes of slate per year and their hand-split wares were being exported to all four corners of the earth. The National Slate Museum in Llanberis bears tribute and with free entrance and a lovely café, it’s a great spot to visit on your visit.
There is also a lovely miniature railway around the lake at Llanberis and a paid tourist attraction called Electric Mountain which shows how the area once derelict after the slate quarry was closed was transformed in to a Hydro-electric power scheme to generate huge quantities of electricity to top up the UK’s national grid during peak times for example when everyone’s watching television for the World Cup Final.
Half a million people in Wales, 19% of the population can speak Welsh which is a phonetic language. It is the first language in many towns particularly in Gwynedd, places like Porthmadog & Caernarfon. Welsh is closely related to Cornish & Breton & is one of Europe’s oldest languages.
- The letters k,q,v, x and z don’t occur in the Welsh alphabet & welsh has seven vowels – a,e,i,o,u,w and y
All welsh school children study Welsh as a first or second language from the age of 5 to 16. There are more than 440 primary schools & 50 secondary schools where lessons are delivered entirely in Welsh.
Welsh Crafts & Foods
The Leek is a vegetable similar to an onion & is mentioned as Wales national symbol in Shakespeare’s Henry V. There is lots of folklore why the Welsh are linked with the leek. Cadwaladr a 7th century King, ordered his men into battle wearing Leeks around their waist so that they could be identified as his men.
The Welsh Lovespoon
Carved by hand from a single block of wood, the tradition of a male admirer crafting a Lovespoon for a girlfriend indicated to her family that he was skilled with his hands & capable of earning a living. Wales’s oldest Lovespoon dates to 1667 and is on display atl St Fagans National History Museum. Each carving is symbolic, from the eternal love of a Celtic knot or a twisted stem indicating togetherness. You will often see wooden balls inside the carvings which is said to relate to the fertility of the man and the number of children he would like to have. Very easy for him to say isn’t it as it’s not the man who has to bear all those children so if you bring a love spoon back with too many balls inside it be prepared to be rebuked instead of hugged by your lover!
The origin of the national flower of Wales was during the 19th century, as a replacement for the humble leek. David Lloyd George, the only Welsh Prime Minister, was a public advocate of the Narcissus (its Latin name) and it appears early in spring coinciding with St David’s Day on March 1. In modern days daffodils are grown in Mid Wales to produce galantamine to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
The first Welsh international rugby union match was against England, in Blackheath in 1881 where Wales lost the match however much more success came with a three year unbeaten run between 1907 and 1910. Since then there has been many ups and downs but those haven't deterred the phenomenal support & love for the game particularly in the industrialised parts of South Wales.
Famous Welsh People
So let your North Wales Adventure begin with a 2 or three day stay in Liverpool with excursions to explore this magnificent area only 90 minutes away.
Brilliant Liverpool Tours and their tour guides will bring the area to life and you can book one of their excursions here or they can create a tailor-made North Wales Adventure for you!