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North Wales: Estimating Time

Seattle, Washington
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North Wales: Estimating Time

Hello: I've not been to Wales before and am interested in visiting the north, mostly for Roman British and Medieval sites, and for walking and seeing the countryside.

I'm having trouble understanding the "travel size" of this area from maps and guidebooks. If you had a rental car and about 4 days, given these interests, how would you distribute your time among the following locations:

Chester (though not in Wales, of course)


Snowdonia National Park



Maybe this is a little subjective, but is there too much to see, or too little, to cover all of these places in 4 days?


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1. Re: North Wales: Estimating Time

Hello and welcome to the forum. Your schedule sounds good to get a taster of each area combining Caernarfon and Harlech on the last day (with maybe a visit to Portmerion, fabulous Italiante village) also. There is so much to see - if you can extend your visit the Island of Anglesey with Beaumaris and castle is highly recommended and the timeless Llyn Peninsula area.

Scunthorpe, United...
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2. Re: North Wales: Estimating Time


4 days is enough to give you a taster for North Wales and what you propose is perfectly doable. Distances aren't that great but depending on when you are planning to visit, roads (which can be narrow and not good for overtaking) may be busy.

There are plenty of medieval castles but not much in the way of Roman remains (you need to be in Northumberland and Hadrian's Wall for these).

Chester does have the remains of a Roman amphitheatre. Chester to Llandudno or Conway is an easy drive. Conway is a delightful walled town (can walk round part of the walls) and a superb Castle. This is one of my favourites. There's a nice walk up Conway mountain.

From Conway drive up the vale of Conway to Betwys y Coed (walks) to Blaenau Ffestiniog (slate). You can climb Moelwyns from Tanygrisiau, next village down from Blaenau Ffestiniog. There are the remains of a turf amphitheatre and Roman marching camps in the hills between Ffestiniog and Trawsfyndd.

Then drop down to Porthmadog, taking a side road up to Tan y Bwlch for pleasant walks in the forest. From Porthmadoc you can do a detour (south) to see Harlech Castle or east to Criccieth Castle.

From Porthmadog, drive to Beddgelert (nice walks in Beddgelert forest). The Watkin Path up Snowdon goes off the A498. Even if you don't do the whole climb (and be warned the top bit is a steep scramble), the lower levels make a nice walk.


Drive to Caernarfon from Beddgelert through some of the most amazing scenery in Snowdonia. Caernarfon is another walled town and has a splendid medieval castle and also Roman fort at Segontium - although only the foundations remain.

Final day drive back from Carnarfon to Chester.

Overnights could be:

Llandudno/Conway area.

Blaenau Ffestiniog/ Porthmadoc area

Possibly Beddgelert (if you have enough time and want to spend time walking)

Final night Caernarfon.

This gives easy driving stages with time built in to sight see and do some shorter walks. Serious walks like the Watkin Path could take up to a day, depending on how far you walk. You will need boots and waterproofs for this.

Don't try and rush. Take your time and stop and enjoy the scenery.


Seattle, Washington
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3. Re: North Wales: Estimating Time

I appreciate the details, Eleanor, wonderful. I've been studying itineraries on the Web, and they vary from 1 to 5 days, so wasn't sure how to interpret that. It seems like North Wales gets a cursory look on most tours (I don't like tours, by the way). What do you think the tours are missing?

Seattle, Washington
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4. Re: North Wales: Estimating Time

Yes, for Roman British, I was thinking of Chester, and Caerwent in the south (on a different leg of the trip).

I took in sites on Hadrian's Wall when I visited England on a different trip. It would have been nice to have had time to walk the whole wall, but with a rental car I could visit all the sites (without the connections) in a day, and this surprised me.

So this is why I was wondering about how to pace north Wales. I guess it all depends, but I wanted to make sure that in 4 days I wouldn't be rushed, stuck driving all day, or be left with too little to do, given my interests. Sounds like the latter won't be a problem.

5. Re: North Wales: Estimating Time

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