As regular readers of the Our Travel blogs will know, our team of intrepid travel content writers are always on the go – even during a global pandemic (local lockdowns permitting, of course). From the cosmopolitan chic of San Francisco to the tropical bliss of Indonesia’s Gili Islands to the big game of Samburu Reserve in Kenya, they get itchy feet if they’re not planning their next escape (then returning home and reliving it by writing blogs like this!)
While far flung destinations are always enticing, we are also big advocates of discovering the delights that are on our respective doorsteps. In fact, one of the few bright spots of all the recent Covid-related travel restrictions has been having the time and the excuse to explore local attractions a little more thoroughly. With that in mind, World Words writer Samantha Wilson – along with her husband and young daughter – recently set off for a wintry break in the wilds of Snowdonia National Park in northwest Wales. You can scroll on to read all about her experiences…
Why I went to Snowdonia
My family and I headed to Snowdonia National Park in Wales for a wild week of glamping, campfires and dramatic scenery. A winter adventure seemed like the perfect choice, with few crowds and lots of roaring log fires awaiting us. While the days are short, and the weather can be feisty, we wanted to embrace the region in all its wintry glory.
My highlight of the trip
With a four year old in tow, tackling the indomitable Mount Snowdon was off the cards, so we spent a wonderful day exploring the southern reaches of the park. We began at the Mach Loop, a series of dramatic, narrow valleys used by the RAF as a low flying training area – here fighter planes soar seemingly inches overhead. In the valley below, the beautiful glacial lake of Tal-y-llyn glimmers under the looming, 893-metre-high Penygader Mountain.
Our final stop on the first day was the remote ruins of Castell y Bere, built by Llywelyn the Great in the 1220s. We surveyed the jaw-dropping scenery from a lofty point as we sipped hot soup and channeled our inner warlords.
What else I love about Snowdonia
Snowdonia is wild and magnificent. The snow-dusted mountains beg to be hiked, while thundering waterfalls and pretty little towns dot the landscape in all directions. Whilst being ensconced in a glamping pod at the tip of a valley and spending days exploring nature was enough for me and my husband, we decided a bit of adrenaline-tinged fun was in order for our daughter. Enter the Fforest Coaster, a hair-raising rural rollercoaster that weaves through thick woodland at 25 miles per hour. A ride elicited shrieks of joy from not only my daughter, but all of us!
You could visit Snowdonia dozens of times and not see it all. Sustainable tourism is a way of life, with the one-time slate quarrying region now offering everything from trampolining in a disused mine to heart-pumping coasteering. Small visitors will love all the beaches and castles, the flat riverside strolls and the Olde Worlde steam train rides.
Why you should go
A glacial landscape of more than 100 gemstone lakes, craggy mountains and ancient castles stretches to the sea, offering hiking, mountain biking, waterfall chasing and more. You can take the Snowdon Mountain Railway to the summit of Wales’ highest peak, visit quaint ex-mining towns and hear locals speak in their native Welsh language, or gaze in wonder at the inky, star-filled skies. On a clear, windless night, great constellations reveal themselves.
How you can visit
Snowdonia occupies the northwest corner of Wales, and getting there and around requires a car. International flights arrive into Birmingham Airport (2.5 hours’ drive away) and Bristol Airport (four hours’ drive). From glamping pods to cosy ex-mining cottages, there are beautiful places to stay which will envelope you in majestic nature.
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– Article and photography by Samantha Wilson.