HomeAway travel expert
Holidaymakers already acquainted with North Wales are well aware of its status as one of the country's regions of historical interest. Little wonder then that the region welcomes throngs of keen historians, National Trust members and Cadw passholders annually. With over a dozen major castles, half a dozen National Trust ran sites, active steam train routes, and an impressive number of Cadw ran heritage sites, North Wales combines its distinctive national and cultural identity with a beguiling sense of the past. It boasts one of the world’s longest aqueducts, one of the oldest European languages, and is home to all seven Wonders of Wales - a perfect holiday setting. So, if you're keen to explore North Wales’ mesmerising past, and retreat to a snug holiday rental in the heart of the stunning Welsh countryside after, then read on for HomeAway's guide to North Wales holiday activities.
Top five destinations for heritage trails in North Wales
Crowned with a UNESCO World Heritage listed castle, and renowned for its Welsh-speaking tradition, its little wonder that the royal town of Caernarfon is considered the historic heart of North Wales. Once a symbolic seat of English power in Wales, the town’s medieval fortress dates to the reign of Edward I, and is one of the finest examples of late 13th century military architecture in Europe. Even older is the former centre of Roman power at Segontium Fort. And nearby is Snowdonia - the land of Arthurian legends and Merlin’s dragons!
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Venture to the picturesque UNESCO World Heritage town of Conwy for breathtaking vantage points of the waterfront. Visit the 13th century castle for panoramic views of the surrounding hillsides and Irish Sea. Stroll along the preserved town walls and climb to the top of one of its 22 towers to experience a sense of historic Wales. Rediscover the life of wealthy Elizabethan merchants at Plas Mawr, one of the finest surviving town houses of the period, and explore the 14th century Aberconwy House, the oldest town house in Wales!
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Ruthin and Denbigh
The skyline of Dinbych, which means ‘little fortress’, is dominated by an imposing 13th century Denbigh castle. Take the winding road up to the top of the fortresses rocky hilltop and immerse yourself in its history as one of Edward I’s strongholds following the conquest of Wales. Wander along the mile stretch of the former town walls for inspiring views of the town and surrounding Vale of Clwyd. Meander the weekly market for local produce and Denbigh-inspired gifts. Visit the pretty town of Ruthin, and its medieval fortress, before a walk in Llandegla Forest.
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Framed by limestone cliffs and long sandy beaches, the island of Anglesey is a remote region off the mainland. Recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1966, Anglesey has a rich history stemming back to the 1st century. The island’s 13th century Beaumaris Castle is testimony to Anglesey’s historical significance, and provides an alluring visit with its water-filled moat and imposing towers. Overlooking the sparkling Menai Strait is house Plas Newyyd, an 18th century masterpiece surrounded by picturesque gardens and woodland - perfect for afternoon picnicking.
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Gazing across the surrounding countryside and the mountain ranges of Snowdonia is the spectacular Harlech Castle, the most formidable of Edward I’s fortresses constructed in the 13th century. Its twin-towered gatehouse and four round corner towers, as well as its raised, rocky plateau setting provide awe-inspiring views. Explore the old town centre, hillwalk in the Rhinog mountain ranges or visit the spectacular beaches in the region, including Barmouth.
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Holiday Cottages for rent in Wales
As you round the bend of a quiet leafy lane guests are greeted by a real fairytale cottage. Described as a semi-ruinous Tudor-Gothic style this outstanding and unique self-catering property stands guard over the deer park on the famous Nannau esta...
Tregantle is a large 4 bedroom house in the coastal village of Dyffryn Ardudwy in Snowdonia. This modern house can easily accommodate up to 10 people so perfect for extended family breaks by the sea.
A fully fitted kitchen has all the facilities y...
Four Bedroom North Wales Holiday Cottage with sea views. I should have taken some photos of the guest book in the cottage for you, as the same comments come up time and time again. “Attention to detail”, “immaculate”, &ldqu...
Pant-Golau is Welsh for sunny or bright valley. And it certainly was the day we visited. This newly refurbished pet friendly family holiday cottage is on the end of a charming little row of three cottages in a little hamlet called Pensarn. But the...
Moelwyn is a spacious 3 bedroom house above Harlech. I know I'm always going on about how nice the sea views are with a lot of our cottages. But this one has to be the best yet. Sitting high above Harlech and it's medieval castle, the house has sp...