Hiking in the mountains is something that Andrew and I got used to doing every weekend while living in Vancouver, so is something that we really missed after moving to London. To quench our thirst for some mountain air we rented a car with a couple of friends and headed to Snowdonia National Park in Wales. It is quite a long drive from London (around 5 hours) and once you add a few pit stops, it can take all day. On the way up to Snowdonia we stopped in the small village of Trevor to check out the large Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. It is a navigable aqueduct which means that you can even kayak over it (outrageous I know!). We spent a bit of time marvelling at man’s ingenuity and mulling over it with a beer at the pub nearby.
After a long day of driving we definitely weren’t going to be hiking that afternoon so we decided to explore the coastal town of Conwy. We adored Conwy. As you drive in to the town the huge Conwy Castle looms overhead and you really get the sense of a fortress town. The castle and walls were built by the English in the late 1200s to keep the Welsh out. It was the perfect place to spend an evening strolling the waterfront, eating fish and chips and soaking up a bit of history.
There are a lot of affordable accommodation options all over Wales and many of them are gorgeous to stay in. We stayed in a very old and idyllic farmhouse just outside of Conwy. The local village pub was just up the road and some drinks there provided the perfect end to our first day in Wales.
It was finally time to visit Snowdonia National Park and to climb the tallest mountain in Wales – Mount Snowdon. That sounds like we are intense mountaineers (we are not), in fact Mount Snowdon is actually a pretty easy mountain to climb. It takes about 5 hours return and the steepest part is right at the start. We climbed up the Pyg Track and down the Minor’s track. I definitely recommend this route as it makes for a gradual climb up the mountain and a steep downhill followed by a mostly flat finish. We were lucky to do this on a very sunny day in April which was lovely but very busy (it seemed like everyone had the same idea as us). Nevertheless it was a fantastic hike with some great views. Remember to take lots of water and wear sturdy shoes (its pretty rocky and uneven) – we saw some very ill-prepared people.
Overall our time in this area was great and I would highly recommend Northern Wales for a short getaway. Cost wise, we found everything reasonably well priced.
Here is a breakdown of our costs for 2 people over 1 night/2 days:
Accommodation – £58 (NZ$113)
Food/Drink – £65.50 (NZ$128)
Petrol – £11.50 (NZ$22.50)
Misc. (e.g. Parking) – £7 (NZ$13.50)
Total spent – £142 (NZ$277)