Northern Wales - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Northern Wales

Northern Wales

Though few tourists in the United Kingdom venture further into Wales than Cardiff or Swansea, the northern part of the country is full of rugged landscapes, bustling towns and quaint seaside communities that richly reward the intrepid traveller with beautiful sights and fun activities.

Northern Wales is home to some of the country's greatest attractions, including the rugged peaks of Snowdonia National Park and Mount Snowdon, the historical seaside town of Aberystwyth, the stark vistas of Holyhead, and the beaches of Llandudno.

Information & Facts

English is the official language, though visitors will be astonished by the variety of regional accents.

The currency is the pound (GBP), which is divided into 100 pence. ATMs are available in all towns and Visa, MasterCard and American Express are widely accepted; visitors with other cards should check with their credit card companies in advance. Foreign currency can be exchanged at bureaux de change and large hotels, however better exchange rates are likely to be found at banks. Travellers cheques are accepted in all areas frequented by tourists; they are best taken in Pounds Sterling to avoid additional charges.

Local time in the United Kingdom is GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).

Situated in North Wales, across the Menai Strait from the Isle of Anglesey, is Caernarfon, dominated by the walls of its 13th-century castle. It was here that, in 1969, Prince Charles' investiture as Prince of Wales took place. It was a dramatic event marked by pomp and ceremony, and had the strong symbolic impact of strengthening Britain's dominion over Wales in this staunchly nationalist district. Across the strait is Anglesey, which is probably most noted for the town of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndobwlllanty - siliogogogoch, which has the longest place name in the United Kingdom. The name, when translated into English, means 'The church of St. Mary in a hollow of white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and near St. Tysilio's church by the red cave'. The island was the crucible for pre-Roman druidic activity in Britain and many Neolithic ruins remain. Many people rush through Anglesey, on their way to catch the Irish ferries at Holyhead, and miss out on its spectacular coastal scenery of sandy coves and rocky headlands.

The village of Portmeirion in Northern Wales is as charming as they come, with rows of cottages and pretty trails winding through the woods. Portmeirion was designed by the architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, and is now run by a charitable trust more as a tourist attraction than a residential village. Its quaint demeanor has attracted film crews, and the 1960s cult tv programme The Prisoner was filmed there, among others. Small enough to see on foot, there are manicured gardens and a beach, as well as a few souvenir shops and a restaurant, ice cream shop, and pizzeria.

Snowdonia is Britain's second-biggest national park after the Lake District, boasting rugged mountain trails through some of the tallest peaks south of the Scottish Highlands. The tallest peak is Mount Snowdon at 3,560ft (1,068m), which is visited by half a million people each year, many climbing or walking while the less adventurous ride the Snowdon Mountain Railway to the top. While Snowdonia is a haven for hikers and climbers, there is plenty to explore including lakes, waterfalls, glacial valleys, as well as forts, railways and the crumbling remains of the country's mining heritage. Other nearby destinations not to be missed include the beautiful Victorian resort of Betws-y-Coed, Beddgelert whose former copper mines are open to the public, and Blaenau Ffestiniog, which also takes the public on tours through its cavernous slate mines.

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