15 Best Things to Do in North Wales

Embark on a journey beyond the ordinary as we uncover some hidden treasures of North Wales.

From offbeat attractions and hidden gems to quirky adventures and rare encounters, North Wales offers plenty of unique experiences for the holiday-maker. 

To help you plan your travel itinerary, we’ve put together a collection of 15 unconventional and unusual things to do in North Wales, in no particular order.

So get ready to embrace the unexpected and dive into the charm of North Wales like never before!

Portmeirion Village

1. Visit Portmeirion Village

Experience a dreamlike escape at Portmeirion Village in North Wales. This enchanting Italianate village was conceived and built by remarkable Sir Clough Williams-Ellis.

Created between 1925 and 1976, the village was designed to demonstrate how naturally developed surroundings could coexist with architectural beauty.

Stroll through the whimsical streets that evoke a harmonious blend of Italian charm and Welsh character.

Immerse yourself in the stunning beauty of its lush gardens, and marvel at the riveting coastal views.

Offering a delightful collection of boutique shops, cafes, and hotels, Portmeirion provides an unparalleled experience that leaves an indelible mark on every visitor’s heart.

A worth entry in our list of quirky things to do in North Wales.

2. Experience the Llechwedd Slate Caverns

Llechwedd Slate Caverns, situated in Blaenau Ffestiniog, provide visitors a chance to explore historic mining tunnels, offering one of the more unique experiences in North Wales. 

Established in the 19th century, this site is known for its Deep Mine Tour, a guided exploration 500 feet below the ground.

The tour focuses on the miners’ experiences and the industry’s evolution, brought to life through cutting-edge light and sound technology.

Llechwedd Slate Caverns also hosts Zip World Titan, a thrilling adventure set amidst the atmospheric backdrop of the old slate quarry.

It’s the largest zip wire in Europe, with four separate lines allowing groups to experience the exhilarating ride together.

3. Visit The Ugly House

Third on the list of unusual things to do in North Wales is Ty Hyll.

Aka the Ugly House, it’s nestled amidst the lush woods of Snowdonia National Park.

Rumoured to have been built overnight in the 15th century by outlaws who claimed “squatters’ rights,” this peculiar stone cottage defies traditional architectural standards, hence its name.

Today, it houses a quaint tearoom that serves mouth-watering homemade cakes and a honeybee room that offers insight into the fascinating world of bees.

The lush wildlife garden and adjoining woodland are perfect for a serene, post-tea stroll.

The Ugly House, with its rough-hewn stones and moss-covered roof, is an offbeat gem that encapsulates the unique heritage of North Wales.

4. See the Smallest House in Great Britain

Embrace the peculiar at the Smallest House in Britain, located on Conwy’s quayside in North Wales.

With a width of 1.8 meters and a height of 3.1 meters, this tiny building is a popular, if offbeat North Wales visitor attraction.

Painted in a vibrant red, the house is pretty difficult to miss, despite being rather small.

Built in the 16th century, it was inhabited until 1900, with the last resident being a 6ft 3in fisherman.

Today, you can tour the interior, which comprises just two compact rooms, and imagine what life was like living in such a confined space.

The Smallest House in Britain adds a whimsical touch to your North Wales exploration and should not be missed!

5. Take in Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, a remarkable feat of engineering, gracefully spans the River Dee in Wrexham.

Conceived by the ingenious mind of Thomas Telford, this towering structure, built between 1795 and 1805, remains the highest canal aqueduct in the world.

It elegantly stands at 38 meters (126 feet) high above the river, stretching an impressive 307 meters (1,007 feet) in length.

Walking across its iron trough, you’ll be captivated by the breath-taking views of the Dee Valley below.

It’s not just an impressive structure, but a testament to the Industrial Revolution’s ingenuity and has rightly earned its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

So, if you have a head for heights, an appreciation for history and crave unconventional adventures, a visit to Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is an unmissable experience.

6. Tour the Inigo Jones Slate Works

The Inigo Jones Slate Works, located in Caernarfon, was established in 1861 and is the oldest working slate enterprise in Wales.

It offers visitors an intriguing insight into the historical and contemporary significance of slate in the region.

Here, you can embark on a self-guided tour to learn about the process of slate production from quarry to finished product.

You’ll have the opportunity to see traditional skills in action, including slate splitting and letter cutting.

There’s also a showroom where you can admire and purchase products made from Welsh slate, from homewares to engraved signs and gifts.

By blending history, craftsmanship, and geology, Inigo Jones Slate Works provides a fascinating visit that reveals the enduring legacy of the slate industry in Wales.

If you’re looking for offbeat attractions in North Wales, then the slate works are a must-visit.

7. Explore Parys Mountain

Experience the raw beauty of Parys Mountain, located near the town of Amlwch in northeast Anglesey.

Once the world’s largest copper mine during the 18th century, this site is now an unusual open-air museum that showcases the rich industrial heritage of the area.

A walk through the starkly beautiful and otherworldly landscape reveals a colourful array of rocks and spoil heaps, remnants from centuries of mining activity.

Several self-guided trails with interpretive panels lead visitors through the old mining operations, offering stunning panoramic views and an insight into the historical importance of the site.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a geology buff, or a nature lover, Parys Mountain offers a unique journey through time and a visual spectacle that is a testament to the area’s industrial past.

8. Venture into King Arthur’s Labyrinth

Discover hidden mysteries beneath the Earth’s surface at King Arthur’s Labyrinth.

This unique underground adventure takes you on a guided boat journey through a subterranean network of caverns and tunnels, carved by the River Ffraw over thousands of years.

Your hooded boatman will guide you through the dark, narrating tales of King Arthur and other ancient Welsh legends.

The journey concludes with a visit to the craft shops, café and picnic areas above ground.

King Arthur’s Labyrinth offers an experience that’s as educational as it is enchanting, and is sure to captivate visitors keen on quirky destinations and eccentric activities in North Wales.

9. Appreciate the Plas Newydd’s Whistler Mural

Immerse yourself in the unexpected at Plas Newydd Country House and Gardens, home to one of the largest and most intricate murals by Rex Whistler.

The artist’s largest and last work, the mural covers all four walls of the dining room.

Known as ‘The Illusion of the Chinese Room’, it’s an impressive trompe l’oeil showcasing the artist’s love for satire and whimsical details, blending elements of fantasy with the exotic.

The mural, with its intriguing visual tricks and subversive humour, adds a layer of intrigue to the already stately Plas Newydd.

A visit here offers a unique opportunity to appreciate the quirkiness of Rex Whistler’s art in the grand setting of a historic country house.

10. Visit Gelert’s Grave

Beddgelert, Snowdonia

Located in the beautiful village of Beddgelert, Snowdonia, this site is associated with a legendary tale involving Prince Llywelyn the Great and his loyal dog, Gelert.

According to the legend, Gelert was unjustly slain by Llywelyn, who later discovered that the dog had saved his son from a wolf.

Overwhelmed with remorse, Llywelyn buried Gelert here. Today, a stone monument stands in a tranquil field, marking what’s said to be the resting place of the faithful hound.

The tale of Gelert continues to captivate visitors, adding a touch of myth and drama to the picturesque landscapes of Snowdonia.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply appreciate intriguing stories, a visit to Gelert’s Grave offers a unique perspective on Welsh cultural heritage and is particularly well-suited to people looking for quirky and unusual things to do in North Wales.

11. See the Rhoscolyn’s Standing Stones

If you have a penchant for prehistoric history, you won’t want to miss the enigmatic standing stones of Rhoscolyn, located on Holy Island, Anglesey.

Scattered across the rural landscape, these stones date back to the Bronze Age and their original purpose remains shrouded in mystery.

A favourite among history enthusiasts and those seeking unusual things to do in North Wales, these stones provide a glimpse into our ancient past.

Make sure to bring your camera to capture the stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

12. Sample the Delights of Aber Falls Distillery

Dare to tread off the beaten path and you’ll discover Aber Falls Distillery, nestled amidst the verdant landscape of North Wales.

Located in Abergwyngregyn, near the famous Aber Falls waterfall, this distillery is well-renowned for its range of premium Welsh gins, liqueurs, and single malt whiskies.

Embark on a guided tour to learn about their distillation process, sample their award-winning spirits and gain a unique insight into the rich heritage of Welsh whisky production.

The distillery’s visitor centre and bistro offer further opportunities to delve into the local gastronomy.

13. Take a Ride on the Rhyl Miniature Railway

Step back in time and embrace the simple joy of a traditional ride at the Rhyl Miniature Railway, the oldest miniature railway in the UK.

Since its opening in 1911, it has been delighting generations with its nostalgic charm.

The one-mile track takes passengers on a leisurely journey around the Marine Lake, the largest man-made lake in Wales.

Along the way, enjoy the scenic views and the tranquil setting. The railway also hosts a museum showcasing the history of miniature railways in the UK, complete with models and memorabilia.

Offering a blend of heritage and fun, a ride on the Rhyl Miniature Railway is an unusual and memorable way to enjoy a visit to Rhyl.

14. Discover the Swallow Falls

An absolutely essential inclusion in our guide to unusual things to in North Wales. Discover the mesmerising beauty of Swallow Falls, one of the most stunning waterfalls in Wales.

Located on the River Llugwy near Betws-y-Coed, this natural attraction has captivated visitors with its cascading waters and surrounding dense woodland for centuries.

The falls can be viewed from various points, thanks to the network of trails and viewing platforms.

The top view presents a dramatic scene as the water plunges down into the valley, while the bottom view allows you to appreciate the full breadth and power of the falls.

Whether you’re a nature lover, photographer, or just in search of tranquillity, Swallow Falls promises an unforgettable experience.

15. See Criccieth Castle’s Double Towers

Criccieth Castle, Tremadog Bay

Immerse yourself in the historic splendour of Criccieth Castle, an iconic monument majestically perched on a headland overlooking Tremadog Bay.

Notably, the castle’s distinctive double towers, also known as the Gatehouse, set it apart.

These twin towers originally served as the castle’s main entrance. Today, they provide a stunning vantage point for panoramic views of the sea and surrounding town.

Inside, explore the castle’s rich history through the informative displays. Outside, enjoy the scenic beauty of the floral gardens and coastal paths.

A visit to Criccieth Castle’s double towers not only steps you back in time but also indulges you in an awe-inspiring Welsh coastal vista.

For more information about offbeat visitor attractions in North Wales, visit the official Welsh tourism site: https://www.visitwales.com/destinations/north-wales.

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Dale Shelabarger

Dale is the owner and founder of Cottages to Rent which he launched back in 2005. As well as promoting holiday cottages, Dale blogs regularly about top UK holiday destinations, visitor attractions and places of historical interest.