For the Explorers
Anglesey and North Wales is a hidden gem steeped in history, from the Neolithic area and burial chambers to castle ruins, fortifications, and more. There are lots of places to find, see and learn about on and around North Wales that will transport you back in time and offer a glimpse into the past. Most of these locations also offer fantastic views out to sea, over the Menai Strait and across the whole of Anglesey.
South Stack Lighthouse
Built by Trinity house in 1809, this lovely lighthouse is reached by a descent of 400 steps down the steep cliffs. Visitors can also enter the lighthouse, tours are brought at the café and visitor centre at the top.Holyhead, LL65 1YH
On top of Holyhead mountain is a ruined coastguard lookout, which provides the perfect place to see a stunning ocean sunset. There is also a vast array of wildlife here such as auks, choughs, grey seals, puffins and sometimes dolphins and porpoises.Holyhead, LL65 1YH
Impressive ancient Yews in St Deiniolen churchyard, one of which you can climb inside!Church on lane ¼ mile south of B4366 at Llanddeiniolen (car park here) towards LL55 3AR. No parking at Church.
St Gwenfaens Well
In a field just back from the coast path are the remains of a medieval holy well house with steps down to a pool. White pebbles were thrown in for those seeking help for mental disorders.After coastguard lookout bear up over peak to find a well in fields below.
Penmon Priory and Holy Well
The ruins of a 13th-century priory and 16th-century dovecote share this site with St Siriol’s Well – one of the most enchanting wells in Wales, and possibly the oldest.Beyond Castell Aberlleiniog head towards LL58 8RP. This is a free CADW site, but to park for free, park on the lane layby 100m before the priory, otherwise £2.50.
Castell Aberlleiniog and Woods
11th-century motte deep in the woods overlooking the Menai Strait topped with 17th-century Civil War castle fortifications.From B5109 N of Beaumaris head for LL58 8RN. After ½ mile, 50m E of Tros Y Arfo, find a tiny parking area on L. Follow the footpath to the Motte. More parking and connecting path at the Leiniog picnic spot on road further along.
Bwrdd Arthur Hill Fort
Small limestone hill with Iron Age remains, wildflowers and magnificent sea views. Just below is a tiny medieval church with a holy well in the woods up behind.Head for LL58 8YB and park at the dead-end road junction by sign. A wooden kissing gate leads up to the heath. Head to NW edge and you can loop back down, through the farm, via the church and lane on the E side. NB 1 mile along the lane is Mariandyrys Nature Reserve, limited layby parking.
Barclodiad y Gawres Tomb
Set above the popular Porth Trecastell beach, this is the largest Neolithic tomb in Wales. It was constructed at the same time as the Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge and built as a public grave for the local farming community.Signed off A4080, just S of LL63 5TE, drive on to park at Porth Trecastell beach, then walk the coastal path up the headland. The key is held at nearby premises (directions on information board) and may be borrowed with payment of refundable deposit.
A trio of atmospheric ancient sites, spanning millennia. The walled village is Romano-British, and its massive stone foundations make for a surreal secret playground surrounded by woods. En-route explore the 12th-century ruined chapel, and afterwards, walk back along the lane 300m for the Neolithic burial chamber you can climb down inside.From Moelfre head SW on A5108, then signed R by roundabout, past LL72 8NG
Bryn Celli Ddu Tomb
One of the best-preserved passage tombs in Wales, set within its own stone circle. Enter through the tall stone slit to find the unusual pillar within the chamber. Druids greet the sunrise here on the summer solstice.Off the A4080 SW of Menai bridge. Small signed car park beyond school at LL61 6EQ. Another tomb (Bodowyr) is 3 miles along lanes.
Ty Mawr Standing Stone
A lone standing stone from the Bronze Age.From Trearddur Bay, head north on B4545, then turn right onto Lon Towyn Capel, in half a mile turn left, in another ½ mile take a slight left at the roundabout take the 2ndexit there’s a café on the left which you can park in and over the road is the standing stone.
Porth Wen Brickworks
Superb hidden bay with an old ruined harbour, brickworks buildings and beehive kilns. Also, a brilliant rock arch and white pebble beach.First R off A5025, 2 miles W of bull Bay with a layby. 800m, by L bend, find 2 footpath signs on R. Take second footpath up track then descend to bay (500m)
Presaddfed Burial Chamber
Presaddfed burial chamber comprises of two Neolithic chamber tombs. The south tomb is more complete with its capstone still on top. The north tomb has not weathered well, with the capstone fallen and leaning against them.900 yards W of Bodedern on the B5109, turn left onto a small lane. Follow for approx. 550 yards and turn right. Access is through a kissing gate and across a grassy field, a distance of about 200, and there is a lay-by on the roadside.
Bodowyr Burial Chamber
This is a Neolithic burial chamber made of a few large stacked stones in a farmer’s field. The chamber has three upright stones about a meter high supporting a robust, wedge-shaped capstone.Near Bodowyr farm, ¼ mile E of Llangaffo, off B4419. Llanfair PG 5m.
19th-century fantasy castle with spectacular surroundings. This property has unique architecture and extensive gardens to explore.Bangor, LL57 4HN
Plas Cadnant Hidden Gardens
A lovely historic garden under restoration, situated between Menai Bridge and Beaumaris. Three different gardens have been discovered, including an unusual walled garden with curving walls and pool, a secret valley garden with three waterfalls and a river and an upper woodland garden with stone outcrops and the remains of a 19th-century folly.Cadnant Road, Menai Bridge, LL59 5NH
Known for its perfect symmetry, Beaumaris castle is the last hurrah of Edward I’s massive building programme, but it was never completed. Full of history, walls within walls, and a moat; it’s a great place to visit.Castle Street, Beaumaris, LL58 8AP
Llanlleianna Porcelain Works
China clay was quarried from the cliff here, but the porcelain factory burnt down in 1920 leaving a picturesque ruin above the remote cove. The detached chimney was to direct the noxious fumes away from the working areas.Footpath starts 200m E of LL67 0LN (narrow lane with no parking) head down, over the farm track and bear L at the bottom. Also reached by coastal walk from St Patricks church to the W (Llanbadrig, with parking).
The vast orange crater is awe-inspiring to behold. Copper has been mined here since the early Bronze Age and this wondrous landscape, created by hand tools, was the largest copper mine in the world un the 18th-century.Car park high on the B5111 of Amlwch ½ mile beyond LL68 9PL. Nearby Copper kingdom in Amwlch Port tells the further story of how copper was processed and shipped around the globe.
St Baglan's and Foryd Bay
Isolated in a graveyard in the middle of a field, this tiny medieval church escaped Victorian renovation; its door lintel is from a 6th-century predecessor and the lynch gate is from the 18th-century.Follow the slow coastal lane from bridge in Caernarfon W towards LL54 5RA. The church can be seen surrounded by trees off to the L after about 2 miles, with layby parking.
An easy mini peak with stunning sea views, many cairns and Iron Age ruins on the way; Carnedd y Saeson sits in a group of 7 cairns.Follow directions for Aber falls but continue on to parking at the end of lane. THen a 1 mile steep ascnet E, past Carnedd y Saeson. You can also take a long, gentler ascent around the N side.
Bryn Euryn Ruins and Hilltop
Spectacular views out over Anglesey and the Orme from this ancient hill fort on Conwy Mountain. Earthworks, burial cairns and stone circles. Pensychnant House, adjacent is a community nature reserve with ancient woodland.Leave Conwy on Upper Gate St/Sychnant Pass Rd. Continue 2 miles, past Pensychnant LL32 8BJ, to parking at the top of pass. Take footpath on R for 1 miles bearing N then E. For a shorter walk, Alltwen Hill is a fork L from the pass.
Mynydd y Dref and Pensychnant
Spectacular views out over Anglesey and the Orme from this ancient hill fort on Conwy Mountain. Earthworks, burial cairns and stone circles. Pensychnant House, adjacent is a community nature reserve with ancient woodland.Leave Conwy on Upper Gate St/Sychnant Pass Rd. Continue 2 miles, past Pensychnant LL32 8BJ, to parking at top of the pass. Take footpath on R for 1 mile bearing N then E. For a shorter walk, Alltwen hill is up a fork L from the pass.
The largest of the Great Orme quarry caverns, and right near the town centre. Cave lovers might also like Sheep Cave on the other side of the headland, high up with sea views.From Llandudno Pier ascent road past the cable car and café (LL30 2ND), to park at the dry ski slope. Return back on foot to find path opp botanical garden, to an obvious rock face on the R. The sheep cave is at the top of the zigzag footpath from Abbey Road.
Hafna Mine Shelter
In forest off a minor lane, this was one of the most important lead mines in the area from 1879 to 1915. The vast covered factory was state of the art, designed by the French in 1889. Follow the smelting process down the hillside; each floor has a different function.About ½ mile n of the Outdoor Pursuits Centre (LL27 0JB) in Gwydyr Forest, with parking.
Klondyke Mine Ruins
Huge ore mill ruins from 1900 in beautiful woods. The mill and associated mine (sealed off) was the site of a great mining scam in 1918. A challenging gorge scramble ascends up to Llyn Geirionydd.The best approach is via Clogwyn-Y-Fuwch; continue round on the contour, bearing down L on smaller track as the main path begins to rise after 50m. Cross the wall into ancient oak woods and follow old trackway ½ mile to the mill tailings. Return on lane in a loop.
Clogwyn-y-Fuwch, Llyn Crafnant
Very impressive set of large slate caverns from the 1790s, before safer honeycombed chambers, were introduced. The first level can be entered via a short tunnel, or bypassed, and contains splitting and dressing huts (waliau) inside the cavern itself. Persevere up the steep incline, through the waste, to the largest chambers on levels 4 and 5. From here a beautiful walk through the ancient woodland leads down to Klondyke mill.Signed Llyn Crafnant opp The Fairy Falls inn in Trefriw B5106; follow the road past LL27 0JZ to the forestry car park and toilets ½ mile further R. Cross road and take forestry track up. At the first bend bear off L to find ruins at the base of mine, and first level entrance.
Druid's Circle, Cefn Cochairs
Large stone circle with 29 stones and great views. The coast path rises to 400m here, and there are two more circles to be found on the ridge, including the smallest in the UK, and the Criag Lwyd Neolithic axe factory.Park by pillars at the top of mountain Lane (beyond LL34 6YP) then 1 ½ miles on a good track. Criag Lwyd outcrop is to the NW.
Royal Artillery School Ruins
The Royal Artillery coastal gunnery school was built in 1940 and abandoned at the end of the war. There are several sets of gun houses near the beach, and a further lookout higher on the cliff and also underground bunkers.From the car park at the Great Orme’s head continue ½ mile SW on road to find the metal gate on R. Path leads ¼ mile S to main guns, but another trio is directly below the fate. Another single lookout is just 200m to the N below the cliff.
A brute of a fortress, this fantastic castle is steeped in history and offer unique polygonal towers! Definitely a must see!Castle Ditc, Caernarfon, LL55 2AY
Heading into Newborough from Dwyran, a lane on the left takes you down to The Giant’s Stepping Stones; more properly known as the Rhuddgaer Stepping Stones.River Braint, Newborough, LL61 6RS
Enjoy the stunning views over the Menai Strait, the Faenol and Snowdonia as you walk around the beautiful gardens or explore the history inside this stunning National Trust.Llanfairpwlllgwyngyll, LL61 6DQ
Also called Rhaedr-fawr, these very impressive and popular falls are reached through the beautiful Coedydd Aber nature reserve and accessible by wheelchair. There is a lovely stream and several Iron Age hut remains. Foel-Ganol, at the end of the access lane, makes a great mini peak too.Signed Abergwyngregyn from A55, then follow the road 1/2 mile to signed entrance for car park with WC. Lots of signs for routes and footpath.
Penrhos Nature Reserve
This area has been a Nature reserve for decades with generations of Holyhead people being able to enjoy the natural heritage of this area: the wooded area was planted in the 19th C and it has a wealth of woodland.42 Stanley Avenue, Valley, Holyhead, LL65 2JE
Newborough Warren and Llanddwyn Island
Newborough Warren is one of the largest and finest dune systems in Britain.Station Site, Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, LL61 5UJ
The dunes, coastal marshes, sandy and rocky shores have been shaped over thousands of years by the wind and sea and are home to a dazzling array of plants and animals.
National Slate Museum
We've been guardians of Wales's heritage, art and natural history collections since 1907, and we believe that museums can change lives.Llanberis, Gwynedd, LL55 4TY
Great Orme Mines
An incredible network of caves and tunnels dating back 4,000 years.Well signed, at LL30 2XG, with parking.
Sygun Copper Mine
A beautiful old copper mine, that has been reclaimed, restored and transformed into a fun attraction.Beddgelert, Gwynedd, LL55 4NE
Snowdon Mountain Railway
Ride on Britain's only rack railway. Majestic Snowdon dominates the glorious, ancient landscape of North Wales. At 1,085m it is the highest mountain in Wales and England.Llanberis, Gwynedd, LL55 4TY
Breakwater Country Park
The Holyhead Breakwater Country Park was opened in 1990 and is situated on the site of an old quarry which supplied stone for the 2.39km (1.5 miles) Holyhead Breakwater, the longest in Europe, which was built between 1846 and 1873. Part of the park is situated within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).Breakwater Country Park, Holyhead, LL65 1YG
The Llanberis Lake Railway
Discover the timeless appeal of our narrow-gauge steam trains - a more leisurely way to travel and the perfect way to savour the grandeur of SnowdoniaRheilffordd Llyn Padarn, Gilfach Ddu, LL55 4TY
Puffin Island Cruise
A 75-minute cruise along the Menai Straits to Puffin Island, where you have the opportunity to view an abundance of wildlife in their natural habitat, including guillemots, cormorants, kittiwakes, razorbills and, of course, the puffin.Starida Sea Services, Beaumaris, LL58 8YL
Woodland walks, historic features and follies, shop, café, children's play area, art and craft courses, free parking.Clynnog Road, Caernarfon, LL54 5DU
“We had a fabulous stay in this immaculately clean and well-presented property. Perfect location, just a stone's throw from the Beach.”
Cool Waves 02.09.19