Cruise past sheep-speckled hills, glaciated landscapes, and stark slate quarry terraces on this circular drive around Snowdonia. I’ll guide you to towering castles built by the English to subjugate the hardy Celts, including Conwy Castle, Caernarfon Castle, and Penrhyn Castle. You’ll trace the coastline over mighty mountains and through lush valleys en route to medieval towns and Victorian villages like Llanberis, Abergwyngregyn and Llanfairfechan. All the while, I’ll fill you in on local lore that you won’t find on Wikipedia or in guide books.
I’ll tell you about Snowdonia National Park and one of the most recently named UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Slate Landscapes of North Wales. You’ll see much older World Heritage Sites too on your way around part of Edward I’s Iron Ring. Along the way, I’ll tell you all about the dry stone walls you’ll see on the hillsides, and the mountain farmers who’ve used the same shepherding techniques for centuries.
Other highlights on this tour include:
• Learning how to say Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch at the llanfairpwllgwyngyll station, and how to decipher Welsh names
• Crossing the oldest suspension bridge in the world, the Menai Suspension Bridge, and hearing how it’s connected to Lewis Caroll’s Alice Through the Looking Glass
• Passing ancient barracks in Segontium Roman Fort that once housed 2,000 soldiers
• Comparing Dolbadarn Castle, an old Welsh castle, with several English-built World Heritage Fortresses en route
• Taking in the impressive Snowdon mountain, the highest in England and Wales
• Passing by a traditional Welsh woolen mill and having the opportunity to buy blankets that are still woven on water-powered looms today
• Understanding why Edward I’s castles were like nothing that came before
• Hearing how thousands of Welshmen scooped huge and dramatic quarries out of mountains to roof the world
• Discovering how the Welsh language has survived to this day by incorporating other languages, and learning what a pobty ping is
By the end of the tour, you’ll have gained an insider’s perspective into everything from the Welsh language and our legends, to how modern industry and ecology co-exist with traditional ways of life. Allow yourself two hours for this driving tour, but be prepared to stop at some amazing spots along the way!