August is here and along with the sunshine (we’re ever hopeful here at North Wales Mag HQ!) comes the great North Walian day out…
You don’t need us to tell you how many days you have been cooped up at home, nor do you need us to tell you that you can now go and have a much-needed day out! What we can tell you of course is what our favourite attractions now have on offer. Many of the attractions in North Wales have a slightly reduced offer for obvious reasons, but they are all promising a safe, clean and entertaining day out.
A prime example is Snowdon Railway which opened on the 10th July however, after careful consideration, it will not open the summit building ‘Hafod Eryri’ for the 2020 season. This decision is based on the difficult practicalities of trying to implement safe social distancing measures within the building.
It has also made the decision not to operate its Heritage Steam Service for 2020 and will instead focus on its Traditional Diesel Service throughout the summer. Significant internal adjustments have been made to the carriages which enable safe segregation between compartments and reduced passenger numbers.
The destination for the remaining 2020 season will be Clogwyn Station, which is three quarters distance to the summit of Snowdon. The journey time to Clogwyn is approximately 45 minutes and passengers have a 30-minute stop-over at this unsheltered station. Please be aware that there are no facilities at Clogwyn, or on-board the trains. The service represents approximately a two-hour experience overall so it’s still a fabulous way to visit Snowdon.
Greenwood is also ready and waiting for you and your family to explore once again. Go and escape for the day in its gigantic playground nestled under the trees and full of the same old amusement, magic and mischief. While the park will very much look the same, Greenwood has put in place some new measures to keep you and your family as safe as it possibly can, so make sure that you visit its website for more information. The team can’t wait to welcome you back to its safe haven in the great outdoors – and its has even reduced its admission price for this summer too!
Another family friendly day out is Gypsy Wood Park, which is open to visitors until 27th September. Some things will seem a little different at the Park for the next few months, but the usual friendly Gypsy Wood welcome will still be waiting for you.
There aren’t many places where you can combine the magic of fairies with the charm of animals and the rugged wilderness of 20 acres of beautiful natural woodland, but a day out at Gypsy Wood Park promises just that. There are loads of things to see and do at this outdoor park in the foothills of Snowdonia and, as as result it’s a must-see attraction for all animal, nature, outdoor, train and fairy lovers. However, please note that Gypsy Wood Park is currently open for advance ticket purchases only.
Animal lovers should also take the time to visit Manorafon in Abergele this summer. The park will be packed with oodles of fun from feeding the animals, whizzing around on the quad bikes, discovering the reptiles in The Reptile Hut, playing in the new tunnel play area and racing the family on the go-karts.
Manorafon’s new socially-distant animal handling allows the whole family chance to get up close and say hello to cute baby bunnies and guineapigs. Meanwhile ‘The Beach’ is returning, and it promises to be even bigger and better for 2020. So go and have fun on the sand, run the Sprinkler Dash, wade through the Foam Funnel and enjoy tasty beach treats. Again, safety measures have been put in place throughout the park, and bookings must be made online in advance.
If you are looking to combine an animal attraction with a bit of adrenaline however then look no further than Mynydd Sleddog Adventures – Wales first and only attraction offering husky rides and sleddog adventures. Mynydd Sleddog’s team of racing sled dogs can be found within the beautiful forest trails of Bwlch Hafod Einion near Lyn Brenig and Alwen Reservoir, just 14 miles from Denbigh.
The Xinaskyii sled dog team currently consists of 16 dogs; 11 Siberian Huskies, two Scandinavian Hounds, two Alaskan Huskies and a German Short Haired Pointer. There are three adventures to choose from – Meet, a one-hour introductory session for the over fives, Fun – a two-hour adventure for six to 14 year olds, and Run – a slightly longer session for the over 14’s. All of the adventures include a full safety briefing, information about the various sleddog breeds, their history and racing across the world today.
And while racing sled dogs isn’t something that you’d expect to find in North Wales, neither is an Italianate village! Welcome to Portmeirion, the North Wales holiday village where nothing is quite what it seems…
Situated on a private peninsula overlooking stunning coastal scenery, Portmeirion is a architectural fantasy built by Welsh architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis.Home to two hotels, a cluster of historic cottages, iconic architecture, a spa, stylish shops, award-winning restaurants, casual cafés, an Italian ice cream parlour, exotic gardens and sandy beaches the village has something for everyone.
The village is open every day from 9:30am to 5:30pm, and all of the main shops are open as well as several cafés and coffee shops for take-away meals. The Hotel, restaurants and Castell Deudraeth will re-open on 3rd August, and all self catering cottages are already open.
Another great feat of architecture is Gwrych Castle – a Grade I listed country house that is one of the first attempts at replicating true medieval architecture in Europe. It stands in 250 acres of gardens and grounds and has extensive views over former parkland, including a deer park and the Irish Sea.
Through the intervention of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Richard Broyd Charitable Trust, the castle was purchased by the Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust in June 2018. Its ambition is to restore the historic buildings and designed landscape back to their former glory, and it is a fascinating project to visit. The castle and gardens are open daily between 10am and 5pm, with last admission at 4pm.
And for a little further culture, the shop and retail galleries at Llandudno’s MOSTYN Gallery are open once again. The gallery is currently showing a major exhibition by Canadian artist, Athena Papadopoulos, whose colourful sculptures and wall-based works fill the stunning modern gallery extension. The traditional Edwardian galleries house a collection of ceramic works by influential Austrian artist Kiki Kogelnik, the first ever showing of these works in the UK, while upstairs MOSTYN has an exhibition of printmaking by D. Alun Evans from Cheshire and, in the shop, a collection of curious and colourful contemporary craft in our ‘Wonderland’ retail showcase.
Visitors will see some changes on arrival and entrance, with a range of measures to ensure a safe and healthy environment for both staff and visitors, and a fully trained gallery team will offer a warm welcome to all. Booking is not required but there will be a queueing system to reduce numbers in the building at one time.
And after a busy day out it’s time to get the refreshments in! The brand new Beach Hut Nova in Prestatyn has just opened to rave reviews, and is certainly the best place along the coast to kick back and relax.
The Beach Hut Café & Bar is just a pebble’s throw from miles of sandy beaches. Warm and welcoming, it has a vibrant menu with something for everyone so, whether you’re building sandcastles on the beach, strolling along the promenade or just relaxing after your busy day out, it offers a great range of food and drinks to keep you refreshed and raring to go.
Beach Hut Nova
Gypsy Wood Park
Manorafon Farm Park
Mynydd Sleddog Adventures
Snowdon Mountain Railway