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Autumn Activities in North Wales

Published on 13 Oct 2021 by Amy Bowers

With the summer months behind us, now is the time to look forward to sunny autumn mornings, beautiful forest walks, and snuggling up in our favourite comfies. It’s a beautiful time of year to enjoy a holiday getaway in North Wales.

Our diverse land and seascapes make it such a special place to explore. As well as the magnificent show of our wonderful forests and woodlands, the autumn bracken gives our hillsides a gorgeous flaming glow. 

If you’re into your surfing or kitesurfing, autumn can be a great time of year to catch some decent waves off our coast. It can make for some gorgeous beach walks too – just wrap up warm and enjoy the feeling of having those cobwebs blown clean away.

Perhaps our favourite thing about this time of year is that there is just enough of a nip in the air to sink into a cosy night in front of the woodburner. As we share some of our favourite autumn activities in North Wales, let’s raise a glass to a wonderful autumn season ahead for us all.

Cycle the Mawddach Trail near Barmouth

The Mawddach Trail footpath and cycle route runs just shy of 10 miles along a disused railway track on the southern side of the Mawddach estuary. It’s a place that is absolutely stunning, peaceful and beautiful, and this is especially so in the autumn. The trail can be joined at several points, but it runs between the picturesque market town of Dolgellau and the iconic railway bridge over the mouth of the Mawddach estuary into Barmouth. Expect stunning views across to Diffwys and the Rhinog mountains, and up the estuary to Y Garn and the Arans beyond Dolgellau. Pretty much the whole of the Mawddach estuary is listed as a site of special scientific interest, there are two RSPB reserves (Taicynhaeaf and Arthog), and a whole host of historical sites to ponder over as you make your way through this truly beautiful landscape.

Autumn Activities in North Wales

A Day out at Portmeirion near Porthmadog

Portmeirion Village was designed by Welsh Architect Clough Williams-Ellis in the early 20th century. The architectural equivalent of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, it is an eccentric collection of Riviera-inspired houses, ornamental gardens and colour washed villas. In autumn it looks extra special, thanks to Portmeirion’s spectacular Gwyllt woodland – ten hectares of trees and ornamental shrubs, with big views over the Dwyryd Estuary towards Harlech. There are plenty of cafés and shops to look around if the weather gets feisty, and you can always  warm up with hot drink in front of the enormous fireplace at the fabulously Art Deco Hotel Portmeirion.

A Day out in Harlech, and a walk along the beach

The attractive town of Harlech is home to a clifftop UNESCO World Heritage Site medieval castle, with a fantastic visitor centre, café and gift shop. The hills and winding lanes of the town provide plenty of nooks and crannies to explore, and some great places for a decent lunch or afternoon tea. The cakes and scones at the Caffi Castell are not to be missed. Once adequately fortified, head down the Zig Zag Path to Harlech Beach – an enormous expanse of golden sands with dunes and marram grass – the perfect place for an invigorating autumnal walk along the coast. 

Kite Surfing or Surfing at Rhosneigr on Anglesey 

Autumn is a far more reliable season for anything that depends on having big waves, as the sea is typically choppier and more playful at this time of year. Head to Rhosneigr on the west coast of Anglesey to watch the kite surfers and surfers as they leap about on the waves, or book some tuition of your own at Gecko Surf. From their hub on the High Street, Gecko offers instruction in kite surfing, surfing, and paddleboarding, as well as all related equipment hire.

Explore the Gwydir Forest near Llanrwst, Conwy Valley

As well as boasting beautiful mountain and valley views, the Gwydir Forest is hugely atmospheric and has an intriguing history. Park at the Sawbench car park and follow the Llwybr y Ceirw Sculpture trail, which was inspired by Wales’s real-life Robin Hood figure – Dafydd ap Siencyn.  The forest is also home to the infamous Gwydir Mawr a Bach / Marin trail and the perfect day out for anyone who loves trail running or mountain biking. An autumn must-do is a walk around Llyn Crafnant, on the northern edge of the forest. The single-track approach to the lake takes you through the most beautiful beech woodland. It is glorious all year round, but extra special at this time of year.

A Family Day Out at Coed y Brenin near Dolgellau

This beautiful forest park covers 9,000 acres around the Mawddach, Eden, Gain and Wen river valleys. To the west are views across the rugged Rhinog mountains and, to the east, you’ll see the extinct volcano of Rhobell Fawr. The forest has an excellent visitor centre and a shop where you can hire bikes to explore world-class mountain bike trails for all ages and abilities. There is also a café, loads of family walking trails, bike hire station, a play area and riverside picnic areas. A great autumn day out for the whole family.

Look out for Red Squirrels at Newborough Forest on Anglesey

You’ll find Newborough Forest on the south west corner of Anglesey, just a short hop over the Menai Bridge from the mainland at Bangor. Newborough is a very special place – a superb pine forest with a colony of red squirrels and plenty of great autumn walking and cycling trails. The forest pines run right down to a sandy beach, and you’ll often get the most wonderful pine scent as you walk along the beach. This beach is also home to Llanddwyn Island which, in the 5th century, was apparently home to the Welsh St Valentine, Dwynwen. Definitely one for the romantics, and one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

Want to book a cottage with a real fire for your autumn getaway in North Wales? Take a look at our beautiful selection here.

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