Our Top 7 Picnic Spots in North WalesPublished on 17 Jul 2021 by Gwion Llwyd
We love a good picnic here at Dioni. Few things in life trump the joy of laying out a picnic rug with family or friends and tucking into our favourite sandwiches and sausage rolls, with a gorgeous landscape backdrop.
North Wales has thousands of wonderful picnic spots to choose from. So, whether you’re looking for a family trip to a beautiful beach, or want an idyllic romantic hideaway so you can nibble at your Scotch eggs in peace, we thought we’d narrow them down by sharing some of our favourites.
Here are our top seven picnic spots in North Wales.
Llyn Crafnant, Conwy Valley
Beautiful Llyn Crafnant lies on the edge of the Gwydir Forest and at the lower slopes of the Carneddau mountains in the Conwy Valley. It is a brilliant place to explore for a few hours and a place the whole family will love. We go to Llyn Crafnant to enjoy the sense of being cocooned by the mountains – the lake sits in a bowl beneath towering peaks – and because its natural soundtrack and peaceful atmosphere do something a little bit special to your soul. There’s a brilliant family-friendly 3-mile circular walk around the lake which is suitable for little legs as well as buggies and prams, with ample opportunity for paddling and skimming stones. There’s plenty of car parking and public loos. There are picnic tables near the car park, ample opportunities to lay out a rug along the shore of the lake, and some bench seating along the lake path too. But our favourite place is to sit on the large flat stones in the shallows of the lake, munching our treats as the water laps around us.
Gwydir Forest, Conwy Valley
Ever driven down the Conwy Valley and admired the rather magnificent forest that accompanies you right into the heart of Snowdonia? That’s the Gwydir Forest Park. It’s a place where you’ll find cascading waterfalls, crystal clear lakes, awe inspiring mountain vistas and – it goes without saying perhaps – lots of trees. For all these reasons, it’s a great place for a picnic. Keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife including buzzards, peregrines, black grouse and – if you’re lucky – lesser horseshoe bats. One of our favourite little jaunts is to follow the forest’s Llwybr y Ceirw sculpture trail – a brilliant outdoor art installation that pays homage to Dafydd ap Siencyn – Wales’s very own Robin Hood – who is said to have lived amongst the trees with his army of followers in medieval times. Stand still, listen hard, and you might just hear them. Our favourite picnic spot is at the Cae n’y Coed picnic area just outside Betws y Coed. There are some nice waymarked walks through the woods from this spot, too.
Newborough Warren, Anglesey
Ahh, Newborough. This is a truly enchanting place on the south western tip of Anglesey. Pine trees roll down to big sandy dunes and a fabulous golden beach with a stunning mountain backdrop. You can walk out to the tiny Llanddwyn Island, at the west end of the beach, at low tide. Legend has it that Llanddwyn was the 5th century home of Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers. Now it is home to a beautiful Celtic cross, a lighthouse, wild ponies and the most spectacular mountain views. Newborough Warren has plenty of family-friendly trails to explore on foot or by bike. Look out for its native red squirrels when you visit. There is a charge to access the car park at the warren, which does have public loos. Newborough is a Blue Flag beach which means it has seasonal dog restrictions, so check online before you visit if you are planning on bringing your pooch (though the south west end of the beach is always unrestricted for dogs). There are picnic tables throughout the forest, and near the car park. But the beach, with its gently lapping waves and far-reaching mountain views, is our favourite place to enjoy our picnic feast.
Porth Iago, Pen Llŷn
The sandy little cove of Porth Iago on Pen Llŷn is one of the most beautiful beaches to be found in North Wales. It is relatively remote, and slightly-hard-to-find, so it is usually pretty quiet too. Flanked by the low grassy headlands of Dinas and Graig Ddu, the beach is sheltered from all but the most energetic of sea breezes. It is west-facing, which makes it a corker of a location for an evening picnic – the sunsets are really quite magical. Expect crystal blue water, and the sense that you might have somehow teleported to the southern Mediterranean without noticing. It’s a great spot for swimming, kayaking and paddleboarding. No picnic tables, so definitely bring your picnic rug. Access is a fairly steep clamber down to the beach from the Wales Coast Path, so watch your step. There is parking in the farmyard at the top of the path.
Nefyn and Porth Dinllaen, Pen Llŷn
Nefyn is a lovely seaside village on the north coast of Pen Llŷn, with an attractive harbour and some of the best mountains-and-coast views in the UK. The sandy beach curves south west around a small headland to the tiny old fishing village of Porthdinllaen, with its world-famous Ty Coch Inn (a must-do pub on any trip to Pen Llŷn, don’t miss it). It’s a lovely easy walk along the beach, and an idyllic spot for a picnic. There are no picnic tables here, so bring a blanket and walk around the headland until you find your spot – there are lots of pretty sandy coves to choose from. Once you’re settled, cast your eyes back towards Snowdonia to see the three peaks of Yr Eifl (also known as The Rivals), a magnificent backdrop to this wonderful stretch of coast. If you forget your picnic, or need a bit of extra refreshment before heading home, the Ty Coch Inn might be hard to resist. Seasonal opening times though, so check online before you visit.
The Mynydd Mawr Headland, near Aberdaron
This gorgeous place is the most westerly headland of Pen Llŷn, and it’s a fabulous away-from-it-all spot for a picnic. We love to work up an appetite so we can indulge in extra treats, so we usually start this picnic journey by walking to the headland from Aberdaron. You can follow a circular route along the Wales Coast Path to Porth Meudwy, before crossing the headland to enjoy views to Bardsey Island. This is where we will lay out our picnic rug to sit back and enjoy the wonderful, inspiring views. One of the most noticeable things about this special place is the lack of man-made noise, so it’s the perfect spot if you’re hankering after a bit of peace and quiet. Again, the headland is west-facing, so it’s a great place for a spectacular evening sunset. Relax and enjoy your feast with the sound of the sea, the wind and the birds, before making your return along the coast path to Aberdaron. The walk is around 7 miles in total.
On board the Ffestrail or Welsh Highland Railway
From their comfortable plush carriages, to the nostalgic aroma of coal and gentle chuff of the engine as it moves through the landscape, a day out on the Ffestrail or Welsh Highland railways is one of life’s great pleasures. And they are the perfect picnic location if the weather is against you. Bring your own picnic, or for Caernarfon departures, pre-order a luxury picnic hamper from the Caffi de Winton. Ffestrail and the Welsh Highland Railway run heritage steam railway services between Caernarfon, Porthmadog, Beddgelert, and Blaenau Ffestiniog. Check online to buy tickets in advance and for more information about departures.