Free days out in North Wales
North Wales is a region rich in natural beauty, history and culture. While there are certainly many excellent paid attractions that are worth the price of admission, visitors on a budget need not despair.
There are also numerous high-quality sights and activities that can be enjoyed in North Wales completely free of charge. In this article, we’ll highlight some of the very best free things to see and do across this fascinating and scenic part of Wales.
No trip to North Wales is complete without spending some time immersed in the majestic Snowdonia (now Eryri) National Park.
Spanning over 800 square miles, Snowdonia contains Wales’ highest mountain (the 3,560 ft Snowdon) and some of the most breath-taking scenery in the United Kingdom.
There are countless trails throughout the park ranging from easy rambles to challenging climbs up the peaks. Most can be accessed completely free of charge, allowing you to take in spectacular views of mountain vistas, rolling green valleys, lakes and waterfalls.
Don’t miss scenic spots like Lake Ogwen, the Devil’s Kitchen and Betws-y-Coed. With so many options, you could spend days hiking in Snowdonia and never grow tired of the landscape. J
Just be sure to wear sturdy shoes, dress appropriately for the weather and know your limits.
Fringed by the Irish Sea, Anglesey is home to some of the finest beaches in Wales.
Picturesque stretches like Llanddwyn, Cemlyn and Newborough provide the perfect setting for a peaceful seaside stroll or picnic.
The soft sand and gentle lapping waves make for ideal family-friendly spots where the kids can splash about while parents relax and enjoy the sunny views.
Pack a beach blanket, Frisbee and snacks, and enjoy a full day by the water without spending a penny. Keep an eye out for dolphins, porpoises and grey seals as you explore the coastline.
The beaches on Anglesey are natural treasures offering simple pleasures free for all to enjoy.
Constructed in the 13th century during King Edward I’s conquest of Wales, Conwy Castle remains one of the country’s most impressive medieval fortresses.
While there is a fee to enter the castle interior and climb the towers, visitors can explore the exterior walls and stroll the perimeter of the grounds completely free of charge.
Wandering alongside the battlements, it’s easy to imagine what life was like here centuries ago when archers stood guard and knights trained in the courtyard.
Make sure to walk to the harbour side of the castle to take in a picture-perfect view of Conwy’s iconic turrets mirrored in the water below. It’s the next best thing to having a front row seat in the Middle Ages!
The seaside resort town of Llandudno offers a wealth of Victorian atmosphere through its well-preserved architecture and charming coastal surroundings.
Take a leisurely stroll along the Llandudno Victorian Promenade for gorgeous views of the Irish Sea and the Great Orme peninsula.
This flat and easy walking path runs parallel to the beach for over a mile from the foot of the impressive Great Orme Tramway to the Llandudno Pier.
Admire the grand historic hotels and 19th century homes that line the promenade as you take in fresh sea air.
Extend your seaside ambling by continuing on to the North Shore and Constitutional Hill nearby.
With its timeless beauty and classic Victorian design, Llandudno provides the perfect scene for a relaxing afternoon constitutional.
Yet another of King Edward I’s formidable North Wales castles, Caernarfon Castle cuts an imposing figure on the banks of the River Seiont.
While there is a fee to enter the castle interior, the dramatic exterior is free to explore at your leisure.
Walk along the castle perimeter and survey the scene from opposing towers, catching glimpses of Caernarfon’s medieval halls, chambers and keep from the outside.
At over 4 miles long, Bala Lake (Llyn Tegid) is the largest natural lake in Wales and a beautiful spot for open water swimming, boating, walks along the shore, picnicking and more.
Known for its clear waters and scenic surroundings, it’s an unspoilt natural area perfect for appreciating North Wales’ diverse landscapes.
Take in panoramic views of the lake and the mountains beyond from Bala promenade and get an up-close perspective when hiking along one of the trails that skirts the water’s edge.
If you fancy getting out on the water, you can always hire a kayak to explore Bala Lake’s islands and secluded bays. You can also spend a perfectly pleasant afternoon simply sitting along its grassy banks and gazing out over the water.
With an abundance of scenery and outdoor activities, Bala Lake promises a stellar free day out.
Oh, and there’s also the Bala Lake Railway, but there is a charge (but I wanted to mention it just in case..!)
The scenic coastal town of Porthmadog offers up two prime beaches for seaside fun.
Borth-y-Gest and Black Rock Sands both offer wide stretches of soft sand ideal for strolling, swimming, building sandcastles and enjoying beach days.
Picturesque Borth-y-Gest is bookended by rocks and has a lovely grassy area for picnicking and relaxing with family.
Just south, bigger Black Rock Sands is a fantastic spot for walking, kite-flying, and taking in panoramic views across Tremadog Bay.
Both beaches have plenty of facilities as well as convenient parking, and best of all, entry is completely free.
Postcard-worthy scenery combined with great waves for swimming make Porthmadog’s beaches must-see destinations.
For a true getaway, head to the magical Llanddwyn Island on the coast of Anglesey.
At most tides, you can walk along the strip of beach connecting the small island to the mainland. Make your way out and explore the historic lighthouse, quaint little chapel, and the ruins of the 13th century St. Dwynwen’s Church.
Wildlife is abundant here, so keep your eyes peeled for seabirds nesting amid the jagged rocks along the shore.
Pack a small picnic, spread out a blanket on the grass, and bask in the island’s tranquillity.
As the tide comes in, Llanddwyn transforms into a perfect spot for swimming or just appreciating the waves.
With its combination of history, nature and shoreline scenery, Llanddwyn Island offers an unforgettable free day trip.
North Wales is home to a treasure trove of impressive ancient ruins that have been maintained over the years for free public viewing.
10th century Caerhun Castle nestled above the Conwy Valley provides panoramic vistas over the landscape below. The atmospheric remains of 13th century Dolbadarn Castle near Llyn Padarn lake allow visitors to reflect on times long past.
And the extensive ramparts of 2,000 year old Segontium Roman Fort transport you back to the era of Roman conquest. Though just ruins now, each historic site still evokes a powerful sense of its erstwhile glory.
Outdoor adventurers will feel right at home in Coed y Brenin Forest Park located near Dolgellau.
Its forested hills, rocky trails and flowing streams offer limitless opportunity for hiking, biking, horseback riding and more through quintessential Welsh landscapes.
Miles of paths cater to all levels of ability across its spacious 9,000 acres, from leisurely family rambles to heart-pumping mountain bike terrain.
There are also excellent fishing spots along the Mawddach and Eden rivers running through the park. Watch for local wildlife like red squirrels, woodpeckers and even polecats as you explore the natural beauty.
With so much open space and woodland to immerse yourself in, Coed y Brenin is a must-visit North Wales attraction that won’t cost you a pound.
Tucked into the countryside between Denbigh and Cerrigydrudion lies the serene Llyn Brenig Reservoir.
Encompassing over 700 acres, this placid lake provides the ultimate setting for low-key outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, boat tours or simple lakeside relaxation.
Two well-maintained walking trails loop around the reservoir taking in idyllic views. Pack a picnic basket, find a peaceful waterfront spot and savour the great outdoors from sunrise to sunset.
There is also excellent fishing to be had at Llyn Brenig – it’s been stocked with brown and rainbow trout.
With a wealth of fresh air, gorgeous scenery and opportunities for adventure accessible completely free of charge, Llyn Brenig is a North Wales treasure.
The charming town of Llangollen has a wealth of history and heritage that can be explored without spending a penny.
First, meander across Thomas Telford’s iconic 19th century Llangollen Bridge for scenic views of the River Dee.
Then expand your knowledge at the Llangollen Museum on the town’s industrial past and marvel at the fine decor inside the Gothic Revival parish church.
Stroll the Llangollen Canal towpath and watch the narrowboats navigating the tranquil waterway.
With this abundance of cultural landmarks and history on display, Llangollen provides a truly enlightening free experience.
North Wales has so much natural splendour, rich heritage and cultural intrigue to uncover across its varied landscapes. For travellers looking to keep costs down while still seeing the very best of the region, these high-quality free attractions provide memorable days out.
Enjoy stunning trails, imposing castles, sweeping lake vistas, charming villages and much more without paying a single fee.
Use Monty’s Guide to make the most of North Wales’ finest budget-friendly destinations and the possibilities for exploration and adventure are truly endless!
About the author
Having worked across the heritage and tourism sector for over 10 years, Monty Beaumont is an expert when it comes to discovering new places to visit and great days out for the whole family.
He has previously worked for the National Trust as a General Manager in Cornwall, coordinated the complex operations of running a castle in Devon and the mastered the intricacies of providing exceptional hospitality and service at some of the finest historic houses in the UK.
As part of his vision and drive for Monty’s Guide, Monty travels across the country to find new places to visit and explore, and sharing his finding on montysguide.com, which is used by 1,000s of people each week to find their next great day out.
His experience and knowledge of the historic and cultural sector gives him a unique insight into the elements that make tourism and learning so important in our quest to understanding more about our heritage.