Town & Country: The Beauty of Wales (Or, there’s more to Wales than sheep)

North Wales 3 by Expat EdnaAberdaron, Wales 8 by Expat EdnaAberdaron, Wales 9 by Expat EdnaAberdaron, Wales 10 by Expat Edna

(Admittedly though, there’s a LOT of them hanging around.)

So by now, you guys know alllll about the week we spent driving around North Wales, the trip my boyfriend chose this year to celebrate his birthday.

I’ve told you about Emily, our baby blue 1970s VW campervan, along with the beautiful (and totally manageable) campsites, and the charming castle town of Caernarfon.

What’s left? Just some good old fashioned trip photos! Here’s all the in-between: the seaside towns, the endless countryside, and the rich scenery that make a road trip in Wales worth your while. 

Turn down the lights and crank up the projector, it’s slideshow time:

BRYNREFAIL

Brynrefail, Gwynedd by Expat EdnaBrynrefail, Gwynedd 2 by Expat Edna Brynrefail, Gwynedd 4 by Expat EdnaBrynrefail, Gwynedd 3 by Expat Edna

Our first days on the road saw us heading into Brynrefail, the closest town to our campsite. Though a short walk, it crossed a large lake with lush scenery and colorful townhouses that looked like they were built out of Legos. Throw in the sustainable cafe-slash-community center that also tripled as a live music venue (and wifi hotspot) and I’d say this is a great little spot if you want to spend time around Snowdonia National Park.

ABERDARON

Aberdaron, Wales by Expat EdnaAberdaron, Wales 2 by Expat Edna Aberdaron, Wales 4 by Expat EdnaAberdaron, Wales 6 by Expat EdnaAberdaron, Wales 7 by Expat EdnaAberdaron, Wales 3 by Expat Edna

Stone white houses, lush green cliffs rising against the shore, indulging in fanciful ice cream flavors despite a summer chill in the air and the crisp Irish sea spray — Aberdaron (population:1000) is the quintessential Welsh seaside town.

Despite having zero cell reception, this pretty fishing village on the tip of the Llyn Peninsula might have been my favorite day trip.

BALA

Bala, Wales 4 by Expat EdnaBala, Wales 3 by Expat EdnaBala, Wales 5 by Expat EdnaBala, Wales by Expat EdnaBala, Wales 7 by Expat Edna

We stopped into Bala on a Sunday because I was craving a roast (because when in the UK, you gotta have a Sunday roast). Not much was open and the pubs weren’t serving food in the mid-afternoon slump — but the barkeep was friendly so we enjoyed a couple glasses of Brains beer and strolled main street before heading back to camp.

All in all, a pleasant enough town to stop into for a meal and a pint.

BALA LAKE

Bala Lake 3 by Expat Edna Bala Lake 8 by Expat EdnaBala Lake 7 by Expat EdnaBala Lake 4 by Expat Edna
It was a bit overcast when we walked around Bala Lake, but there were still a few vessels on the water from the local boating club. Plus SO MANY SHEEP, and a herd of loud, grumpy cows. Basically, if you like nature, this lake is for you.

COUNTRYSIDE

Driving through North Wales 2 by Expat Edna Driving through North Wales 3 by Expat Edna Llyn Peninsula by Expat EdnaDriving through North Wales by Expat Edna
This = the gorgeous scenery that stole our attention while driving between towns and campsites. The roads were so narrow, at times our campervan was brushing both sides of the ‘two-lane’ path — but to Emily’s credit she never failed us, even when GPS took us on back trails barely suitable for cars, never mind weaving campervans.

(Or hilly terrain like above: that photo isn’t crooked, that’s how uneven the roads were at times!)

SNOWDONIA

Snowdonia near Bala 2 by Expat EdnaSnowdonia near Bala by Expat EdnaCamping in Wales by Expat Edna-21Snowdonia near Bala 4 by Expat EdnaSnowdonia near Bala 3 by Expat Edna

Just outside of our Bala campsite, we pulled over to gape at this stunning view of the mountains of Snowdonia. The wind whipped all around us as we took in the mountains, completely isolated on this country road. Pure happiness.

WREXHAM

Wrexham, Wales by Expat EdnaWrexham, Wales 5 by Expat EdnaWrexham, Wales 3 by Expat EdnaWrexham, Wales 2 by Expat EdnaWrexham, Wales 4 by Expat Edna

After seven days on the road with Emily the campervan, we had to return her to Wrexham. With a few hours to idle in town before our train back to London, we found ourselves in the Horse & Jockey — a thatched-roof pub that dates back to the 16th century (so, older than my country, because Wales). We ordered a proper breakfast and then followed up with a couple pints while chatting to the guys — do as the locals do, right?

The fellow above was especially friendly and insisted we take his photo. “My name’s Russ,” he kept repeating, along with the fact that he loves having his photo taken. Happy to oblige, Russ — it was a cheerful way to end our Welsh camping adventure, and we left for the train station in good spirits.

Have you been to North Wales? Which of these places would you like to visit most? 

More on our camping trip in Wales:
Groovy, Baby: Touring Wales in a 1970s VW Campervan
Six Hours in…Caernarfon, Wales
City Girl’s Guide to Camping in North Wales

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Comments

  1. I’ve never been to Wales, but all your photos make it look so idyllic! Love all the colourful building facades in your photo of Bala, the rolling hills along the countryside and who could say no to that pub in Wrexham with the friendly local?

    Alix

  2. I’ve said it a couple of times as a response to your posts, and I’ll say it again: Wales looks gorgeous :) The window lattices in Bala look like they stepped straight out of my dreams! Also the picture with the quote in the bar in Wrexham is perfectly ironic since the guy is clearly not telling his face how much fun he’s having ;) Great post!

  3. I think I fall for every town with a craggy coastline – it would seem Wales would be a perfect place for me to visit. Looks amazing – lovely, lovely photos Edna!

  4. One of my favourite trips in the past few years was a week driving around Wales – I mostly stuck to the south west, but this is making me want to go back and see more of the north :)

  5. “There’s more to Wales than sheep” – That should be our national slogan haha.

    I’m glad you enjoyed it up north. I would usually recommend south west Wales as a fab place for camping but that’s just because I’m from the south so I’m biased. :P The north does have some lovely countryside though.