Caernarfon, on the Snowdonia coast in the north of Wales, is an ancient town that’s possibly best known for its medieval castle, the venue for the investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales in 1969.
But there’s so much more to Caernarfon and the surrounding towns and villages. More history, more activities and more attractions, so when you’re looking for a place to stay in Caernarfon you know you’ll have plenty to do and see.
Here’s our top ten things to do and see in and around Caernarfon.
Walk the town walls
You’ll be glad to know that this is a totally free thing to do in Caernarfon! Take a stroll around the town’s medieval walls, and discover the little nooks and crannies that give this town so much character. From charming little independent shops to restaurants, pubs and bars – or just amazing spots to take a photo, with the sea or the castle as your backdrop – you can lose yourself for hours just exploring the town!
Caernarfon’s arts centre, Galeri, is on the marina – another lovely place for a walk, actually – and it’s a great place to grab a coffee and admire the view. But Galeri is so much more than that! You might catch a movie, a music concert, an art exhibition or even an art workshop – or how about an opera, or a play? Have a look at the Galeri programme to see what’s on during your stay in Caernarfon.
If you fancy exploring Caernarfon on two wheels instead of two legs, you have plenty of options! If you haven’t brought a bicycle with you, don’t worry – there’s an excellent bike hire business in Caernarfon, Beics Antur Bikes. This little business is a social enterprise, set up to help people with learning disabilities. They hire out all kinds of bikes so the whole family can enjoy the fun – and there are dedicated cycle routes in the area so it’s quite safe.
The Romans were in Caernarfon long before the castle was built, and you can visit the ruins of their fort, Segontium, by taking a short walk up Constantine Road. Now in the care of Cadw, Segontium was founded by Agricola in AD77. You can visit Segontium free of charge all year round, and the visitor centre is open on certain weekends from May to October – see the Cadw website for details.
Explore the Menai Strait – the sea between the mainland and Anglesey – on a pleasure cruise. Or if you’re feeling really adventurous, you could have an adrenaline-fuelled RIB ride instead!
Fron Goch Garden Centre
Fron Goch is a large award-winning garden centre where you can enjoy a very pleasant morning or afternoon out – and if you get hungry while you’re there, visit their cafe to enjoy some truly astounding cakes, hot meals or the salad bar. Fron Goch stocks everything you need for your garden, as well as beautiful items for the home and gifts for your pets, and there’s also a Hootons Homegrown concession selling local produce.
Climb the walls
That’s not ‘climb the walls with boredom’, of course! We’re talking about the Beacon Climbing Centre, where adults and children alike can have fun learning to climb with qualified instructors. Good preparation for conquering Snowdon, should you feel so inclined!
Visit Dinas Dinlle
Dinas Dinlle is our local seaside resort. As well as having everything you’d expect – a long promenade to stroll on, a sandy beach, safe bathing and excellent ice creams – there are two other notable features you won’t find at all seaside resorts. These are the Caernarfon Air Museum, where you can enjoy all things aviation (and book a pleasure flight or even flying lessons), and an iron age hill fort which you can walk up, to enjoy far-reaching views.
No, we’re not referring to the lovely rain that keeps our countryside so beautifully green! We’re talking about Plas Menai, aka the National Outdoor Centre, where you can try all manner of water sports including kayaking, wind surfing, sailing, paddle boarding, speed boating and loads of other activities, both on and off the water.
Visit Caernarfon Castle
Oh come on – as if we would write an article about things to do in Caernarfon without including Caernarfon Castle! You’ll have a fantastic day out at this medieval fortress, built on the orders of Edward I, who wanted it to resemble the walls of Constantinople – hence the stripy stonework. Inside the castle, as well as all the castle-like things you’d expect to see, you’ll also find The Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum which is a permanent exhibition of all things military.