My partner has family who live in North Wales and so we get to visit quite often. I absolutely adore it up there, it’s so beautiful and such a different pace of life to down south. Each time we visit I hope to show you little bit more of what North Wales has to offer. Enjoy the views and I’m also going to include a little update on how my anxiety was during our trip. If you’re not interested in my mental health update then you can skip the first two pictures and text to get straight to the travel section.
You can also find my previous posts on Wales here:
We tend to split the journey into two halves. We use to do it all in one go, waking up at 3am and arriving at about 9am. Whilst we then got a full day on our travel day we were so exhausted we never really did anything. My mental health is at its best when I’ve had a good night sleep and so lately we’ve been splitting the journey. We book a hotel and drive half way the night before. My partner gets home from work, we have dinner and then leave. It’s around a three house drive to the hotel and so we don’t tend to get there until about 11pm.
By the time we got to the hotel I didn’t feel too tired and so I decided to have a shower in hope that it made me sleepy – it also meant I could sleep for longer in the morning. Unfortunately the shower didn’t have the desired effect and as it jumped between freezing and scalding it woke me up. I then didn’t sleep well. It was okay though, I tend not to sleep well away from home.
We left the hotel at about 9:30 the following morning. Unfortunately we were really unlucky and got stuck in lots of traffic. We were first met with traffic due to an abnormal load passing through, then everywhere in Wales appeared to be having road works. Due to lack of sleep and being out of my comfort zone I was quite on edge the whole journey but I managed to keep the worst of it at bay. We arrived at my partner’s family’s house at around 1ish.
My partner’s family were heading into Dolgellau that afternoon and so I decided I felt brave enough to go with them. This was a huge step for me to take as it was a 45 minute journey in their car which meant if I felt anxious I couldn’t just turn back. Well I could but I didn’t want to be the one that made everyone go home. I did it though and I was fine. We were too busy chatting and catching up to even notice the time go by. After a walk around Dolegallau we headed back and stopped for a drink on the way home. I decided that I was having such a good day I didn’t want to risk bringing on a panic attack by having any alcohol and so I stuck to a coke. It was really nice feeling like I was back to my old self, doing the things I use to do without a second thought.
We were incredibly lucky with the weather, we had been forecast arctic temperatures however instead we had sunshine and rather warm weather.
Saturday morning we headed out to Black Rock Sands – a beach that you can drive on! With me being the lazy person that I am this sounded like heaven. I love a walk on the beach but the walk to the beach is always enough for me. My partner drove us there and between us we decided on a spot to park and leave the car – it’s really difficult to decide when there’s no designated parking places!
We got out of the car and had a little walk along the beach. There were quite a few other cars there too but it was big enough for everyone to have their own space. It was absolutely beautiful. Despite the lack of arctic temperatures neither of us felt brave enough to even dip our toes in the sea.
If you’re ever in North Wales and fancy seeing the sea without leaving your car then I recommend it! It’s also the perfect picnic spot, even if it’s raining.
If you turn your back to the sea the landscape turns to hills. I love the scenery in Wales and you can alway guarantee that the hills combined with the sky will always present a dramatic view.
We decided to go on to somewhere else, but first I wanted to have a try at driving on the beach. Much to my disappointment it felt exactly the same as driving on the road, at least I can say I’ve driven on the beach.
We drove on to Criccieth to have a little walk around and we had hoped that we might be able to find a gluten free fish & chip shop. The views were amazing as we walked up to the castle.
My boyfriend and I are members of the English Heritage which allows us half price entry on many of the historical landmarks in Wales. We decide that for just over £5 we may as well go and explore the ruins of Criccieth castle. Perched high on a hill at the edge of the village the views were magnificent.
The castle dates back to the 15th century, however all that is left now are the ruins. The castle entrance is still standing and shows how impending and beautiful it once was.
The castle was in a prime position with view points of both the village and the sea.
Once we had finished exploring the castle we walked back down to the village in search of somewhere to have lunch. Their fish & Chip shop was closed until the evening and I didn’t particularly fancy sitting in somewhere trying to find something on the menu that was gluten free and vegetarian. We decide to leave Criccieth and head to Barmouth in search of some chips and some sand to sit and eat them on.
Unfortunately for me the three fish & chip shops in Barmouth that we tried didn’t do gluten free chips. By this point I was beginning to feel quite stressed and anxious about finding some food. We decided to just head back and get some lunch. However on our walk back to the car we came across one last place that my boyfriend suggested we ask whether they had any gluten free chips. They didn’t, however they did do jacket potatoes. Feeling brave I ordered myself a potato and my boyfriend a sandwich. We sat outside and ate our lunch, thankfully my anxiety left me alone to enjoy my food.
This was the first time I’ve eaten out properly since before October.
We had a lovely relaxing evening with a homemade curry and a (very weak) gin & tonic – it was the perfect end to the perfect day of exploring.
This picture is deceiving! The weather on Sunday was absolutely freezing. My anxiety was extra bad today and I felt exhausted. It can be difficult for people to understand but when you’re struggling with mental health every day is a fight and so it leaves you with little energy to do other things. I didn’t want to waste the day though and so we decided to pop to Barmouth and have a little walk around the shops. On the way we pass this church that overlooks the sea, I’ve always wanted to stop and have a little look around and so that’s what we did.
It was a beautiful, peaceful setting with amazing views and the sound of the sea below. The church is still active and there had just been a service that morning.
We had a little look inside the church – unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures. I always feel slightly disrespectful taking pictures inside of a church – does anyone else feel like that? I’d gone for comfort today with my snake print trouser and long sleeved top. They’re no the best trousers for my short and chubby legs but I’m embracing them – my legs that is, I adore the trousers.
It was so windy and cold it was difficult to take pictures as our heated seats in the car called to us. There were ruins all around, a whisper of the grand church yard that once stood on this spot. It looked like the perfect resting place – if you don’t mind the wind.
We went on to Barmouth and had a little walk around a few shops but my anxiety wasn’t going and I didn’t particularly feel like pushing myself today. We decided to head back. My boyfriend spent the afternoon watching football whilst I read my book – it was perfect.
On Monday we began the journey home. We took a different route this time to avoid the road works and it was absolutely beautiful. Because we got to see somewhere new on the drive it felt like an extra day of our weekend away.
We stopped on our way home at the service station to have some lunch. Thankfully there was a Leon and so I had some meatless meatballs and some fries. We sat in and ate which was another huge achievement for me.
We had the most amazing few days away and I made some huge achievements with my anxiety. I hope you enjoyed the pictures and a little insight to the beauties that North Wales has to offer. I can’t wait to share our next trip with you – whenever that may be!
Where’s your favourite place to visit?