It’s what makes us different. Country and coast are peppered with a special mix of historic sites – World Heritage fortresses and slate quarries, Celtic shrines and cultural centres. There are inspirational landscapes too, and a living Welsh language you’ll hear and see everywhere. All these things have made North Wales what it is today – a unique part of the United Kingdom. It’s an identity we like to share with everyone, through words, music and new initiatives like Ein Treftadaeth (‘Our Heritage’) which is bringing the past to life in many different ways.
Slates wrenched from the mountains of Snowdonia not only roofed buildings in the four corners of the world, they also formed the unique landscape that we see today across north west Wales. Communities were created which became the hub of cultural and political life, helping to ensure the survival of the Welsh language.
This rich heritage is the basis of an application to secure UNESCO World Heritage Site status for the industry thus acknowledging the slate industry’s contribution to the development of humanity.
For more information visit Wales Slate
Ein Treftadaeth, Our Heritage
A new exhibition has opened at Oriel Pendeitsh a stone’s throw from Caernarfon Castle. It’s a snapshot of the history of Caernarfon, a town shaped by Roman, medieval and maritime influences. It also marks the start of Ein Treftadaeth, an initiative which will see the launch of other exhibitions and events throughout the area in the next few years, encompassing everything from prehistory to the coming of the Romans, pilgrims’ trails to the Princes of Gwynedd, spiritual landscapes to the slate industry. Ein Treftadaeth / Our Heritage
Princes of Gwynedd
The mighty castles thrown up by English King Edward I are just part of our story. Discover more about the native Princes of Gwynedd at a major new flagship exhibition in Conwy Tourist Information Centre, featuring animated and explorer maps, interactive displays, Welsh poetry and music. There are also hub exhibitions at Betws y Coed TIC and Cricieth Castle plus an exhibition at Beddgelert TIC.
Bryn on Bardsey
Such is the power of Snowdonia’s landscapes that everyone, locals and visitors alike, can tune in. Here’s what local hero Bryn Terfel thinks of Ynys Enlli (Bardsey Island) off the tip of Llŷn: ‘(It’s) an extraordinary island… tiny, but truly magical, a place of contemplation. They say 20,000 saints are buried here, which I’m sure is true, because, my goodness, I’ve never known such spirituality… As we arrived, a choir of seals sang us into the bay.’
Slate and stone
The North Wales slate industry tells a compelling story – so much so that it has been nominated for UNESCO World Heritage status. The story is told at industrial heritage sites like Chwarel Hên Llanfair Slate Caverns (Llanfair), Corris Mine, Inigo Jones Slateworks (Penygroes), Llechwedd Slate Caverns (Blaenau Ffestiniog), the National Slate Museum (Llanberis) and the Sygun Copper Mine (Beddgelert). Stone crops up everywhere too, in castles and ancient Celtic settlements like Tre’r Ceiri on the rock-strewn summit of Llŷn’s Yr Eifl mountains. Castles are something of a local speciality. Mighty Caernarfon, Harlech and Conwy – three UNESCO World Heritage Sites – are links in the medieval ‘iron chain’ built by Edward I.
National Museums of Wales
Llanberis’s National Slate Museum brings to life an industry that once ‘roofed the world’. This is no ordinary museum. It’s the actual 19th-century workshops, looking as if the workers have just clocked off for the day. There’s also a row of quarrymen’s cottages and giant waterwheel. Little wonder that it’s a focal point for the slate industry’s bid for World Heritage status.
The National Trust
The National Trust cares for mansions and historic houses large and small – for example, Bangor’s neo-baronial Penrhyn Castle and humble Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant, Penmachno, home of Bishop William Morgan, who first translated the Bible into Welsh.
Words and music
This lyrical language of ours is music to the ears. For more Celtic melodies and the chance to take part in interactive exhibitions go to Tŷ Siamas, Dolgellau, the National Centre for Folk Music. And for the written word there’s Tŷ Newydd, the National Writers’ Centre for Wales, at Llanystumdwy.
People and places
Fiery politician Lloyd George who became Prime Minister had a peaceful upbringing in the village of Llanystumdwy – visit the museum there dedicated to the charismatic ‘Welsh Wizard’. The unique fantasy village of Portmeirion, where Italy meets North Wales, was the vision of one man – architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis. Go there and be amazed. Kate Roberts (1891–1985) is one of Wales’s most celebrated writers. Discover more about her life and work at the heritage centre in her childhood home, Cae’r Gors, Rhosgadfan.
Quality new exciting and creative ideas to make your stay in Snowdonia a memorable experience
If you are visiting North Wales and you plan to spend time in Snowdonia we can make your visit even more memorable, providing you with unique and exciting experiences that you will never forget and treasure forever.
Snowdonia is renowned for its dramatic, panoramic and contrasting scenery. The locality has so much more to offer its visitors, including the many hidden treasures, interesting characteristics and unique features. The area is also home to a wealth of talented individuals and organisations involved in all forms of creative crafts and other diverse range of skills, some of which are indigenous to the area. For more details visit Celticos
A guided walk through history
Experienced local guide Emrys Llewelyn will help you discover the history of Caernarfon and its people from medieval times to the present day, visiting some of the town’s unseen treasures (www.caernarfonwalks.com
). For guided walks and tours to castles and historic nooks and crannies covering the entire area go to www.turnstone-tours.co.uk
Cadw meaning ‘to keep’ or ‘to protect’ is the Welsh Government’s historic environment service, responsible for the care of many historic sites such as Plas Mawr, Conwy, and major castles. Download the latest version of its app from the Apple or Google store.