GUEST POST: “A Campervan tour through North Wales”
Driving through Southport, in our 4 berth Vista Plus from Bunk Campers, the family were quick to point out the approaching sign marking out our first port of call, Conwy, Wales. The first stop on our campervan road trip around the scenic North Wales!
We were really looking forward to our trip and the plan was to go “wild camping” around North Wales. Despite the dark and stormy view ahead, the enthusiasm and excitement of our two girls to camp kept us adults in a good mood, which we need as we were heading off with no real plan.
We arrived in Conwy around lunch time and wow what a treat. The Marina is small and so cute but of high quality and with its own “mini Monte Carlo”. We stopped into the Mulberry Pub for lunch, which I would highly recommend. Apart from the great food there was also a lovely view over the marina.
Setting off by campervan
Picking up our Bunk Campers Vista Plus is really simple, we met the folks, got a full demonstration of the vehicle, signed the paperwork (paying for the extra insurance, this being our first time) and off we set.
We set off on a dual carriage for a good half hour which helped get us used to driving but still offers some awesome views particularly of the coast and the start of the Snowdonia slopes. We traveled from Penmaenmawr and llanfairfechan and later passing Bangor, with its fake but impressive Penrhyn castle, then following signs for Caernarfon.
I have been to Caernarfon before so I knew my way around. We headed around the town following signs for Pwllheli and after you pass Mcdonalds you come to a small roundabout. From here make sure to take a turn off on your right (to your 3 o’clock) and then stay right. You’ll approach a tricky narrow road but there are passing bays. You will come to a junction where you head right (left is the private holiday park – Coed Helen) which will bring you to the top of a hill looking down to Caernarfon Castle and wow what a view!
We arrived at dusk to find an amazing view of the castle lit up, unfortunately we had a car behind us so we were unable to stop and take photos. Approaching the waters edge, we pulled over at a lay-by ( there’s also a great kids play park – but it was late and too dark to go in) and looked back at the castle, breathed in the sea air, and admired all the little lights from the small boats out on the Menai Strait. We wanted to wake up to this view so we went further down the track to a bigger parking lay-by and with no notices of over night restrictions we pulled the handbrake up and stopped for the night. It was our first wild camp, so we were a bit unsure and nervous and the storm coming in was making the van rock, but that didn’t stem our excitement.
Castles or Beaches?
The next morning we were up early and out the door. The tide was in and there was a chorus of seabirds which was a really humbling feeling. A good motivation for the day. On waking up, I made scrambled eggs for breakfast using the kitchen box supplied by Bunk Campers (with pots, pans, cutlery and more) and the three burner gas hob on board our camper. Google said the weather was going to a little better today so I asked the kids what they wanted to do (excluding the Ipads) and the decision was a beach or a castle.
One of the great things about Wales is you can do both in one! So we set off on the open road, taking a half circle and heading back to the A487, passing an estuary called the Foryd opposite the Caernarfon airport. Once on the A476 turn right and head for Porrthmadog, then follow the signs for Cricceth to see Cricceth castle, right beside the beach.
The sun came out briefly as we pulled into the car park on the beach and high up on the right was the formidable castle with the sun behind it. We watched a life boat come in after a practice pick up with what the girls called a submarine tractor. While hanging around watching the activities Liz put the cooker on and made lunch. Full of food the kids did not want to go up the steep slope to the castle, so we walked around town and looked at a few craft shops.
When wild parking you do think in the back of your mind, where are we staying tonight? ……having not done the mountains yet (another thing that Wales is known for!) we decided to head back in an arch and drive for the mountain of Snowdon.
In Search of Snowden!
As a kid I remember the story of Prince Llywelyn and his grey hound killed by mistake and buried near Mount Snowden, the kids seemed to be remembering the same so we were all in agreement.
The map said we should head for Beddgelert so travelling through deep country on the A498 we passed a lay-by that was opposite a viewing area to see the river Glaslyn. Concerned with the time, we continued heading onwards to Beddgelert. On arrival we turned into the public car park, which was completely empty. Here we were treated to an incredible wildlife moment as an “absolutely massive” buzzard landed in the tree before taking off and down to the ground in front of us. This captivated us all for half an hour to the point we did not see the storm catch up with us, leaving us in torrential rain. This gave the kids the opportunity to stay in the van and get reacquainted with their Ipads.
Thinking ahead, I decided to drive back to the lay-by at the river. After parking up, Liz and I lay on the big bed in the back and opened the window where we listened to the river and the rain. Food and a game of cards later we decide to pull down the shades and go to sleep.
Sunday morning was slightly better and we went for a walk along the river. The sense of tranquillity was just great and watching two dippers courting on a big rock in the middle of the full river made my morning. Unfortunately the rain came again so we continued up further into Snowdonia national park which was host to dramatic skies via the A4085
We pulled in the national trust’s car park for the Rhyrd DDu , then past the lake Llyn Cwellyn, where even the kids turned their iPads off, while constantly talking about the views. Now its worth noting we should have continued on the A498 and gone via Pen Y Pass ( highest drivable point on Snowdon) but hey ho such is life. We ended up parking in Llanberis picnic area and watched people canoeing and a surprising lot of people free swimming in wet suits and with floating buoy markers! A brisk walk around the area and as the rain came back again we sat snuggly and warm in the van reading and watching the mad people out in the rain.
Then my watch alarm went off reminding me we have to give this fantastic 4 berth motorhome back…. booo, so off we went heading off back towards Bunk Campers depot on our way to hand back the keys.
The sense of freedom that a campervan can give you and the ability to go see whatever you want to see is awesome. Having a camper equipped to be a real home from home made seeing the sights brilliant fun, whatever the weather. We will be back Bunk Campers, and thank you.
For more information or to book , email our Customer Services team or phone us at +44(0)28 90813057 and a member of our team will be happy to assist with a personalised quotation.