A couple years ago, I saw this video of people bouncing on trampolines underground in a part of Wales called Snowdonia and added the activity to my bucket list. Not long after that, I saw a video of the fastest zip line in the world. Also in Snowdonia.
I booked a bus ticket from London to Cardiff, rented a car and drove up to Snowdonia, hoping it would live up to my adventure-loving dreams. I’m happy to report that it fulfilled my dreams and exceeded my expectations one hundred-fold.
If I had to describe my fashion on this trip to Snowdonia, it would be hard-hat chic! This is not a trip for those flowing dress-wearing Instagrammers… but if you’re into having fun, I’d highly recommend it!
Snowdonia Adventure Holiday
Slate Caverns Glamping
On an adventure-fueled holiday, the days are only as good as the nights. We checked into the Slate Caverns Glamping tents for a good night’s rest just a stone’s throw from the majority of our activities.
Check out my full glamping in Snowdonia review here and book your spot today! These safari-style glamping tents give you all the beauty of nature, overlooking moorland and valleys, with all the comforts of a hotel room.
Slate Caverns Deep Mine Tour
Upon learning that the Llechwedd Deep Mine Tour takes us down to 500 feet below and is approximately 6ºC, we pre-gamed for the experience with a deluxe hot cocoa topped with mini marshmallows (of course).
After warming ourselves in the café at Slate Caverns, we donned our helmets, met our guide, and headed into the slate mine on the steepest cable railway in Britain.
Our guide, Rich, began work in these very mines at 15 years old, so we felt lucky to be accompanied by a man who could put a voice to the historical site we were visiting. We traversed the slate chambers, admiring the handiwork and learning techniques practiced by candlelight 100 years ago. Light projection and enhanced reality technology transported us from 2018 back 160 years, to a world where men and boys would spend up to 12 hours per day, six days a week underground.
Descend even deeper below the surface and marvel at the precision of the miners who worked in virtual darkness, excavating tons of slate to be exported around the world. We tried our hand at the methods used to drill into the rock and Rich showed us how men would hang from the top of the chambers, chipping away at the rock before inserting an explosive and hoping that the yield would be profitable.
Although these chambers are no longer used to mine slate, they still do important work in tourism and cheese production. You read that right! I never would have guessed it, but the perfect conditions for aging cheddar cheese are 500 feet underground! Taste and buy some Slate Caverns Cheddar in the gift shop before heading home.
After ascending back to the surface, check out how slate is split by hand and formed into roof tiles. (Rich is holding one in his back hand in the photo below. His humor, charm and first-hand knowledge really made the tour!) You can even take home a souvenir in the form of coasters or address signs.
Zip World Slate Caverns Bounce Below
On our first morning in Snowdonia, we woke up in our glamping tent, headed down the hill and checked in with Zip World for Bounce Below, their underground net adventure. Leave all unnecessary clothing and bags in lockers before the caverns… despite the chilly temperatures below, bouncing works up quite the sweat!
We put on hair nets and hard hats and followed our Bounce Masters down below, where colored lights illuminated the nets and the quarry around it. Let me tell you… the photos don’t do justice to how amazing the place really is.
The experience lasts one hour, which is plenty of time to explore all areas of Bounce Below. Grab a mat and go explore multiple levels with six bounce-able nets, tunnels and spiral slides in the disused Victorian slate quarry. Look up, down and all around to see others bouncing in adjacent chambers, then figure out how to get there, too! Test out the bounce-ability of each chamber, and see what kind of tricks you can do. (Leave the upside down tricks for the trampolines at the gym, though!)
I built this experience up so high in my head over the years, I wasn’t sure reality could compete. I’m happy to say that Bounce Below at Slate Caverns is worth all the hype. Get down there now to experience it for yourself!
Zip World Penrhyn Quarry Velocity 2
From bouncing below to the highest of heights…If you’ve got the need for speed, Velocity 2 should be at the top of your bucket list! The longest zip line in Europe and fastest zip line in the world takes you to speeds of more than 100mph as you soar 500 feet above Penrhyn Quarry’s azure waters.
For this activity, you’ll need a special flying suit, harness and helmet. There’s a small pouch at the front of the suit for a cell phone, tissues, or anything else you think you might need. I brought my cell phone so we could get a couple selfies at the top.
You can rent a head-cam or use your own with a chest or helmet attachment. Sorry… no selfie sticks! The goal is zipping quickly, and a rogue arm with a selfie stick will slow you down! We opted to get our videos and photos from the professionals, so we could focus on enjoying the experience.
Get used to the feeling of flying with the “Little Zipper,” just in front of the Adventure Terminal before heading up the mountain. Don’t let nerves get the best of you… take a deep breath and take in your surroundings. Snowdonia is truly one of the most gorgeous places in the world and the ride to the top showcases mountain, sea and moorland.
Once you reach the top, it’s time for the main event. Take your selfies and let the adventure experts do their thing as they check harnesses, clip you in and double-check everything again. Despite the fact that I was about to be released, face-first, off of a mountain, I felt completely safe.
When I lived in Australia, I went skydiving on Mission Beach. This experience is just about as close to the skydiving freefall as you can get (and with the added benefit of not having a human strapped to your back).
The entire ride is a mile long – just long enough to experience the thrill, marvel at the scenery, and lose all saliva in your mouth from smiling so much. Adventure in Snowdonia doesn’t get better than this!
Sygun Copper Mine Tour
A few years ago, British adventurer Bear Grylls took a trip through Snowdonia, to learn about Wales’ shining spot in the Industrial Revolution. In order to understand Welsh history, he stopped at Sygun Copper Mine. We followed in his footsteps and booked a self-guided trip through the old copper mine.
During the Victorian era, mining was the heartbeat of this region in Wales. Just like the slate workers, copper miners worked long hours to excavate copper ore using only simple tools. And all work was done by the light of a candle stuck in a ball of clay affixed to the worker’s hat. Sound effects and visual representations of daily work lead you through the winding tunnels and up several staircases, past incredible stalactite and stalagmite formations and copper ore veins with traces of gold, silver and other precious metals.
In a world of manufactured goods, visiting the mines is a good way to take a step back in history to appreciate and honor the hard work of the men in the mines.
The view at the end of the tunnel is sure to leave you breathless. But the steps you climbed on the tour is also likely to leave you hungry! Stop into nearby Beddgelert, named one of the most beautiful cities in Wales for lunch. Hebog is an adorable café with a friendly staff, serving fresh, local food. On a sunny day, ask to dine alfresco on their river terrace.
For other awesome activities in Northern Wales, check out Snowdonia Attractions for RIB rides, surfing and go-karting. They’ve recently released a Snowdonia Pass for £5 (or free if you visit a participating attraction), which grants 10-20% off entry into attractions, accommodation providers, eateries and retailers and 50% off Arriva bus travel.
Note: We were hosted by Snowdonia Attractions and Zip World, but all opinions are my own, and I’d never recommend anything to you that’s not awesome!