What to Do in Llangollen: 7 Top-Rated Outdoor Activities
Sitting on the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and boasting some of the most stunning scenery in North Wales, it’s easy to see why Llangollen is one of the country’s most popular inland tourist destinations.
The Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty are only a stone’s throw away, attracting ramblers with dramatic ancient hillforts and summits. There’s a wealth of historical attractions within the town itself, including Dinas Brân Castle and Valle Crucis Abbey, alongside pubs serving fresh local food. If you’re searching for something a little more daring, how about trying some outdoor activities in Llangollen?
From exhilarating white water rafting to leisurely canoeing or stand-up paddleboarding, the region offers a spectacular range of adventures along its winding waterways and rugged terrain. Keep reading as we reveal some of the best Llangollen outdoor activities to try during your trip. From gorge walking to archery, there’s bound to be something for you to enjoy.
Llangollen outdoor activities for thrill-seekers and explorers
1. White water rafting
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to travel to far-flung locations to try exhilarating watersports. White water rafting in Llangollen attracts daredevils from across the UK because the area is home to the famous River Dee. Here, you’ll find epic falls like the Serpents Tail – a grade 4 rapid that features awesome waves, hidden holes and tight passages.
Of course, beginners might want to start with a white water rafting thrill experience instead. Over three jam-packed hours, you’ll learn everything there is to know about handling the raft, making quick manoeuvres and staying upright in the wash.
If white water rafting in Llangollen sounds a bit too wild, then swap rapids for a relaxing journey across the picturesque Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. This outdoor activity in Llangollen will see you paddling 126 feet above the River Dee while marvelling at Thomas Telford’s incredible feat of engineering.
The aqueduct is the highlight of the Llangollen Canal. It’s also a Canal World Heritage Site, Scheduled Ancient Monument of National Importance and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The 11-mile stretch is peppered with unique tunnels, embankments and viaducts, representing the region’s impressive industrial heritage.
Canoeing in Llangollen is one of the best ways to drink in the gorgeous landscape. This canoe aqueduct tour will take you over the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct into a secluded local lake. Not only will you explore areas off the beaten track, but you’ll learn all about the town’s fascinating history.
3. Stand up paddleboarding
Sitting somewhere between white water rafting and canoeing is stand-up paddleboarding. Fearless risk-takers can tackle the River Dee’s waves and stoppers, while chilled-out sailors might prefer to traverse the Llangollen Canal.
Never tested your balance on a paddleboard before? Simply book a lesson at one of the local paddleboard centres. Ty Nant Outdoors teaches you all the skills needed to stay upright despite the water’s ferocity.
Seeing as the town has deep medieval roots, you can’t take a trip without indulging in some age-old Llangollen outdoor activities. Alongside 16th-century bridges, castle ruins and abbey churches, archery in Llangollen invites you to step away from modern-day life. Instead, you’ll enter into a world reminiscent of Robin Hood and his merry men. Plus, there’s no need to pack your waterproofs because you’ll keep two feet on dry land.
This archery and axe throwing session takes place in a private field just five minutes away from the town centre. Under the guidance of a talented weapon’s master, you’ll grapple with range bows, axes and custom-built targets.
If you’re searching for fun-filled children’s activities, then look no further than this exciting experience. It’s suitable for kids and they’ll soon be mimicking their favourite superheroes and silver-screen actions stars.
5. Gorge walking
Don’t be fooled by the name – gorge walking in Llangollen is less leisurely stroll and more intrepid exploration. You’ll overcome some of the most challenging terrain in North Wales, including boulders and sweeping becks, before sliding down rock faces and jumping into icy pools.
In many ways, you’ll become one with the landscape. Instead of sitting back and marvelling over the scenery from afar, you’ll test yourself against the elements.
This half-day gorge walking expedition promises to work up a hearty appetite. You’ll scale cliff faces, swim down rivers and tackle gentle swells. Afterwards, you can head to one of Llangollen’s many pubs to refuel and reheat by a flickering country fire.
6. Mountain biking and road cycling
Llangollen is perfect for cyclists who want to drink in the scenery at speed. You’ll find everything from peaceful drover’s roads and canal towpaths to big climbs and downhill plunges. Best of all, there’s a route for every experience level, some signposted and others remote.
To the north of Llangollen, you’ll find Oneplanet Adventure in Llandegla Forest – the UK’s leading forest visitor centre. There are several man-made mountain bike trails, including family-friendly trails for kids. If you have more experience, tackle one of the black runs with steep drops and unsurfaced ground.
You don’t need to travel far to find pretty scenic routes. On a summer’s day, ride along the canal and spot kingfishers, house sparrows and sand martins nestled in the bushes. Explore more mountain biking trails in North Wales on our blog.
7. Bird watching
Avid twitchers will be in their element when visiting Llangollen. The unparalleled surrounding beauty attracts migrating birds from across the globe, while resident red grouse, meadow pipits and whinchats nest in the neighbouring fields.
If you’d like to take a day trip, the Y Berwyn National Nature Reserve is about an hour’s drive away and features 8,000 hectares of habitat within the Berwyn Mountains range. The combination of dry heath, blanket bog, and grassland attracts an electric collection of wildlife, including predatory raptors and short-eared owls.
As well as an array of outdoor activities in Llangollen to sink your teeth into, there’s also plenty to explore nearby. Whether you want to try exhilarating outdoor activities, feast on the best local food and drink or visit Snowdonia National Park, North Wales has something to delight the whole family.