Where in Wales is the Zip Wire?
A tourist hotspot for the thrill-seekers, intrepid adventurers, and adrenaline addicts, Penrhyn Quarry in North Wales is home to one of the most successful visitor attractions Wales has to offer: the aptly named Velocity 2 zip line. Reaching remarkable speeds of 125mph for over a mile, Velocity 2 proudly attaches itself to two record-breaking titles: the longest zip line in Europe and the fastest in the world!
Suspended 500 feet in the air, the pulse-quickening Velicoty 2 soars high above the breathtaking landscape of Penrhyn Quarry. A glistening gem amidst the hollowed-out crater, Velocity 2’s daring zippers are rewarded with a birds-eye view of Penrhyn’s azure lake; riders are even privy to a unique vantage point where the coastlines of Anglesey and the Isle of Man can be spotted on a clear day!
Nestled on the A5 road near the stunning Snowdon mountain range, Penrhyn Quarry is situated in the former slate quarrying village of Bethesda. The small Gwynedd community is home to the steep-sided glaciated valley of the Nant Ffrancon Pass and the stunning panoramic scenery of the Ogwen Falls. A site steeped in British industrial history, the Penrhyn Quarry was once the world’s largest slate quarry. Manned by nearly 3,000 quarry workers towards the end of the nineteenth century, the quarry was a central hub for exporting around the globe. Measuring in at a sizable 1 mile long and 1,200 feet deep, the main pit of the quarry remains Britain’s largest slate quarry to date.
Fast-forward over two centuries, the ingenuity of the Zip World team, headed by Conwy-born Sean Taylor, has resulted in a renewed interest in the former slate mining heritage site. Repurposing the site in a way that rewrites Wales’ connection with its local history has spearheaded Zip World as a key contributor towards North Wales’ growing reputation in the adventure-tourism industry.
There’s no doubt that the Velocity 2 zip line isn’t for the faint of heart. For those that prefer the lighter amusements of relaxing with a chilled drink or grabbing a bite to eat, the Blondin Restaurant is located onsite offering a selection of delicious, locally sourced treats. The modern, bistro-style venue features an outdoor terraced area which also makes for a fantastic viewing location across the renowned slate mine, and of course, the Velocity 2 zip line that runs just meters overhead.
The question is, are you brave enough to take on the world’s fastest zipline?
Discover a couple of our top picks for places to stay in North Wales, just a short drive away from Penrhyn Quarry:
Bodysgallen Hall & Spa, Llandudno
Those visiting Penrhyn Quarry for both the adrenaline fix of the Velocity 2 zip line and the rich history of the former slate mining site may be inclined to experience the lavish 17th-century house of Bodysgallen in Llandudno.
A magnificent hall that needs no introduction, the highly esteemed country house hotel exudes Early Modern heritage; from the antique furnishings and old paintings to the skillful restoration, stepping into Bodysgallen is as though stepping back in time, so remember to bring your pocket watch!
Just a stone’s throw away from Victorian Llandudno and the medieval Conwy Castle, the National Trust-owned property offers the warmest welcome of terraced lawns, walled rose gardens, and sweet-scented herbs all teeming with life.
The Bull’s Head Inn, Beaumaris
The bustling seaside town of Beaumaris is home to the charming-yet-contemporary hotel, The Bull. With rooms in either its 400-year-old Inn or in the trendy boutique Townhouse, there’s something to suit everyone’s taste. Located at the hub of Beaumaris’ colourful centre, the hotel is characterised by its unique blend of traditional beams and stylish modern fabrics.
The Bull positions itself on the south-east coast of Anglesey island; an area of renowned natural beauty with prime access to nearby Snowdonia, and of course Penrhyn Quarry, which is just a short scenic drive away over the magnificent Menai Straight Bridge. Be sure to keep an eye out for the four majestic limestone lions that guard the entrances to the bridge!
Famed for being the location for the ‘greatest castle never built’, Beaumaris Castle was the last of the royal strongholds created by Edward I in Wales. The fortress’s impressive architecture, although incomplete, is an esteemed World Heritage Site and widely recognised as a fine example of late 13th-century military architecture.
Taken by Mike Hudson under the Creative Commons license