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21st Jun 2019

12 great things to do in Bangor, Gwynedd

There’s nothing more fun than exploring, whether that’s a completely new place or a corner of your city that you’ve never ventured to before. In Bangor, Gwynedd there are plenty of things to do and discover. We’ve compiled a list of twelve great things you can do in and around the city – and this is just the tip of the iceberg!

A little bit about Bangor, Gwynedd

Bangor, Gwynedd is the oldest city in Wales and sits close to Anglesey, right on the Menai Straits. It’s easy to get to via train, bus, car, or even bike if you’re adventurous enough! Whether you’re visiting or living in this corner of the world, we’re sure our list will contain some great things to do in Bangor for you and your fellow explorers.

1.Bangor Pier

Garth Pier is the ninth-longest pleasure pier in Britain. It was built by the Victorians, opened in 1896 and is still a favourite place for a stroll in the city. The Grade II-listed pier still has many of its original features and stands 458m into the Menai Strait – meaning there are excellent views to be had. In fact, the pier’s views have been named as some of the UK’s best, making it definitely worth the 50p entrance fee. If you fancy a bite to eat after braving the Bangor seafront, then consider Whistlestop Cafe; it won the Traditional Welsh Restaurant of the Year Award at The Food Awards Wales 2019.

2.Pontio at Bangor University

Pontio is Bangor University’s Arts and Innovation centre, providing both the University and the city with a range of cultural offerings. Here you can find a 200-seat cinema, as well as ‘a 450-seat traditional proscenium-arch theatre‘. Exhibitions can often be found at the centre and views across the city can be seen from the 5th floor. Pre-theatre meals and drinks can also be enjoyed at the venue, as well as cinema snacks.

Image of cinema seats

3.Bangor music

Bangor may not be a music hot-spot, but there are still plenty of opportunities to watch live music in several different venues throughout the city. Pontio has its fair share of listings, which you can view on their Music events page, but it’s worth joining the Facebook page ‘Live Music Events in and around Bangor, North Wales‘ to keep abreast of smaller performances. Blue Sky – a local cafe based just off Bangor high street – has regular events, quite often of the folk variety, as does Y/Belle Vue. In addition, each year Bangor University hosts their Summer Fest which is often headlined by a major act, and has tickets available to everyone.

4.Bangor restaurants

Restaurants in Bangor in Wales are hardly in short supply and the food scene is ever-growing. You can find Wood Fired Shack offering their tasty pizzas right next to Bangor Cathedral, with Torna a Surriento, an Italian establishment, just across the street. For superior Asian flavours, Garden Hotel and Cantonese Restaurant offer mouth-watering dishes for a range of dietary needs. On your way from this establishment down the high street you will pass Ling’s offering a daily buffet, as well as Aroy Dee Thai Noodle Bar and Jasmine. Still further down Bangor high street you can find CocoVanille for vegan doughnuts, milkshakes and other sweet treats (no-one said it had to be a balanced meal!) and another vegan offering in the form of Viridian, who have a wide menu. Finally, combine a visit to Garth Pier with a meal at Voltaire, who serve great vegan meals.

5. Cafés in Bangor

However, if you’re on the hunt for something lighter you may find that a cafe is more suitable. Thankfully, Bangor has a long list of great cafes. Blue Sky is particularly cosy and comes complete with roaring fire, making it a popular spot. Domu is another excellent choice and spans two floors just a stones throw away from Bangor Cathedral. Our recommendation would definitely be their Mumbai Chai – it’s to die for! Last but not least on our list is Kyffin, another veggie friendly venue, which serves a varying menu alongside drinks and treats from all around the world.

Image of coffee and croissant

6.Pubs and bars in Bangor

If you’re feeling a little parched then Bangor won’t disappoint. There is a long list of pubs and bars in Bangor all with their own individual charm. By the pier you can find The Boatyard Inn and The Tap and Spile, venues that both serve great food practically on the waters edge. In Upper Bangor The Belle Vue is a traditional pub popular with the local student population and just a short walk away is Rascals, a bar with table football and darts. Head to the high street for plenty more options, including Blue Sky Bach, a craft ale bar with a laid-back vibe.

7.Penrhyn Castle

Now a National Trust-owned property, Penrhyn Castle is a neo-Norman castle from the early 19th century, which was once lived in by the Lords and Ladies Penrhyn. There is a fee for admission but this permits access to much of the castle, as well as the grounds and old Victorian gardens that surround it. If driving isn’t an option, the castle is walkable from the city; taking a little over half an hour. Alternatively, buses that pass the castle leave from Bangor bus station every 15 minutes.

8.Treborth gardens

Treborth Botanic Gardens are owned and run by Bangor University and consist of large areas of grassland and orchards. There are also greenhouses housing a range of tropical and carnivorous plants, access for which can be arranged. Though donations are welcome, the gardens are free to visit and are easily walk-able from Bangor; simply turn left before the path takes you over Menai Bridge. If you’re feeling adventurous you can even walk as far as Y Felinheli by following the trails!

9.Amble along the North Wales path

The North Wales path is a 60-mile path which begins at Bangor, hugging the coastline until it reaches Prestatyn. Access to it can be found via the A55 coastal road and most opt to do part of the walk at a time. For more information see here.

Image of Trefor, Gwynedd

10.Storiel

A museum housing ‘social history collections from across North Wales‘, Storiel also operates as a gallery and often runs exhibitions and special events. A gift shop sells arts and crafts and a lovely cafe in the museum atrium serves both hot and cold food. Several rooms in Storiel can be rented for meetings and events, with catering options available.

11.Church island

If you fancy stretching your legs and seeing some spectacular views then head to Church Island, a small island located on the Anglesey side of the Menai Bridge. This island is home to a small church that dates from the 1400’s and is surrounded by woodland. Around it flows the Menai Straits and it’s a great place for both an easy walk and great views of the water.

12.Pay a visit to Bangor Cathedral

Bangor Cathedral is based close to the heart of Bangor high street and was built in a Gothic style in the 13th century. The spot this beautiful Cathedral is built on has always been an area of worship, having originally been the location of a monastery as early as the 6th century. Today the Cathedral holds regular services in both English and Welsh and hosts events, such as celebrations of music or annual festivals.

We hope this list has helped you to find some fun things to do in Bangor. Let us know what you get up to and remember, if you’d like to share this post simply click on the share icon at the top of the page. Thanks for reading!

Author

Leigh Horan

Leigh is the Communications and Marketing Executive at Varcity Living. She enjoys going for walks in the Welsh countryside, discovering new places to eat and talking about the most recent film she's watched.