EVER wanted to see the spectacular views from Mount Snowdon without the bother of the challenging 3,560ft climb?

Try the Mountain Railway which has been taking tourists on the 4.7-mile route from Llanberis to the highest peak in Wales since 1896.

Yes, you will feel a bit of a cheat as you pose for a picture at the summit surrounded by climbers in their walking boots, waterproof jackets and woolly hats but that is part of the fun.

Besides, the Mountain Railway has established itself as one of the most popular activities in Snowdonia in its own right.

The Heritage Great Britain attraction, the only rack and pinion railway in the UK, takes more than 130,000 passengers to Snowdon's peak each year and most trains book up way in advance.

It is worth it. The vast views of the landscape are beautiful and truly spectacular during the slow but steady climb.

By the very nature of the journey, the track gets steep at times and sometimes you look out of the window to see a sheer drop so you do get a few jitters but that adds to the exhilaration.

The only downside is that you only get half an hour at the summit and at busy times most of that is just spent trying to get past the mass of people.

When we arrived back at Llanberis we then travelled to Gypsy Wood Park in Caernarfon where we actually got to see a tiny scale model of the mountain train we had just been on.

The model railway was just one of countless family attractions at this enchanting and thoroughly charming 20 acre site set in woodland.

As well as the model railway there is a miniature train where my son Ethan had the challenge of pointing out owls that were hidden on the route.

But what was more impressive about Gypsy Wood Park was that the whole experience is set up as a tribute to childhood wonder, stories and imagination with something different and unexpected around every corner.

We encountered fairy houses, leprechauns at the end of a rainbow, a Native American teepee, a path that had been walked by giants and a giant spider's web.

Nursery rhymes and children's stories like Hickory Dickory Dock and The Three Little Pigs came to life and a music room that looked like something from a tribal village gave us the chance to try out some unusual instruments.

On top of that, there was a great play area with a castle, trains and planes to clamber on board and trampolines.

There was also a small petting zoo with donkeys, goats, pigs, alpacas, sheep while Ethan had the chance to ride a Shetland pony.

During our short trip to North Wales we also visited Anglesey Sea Zoo.

On the south coast of Anglesey, the attraction is quite remote but it is all the better for it because the drive out to it is stunning, surrounded by rugged mountainous terrain.

The first thing you see when you walk in are the crayfish – lobster-like freshwater crustaceans – in a giant glass tank. It immediately makes an impression.

Anglesey Sea Zoo's friendly staff are all too happy to talk about the centre's 150 marine species and seahorse and lobster conservation work too.

Another cool thing was the chance to see the fish from a different perspective using an underwater camera.

You can try your hand at being David Attenborough by controlling the camera yourself.

There is also an exhibition space which features a life-sized model of a basking shark.

These huge sharks, which have been sighted around the coast of North Wales, can grow to more than 8m in length.

But although they look terrifying they actually feed on plankton and are harmless to humans.

If you have got kids, be sure to check out the pirate playground, giant bouncy castle and crazy golf before you leave too.

Our short trip to Snowdonia was a great reminder of how much there is to do in North Wales, less than a two hour drive from Warrington, and what a beautiful part of the UK it is.

- David Morgan was a guest of The Celtic Royal Hotel in Caernarfon. The hotel, built in around 1794, has 110 en-suite bedrooms, a restaurant, bar and leisure club with a pool. Visit celtic-royal.co.uk