City Guide

Things to Do in Bangor

By Ben Maples  · Nov 30th 2021
Bangor - Boats in the harbour of the city at dusk.

There are a number of things to do in Bangor and a number of attractions to see. The city is one of the most beautiful cities in the UK and is often regarded as one of the best cities to live in in the UK.

Things to do in Bangor

Location

Bangor is located in Gwynedd in North West Wales and is between the mountains of Snowdonia and the sea. It is one of the smallest cities in the United Kingdom and is Wales’ oldest city. Bangor has a population of roughly 19,000 – which includes around 11,000 students.

The city is on the coast of North Wales and has easy access to the island of Anglesey. The city is also home to Bangor Mountain, which stands at 177 metres tall in the east of the city. There are two rivers that run through the city, the River Adda and the River Cegin.

Things to do in Bangor

There are plenty of museums in Bangor, the most prevalent of which is the Gwynedd Museum & Art Gallery and the Amgueddfa Gwynedd Museum, both of which offer a rich and vibrant culture for university students looking to learn more about Bangor.

There are a number of nightclubs for students to visit as well, such as Peep Nightclub – which is Bangor’s most popular nightclub, or Varsity – which is a bar and grill and offers a break from the club atmosphere. Bar Uno, situated on the Ffriddoedd student village and Barlow’s, on the St Mary’s student village, are other popular venues for students.

On Thursdays, you might want to visit Academi, which is the official student nightclub, and is considered a ‘safe space’ club and provides a focus for the night time entertainment and general socialising. Academi also works alongside the Students’ Union to organise one of the biggest events of the year – the annual Summer Ball.

In terms of activities within Bangor, there’s a wide range of things to do including water sports and football. These form the backbone of the sporting culture of Bangor, students looking to take part in sport at university, will have a field day (pun intended) in Bangor!

Bangor’s unique location also means that there are many clubs that make the most of the area’s mountains, lakes, rivers and coastline. Even if you’re not the outward-bound type there’s still plenty to explore in the surrounding area. You can visit historical towns such as Beaumaris, Conwy and Caernarfon (all with their own castles) or scenic villages like Llanberis, Beddgelert and Betws y Coed. The beaches on the nearby island of Anglesey are popular spots for sunbathing and swimming and if you fancy a trip further afield to Ireland, then Holyhead’s the departure point for day trips to Dublin.

Good road and rail connections along the north Wales coast mean you can easily visit the Victorian seaside resort of Llandudno, and even Chester and Liverpool for shopping trips or nights out further afield. Heading in the opposite direction, you’ll find popular destinations such as Portmeirion and Abersoch on the Llŷn peninsula – which host well-known music festivals, Festival No. 6 and Glass Butter Beach.

Things to do with kids in Bangor

Transport

Bangor is very conveniently located. There are good road links to Bangor along the north Wales coast from the M56 and M6 and direct trains from London (3.5 hours), Manchester and Cardiff.

The ferry service from nearby Holyhead to Ireland is also fast and frequent. Bus services are of course run as standard, and the nearest international airport is some 83 miles away… in Liverpool at John Lennon Airport.

Universities in the City

There is only one university in the city of Bangor, the Bangor University. Bangor University is a university that has stood since 1884 and was also one of the founding institutions of the University of Wales. The university’s name in Welsh is: Prifysgol Bangor.

The university has an arts building, substantial halls of residence, and it’s own Student’s Union, which is called Pontio.

The new multi-million pound Pontio Arts and Innovation Centre is the biggest arts and entertainment venue in North West Wales. The ambitious centre is set to be a major social hub for students as well as an internationally significant centre for learning, innovation and the performing arts.

In addition to providing a new base for the Students’ Union, the exciting new centre houses a theatre, studio theatre, cinema, lecture theatres, restaurant, bar and cafe. A full programme of events such as music, drama, aerial theatre, comedy, film and a range of other activities are held in the Pontio centre.

The university has also invested money into research as well. In collaboration with Imperial College London, Bangor University received £6.5m in funding under the Ser Cymru programme by the Welsh government. The university also owns a £20m Science Park on the island of Anglesey, which is supporting the region’s development of low carbon energy, which will be explored further on a Biochemistry degree.

The university also became the only university in the whole of Wales to be awarded a Gold standard TEF Award in 2017 and has won several awards for it’s work.

There are a number of clubs and societies around the university (over 90, in fact) including Bangor University FC, the university’s football team, the Bangor University Rowing Club and the Bangor Ultimate Frisbee Club.

The university has it’s own student newspaper, called Y Seren, which is available in both English and Welsh.

Things to do with family in Bangor

History and Culture

The city of Bangor has stood since the 6th century, and the city is named after an old Welsh word for “wattled enclosure” as the city’s cathedral site was initially surrounded by one.

The city was a small settlement until the turn of the 18th century, when, in 1718, it became a designated post town after England tried to enhance communications with Ireland. Since then, the city has made a number of improvements, such as the Bangor railway station, which opened in 1848 and the introduction of the A5 road.

During World War II, the BBC evacuated to Bangor during the Blitz and has maintained a number of offices and facilities in the city as a result. This has been of great use to students studying a Media Studies degree, as it gives students a chance to look for a work placement in this area.

In 2012, the city did pilot a scheme of an enforced curfew for under-16s, though this was later abandoned.

For many centuries, Bangor was always considered to be a city, despite never actually receiving city status from the government, owing to it’s long-standing cathedral and various past privileges, however, Bangor was given city status in 1974 by Queen Elizabeth II.

Sport

Bangor City FC is the city’s main football team, playing in Cymru North, which is the second division of Welsh football. The club has won the Welsh Premier League three times and were a constant figure in the league until 2018. Bangor were previously a part of the English football league, playing in the Northern Premier League and have also played in the UEFA Champions League (twice) and the Europa League (five times) though that have never qualified from either competition’s group stage.

There is another football club in the city, which is Bangor 1876 FC, who participate in the Gwynedd League.

Bangor also houses a rugby union team called Bangor RFC, who play in the WRU Division Two North league, who won the BUCS league title in 2016.

Who’s from Bangor?

There are a few well-known celebrities from Bangor including; Wayne Hennessey, Tom Ellis, Cai Griffiths and the singer Duffy.

undergraduate Uni's