Llandudno & Colwyn Bay
In the area north of the A55 between Conwy Bay and Llandulas lies a small area which, with its mixture of low limestone hills, woodland, beaches, dunes and estuaries, reminds me in many ways of the Arnside & Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in north Lancashire. Something else both areas have in common is that they are both closer to a much more mountainous and popular area for walking, Snowdonia and the Lake District respectively.
Of course there are also differences between the two. For a start this small patch of North Wales is also home to the popular seaside resorts of Llandudno and Colwyn Bay, as well as a number of smaller resorts such as Rhos-on-Sea and Deganwy. Secondly Arnside & Silverdale doesn't contain anything quite like Great Orme, but then again there is nowhere else in the UK that is quite like Great Orme with its tram, cable car, Marine Drive, ancient mine and dramatic limestone cliffs.
The presence of so much limestone may come as something of a surprise to some - it certainly did to me when I came across substantial sections of limestone pavement. Were it not for the big sea views I could have been in the Yorkshire Dales. Indeed it is the limestone that makes this area so special for walking and the habitat that it helps create have led to the creation of a number of nature reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest being created in the Llandudno area, for example the Marl Hall Nature Reserve and the Rhiwledyn Nature Reserve on Little Orme.
Other than limestone and good coastal views the other thing you are likely to see plenty of if exploring the hills around Llandudno is plenty of gorse - it is almost ubiquitous. At the right time of spring you may also see the fantastic white blooms of the blackthorn, which for most of the year is a fairly scruffy hedgerow shrub but which really comes alive in early Spring.
In 2012 I went for a family holiday to Rhos-on-Sea. I'd picked it as it was near lots of tourist attractions for family outings (especially Conwy Castle) and I figured it would also be a good base for me to explore the mountains of the Carneddau. For a variety of reasons I didn't get into the mountains but I found ample compensation in a number of short walks exploring the low limestone hills around Llandudno. Particular favourite were Great Orme, Little Orme, Bryn Euryn and The Vardre.