Deep beneath a Welsh mountain, in cavernous spaces where workers once mined slate, there is a world of extreme adventure awaiting fun-seeking couples and families.
Whether you fancy a gravity-defying hour bouncing beneath the Welsh landscape or an action-packed afternoon climbing and flying down zip lines, a visit to Zip World in Snowdonia is literally one you won’t forget.
The mountains just north of Blaenau Ffestiniog once supplied slate tiles that kept the rain out of buildings around the world.
And they provided a living for many local families; there were tough times when the mines closed and communities were forced to readjust.
Today, the mine occupied by Zip World brings in adrenaline-hunting tourists and is bringing a long-abandoned piece of Welsh heritage back into use.
The bouncing and the climbing and the zip-lining is just one of 50 subterranean adventures I dived into for my book, Underground Days Out.
There’s a handful of them in North Wales, so a visit to Zip World can be combined with other fun and informative activities below the surface.
In previous blogs, I’ve highlighted the thrills to be found by descending into Speedwell Cavern and Treak Cliff Cavern in the Peak District, as well as the Secret Cold War Bunker in Essex – these are all other chapters in the book. Did I mention I’d written a book and that it’s out now?!
But the Zip World experience takes things to another level for those who enjoy binge on their fun in large doses.
The Bounce Below ticket is a passport to a sublime landscape, lit in atmospheric purple and blue, that has large, springy surfaces on three different levels.
All are connected by a series of slides and steps that mean you can explore and bounce to your heart’s content – and despite many of the sessions being full, there is still plenty of space to explore so you never really feel you’re in a crowded area.
To describe the bouncing as being like a trampoline would be wrong – this is not trampolining; they have a completely different feel to them, making the bouncing more like walking on the moon that most people are used to.
And if the weightless feeling gets a bit too much for you, there is a space to sit out until you’re able to get involved again.
I went with two kids and I certainly needed a rest half way through – it was exhausting, but a lot of fun. The youngsters could have done it all day, of course.
When you clip in to the safety wire for your climbing activity, you really are about to embark on three-hour fun mission.
This is a fairly challenging course, pushing many amateurs to their limits and providing a heap of exhilaration at the same time.
The most exciting part are the zip lines – and there are many of them.
At first, stepping off into the darkness with a huge distance below you to the bottom of the cavern is frightening, but it soon becomes a delight.
An optional section at the end could see you climbing up the mountain wall to a super steep zip line. To get there, the hardiest will manage the monkey bars that stretch over a deep cavern.
There’s an easier way round for those not willing to give it a go – I took this simpler way and was shown up by my kids again, something I became fairly used to when journeying around Britain underground.
Days Out Underground:50 Subterranean Adventures Beneath Britain is published by Bloomsbury and is available now. Signed copies are available via my website www.peter-naldrett.co.uk