Caving, spelunking, subterranean exploring, slithering around rocks, getting lost in the dark; call it what you like, exploring caves makes for a pretty good adventure! But if you think you know caving then think again, my friends. Head into the depths of North Wales and experience something that will truly blow your socks off… and your helmet and your attractive caving boiler suit.


In the epic National Park of Snowdonia, a 176 year old Victorian Slate Mine lies abandoned near the historic slate town. Well, it was abandoned until Zip Line Ltd got their adventurous hands on it. The deep echoing caverns now hold some of the most exciting experiences that I’ve had in a long time!

The drive into Snowdonia National Park alone is quite an experience. Rolling hills and mountains surround you as you wind along forest-edged roads, spying blasts of Welsh countryside in the breaks between the trees. Enjoy the serenity of your road trip while you can though, as you’re about to get a shot of adrenaline straight to the heart.


As you enter the historic slate town of Blaenau Ffestiniog (try to pronounce that!), you’ll see slate covering many roofs and piles of it cascading down hillsides. This town once had a booming slate industry in the Victorian era and the Llechwedd Slate Caverns were where men and boys worked their fingers to the bone to cater to the slate needs of the world. To once again breath life into the deserted mine, Zip Line has created a subterranean adventure of a few activities that make for an awesome day trip.

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Bounce Below is a spider web of giant trampolines that drip from the roof attached to the rugged walls with thick cables of elastic. The double-netted surfaces provide the ultimate bounce for those who wish to embrace their inner-child; I couldn’t wait to get on! With my helmet tightly on, I was off and it was freakin’ hilarious! Bouncing high whilst suspended a hundred meters above the dark cave floor was pretty disorientating, but with a few others gambolling about on the trampolines, the fear never fully takes grip.


There are four levels to the Bounce Below complex, all lit up with vivid fluro lights that change colors slowly. It’s the most surreal experience which feels like you’re in some kind of animation or computer game. The complex never gets crowded as they control the group numbers, but when numerous people are bouncing you can find the deepest bounce that rises you up high into the air. Keep following the bounce until it dies, and you flip off into a breathless heap.


You can slide down steep chutes to the next floor or haul your ass up the narrow tubes to scale back up to the top. Bounce through partitions and find secret tunnels to hidden caves to bounce some more.

Be sure to head right to the bottom to find The Cube, and follow the trampoline pathway deep underground that seemingly leads into nothing. There you’ll find an epic spiral to bounce your way back up to the top level once again! What a work-out.


Bounce Below has only been open for a year, and they have slowly developed it to include more sections to explore as the months have gone by. You need to book ahead as it’s fast becoming the UK’s top attraction in adventure sports! It’s all quite safe as netted walls keep you from grating your face on the rock surfaces, and there’s no danger of anything breaking… but if you’re thinking, “Hey Sophie, I want REAL adrenaline”, then I’ve got more for you.

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Not only do these Mines hold the World’s largest underground trampoline system, but it’s also home to the biggest underground zip lining course in the northern hemisphere.

We finished our hour bounce session and wearily walked to the car to have our picnic lunch. We stupidly thought that the afternoon would be a breeze in Zip World Caverns – just sitting on zip lines and going from wall to wall, but little did we know that we were about to submerge for 3 hours of intense zip lining that’s not quite for the faint hearted.

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We got strapped in over the shoulder harnesses and given a pair of long clips called ‘clickets’ that basically keep you from falling to your death. I heart clickets. One never opens without the other being closed so you are always attached to the network of cables that lead throughout the caves.


During the half hour training session, you literally learn the ropes. You get to grips with your equipment and learn how to safely traverse the cave walls, clipping on and off various cables. With the large clip that dangles between your legs, you latch onto your zip line, push off and fly through the air to the other side.


I managed to handle the fear alright during the practise runs, but then when we were in the echoing dark caverns, zip lining over deep gorges, the panic swelled – did I not mention I have a bit of a fear of heights?

Well, if I could get through skydiving in New Zealand, then I should be able to do this… But I had no idea what was in store for me. When I got to the wall after the first zip line, I was faced with tiny steel foot holds implanted in the wall.  You have to cling to the rock face, edging along, but with a 13 year old girl in front of me fearlessly trooping ahead, I sucked it up and went for it (with a touch of hyperventilating).


Unfortunately, I don’t have photos from my experience as no cameras were allowed, but it was seriously WOW. Within the 200 year old cavern, we dangled from zip lines, tip toed on rope bridges, battled obstacles and followed low tunnels.

You discover secret caves on the course where you feel all alone (although you’re always watched by cameras) and look out into oblivion. The clickets never release you from the course so you can’t get lost or fall, but it doesn’t stop the paranoia everytime you launch yourself into space!

Reaching Llechwedd Slate Caverns is quite a journey, no matter which airport or city you travel from – I would highly recommend making a weekend out of it. The B&Bs and hotels/motels in the area aren’t too appealing so check out Airbnb for some great places to stay. An instructor told us that a family from the Philippines had travelled over to Wales specifically for this trip, so if you’re dedicated then you can make the journey!


Take some lunch and snacks with you if you plan to do more than one of the activities available at Zip Line Ltd  – there is an on-site café and ice cream stand, but if you fancy saving money then pop to a supermarket on your way.

  • You can wear an attractive red boiler suit if you don’t want to spoil your clothes, but I would recommend the following:
  • Shoes that have some GREAT grip
  • No jewellery
  • No DSLR or camera with neck straps – Take in cameras and phones at your own risk on Bounce Below!
  • Wear clothes that you can move easily in
  • Warm clothes – The temperature in the caves get down to 10C,  so you need to wear warm clothes no matter how sunny it is above ground. I’d recommend warm jumpers or a short jacket that won’t get caught up in your harness.


If you don’t like heights at all, then this is probably not for you. Definitely take a very soothing and kind partner who can coax you out of any freak-outs. If you love adventure times, then you’ll bloody love this!

Bounce Below costs £20 for one hour and Zip World Caverns is £60 each or £220 for a group of 4, but bear in mind that this takes about 3 hours. Be sure to have a look at their other experiences: Zip World Velocity and Zip World Titan if you want to feel like you can fly!

So… who’ll be heading to the Slate Caverns in Wales this year?


Many thanks to Zip Line Ltd for giving me this opportunity to have the most fantastic weekend!

All photographs within the caves: courtesy of Zip Line Ltd, all other photographs by Sophie Saint.

Sophie Saint was one of the original travelettes, from 2009 – 2017. After fleeing the UK with ink barely dry on her graduation certificate, she traversed the world with a backpack and spent a few years living in Melbourne – one of her favourite cities in the world.

She finally returned to the UK after a few years where she now whiles time away zipping off for European escapes, crocheting and daydreaming of owning her own hostel somewhere hot to live out eternal summers. See what she’s up to over on her blog and instagram: @saintsonaplane