Find Your Epic : A Rib Ride down the Menai Strait

One of the most thrilling experiences Gary and I had in Snowdonia was exploring the Menai Strait on a Rib Ride. NorthWales is famous for its mountain range, natural landscapes and incredible hiking trails. Nonetheless, this one-hour boat trip must be one of the most memorable experiences we have ever had in Wales – beaten just by a fraction by the panoramic view at the top of Snowdon.

When the team of Visit Wales invited us to spend a weekend in Snowdonia, we were very excited – but, to be honest, we never quite realised just how amazing this trip was going to be. Our holidays are usually based around history, culture, food, museums, and architecture – so we weren’t sure what to expect from this very adventurous weekend break in Snowdonia. Well in hindsight I can now tell you that this experience was mind-blowing and far more epic than anything we could ever have conceived!

I want to take this opportunity to thank Visit Wales and Virgin Day Experiences who made this adventurous weekend break possible and organised it all!


This year Visit Wales are celebrating their “Year of Adventure” and invite you to step outside and do something amazing. Visit Wales and Virgin Day Experiences want you to #FindYourEpic among the many adventures Wales has to offer! There are so many excellent opportunities to break the daily grind, challenge yourself and do something different in 2016. There really is no excuse not to go on a little adventure of your own!

Virgin Day Experiences have a plethora of amazing experiences on offer – from White Water Rafting to Sea Kayaking, Coastering and Ziplining.

Booking your own adventure through Virgin Day Experience is easy and far more affordable than you probably think. You can filter the offers by location, price range, type of experience and occasion. Most of Virgin Day Experience’s Adventures in North Wales cost between 15£ and 100£. You are bound to find something!

There were so many options to pick from but our choice fell upon the Bridges and Swellies Rib Ride down the Menai Strait.


One of the most thrilling ways to experience the waters is by going on a rib ride. A RIB, which stands for Rigid Inflatable Boat, is a power boat decked out with inflatable tubes; one that can travel at exceptionally high speeds and take on large amounts of water without losing any buoyancy. Even if you don’t know the term, you’d know one when you saw it; they’re the boats that “skip” along the surface of the water.

The boats are pretty quiet and quite comfortable, but don’t be fooled into thinking it will be a leisurely pleasure cruise – they can reach speeds in excess of 50 miles per hour! The adrenaline rush is the main reason to go on a rib ride; the blast straight down the Strait is something you won’t forget. Certainly and adventure and a half! The sheer speed is just so much fun.

Once you get past the pure fear of potentially getting your head dunked under water, you might just be calm enough to enjoy the sights.


In North Wales, a visitor can come across any number of watery areas; with more than 200 miles of coastline in Snowdonia alone, there is certainly no shortage of beaches and sea. Add to that the rivers, estuaries, canals and lakes and any lover of water is sure to feel at home here.

There really is no better location to board a Rib Ride than Wales and especially North Wales with its beautiful natural surroundings. The historic walled town of Caernarfon and its magnificent castle, the lovely beaches along the bay, the twin lighthouses of Llanddwyn and the gorgeous Plas Newydd (home to the Marquess of Anglesey) are just a couple of highlights of the region. North Wales isn’t short on Wildlife either! There are plenty of seals and various sea birds to come across. If you feel like taking to the water in a rib – or even learning how to captain one yourself – then North Wales is surely one of the best places to do so.

There are a few different points from which you can be picked up (usually Caernarfon, Beaumaris, Holyhead and Menai Bridge) meaning you shouldn’t have to travel very far to take to the water. Gary and I boarded our Rib at Menai Bridge, a 20 minute drive away from our accommodation at B&B in Caernarfon.


Anglesey Rib Ride is one of Wales’ best adventure boat tour companies. Their skippers are friendly, fun and extremely knowledgeable. Honestly, if you are looking for an adventure in North Wales, you need look no further.

Phil Scott and Tom Ashwell have been running RibRide Adventure Boat Tours for nearly 10 years. They are dedicated watermen who enjoy living and working on the Strait. Both as mad as each other about sailing, RIBs and windsurfing, Phil and Tom became business partners and formed Rib Ride in 2005. Since then their adventure boat company has received accolades of awards and consistently received great reviews from its RIB Riders on TripAdvisor.

Their RIBs are fitted with quiet but powerful 250hp engines and are capable of carrying up to 11 people in comfort.

You can pick and choose between 6 different routes (from Castles and Islands, Puffin and Seals, Around Anglesey Adventure, Bridges and Swellies, Sea Cliffs and Sea Birds, and a Bear Grylls Rib Ride) depending on your interests and fear factor.  

The Bridges and Swellies route is a good entry level rib ride and costs £24 per person.


After a speedy drive from Caernarfon to Menai Bridge, Gary and I kitted ourselves out with warm jumpers, water proof rain coats, woollen hats, scarves and comfortable footwear. We were greeted by our very friendly skipper who ran us through the safety briefing. We were equipped with life vests and taught how to use the equipment on board the RIB. All safety measure taken, we made our way out onto the water of the Menai Straits.

The Menai Straits is the stretch of water that separates Anglesey from mainland Wales and as we passed through it, we made sure to take in the sights of the stunning scenery of North Wales and the iconic bridges of the Menai Straits.

The Bridges and Swellies RIB ride will take you past the Thomas Telford’s Menai Suspension Bridge and Britannia Bridge. Among many other sights, you will encounter Church Island with its fifteenth-century St Tysilio’s church and the stately homes of Millionaires Row. You will cruise past the beaches, bays and coastline of the region and if you are lucky you might even spot some wildlife – including see-lions, little egrets, oystercatchers, curlews and redshanks. So make sure to take your camera!

This stretch of water leads to the Irish Sea and we soon experienced the excitement of the ever changing waters. Our skipper made sure to show us a good time – passing through whirlpools and riding the waves cast by other boats.


We really enjoyed the ride, which combined a little bit of local history and sightseeing along with some manoeuvres that had me digging my nails into the seat! We sat at the back end of the Rib and I was fully convinced that I was going to fly out of the boat at any moment. I did survive however and only got moderately wet – having had the time of my life.

The Rib Ride was an unforgettable experience and I highly suggest you book your own next time you find yourself in the area. 



Further reading North Wales

If you are planning a trip to North Wales, you might want to consider buying one of the following guidebooks. All of these books are ones that we used ourselves on our trip and that I highly recommend.

Check out the latest hotel prices for Wales on   Booking | Agoda | Expedia

Read reviews for Hotels, Restaurants and attractions in Wales on TripAdvisor

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on some of the links in this post and purchase something, I might receive a commission. This is a good thing! There is no additional cost to you and I make a tiny bit of money to help fund this website! 

FindyourEpic a rib ride down the menai strait caernarfon north wales snowdonia post end


  1. April 17, 2016 / 2:00 am

    The rib ride sounds amazing and a lot of fun, would love to try it out sometime.

  2. April 15, 2016 / 5:59 pm

    Thank you for your great review. We will blog about your blog tonight!

    • BeautifullyTravelled
      April 15, 2016 / 7:13 pm

      That is wonderful to hear. I really enjoyed the Rib Ride. Something I had never done before, that challenged my boundaries. 7
      So much fun and so informative. Looking forward to reading your blog post.

      x Katharina

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