This is part one of a three part series. You can find all associated articles here:
If you are thinking of taking a trip to Snowdonia, then book your accommodation early. We spent the best part of an evening trying to lock in a place in Beddgelert and found that, even a week in advance, a lot had been booked out. Given the tendency for Wales to get more than its fair share of rain, we weren’t that keen on camping (plus a variety of camera batteries needed charging), but there are definitely a few sites around. The Llyn Gwynant campsite (by the lake of the same name) has all of your basic facilities and is close to the start of the Watkin path up Mount Snowdon. The Tanronnen Inn came highly recommended. We stopped in for a beer when we first arrived, and ogled some pretty hearty meals. They also have a vegetarian menu board (Dinner is served from 7pm to 8:15pm so you need to be in quick).
Or if you are looking for something in between, why not try camping pods? We wanted to book one at Bryn Dinas Camping Pods as they were right by the Watkin path (which we planned to hike). They sort of give you that camping feel (cheaper, shared kitchen and bathroom etc.) but without the hassle of pitching your tent in the middle of the night in the rain. These go for around £40 a night. We opted for a similar type of accommodation, but in Dolgellau (about an hour from Beddgelert) at Tanyfron Camping Pods. Be aware, these ones don’t have beds in them (luckily they had an air mattress that we could hire for £5). They do have a flat screen TV and heater though (possibly an indicator of a few too many wet weather days spent indoors…that or the Welsh love television?)
In the morning we had breakfast in Dolgellau at T. H. Roberts cafe. This is a wee family run gem with traditional Welsh fry up fare, an incredible selection of teas and cakes (Meg “the mum” makes them all herself) and very good coffee (the eldest brother Gareth roasts and blends it with his fiancé Angharad). After breakfast, we took a second coffee and a pieces of the carrot cake and hummingbird cake to-go and made our way up to Beddgelert.
The drive is only 45 minutes if you take the most direct route, but we decided to head out to the coastal route – about 20 mins longer. Along the way we stopped in the Welsh former ship-building, now seaside resort town of Barmouth at the entrance to the Mawddach Estuary. While it was definitely not warm enough for ice cream, people were out walking dogs as that crisp ocean wind bit at their ankles.
We then headed on to Beddgelert, a really pretty welsh town at the foot of Mount Snowdon. A good base for activities such as walking, climbing, fishing, cycling, watersports, and unsurprisingly – photography. We found this site a useful starting point to sort some accommodation, finding that the lovely Shelia and Ron would take us at the Bistro Antiques BnB (see cute photo of them below!).
If you don’t have time to stay in Beddgelert, consider stopping for lunch. While we were out and about doing other things during the day, Hebog cafe came highly recommended. Also, there is an excellent walk past all the copper mines and down the stream to Pont Aberglaslyn that could be explored. Or if you are in need of a rainy day activity, you could stop by the Sygun Copper Mine to get a glimpse into 19th century ore extraction and processing and see massive formations of stalactites (holding on tight) and stalagmites (pushing up with all their might).
Bistro Antiques BnB Approx £70 / night. Includes breakfast served between 8:30am and 9:15am. Currently for sale (if you’re in the market for a BnB in Wales).
This photo was taken when we got back from spending the afternoon in Portmeirion. Red wine, pies with three plates of vegetables – what more could you wish for after a wet afternoon in Italy…I mean Wales?