There’s something quite magical about autumn in Snowdonia. The colours, the sounds, the smells; long walks followed by hot drinks in front of a roaring open fire. If you’re planning an autumn break in Snowdonia, pack a pair of wellies, a hat and a scarf, and don’t forget our handy list of ways to enjoy autumn in Snowdonia…
In the winter, every Snowdonia vista seems to boast a dazzling backdrop of snow-capped mountains. At springtime, lush green fields come alive with the bleats of newborn lambs. And in the summertime, the nodding orange and red heads of wild crocosmia line every country lane, urging visitors towards the next beach.
But it’s in autumn that Snowdonia is at its very best. The red and golden hues of trees donning their autumn jackets; the purplish heather on the mountainsides; the greens of the fields – all backed by the deep blue of the sea – are a sight to behold.
During a Snowdonia autumn there’s still warmth in the sun during the day – enough for a walk through fallen leaves without having to wrap up winter-warm – and the evenings are just cool enough for hot chocolate in front of a cosy open fire.
If you’re taking an autumn break in Snowdonia, try exploring some of these Snowdonia attractions.
1. Glynllifon Park
A walk through ancient woodlands is one of the best ways to enjoy a crisp autumn day, and Glynllifon won’t disappoint where trees are concerned. Glynllifon Park is packed with old trees, rare trees, oddly misshapen trees (the kids will love these); ponds, waterfalls, follies and even a riverside amphitheatre. Finish your visit with a naughty-but-nice cream tea at the beautifully restored Regency mansion.
Take a walk to the summit of Snowdon – or ride the Snowdon Mountain Railway, if you don’t fancy the walk – and enjoy panoramic views of Snowdonia at its autumnal best. On a clear day you’ll be able to see for miles around, but for safety’s sake please do remember to check weather forecasts before you start your ascent.
3. Talyllyn Railway
One of the nicest ways to see the Snowdonia countryside in any season is by narrow gauge railway. And one of the nicest narrow gauge railways in the area is the Talyllyn Railway, which starts at Tywyn and journeys through some of Snowdonia’s most breathtaking natural sights, including Dolgoch Falls where you can break your journey with a woodland picnic (service permitting).
4. Betws Y Coed
Popular with walkers and climbers all year round, Betws Y Coed is especially lovely in the autumn. Swallow Falls, just on the outskirts of Betws, are stunning at this time of year – especially after a period of heavy rainfall. Betws is also a fantastic base for exploring other Snowdonia sights, like Capel Curig, Llanrwst and Beddgelert.
The historic town of Bala, with its wide pavements and elegant buildings, is always worth visiting. And even in the autumn, you can enjoy watersports on Lake Bala (or take a trip around the lake on the Bala Lake Railway, if you don’t fancy getting wet).
6. Plas Brondanw
Plas Brondanw is the ancestral home of Clough Williams-Ellis, the architect and planner who created Portmeirion (more about that later). Brondanw offers a double treat to autumn visitors; first, the formal gardens set before the mountainous backdrop of Snowdonia, which are a feast for the eyes all year round; and second, the wooded walks up the hillside towards Clough’s lookout tower, Pentwr, which is especially delightful in the autumn season.
7. Coed y Brenin
Just outside Dolgellau, Coed y Brenin is a forest that’s associated with mountain biking – but it’s also a wonderful place for autumn walks through crunchy leaves, with the sun burning bright and low in a clear blue sky. Whether you choose to explore the forest on two legs or two wheels, make sure you visit the cafe before you leave; the views are fantastic!
One of the wonderful things about Snowdonia’s beaches is that they can be enjoyed all year round; they’re not just for sunbathing! And one of the many wonderful things about Barmouth is its beach, which is a two-mile stretch of glorious sand backed by the stunning scenery of the Mawddach Estuary. The estuary is popular with walkers, birdwatchers and photographers – due in some part to the fantastic sunset photo opportunities.
9. Gypsy Wood Park
If you’re visiting Snowdonia with children this autumn, pop into Gypsy Wood Park and enjoy a splashy welly-walk through the park’s wetlands. If you don’t have any wellies, it’s not the end of the world; you and the children will have just as much fun with the park’s model railway, petting farm and gift shop.
Portmeirion Village is one of Snowdonia’s most popular attractions, and it’s easy to see why. Brightly painted buildings, formal gardens, gorgeous woodland walks and a wide, sandy estuary – not to mention some of the area’s best shopping – combine to make Portmeirion Village one of the most beautiful Snowdonia attractions, all year round.