Snowdonia for families: where should we stay?

Boating in Llanberis

Boating in Llanberis

When you visit Snowdonia with children, you’ll want to keep all the family-friendly attractions within easy reach. Here are five towns and villages that have easy access to attractions and activities the whole family can enjoy.


Snowdonia is like a giant playground. Wherever you go in Snowdonia, there’s always something interesting to see or something fun to do. From adrenalin-fuelled activities like surfing and ziplining to laid-back meanderings through castles, galleries and museums, every visit to Snowdonia is different.

But what about visiting Snowdonia with children?

If you have a young family, you can’t always act spontaneously when it comes to holidays. You’ll often need to plan ahead, and make sure that wherever you choose to base your family during your holiday, it’s somewhere that’s within easy reach of attractions and activities that the whole family can enjoy.

Here are five Snowdonia towns and villages that are close to attractions that all members of the family will appreciate, making them great bases for your Snowdonia holiday.

On the beach at Barmouth

On the beach at Barmouth

1. Barmouth

Barmouth is a good old-fashioned British seaside town, the sort you’ll remember from your own childhood. Barmouth has a fantastic two-mile stretch of sandy beach; a funfair; the Dragon Theatre, which stages events for all ages; several museums (collectively, the wonderful ‘On the Quay‘ attraction). And there’s the excellent Fairbourne Railway, with its steam engines ready and waiting to take you on a tour of the beautiful Mawddach Estuary.

Not too far away are Shell Island (200 varieties of shells on the beach, just waiting to be found); Llanfair Slate Caverns (ideal for rainy days); Harlech Castle; Children’s Farm Park (baby animals and much more); and Coed y Brenin Forest Park (walking, cycling, nature rambles and treasure hunts – and a cool adventure playground too).

Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon Castle

2.  Caernarfon

Caernarfon is a characterful medieval walled town with a magnificent castle that visitors of all ages adore. Inside the castle there’s also the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum, which offers a fascinating glimpse at warfare over the centuries. In town there are some lovely independent shops (there are some real gems in the narrow back streets), and excellent restaurants, cafes and pubs. At Galeri Caernarfon you might catch a concert or film, while a walk around the town walls and marina offers some wonderful views and bracing sea air.

Within easy reach of Caernarfon are the excellent beach at Dinas Dinlle, where there’s an Iron Age hill fort and air museum; the woodlands and craft workshops at Glynllifon; GreenWood Forest Park with its famous people-powered roller coaster and tons of fun activities; and if you’re feeling very energetic, Plas Menai, where you can try your hand at a number of exciting watersports.

Snowdon Mountain Railway

Snowdon Mountain Railway

3. Llanberis

Llanberis is ‘activity central’ – there’s so much going on in and around Llanberis, it’ll probably take you a couple of weeks to do it all! For starters there’s Snowdon – will you walk up or take the train? – and Padarn Country Park, which is choc-full of activities (boating, ziplining and much more). There’s the National Slate Museum, which gives an insight into life as a quarryman, and the Quarry Hospital, where you can learn about Victorian medicine. If it rains, head underground at Electric Mountain for a tour of the Dinorwig Power Station. If it doesn’t, explore the ruins of Dolbadarn Castle, or take a boat trip on the lake (or a steam train journey around it).

Llanberis is within easy reach of many of Snowdonia’s top attractions, so try heading out to explore Beddgelert (Sygun Copper Mine is excellent) or Betws-y-Coed (the Conwy Valley Railway Museum is great fun).

Plas Mawr

Plas Mawr

4. Conwy

Like Caernarfon, Conwy is a medieval walled town with a fantastic castle and narrow streets lined with great little independent shops (including one – the Knight Shop – selling swords and suits of armour). Plas Mawr is fascinating for older children, as is Aberconwy House. Stroll through the harbour and watch the boats go by, or climb the steps of the town walls for a bird’s eye view of the area.

Further afield – Penrhyn Castle near Bangor has plenty going on, and will keep the whole family enthralled for hours. Travel down the Conwy Valley to Trefriw Woollen Mills and see cloth being woven. Or visit the vast beach at Victorian seaside resort, Llanfairfechan.

Pwllheli

Pwllheli

5. Pwllheli

Another good old-fashioned seaside town, Pwllheli is a firm family favourite. There’s a lovely little funfair that the children will love, and wonderful sandy beaches – perfect for building sandcastles, paddling or simply staring drop-jawed at the views. Take a boat trip to Bardsey Island (look out for dolphins en route). Play the 2p Falls at the amusement arcade, and drool over the award-winning fish and chips at Allports.

Nearby there’s Abersoch, with its amazing beaches and watersports; Porthoer (Whistling Sands) where the sand squeaks when you walk on it; Criccieth, with its clifftop-perched castle and excellent Cadwalader’s ice creams; or any number of wonderful little secluded beaches (Porth Iago is gorgeous) along the Llyn Peninsula.

4 thoughts on “Snowdonia for families: where should we stay?

  1. If you’re in the area this bank holiday weekend do your best to get to Harlech for the Demolition Derby organised by the local Rugby Club. It’s one of the best attended events of the summer.
    Location: Las Ynys, Harlech. LL46 2UT
    Monday, 27th August. First Race: 12:30pm
    Adults £5, Children £1 (free parking)

  2. Pingback: Father’s Day in Snowdonia: great ideas for every type of dad! | Snowdonia Mountains and Coast

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