Heart of Snowdonia: things to do in Llanberis and Betws-y-Coed

Boating in Llanberis

Boating in Llanberis

Llanberis and Betws-y-Coed are two villages that sit in the heart of Snowdonia. They’re not big places, but they are certainly action-packed, as our list of things to do in these two locations shows!

Snowdonia is full of wide, open spaces, and that’s one of the reasons visitors – and local people – love the region so much. But dotted around here and there are some lovely towns and villages, many of which offer a great selection of attractions and activities.

At the very heart of Snowdonia are two villages which, despite not being very large, are absolutely packed with things to do and see. These villages are among the most popular among visitors to Snowdonia, not just because of the wealth of activities and attractions in and around them, but thanks to the stunning beauty of the surrounding countryside.

Llanberis and Betws-y-Coed will draw even more visitors than usual on 6th September 2015, as on this day the Tour of Britain – the UK’s largest cycling event – will pass through both villages, having started at Anglesey that morning (incidentally, this is the first time the race has ever started in Wales).

But it doesn’t take very long for the riders to pass through these villages, so if you’re visiting either Llanberis or Betws-y-Coed to watch the Tour of Britain and would like a few ideas for things to do once the riders have become specks on the horizon, read on…

Llanberis

Snowdon Mountain Railway

Snowdon Mountain Railway

Llanberis is the starting point of the Llanberis Path up Snowdon – and also the starting station for the Snowdon Mountain Railway, so if you don’t fancy walking up our highest mountain you could always do it the easy way!

Electric Mountain is a fantastic educational attraction for all the family. You’ll be taken on an underground tour of the power station and have a chance to visit the shops in the visitor centre afterwards.

The Llanberis Lake Railway offers a relaxed way to enjoy the beautiful countryside at Padarn Country Park. If you don’t want to take the train, by all means have a stroll instead; there is plenty to see and do in the park, including nature walks and water sports. Look out also for the Quarry Hospital, which is full of fascinating relics of Victorian medicine.

Dolbadarn Castle

Dolbadarn Castle

Dolbadarn Castle can be visited free of charge, and is very much worth a visit. Overlooking the lakes and surrounded by mountains, there are photo opportunities aplenty at this medieval stronghold of the Princes of Gwynedd.

The National Slate Museum offers a fun day out for all the family. Look around quarrymen’s cottages and learn about their lives, their skills, and the dangers they faced every day.

No visit to Llanberis would be complete without lunch and a pint (yes, a pint!) of tea at Pete’s Eats, one of the UK’s best-loved climbers’ cafes. While you wait for your food – which is delicious, by the way – you can look at the many climbing photos adorning the walls. You can even buy a pint mug to take home with you!

Betws-y-Coed

The dreamy landscape of the countryside surrounding Betws-y-Coed inspired the UK’s first artists’ colony, so one of the first things you’ll want to do when you explore the village is browse the art galleries and craft shops; maybe you’ll even pick up a souvenir or two to take home with you.

Swallow Falls

Swallow Falls

The gushing waters of Swallow Falls are a favourite among visitors, and especially those visitors who enjoy a spot of photography – so make sure you take your camera with you! There’s a steep walk down from the road to the falls, but it’s very much worth the effort.

The Conwy Valley Railway Museum is a great attraction for all the family. As well as some great interactive model railways to admire and operate, there’s a miniature gauge railway that takes passengers all around the property on a fun little tour – highly recommended! Afterwards you can buy model railway kits and accessories at the museum’s shop.

Tree Top Adventure offers plenty of fun ways to keep visitors of all ages active. Climbing trees and zipping down to the ground again is an activity that will awaken the inner child in most of us – and of course it’s loved by actual children too!

Ty Hyll – “the Ugly House” – is anything but! Yes, it’s a bit unusual looking, but it’s a great place to visit. Learn all about honeybees at the Honeybee Room, explore the woodlands and gardens, and enjoy afternoon tea at the Pot Mêl Tearoom.

Go Below

Go Below

And finally, if you’re still not tired out after all that exploring, try a bit of further exploration with a difference, courtesy of Seren Ventures and Go Below. The former offer all sorts of guided activities such as gorge walking, climbing and abseiling, while the latter offer similar activities but underground instead of on the surface – so if you’ve ever fancied taking an underground boat ride or climbing a waterfall, here’s your chance!

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