Snowdonia National Park is 2131 square kilometres of breathtaking scenery featuring mountains, lakes, streams, remote villages and Snowdon peak, the highest mountain in Wales.
Snowdonia is one of the UK’s rainiest places with snow and sleet expected during the winter months and fluctuating temperatures all year round in the mountainous region. The Snowdonia weather can be fickle at best.
Snowdonia National park is an amazing way to spend a day exploring the nature and wilderness of the region. Driving the Llanberis pass road, discovering the slate mining history, wandering small villages and riding trains from a bygone era. You don’t need to look too far to find places to visit in Snowdonia
We spent an amazing day in Snowdonia National Park visiting the sights by train, car and foot. The is no better way than to spend a day mesmerized by some of the most outstanding natural scenery anywhere in the world. Let’s begin our journey.
Places to visit in Snowdonia – The Llanberis Pass Road
The approach to The Llanberis Pass through the lowlands of Snowdonia National Park is national geographic stuff. Old stone house and fences, high mountains with clouds sitting on them like top hats, streams cascading down the side of hills with lakes formed in valley’s wedged between the mountainous peaks of Snowdonia National Park. It’s an amazing landscape that gives you that feeling that you have stepped back in time. Think Lord of the Rings or Outlander. The Llanberis Pass road travels between the peaks of Snowdon and the Glyderau.
The Pen-y-Pass Car Park allows for a stop when it is not full. You will be afforded some amazing views from the Pen-y-Pass Car Park. It’s quite breathtaking with the mountain peaks rising up sharply beside you while the lush green valleys of the national park dominate the lands in front of you.
The car park is the starting point for some of the most popular walking tracks in the national park. You can walk the PYG and Miners track, as well as the start and finish point the Snowdon Horseshoe. There is a cafe and a youth hostel at the Pen-y-Pass Car Park. Now surely a hostel on the Llanberis Pass must be one of the best places to stay in Snowdonia.
Continue on your journey on the Llanberis Pass as you cross the highest peak of the road at 1178 feet above sea level before winding your way down the hill to the Village of Llanberis. Slow sweeping corners, streams running by the roadside and giant rocks that have tumbled down the hill make it a fascinating landscape. With natural beauty like this, it is one of the best National Parks for kids, actually for the whole family!
Places to visit in Snowdonia – Llanberis
Once you get off the hill the small town of Llanberis is waiting for you. Population 2,000 this town is one of the best places to visit in Snowdonia. Llanberis is home to 2 different tourist railways for you to experience. The Llanberis Lake Railway is a 1 ft 11 ¹⁄₂ in narrow gauge heritage railway that runs for 2.5 miles along the northern shore of Llyn Padarn in North Wales.
The trip takes you around the edge of the lake and stops at a tranquil area where you have amazing views of the sweeping lake and countryside. On the return journey, the Llanberis Lake Railway stops at the National Slate Museum. The National Slate Museum looks like the mine has just closed and the workmen have just finished for the day. The Museum is kept as original as possible to give you a real insight into quarry life. The five-mile return trip takes around 60 minutes.
The Snowdon Mountain Railway is a tourist railway that travels for 4.7 miles (7.6 km) from Llanberis to the summit of Mt Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales. This makes the Mountain Railway the easiest route up Snowdon. Much to our disappointment, the railway was closed due to bad weather the day we were in town.
The railways only run over the summer months. The service can last up to two and a half hours which includes a stop of approximately 30 minutes at the summit. The Snowdon Mountain Railway has been ferrying passengers up the easiest route to Snowdon since 1896. Snowdon train prices are released every year. The prices for the 2018 season were as follows
- Adult return ticket Llanberis to summit return £29
- Child 3-15 ticket Llanberis to summit return £20
One of the easiest routes up Snowdon starts in Llanberis. The Llanberis path to Snowdon is 5 miles long. The Llanberis Path is the longest path to the summit. It is also one of the easiest walks for part-time walkers with only moderate fitness levels. You will find the path packed in the summer months. This Snowdon route provides you with great views of the train coming up the hill. At the Snowdon summit, there is a visitor information centre and a cafe.
Information: The Llanberis Path starts at Victoria Terrace about 150 metres from the Snowdon Mountain Railway Station.
- Mt Snowdon height is 1085 m (3560 ft)
- The mountain was used by Edmund Hillary when he was training for his Mount Everest expedition
- The name Snowdon means ‘snow hill’ and snow can often be seen covering parts of the mountain. Mount Snowdon weather can be extreme.
- The summit can be reached by a number of well-established paths and this is why Snowdon is the busiest mountain in Britain. Walking up Snowdon is popular with many.
- The rare Snowdon Lily grows on its slopes. These plants can be seen form many of the Snowdon Paths
- The views from the summit of Snowdon are truly special. When the Snowdon weather conditions are right, it is possible to see England, Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man from Snowdon.
Snowdonia National Park Facts
- There are 1,497 miles of public footpaths and walking trails
- 9 different mountains ranges live in Snowdonia.
- Snowdonia was established in 1951 making it the oldest National Park in Wales.
- Snowdonia had 15 peaks that rise over 3000 feet.
- Snowdonia is home to over 1000 different beetles.
- Snowdonia National Park contains 23 miles of coastline
What to do in Snowdonia – Visit Dolbadarn Castle
Dolbadarn Castle is a castle built by the Welsh prince Llywelyn the Great during the early 13th century, at the base of the Llanberis Pass. The castle is situated on a headland overlooking Llyn Padarn Lake. Llyn Padarn is approximately 2 miles long, at its deepest point it is 94 feet deep and is one of the largest natural lakes in Wales. There is not much left of Castle Dolbadarm except for a round keep and the foundations of the original structure. The Keep is in great condition as described as one of the best examples left in Wales. The second floor in the keep can be accessed by a stairway that provides amazing views of Snowdon and the lake. Today the castle is managed by Cadw the Welsh National Trust.
Dolbadarn Opening Hours
- 1 April 2017 – 31 March 2018 – Daily 10.00am – 4.00pm
- Last admission 30 minutes before closing
- Entry to the Castle Dolbaderm is free.
What to do in Snowdonia – Betws-y-Coed
Betws-y-Coed is an idyllic little village set in the heartland of the Snowdonia National Park. Many of the buildings in Betws-y-Coed date back to the Victorian era. Betws-y-Coed is popular for many outdoor activities that are available in the National Park such as hiking, mountain biking, fishing etc. Take a walk and find Snappers suspension bridge that crosses the Conwy River.
There are some beautiful views of the countryside and the river from the middle of the bridge. The kids loved the bridge as it swayed and moved with the people crossing it. St Michaels old church which lies close to the suspension bridge dates back to the 14th Century. Poke your head inside for a look. The train station at Betws-y-Coed is like something you would see on Harry Potter. The train station was the starting point for our journey to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Places to visit in Snowdonia – Swallow Falls
Swallow falls lies 2 kilometres out of town. The falls were an impressive sight when we visited throwing off water and mist in all directions after some heavy rains in the Welsh valley. Our girls were in awe of the water that was flowing and the sound it was making. There is a viewing platform that makes you feel like you are standing in the middle of the river waiting for the water to carry you away. Swallow falls was the kid’s favourite place to visit in Snowdonia We had lunch at the Swallow Falls hotel straight across the road. They have a good lunch menu available and local beers on tap.
Snowdonia attractions – Blaenau Ffestiniog
As you pull out of the Betws-y-Coed train station you head ever deeper into the mountains of Snowdonia. The train climbs the Lledr Valley to some 790 feet above sea level, through Dolwyddelan and Roman Bridge. Day turns to darkness as you pass through the longest tunnel in Wales at 2 miles 333 yards and emerge into the world of slate at Blaenau.Ffestiniog.
On the other side of the tunnel, it was like we had entered a new strange world. It was grey, all of it, everything. Leftover slate cascaded down the sides of every mountain in sight. With the low cloud cover and the wind, it was like something out of a movie! The girls instantly loved it and their imaginations went wild! A show mine, Llechwedd Slate Caverns, allows visitors a chance to see the inner the working lives of the Welsh quarrymen from the days gone by. Today gone are the slate mines to be replaced by tourists enjoying the scenic trains rides and thrill seekers.
Blaenau Ffestiniog these days is the starting point for many mountain bike trails and more recently zip lining and caving have become seriously popular. Zip World close by lets you fly down mountainside head first like superman over old mining areas, you can bounce on the trampoline like nets inside a cave just to name a few.
We hope this inspires you to spend a day exploring some of the best things to do in Snowdonia National Park. You won’t travel far in the national park without finding a Snowdonia attraction to experience. For us, the lure of driving the Llanberis Pass was our highlight.
How to get to North Wales
- The nearest International airports are located at Manchester and Liverpool
- You can pick up a rental car at Manchester Airport and Liverpool Airport.
- From London take the M6 motorway then the M56 towards Chester.
- By Train, the North Wales Main Line is the railway line from Crewe to Holyhead.
How to get to Snowdonia National Park.
- Travel to Snowdonia by Train. Direct train services run to the popular North Wales coastal destinations such as Conwy and Rhyl from most parts of Britain. Trains connect onto the Conwy Valley Line which runs through the Snowdonia National Park to Betws y Coed and onwards to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
- National Express services run to Llandudno, Bangor, Caernarfon, Porthmadog and Pwllheli from London, Chester and Manchester.
- Using your push bike is another great option for travelling Snowdonia. You can ride bike-friendly Snowdonia Mountains and Coast by following the National Cycle Network.
North Wales Accommodation – Where to stay
- North Wales has lots of Options from Caravan Parks, Hotels, Resorts and Home Stays.
- The main areas to stay would be Llandudno, Rhyl and Snowdonia National Parks
- For the Budget conscious we suggest the Llandudno Hostel
- For all hotels, we recommend checking out Hotels Combined for the best range and prices
- Check here for North Wales Tourist parks
We hope you enjoyed our trip through the Snowdonia National Park in North Wales. Wyld Family Travel has 2 more articles for reading enjoyment featuring North Wales. Click the image to be taken to the article.