fun things to do with kids in snowdonia wales   Travel for Kids

Snowdonia National Park

Snowdonia National Park (838 square miles) is chock full of things for kids to do – walk in the mountains or along the beach, ride on narrow gauge railways, take a trip down an old slate or copper mine, clamber on the ramparts of ancient castles. (Within Snowdonia National Park, most of the land is privately owned, a different concept from national parks in the U.S.)

Llanberis –


Snowdonia takes its name from Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, and sometimes called the "place of eagles." There haven't been golden eagles on Mount Snowdon for 300 hundred years, but you might see peregrine falcons.

    Ride the Snowdon Mountain Railway to the top of Snowdon mountain. Even in summer it can be cold at the summit station, so bring sweaters. Check out the Railway site for timetables.
    Take the Llanberis Lake Railway steam train along the shores of the Lake Padarn (Llyn Padarn). For train schedules, check out the Llanberis Lake Railway.
      Visit the Welsh Slate Museum, housed in old Victorian workshops where kids can see live slate-splitting demonstrations, an iron and brass foundry, waterpowered machinery and forges.
      Llyn Padarn Country Park has nature trails, picnic sites and an old slate quarry.
    Sygun Copper Mine (Beddgelert) – Put on a hard hat and travel down into this 19th century copper mine through tunnels and caverns with stalactites and stalagmites. When you come out at the end of the tour, there are great views the valley and mountains in the distance. Audio visual presentations provide a glimpse into the past and everything you'd want to know about the mining process.
      Also in Beddgelert is the Grave of Gelert, the faithful dog of Prince Llewelyn. According to legend, Llewelyn left Gelert with his infant son while he off hunting. When he returned, Gelert was covered in blood and the child was gone from his crib. Thinking the dog had harmed his child, Llewelyn killed Gelert. Too late, he discovered the baby unhurt, next to the body of a wolf, killed by Gelert who had saved the baby.
    Betws-y-Coed – Betws-y-Coed is a charming old town on the River Conwy, located in a stunning natural setting. You could spend a morning running back and forth over numerous old stone or iron bridges in town. There are lovely walks along the River Conwy, to Fairy Glen and the Beaver Bridge or around Gwydir Forest. If you're more industrially-minded, visit the Motor Museum with rare cars such as Bugattis, Aston Martins (James Bond's favorite) and a child's racing car.
      In Trefriw (near Llanrwst) tour the Trefriw Woolen Mill to see the traditional process of carding, spinning, dying, and weaving wool into finished clothing. Also in Trefriw, visit the Trefriw Wells Roman Spa (the Romans were the first to test the waters), Cyclopean Bath house and Victorian Pump Room – try the waters yourself.
      Two miles away in the village of Capel Garmon is a Neolithic burial chamber (croimlech), big hunks of stone sunk into the ground, lasting 5,000 years.
Dolwyddelan CastleDown the valley from Betws-y-Coed, Dolwyddelan Castle is a solitary structure, standing guard over the Vale of Conwy since the 13th century. This castle was built by the famous Llewelyn the Great, a Welsh prince (the original Prince of Wales). Two towers in the mist, and great views of the valley from the ridge.
Slate Caverns
Tour the slate mines, Blaenau Ffestiniog - Before going to the mines, take the wonderful narrow gauge Ffestiniog Railway that goes from Porthmadog up to Blaenau Ffestiniog. In the Llechwedd Slate Caverns, take the miners underground tramway deep into the mines, following a maze of tunnels. There are also plenty of slag heaps around town too. For another industrial treat, visit the Ffestiniog Power Station and Stwlan Dam, beautiful views and guided tours of the power plant.
Bala Lake (Llyn Tegid) – On eastern edge of Snowdonia National Park is Bala Lake (Llyn Tegid), the largest natural lake in Wales. Go canoeing or kayaking on the lake (Bala Adventure and Watersport Centre in Bala).
      The Bala Lake Railway narrow gauge railway, runs along the southern shore of the lake between towns of Bala and Llanuwchllyn. Check out the Bala Lake Railway for the timetable.
Harlech Castle (Harlech) – This another of King Edward I's 13th century English castles, built to stamp out any more revolts by the Welsh. Situated on the sea, Harlech Castle still gives the impression of a mighty fortress. The turreted gatehouses and ramparts are a delight to explore.
    Just outside of Harlech, Llanfair Quarry produced million of roof slates, called a "Welsh Lady." Today, tour the nine caverns of the Llanfair Quarry Slate Caverns, to see where slate was mined, and steps cut into the stones, called Jacob's Ladder.
Dolgellau and around – Dolgellau sits on the edge of the golden sands of the Mawddach Estuary, and behind it rises a dramatic peak, Cader Idris. Cader Idris is steeped in legends, from the mythical giant Idris to Welsh tales of King Arthur and the young Merlin, Myrddin Emrys.
      Dolgellau – It's hard to imagine that this bucolic town with charming gray stone shops and houses was gripped in a gold frenzy in the 19th century. The Welsh Gold Visitor Centre is a good place to start, or visit the Gwynfynydd Gold Mine, once one of the richest gold mines in Britain, and today is still a working gold mine where you can see how a gold mine works and pan for gold yourself.
      Walks – Get out and take a walk through some of the gorgeous natural scenery in this area, Coed-y-Brenin Forest Park, the Torrent Walk along Clywedog River to the Clywedog Tea Garden, or around the Creggennan Lakes. Alternatively, there is pony trekking on the foothills of Cader Idris available from Abergwynant Farm outside Dolgellau.
    Castell y Bere (Abergynolwyn) – At the base of Cader Idris stands a Welsh (not English) castle, Castell y Bere, a 13th century castle built by the Great Llewelyn. This one is very very crumbly and there's not a whole lot to it, but the setting and views of the mountains are impressive.
      Beaches – The "sublime" Mawddach Estuary affords miles of beaches, including the famous golden sands (there really are flecks of gold in the sands). Between Arthog and Penmaenpool there is a four mile nature walk along the estuary.
Tywyn Talyllyn Railway (Tywyn) – Take this charming narrow gauge railway from the wharf at Tywyn on Cardigan Bay (don't miss the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum too). Get off at the main terminus station at Abergynolwyn for a picnic and walk in the forest, or continue to the very end to Nant Gwernol where there is no road, but great walks in the area. For timetables, check out the Railway site.
King Arthur's Labyrinth (Corris, near Machynlleth) – This attraction features a boat ride on a subterranean river through the Caverns of Braich Goch Mountain. Tableaux in the caverns show scenes from the Welsh tales of King Arthur, stories of the young Merlin and the red and white dragons, and the cave where Arthur sleeps with his knights.
travel for kids | wales | snowdonia national park
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