Local Area Information
The cottage is located on the Snowdonia Slate trial, which is an 83 mile route around Snowdonia and literally goes past the front door, which means you can walk it in both directions. With a bit of planning and the good local bus service, if you want a car free holiday for a few days this would be a great option. However, driving in the National Park is always spectacular and a great way to see the sights. Within a 20 minute drive you can be at the beaches of Harlech or Porthmadog. A visit to the the Lleyn Peninsula is a great way to spend the day, or you can visit the historic town of Caernarfon and even head to Beaumaris on Anglesey. In the opposite direction you can take a drive out to Bala, with all the lakeside attractions, or head south to Dolgellau or to the popular sea side villages of Barmouth (40 minutes) or Aberdyfi (60 minutes). Barmouth has a famous Grade II listed railway viaduct spanning the width of the Afon Mawddach, with a cycling/pedestrian path running alongside. The route continues 9 miles along an old railway track to Dolgellau passing the picturesque George III hotel. Always worth a stop to enjoy some local ale and admire the view across the estuary. This cycle route is one of the most scenic traffic free trails in North Wales.
If you are interested in local history, then Blaenau Ffestiniog is the home of the Ffestiniog narrow guage railway. You can hear the steam train from the cottage as it winds its way down the valley below. The Ffestiniog Railway is the oldest independant railway company in the world, established in 1832. You can take the scenic 13.5 mile journey down to Porthmadog and from here you can hop on the Welsh Highland Steam train to Caernarfon. Other historic attractions are the old quarry workings such as Cwmorthin Quarry near Tanygrisau, a few miles away, or further afield, the old quarry workings of Dinorwig near Llanberis. Llanberis is also home to the National Slate Museum and you can book a trip to Electric Mountain or take the train up to Snowdon.
For adrenaline junkies, the Llechwedd slate caverns in Blaenau Ffestiniog is home to Bounce Below, underground cave tours and a zip wire. At Penrhyn Quarry, near Bethesda (50 minutes drive) is Zip World and Quarry Go Karting. Just north of Betws y Coed is Surf Snowdonia. Antur Stiniog and Coed y Brenin are the local mountain biking centres.
The tourist villages of Beddgelert and Betws y Coed are within easy reach. Beddgelert has some lovely cafe's and a wonderful walk down the Aberglaslyn Pass. If you time it right the Welsh Highland steam train will chugg past. If you are after outdoor gear Betws-Y-Coed is the place. On the way to Porthmadog you go past Portmerion. This Italianate village was designed and built by Sir Clough William-Ellis and is a 'must see' on your holiday. Great walks and gardens. Interesting architecture and famed for the film location of the 60's cult classic TV show 'The Prisoner'.
Woodland walks, gardens and lakes abound the area. The National Trust owned 'Bodnant Garden' is 40 minutes drive away. A few miles from the cottage is Maentwrog Woodland and Plas Tan y Bwlch, home to the Snowdonia National Park Study Centre. The Centre has a lovely cafe with stunning views and runs a variety of courses from walking and wildlife through to craft, painting, photography and much more. The Woodland itself offers easy walking trails as well as two lakes which are both great for swimming. It is also the location of the historic station 'Tan Y Bwlch', part of the Ffestiniog railway.
As far as evening entertainment goes, Llan Ffestiniog has its own community run pub, Y Pengwern, which started life as a 17th Century Coaching Inn. This is a 2 minute walk from the cottage and often has local bands playing. There is a small village shop. Three miles away are two excellent pubs and Blaenau Ffestiniog and Porthmadog have further shops, cafes and supermarkets. You will be spoiled for choice with so many things to do and there are some great options for indoor wet weather days or on glorious weather days you can plan a trip to the beach or walk up a mountain!