6 places to visit in Snowdonia with kids if you’re skint!
North Wales, especially Snowdonia is full of little adventures for children. They needn’t be bankruptcy style escapades either! Really wanted to help people out with this post, as I see the same old posts on my Facebook page. People wondering were to take the children during half term or school holidays.
As I’ve mentioned before my three are adventurers. We all enjoy the outdoors, and usually dismay at returning home. Some of these suggestions are suitable in all weathers, but I’ve written them in as my favourite places. I’m taking it for granted that you’re packing a picnic. Most of these places are accessible with a pram. I may follow this up with another post with different places before the Summer holidays.
These are out six favourite destinations so far this year.
A trip to Llanberis is always special. We go when its winter and summer and always enjoy the time we have together.
There is something for everyone here. It’s £4 to park for the whole day and there are a choice of two car parks. One near the National Slate museum, and one near Electric mountain. On a nice day you can walk from the furthest car park around the lake. There is an amazing little playground for the kids, loads of swans, geese and ducks on the lake to feed.
Further along you can walk along to the railway, or to Dolbadarn castle (it’s free to walk up there but I wouldn’t advise taking a pram!) It’s a rocky little path up to the top, but easy enough to manoeuvre. G is accustomed to getting covered in mud and looking for nooks and crannies. He loved the castle.
You can then spend some serious time at the slate museum, learning about the history of the area. Check what’s on, there is usually a slate cutting exhibition, a film, a few weeks ago there was a smithy, working a forge. It all varies with the time of year you visit.
From here you can take the walk around the lake and look for mountain goats, or walk up through the quarry, towards the old cottage hospital and stunning views of the mountains. Be warned. There are 64 wooden steps leading up to the quarry hospital, so pram driving up here is inadvisable. Although we have taken the pram sillier places. I’ll come to that in a minute!
If we have the money G enjoys the lake railway but it gets expensive to go on the train for the five of us. On a nice day we do the walk, if it’s raining we’ll get crafty in the museum.
Enjoyment factor of this little gem in Snowdonia is a 10/10
2. Rhyd Ddu
From Rhyd Ddu you can actually venture up Snowdon, or get a train with the Welsh Highland Railway, but since I’m talking about budgeting and our little kiddies we’ll talk about the walk from Rhy Ddu to Beddgelert!
This mostly gravel footpath is completely suitable for prams. We’ve walked it in the rain, and in the dry and thoroughly enjoyed it! You can see a fair bit of archaeology on the way down, and I would recommend walking Lon Las Gwyrfai down to Beddgelert and not the other way around, especially if you’re not that athletic. I’m not athletic…
Anyway there are conservation boards all the way down to Beddgelert so the kids can learn about history, the wildlife at different types of year. There is some absolutely stunning scenery on your walk, and a fantastic ice cream shop to rest your wobbly legs at the end of the walk. It should take around an hour to walk, over bridges, magic fairy hidey holes, little hidden coves, and loads of imaginary play space for kids. G loves getting the bus back up to Rhyd Ddu, it costs around £2 and drops you nicely back at the railway car park.
Another Snowdonia thumbs up for my kids and another 10/10 for us.
3. Parys Mountain
Ok, so not literally in Snowdonia, but visiting this place is so cool! We all agreed that we want to go back to this place and explore some bits we couldn’t reach with the pram.
Parys mountain is a copper mine on Anglesey and part of the Copper Kingdom based in Amlwch. The paths here aren’t really suitable for prams, but that doesn’t usually stop my partner from trying! And we got ALL the way around. There is some amazing archaeology to explore here. Old abandoned mines, copper smelting works dating back to the Bronze age.
It also feels otherworldly, all colours that don’t seem entirely natural re part of the earth here. It’s like taking a walk on Mars. Parys is also part of larger working walking routes, but for us, the mountain, it’s history and it’s magnificence, just blew away a sunday. Gave us plenty of photos too!
8/10 here just because the paths we wanted to go down we couldn’t as they were just too loose for the all terrain dad!
4. Betws Y Coed
I’m adding this here because that’s where we have been today. We are on a bit of a tight budget this year because of renovating the house, and to be fair, today’s visit cost us the price of an ice cream and £10 to go on the mini steam train, so I thought I would include it!
Betws y Coed is a village inspired by Alpine skiing villages. I don’t think I’ve ever visited without spending a fortune (mostly because there’s a FatFace shop, and a book shop there). Today, we wanted a cheap day out, so we went to the railway museum. All the kids went on the mini train and in the model railway museum, which was full of railway memorabilia. I highly recommend seeing how much you should have weighed in 1894 on the mechanical scales!).
You can take a walk up to llyn Elsi from Betws, which is accessible with a push chair, or you can follow the river forest trail which splits up to the devil’s causeway walk (definitely not for prams or the faint hearted!). Betws is one of those places which always has something, in winter or Summer. A bit up the road is one of my secret gems – Gwydir castle, which is somewhere I return to again and again.
Definitely a good 7/10!
5. Glynllifon and Dinas Dinlle
Glynllifon Country park and gardens is one of our families favourite haunts. It’s been one of those places I’ve been visiting since my childhood and when I was old enough to ride a bike, I’d come here then down to the beach with friends.
It boasts a variety of buildings that date from when it was a managed farm. The hall itself is in the middle of being renovated and turned into a very nice looking hotel! The grounds are just an adventure playground for kids of all ages. So many paths to explore. So many hidden nooks and crannies, and not too much of a strain on your old legs. There’s a fantastic variety of buildings, fountains, bridges, fishing wells. Lots to see, including an open air amphitheatre and a monument to the quarry men of the region.
Why not pop down to the beach from Glynllifon and see if you can spot the ferries leaving Holyhead for Ireland, or build a pebble tower? Even visit caffi HEMS for a cuppa and watch the air ambulance take off from Caernarfon airport? There is also a museum (I’m convinced it’s haunted!) but you can sit in different planes and the children absolutely love it! Check here for opening times.
6. Mynydd Mawr, Snowdonia’s secret hideaway
Now this is a bit off the beaten track, and at the end of the road. But the end of the road is always the beginning of an adventure. I think you might be starting to see where my kids get their attitude from! If you have a sturdy pram or a pappoose then this walk is ideal for little ones. You are entering the realms of fairy kingdoms and searching for dragon eggs.
On a clear day you can see the Nantlle ridge, Snowdon, and you could attempt your first ever mountain with the little ones. Either Moel Tryfan, to the left of the parking spot or Mynydd Mawr (elephant mountain to the locals due to it’s shape). Park in Fron, and follow this clever little walk I found on Mud and Routes. If it’s a fine day then stop at the lake for fairy hunting, mountain admiring and ring fort archaeology finding. In spring the lake is full of tadpoles. It’s nice for dipping toes in too but it has a whirl spring in the middle so don’t let them swim too far in.
This is the hidden gem – it’s my favourite place on earth, so I’m going to have to score it 10/10.
Really hope you enjoy checking out some of these places with your fam. Let me know what you think in the comments!