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Beddgelert is a pleasant little village in Snowdonia with cute stone houses and a welcoming countryside feel. It’s an ideal spot to base yourself whilst you explore the wider national park, plus there are plenty of local activities to keep you occupied.
On my most recent trip to Snowdonia, I stayed near Beddgelert and decided to put together this handy guide of the 12 top things to do in and around the village.
1. Visit the Grave of Gelert
The literal translation of the name Beddgelert from Welsh to English means ‘Gelert’s grave’ so it’s only fitting that my number one thing to do in the village is to visit Gelert’s grave. So, who on Earth is Gelert?
According to folklore, Gelert was the hound dog of Llewelyn the Great in the 13th Century. When Llewelyn returned home one day, he saw the cot of his infant and heir to the throne empty and full of blood. Gelert came running towards him with blood around his mouth, so Llewelyn assumed the worst and hastily cast his sword into the dog’s side.
Moments later, Llewelyn walked into the next room to find his heir alive and well. Next to him, on the floor was a dead wolf that had tried to eat the child, but had been slain by Gelert. Llewelyn swore never to kill again and the dog is buried in the centre of Beddgelert.
I’ve put together a full guide to help you find the grave, and I’ll also discuss whether the story of Gelert the dog is real…
2. Get a Selfie with Gelert’s Statue
If seeing his grave wasn’t enough, there’s also a statue of Gelert the faithful hound dog that you can visit. It’s made from copper and can be found in the ruins of an old cottage in Beddgelert, it’s not far from Gelert’s grave so it’s worth visiting them both at the same time.
3. Take a Tour at Sygun Copper Mine
At Sygun Copper Mine, you can head underground into the caverns and tunnels of a former copper mine. It was abandoned in the early 1900s but since then stalagmites and stalactites have formed and it’s been renovated into a visitor attraction.
This is a self-guided tour so you don’t need to book ahead. The cost is £10 for adults and £7.50 for children with under 3’s going free. The tour lasts for around 40 minutes in total. There’s also a visitor centre where you can learn all about the copper mining industry in Snowdonia.
Remember that it can get pretty chilly underground so you’ll need to bring something warm to wear, even on a hot day outside.
4. Hike the Legendary Dinas Emrys Trail
Being in Snowdonia, you have lots of choices when it comes to walking trails, I’ve put together a full guide to the best walks from Beddgelert here. However, one of my favourites that is worth a mention is the Dinas Emrys Trail.
Not only are you rewarded with panoramic views from the top, but the trail has an interesting history. Dinas Emrys plays a key part in the story of why Wales has a dragon on its flag.
According to legend, back in the 5th century, King Vortigern was trying to build a castle here. However, his workers and materials kept disappearing. Eventually, a young boy told him that there were two dragons at an underground lake beneath the hill.
This proved to be true and when Vortigern’s men found the dragons, one red and one white, they fought until the red dragon was victorious. Thankfully, the only dragon I saw was this elegantly carved dragon bench.
The trail begins at the National Trust Craflwyn and Beddgelert visitor centre just outside the village. There is free parking and a small exhibition that shares more background to the story (although few other facilities than this). See my Dinas Emrys trail guide for more information.
5. Hit the Mountain Bike Trails in Beddgelert Forest
As well as some great walking routes, Beddgelert forest is also known for its cycling routes. There are two main trails through the forest:
- Bedwen trail – This short 6km trail encompasses the forest and lake, taking around 1-1.5 hours.
- Dewen trail – A slightly longer 10km trail that is slightly more hilly than the Bedwen trail, it should take 1-2 hours depending upon your fitness.
The trails are through a forest so you’ll need a mountain bike, not a road bike.
The best place to hire one is 1085 Adventures which is located near the trails. To book a bike or see more detailed information and trail maps, visit their website. Bike hire starts from £25 per day.
6. Walk the Gelert’s Grave Circular Walk
One of the shorter walks in Beddgelert that’s suitable for all the family is the Gelert’s Grave circular walk which takes you past Gelert’s grave and down the Afon Glaslyn (Glaslyn River).
If you stroll down the river from Beddgelert, after around 700m you’ll come across a footbridge next to a railway bridge where you can cross over and return on the opposite side of the river.
The route takes just 40 minutes from the middle of Beddgelert, you can see the full recommended route map here.
7. Take a Day Trip on the Ffestiniog Mountain Railway
The Ffestiniog Railway is a heritage railway line that runs through the national park and claims to be the world’s oldest narrow-gauge railway still in use today. It’s one of the top things to do in Snowdonia and runs right through Beddgelert with the platform just a few minutes’ walk from the centre of the village.
Transport yourself back in time with a trip on one of their heritage steam trains. Many of the services actually run to Beddgelert which isn’t much help if you’re already staying there, however, there is one that departs Beddgelert called The Harbourmaster.
This is a full-day experience that picks up in Beddgelert at 10.20am before travelling through the foothills of Snowdonia on the Ffestiniog Railway and joining the Welsh Highland Railway all the way to Caernarfon on the coast.
You’ll have two hours to explore Caernarfon before returning back to Beddgelert around 4pm. You can book a family return ticket with a table reservation for around £90. Note that this service only runs on Fridays and Saturdays, check their full timetables here.
8. Go Kayaking or Stand-Up Paddleboarding on Llyn Gwynant
Llyn Gwynant is a huge lake not far from Beddgelert where it’s possible to go kayaking, canoeing, or stand-up paddleboarding. You can hire equipment from Llyn Gwynant campsite with prices starting from £7 per hour. Find out more here.
It is possible to kayak or canoe down the river from Llyn Gwynant to Llyn Dinas. This is fairly easy but remember that if you rented a kayak, you’ll need to return it back to Llyn Gwynant after so you’ll need a way to transport it back. Experienced kayakers can continue down the river to Beddgelert although this is a grade 2 or 3.
9. Find the Dragon’s Lair With a Treasure Trail
If you’re looking for something to keep the kids entertained while you explore the village, then why not make them into a detective for the day.
With the Beddgelert treasure trail, you’ll be tasked with exploring the village using a map that once belonged to Merlin himself. You’ll uncover clues which will help you track down the legendary dragon’s lair.
The trail can be downloaded to print at home or you can order a copy to be delivered through the post if you don’t have access to a printer. You can submit your answers via their website for the chance to win £100 in the monthly prize draw.
10. Eat a Local Dish at Y Bistro Yn Yr Hebog
Just because you’#re in the middle of Snowdonia, that doesn’t mean you can’t find good food in Beddgelert. Right in the heart of the village is a lovely little place called Y Bistro Yn Yr Hebog that’s well worth checking out.
The cosy little family-run restaurant serves up a range of dishes with the braised beef and the Mediterranean vegetable wellington among my top recommendations. They also have an extensive wine list.
Being a small place, it can get busy during peak times so I recommend that you use their online booking system to make sure you secure a place.
11. Pick Up Some Souvenirs from Beddgelert Woodcraft
If you want to get some gifts to take back home, then Beddgelert Woodcraft is the best place in the village (if not the entire national park) to get something.
Inside, you’ll find a huge range of handcrafted gifts. They are all sourced from Indonesia where the family have built connections with local craftspeople over their 40 years in business.
You can tell that each item has been expertly crafted because no two items are exactly identical. They have a wide variety of souvenirs from small puffin statues to traditional love spoons.
12. Go rock climbing at Lockwood’s Chimney
This is not an activity I tried myself, but I understand that Beddgelert is home to quite a well-known rock climbing route called Lockwoods Chimney, named after Arthur Lockwood who first completed the climb in 1908.
This is a crag in the mountains you can climb that’s half-cliff and half-cave. Although most of the climb is rated as easy difficulty, there is a severe section known as the ‘chimney’ so you’ll want to ensure you’re an expert or visit with a tour group.
You can find more information about this climb, including a trail map, over on Backpacker.com.
Is Beddgelert Worth Visiting?
Yes, Beddgelert is worth visiting and makes a great spot to base yourself for exploring Snowdonia. There are several attractions to visit such as Gelert’s grave and the Sygun Copper Mine, as well as some well-known walking routes that begin in the village itself.
What Is Beddgelert Famous For?
Beddgelert is most famous for the story of Gelert the dog, the trusted hound of Llewelyn the Great who was killed in haste by his owner. The village was also home to Alfred Bestal MBE who wrote and illustrated Ruper the Bear from 1935 to 1965.
Can You See Snowdon From Beddgelert?
No, although Beddgelert is in the foothills of the highest mountain in Wales, it’s not possible to see Snowdon from Beddgelert itself.
Kieren is the founder and editor-in-chief of Wales Guidebook. Originally from rural Mid-Wales, he has lived all over the country from Cardiff to Wrexham. A true Welshman, Kieren created this site to share his passion for Wales and help others discover this beautiful country.