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Llanberis is a small town located in the county of Gwynedd, northwest Wales. The town sits at the foot of Snowdon and also on the southern bank of Llyn Padarn Lake.
I have recently enjoyed a visit to the area where I’ve spent time enjoying the beautiful scenery and wonderful activities on offer, which I’m going to share with you in this article.
1. Learn About Local History At The Slate Museum
You should take the opportunity to visit the Slate Museum whilst in Llanberis as it will give you a unique insight into Welsh slate history. The museum is on the former site of Dinorwig Quarry which closed in 1969. Now, you’ll find exhibits, workshops, talks and demonstrations which aim to re-enact what life was like at the time – it’s a fascinating experience.
There’s also plenty to explore on-site, including an introductory video, buildings to explore such as the engineer’s house set up exactly like it would have been all those years ago, and exhibitions with videos and photos from when the quarry was active.
The Slate Museum is free to enter and is open daily between 10 am and 5 pm, which provides an excellent opportunity for a cost-effective day out. However, there is a parking charge of £5 (might be cheaper to park at Village Car Park and walk).
2. Go Kayaking on Llyn Padarn
If you’re after an adventure-based activity that will allow you to explore this beautiful natural lake and the breathtaking views that surround it, this is a must-do activity whilst in the area.
Llyn Padarn is around 2 miles long and is a glacially formed lake. At its deepest point, it’s around 94 feet deep and is one of the largest natural lakes in Wales1 (source: Wikipedia). It’s also connected to the neighbouring Llyn Peris lake on its south-eastern side.
The most popular spot to launch your kayak (or paddleboard) is this car park right next to Snowdonia Watersports. It’s free and has easy access to the water although it gets very busy. Alternatively, Village Car Park near the Blade of Giants also has access to the water but is pay and display (around £1 per hour).
Snowdonia Watersports is a great place to hire equipment too, with single-seat kayaks costing £25 for 2 hours and tandem kayaks costing £35 for 2 hours – both prices include paddles, buoyancy aids and wetsuits (booking in advance is advised as this is an extremely popular activity). There’s also a cafe upstairs if you need a breakfast after your paddle.
3. Take A Steam Train Around The Lake With Llanberis Lake Railway
The Llanberis Lake Railway offers a stellar service which will take you on the 5-mile journey alongside Lake Padarn.
Some of the highlights of the journey include: passing Dolbadarn Castle, crossing possibly Britain’s shortest river, cruising alongside the shores of Lake Padarn, and experiencing the breathtaking views of Snowdon.
I recommend stopping at Cei Llydan, which is a beautiful spot for a picnic.
The train is accessible to wheelchairs and is also doggy-friendly so make sure you bring your four-legged friend along to enjoy the experience. Unfortunately, you can only book an entire compartment which costs £26 so it’s better for bigger groups.
4. Climb Snowdon
Of course, we couldn’t have a list of things to do in Llanberis without including Snowdon (or Yr Wyddfa as it is known in Welsh) which is the highest mountain in Wales, standing at 1,085m or 3,560ft2 (source: Wikipedia).
The most popular route begins in Llanberis itself, however, there are 6 main routes you can take, all of which range in length and difficulty, here is a summary:
|Llanberis Path (easiest and most popular)||9 miles|
|Miners Track||8 miles|
|Pyg Track (difficult)||7 miles|
|Watkin Path (most difficult)||8 miles|
|Rhyd Ddu Path||8.5 miles|
|Snowdon Ranger (easy)||8 miles|
All of the routes listed above will take around 6 hours to complete so please ensure you have an adequate level of fitness and the correct equipment such as good walking boots, appropriate clothing and food before embarking on a hike up Snowdon.
Another excellent option to reach the summit if you don’t fancy the long walk is to catch the Snowdon Mountain Railway from Llanberis. The journey will take around 90 minutes and will cost £35 for a return adult ticket.
When you reach the summit a visit to the UK’s highest visitor centre is a must. On a clear day from here, it is possible to see as far as Ireland! Inside the visitor centre, there’s also a café where you can refuel, plus a gift shop. However, don’t rely on the visitor centre being open as it isn’t always, make sure you pack enough food and drink.
5. Follow In The Footsteps Of Derek Brockway With The Weatherman Walking
Derek Brockway is a bit of a legend in Wales. He’s a meteorologist best known for presenting weather forecasts for BBC Wales.
Derek has completed a series of walks around Wales which are documented in his ‘Weatherman Walking’ TV show, available on BBC iPlayer.
Whilst in Llanberis, you can follow Derek’s route around the town and nearby areas, including Llanberis Lake Railway Station, Dolbadarn Castle, The National Slate Museum, and so much more.
This free PDF download has all the information you need about the route and interesting facts about the attractions along the way.
6. Find The Secret Infinity Pool Up Snowdon
A not-so-well-known attraction in the Llanberis area is the secret infinity pool up Snowdon built by a local farmer.
Although the walk up to the pool is short, it is very steep and therefore does require a good level of fitness to be able to complete. As a guide, I would say it takes around 30-45 minutes for a moderately fit adult. Due to the steep incline, I wouldn’t recommend taking small children on this walk, although I’m sure dogs would love to be part of the adventure.
When you arrive at the secret pool you’ll be greeted with a beautiful waterfall and stunning scenery that’s the perfect spot for a picnic and selfies!
So, where is the secret pool? I’m not going to reveal any secrets here, but this YouTube video has plenty of hints to get you on your way.
7. Get A Photo With The Blade Of Giants
Where else are you going to get the chance to have our photo taken with a sword the size of a giant? The 20-foot steel sword was erected to raise awareness of the history of the Princes of Gwynedd and their contribution to the area’s Welsh heritage3 (source: Visit Snowdonia).
Although this is only an attraction to visit for a quick photo stop, it is located near all the other main attractions, so you don’t have to go out of your way to get there.
8. Zip Down Velocity 2 At Zip World
Looking for the ultimate adrenaline rush? The Velocity 2 experience is one of the top things to do in Snowdonia where you’ll hurtle through the national park, taking in the unbeatable views whilst soaring at over 100mph on what has been the world’s fastest zip line since 2013.
With prices starting at £89 per person it’s not the cheapest activity out there but is unparalleled in terms of action and uniqueness. If you are visiting the area then this one should be very near the top of your itinerary.
For those who prefer to watch from the sidelines, the onsite bistro-style restaurant named “Blondin” offers an excellent range of food and drink.
Also located at the site is the UK’s only ‘Quarry Karts’ and you can also take a tour of Penrhyn Quarry to learn more about the history of the site.
9. Find The Lonely Tree
The lonely tree is a well-visited area of Llyn Padarn and you will often see this tree appearing in photographs – it is thought to be one of the most photographed spots in the UK.
Finding the spot where the tree sits can be a bit tricky, as I found out on my recent trip there. My best advice is to head to Llanberis by car, and from here head towards Snowdonia Watersports, near to here there is a gravel car park and the spot where the lonely tree sits is a short walk through the woodland.
The spot where the tree sits is majestic, with the gorgeous lake sitting behind it along with the stunning views of the mountains. It is certainly a spot for quiet contemplation and reflection.
10. Experience The Ruins of Dolbadarn Castle
Dolbadarn Castle overlooks Llyn Padarn and it is thought that it was constructed by Llywelyn ap Iorwerth (Llywelyn the Great) in the late 12th or early 13th century.
The site is just a ruin now, but you can still climb the tower for amazing views of both Llyn Padarn and Llyn Peris.
It is open daily between 10 am and 5 pm and it’s under the care of CADW, so admission is free. There isn’t much information at the site about the castle, so I recommend reading up ahead of your visit if you’re interested to learn more.
11. Cycle Along Lon Las Peris
A great option for those who like to cycle on traffic-free routes is to pick up the Lon Las Peris route, which is only around 1.5km in length.
There’s also free parking at the northwest corner of Llyn Padarn and as you make your way to or from Llanberis you can enjoy the splendid views offered by the lake and surrounding area.
For those who wish to carry on with their cycle journey, the path connects to the public road Networks from where you can walk or cycle through the village of Cwm y Glo and Llanrug, and follow the Seiont River Valley towards the busy town of Caernarfon.
A full description of the route is available here.
12. Paint Your Own Pots at Piggery Pottery
If you fancy spending a couple of hours painting your own pottery, then you should definitely book a slot at Piggery Pottery. This is suitable for both adults and kids with the opportunity to paint a variety of ornaments from piggybanks to nightlights.
If painting your own pot isn’t enough, you can also try your hand at making one for yourself in their studio. This is a great activity in Llanberis for a rainy day given that most other activities involve being outdoors.
Piggery Pottery is only open from Friday – Sunday between 10 am and 5 pm, so booking is advised to avoid disappointment. If you won’t be around to pick up your painted item when it’s ready, it can be posted to you for a small additional cost.
13. Walk To The Llanberis Viewpoint
Whilst in the beautiful area of Llanberis, you’ll be inundated with beautiful views and scenic locations, but none are better than the Llanberis Viewpoint.
Although the viewpoint can be found on Google Maps here, it does not have all of the paths so it might end up taking you the long way around, depending upon where you begin. Instead, I recommend downloading the maps.me app which will take you there directly.
If you’re travelling in the company of any four-legged friends, they will love this work so do take them along.
14. Challenge Yourself At Ropeworks Active
For those who are looking for an active day out, Ropeworks Active will be right up your street.
The adult high ropes course includes crossing colourful net bridges, a suspended climbing wall, and even a giant spider’s web! Meanwhile, younger members of your group can navigate their way through the low ropes course, which includes a wobbly bridge, a tunnel and a zipline back down to the ground.
Other activities available on site include climbing, coasteering and an underground adventure.
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.