Explore Snowdonia’s outstanding mountain scenery by heritage railwayPublished on 22 Feb 2021 by Amy Bowers
Explore Snowdonia’s outstanding mountain scenery by heritage railway. Steam trains and stunning landscape views are a match made in heaven, and North Wales offers plenty of both.
This part of the world has no shortage of heritage railways, but two of our favourites – the Ffestiniog Heritage Railway and Welsh Highland Railway – are respectively the world’s oldest, and the world’s longest. If ever there were a place to sit back and enjoy the nostalgic pleasure of steam, this is it.
From their comfortable plush carriages, to the nostalgic aroma of coal and gentle chuff of the engine as it moves through the landscape, a day out on these railways is one of life’s great pleasures.
The Ffestiniog Railway
Established in 1832, the Ffestiniog Railway is the oldest independent railway company in the world.
Running along a nearly 200-year old narrow gauge track – which was first used to run wagons laden with slate from mountain to port – the trains climb over 700 feet from sea level into the mountains.
The Ffestiniog trains will take you on a magical 13½-mile journey from the harbour in Porthmadog to the slate-quarrying town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. The railway winds its way around the UK’s only railway spiral as it puffs its way into the mountains.
All aboard: Buy your ticket at Porthmadog
The Welsh Highland Railway
The Welsh Highland Railway is the UK’s longest heritage railway, running for 25 miles from Caernarfon, past the foot of Snowdon and the picture postcard village of Beddgelert. It crosses the stunning Aberglaslyn Pass before arriving at the harbour town of Porthmadog.
The railway offers some of the most comfortable carriages on any heritage railway in the world, including first class Pullman luxury services complete with freshly-prepared meals served at your seat.
All aboard: buy your ticket at Caernarfon
High days and holidays
The Ffestioniog and Welsh Highland railways run a number of special themed days and events throughout the year, including Pullman luxury days, vintage weekends, walking festivals, real ale festivals and music events. Follow the railways on social media to find out more.
Looking for some great places to stay near the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways?
Check in for cottages close to Caernarfon, Porthmadog or Beddgelert. Here are some of our favourites.
Rhiwgoch, near Porthmadog
This beautiful Welsh farmhouse comes with a hot tub, huge mountain views and a steam train running through the garden. That’s right, we said a steam train running through the garden. Sleeps 7 + cot. Find out more.
Eiddior, near Porthmadog
The location of this cottage is pretty hard to beat. Tucked away in the peaceful Llŷn countryside, yet easily accessible from the main Caernarfon to Porthmadog highway, it is the perfect escape for anyone in search of a restorative North Wales getaway. Sleeps up to 7. Find out more
Bron Eifion, near Beddgelert
Located at the foot of Snowdon, Bron-Eifion is the quintessential Snowdonia cottage. The cottage shares the valley with the Welsh Highland Steam Railway as it pushes its way from Beddgelert to the south up to Rhyd Ddu station and then on to Caernarfon in the north. Sleeps 4. Find out more.
Capel Llyfni, near Caernarfon
Capel Llyfni is a stunning chapel conversion close to both the beach and the mountains. Modern interiors, large open spaces and clear mountain views make this a beautiful holiday destination in North Wales. Sleeps up to 7. Find out more.