Things to do in LlanberisPublished on 31 Dec 2022 by Gwion Llwyd
Sitting at the foot of Yr Wyddfa – Snowdon – and with two scenic lakes and an ancient woodland to explore, this beautiful mountain village is the perfect base for an adventure in North Wales.
It’s the start point for the Llanberis Path – a great walking route up Snowdon – and with those beautiful lakes on the doorstep, the perfect spot for some wild swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding on your hols. Attractions in the village include Dolbadarn Castle, the National Slate Museum, and a delightful steam railway which skirts the shores of the lakes. You can even take a train from Llanberis station to the top of Yr Wyddfa – an alternative, and rather wonderful way to conquer the mightiest mountain in Wales.
The village, with its colourfully painted shopfronts, is thriving, packed full of cafés, shops, outdoor equipment stores, and some great places to eat. Within half an hour’s drive you will find the majestic North Wales coast, the mystical Ynys Môn / Isle of Anglesey, Zip World, Portmeirion, inland surfable waves at Adventure Parc Snowdonia, and so much more.
Here’s a selection of our favourite things to do in Llanberis.
National Slate Museum
The Dinorwig Quarry workshops closed in 1969. Today, rather than fashioning wagons and forging rails, these living history workspaces at the National Slate Museum tell the story of the Welsh slate industry – a huge part of North Wales heritage and culture. Seasonal events and exhibitions. Onsite café, and dogs are welcome too. The Slate Museum is open daily, and entry is free.
Llanberis Lake Steam Railway
The delightful steam engines of the Llanberis Lake Steam Railway will take you on a five-mile return journey along the shores of Lake Padarn, right in the heart of Snowdonia. The journey takes you past the 13th century Dolbadarn Castle, through the Padarn Country Park, joining the 1845 slate railway route to run along the shores of Lake Padarn to Penllyn. There are stunning views of Yr Wyddfa / Snowdon along the way.
Take the train up Yr Wyddfa / Snowdon
Take a once in a lifetime adventure on the Snowdon Mountain Railway – one of the most scenic railway journeys in the world. Trains depart from Llanberis Station and begin their climb up Snowdon, Yr Wyddfa, a journey experienced by some 12 million travellers since 1896. Expect stunning scenery and awe-inspiring views.
The sturdy round tower of Dolbadarn Castle stands a lonely guard above spectacular Llyn Padarn. Built in the 13th century by the mighty Prince Llywelyn the Great, the castle would have controlled the main routeway from Caernarfon to Conwy as well as the economically important cattle pastures of the area. Its beautiful mountain backdrop makes for a ruggedly romantic setting, and it’s a great place for a picnic.
Built by Edward I in the 13th century, Caernarfon Castle is Wales’s most famous – and arguably most mighty – medieval castle, recognised around the world as one of the greatest buildings of the Middle Ages. Its vast curtain walls, polygonal towers and turrets are inspired by the imperial Roman architecture of medieval Constantinople. Don’t miss the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum which is housed in two of the fortress’s towers. 8 miles from Llanberis.
Plas Newydd Stately Home near Newborough
An enchanting mansion house and gardens owned by the National Trust, just over the Menai Bridge on Anglesey. Plas Newydd has fantastic views across the Menai Strait to Snowdonia, and the extensive gardens are home to a significant red squirrel population. There is a lovely tearoom and gift shop. 12 miles from Llanberis.
Sygun Copper Mines
Winner of the Prince of Wales award for tourism, Sygun Copper Mine is one of the wonders of Wales – a remarkable and impressive example of how our precious industrial heritage can be reclaimed, restored and transformed into an outstanding attraction. A self-guided audiovisual tour allows you to explore the old workings with its winding tunnels and large, colorful chambers, magnificent stalactite and stalagmite formations. Above ground you can try your hand at panning for gold and enjoy a beautiful lakeside walk. The kids can let off steam at the adventure playground. 13 miles from Llanberis.
Anglesey Sea Zoo near Brynsiencyn
If you like ocean life you should make time for a trip to the excellent Anglesey Sea Zoo, which you’ll find on the Anglesey shores of the Menai Strait. It’s a unique aquarium, displaying the best of British marine wildlife including octopus, lobsters, seahorses, conger eels and jellyfish. There’s also plenty of engaging information about British marine habitats and the research and conservation work which is helping to save them. 15 miles from Llanberis.
Experience the quirky beauty of Portmeirion
Portmeirion Village was designed by Welsh Architect Clough Williams-Ellis in the early 20th century. The architectural equivalent of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, it is an eccentric collection of Riviera-inspired houses, ornamental gardens and colour washed villas. It is also home to the spectacular Gwyllt woodland – ten hectares of trees and ornamental shrubs, with big views over the Dwyryd Estuary towards Harlech. Read more about a day out at Portmeirion here. 24 miles from Llanberis.
LOCAL ACTIVITIES AND ADVENTURES
Go paddleboarding in the mountains on Llyn Padarn
Enjoy whopping great views of Snowdon and the Glyderau from the middle of Llyn Padarn, one of the two lakes in Llanberis. Llyn Padarn is nestled amidst some of Snowdonia’s most spectacular scenery, including an ancient oak woodland. Bring your own paddleboard, or hire kits – including wetsuits and buoyancy aids – from Snowdonia Watersports on the lakeside. Llyn Padarn is also a popular spot for wild swimming.
Beacon Climbing Centre
Designed, managed, and used by people that are passionate about climbing, the Beacon Climbing Centre is the largest indoor climbing centre in North Wales. Suitable for users from age 2+, its climbing experiences are designed to cater for all levels, from first experience to elite performance. 6.5 miles from Llanberis.
Greenwood Forest Park
Consistently voted Best Family Attraction in North Wales, GreenWood boasts amazing family adventure play nestled amongst the trees, including the world’s only people powered coaster. 7.5 miles from Llanberis.
Head to Anglesey to take a high-speed RIB ride
Head to Anglesey and jump on board the world’s fastest rigid inflatable boat (RIB) with Rib Ride at Menai Bridge, Anglesey. This amazing piece of engineering flies up and down the Menai Strait – the body of water which separates Anglesey from mainland Wales – at speeds of up to 80 mph. Suitable for adults and children age 10+. 10 miles from Llanberis.
Zip World Velocity
Prepare for a truly unique and exhilarating experience: the fastest zip line in the world! On Velocity2 in Bethesda, you will soar over Penrhyn Quarry, where you can travel at speeds of up to and over 100 mph while taking in unbeatable views of Snowdonia. 10 miles from Llanberis.
Zip World Fforest
In a stunning woodland setting nestled in the Conwy Valley, a host of forest adventures and foodie delights await at Zip World Fforest. With adventures to keep the whole family busy all day, choose from the Fforest Coaster, the UK’s only alpine coaster of its kind, bouncing fun on Treetop Nets, or zip line and adventure courses high in the trees on Tree Hoppers or Zip Safari. Book online in advance. 18 miles from Llanberis.
The Glasfryn Parc Activity Centre offers hours – or even days – of family fun including archery, crazy golf, go-karting, wakeboarding, aquapark, kayaking, and stand up paddleboarding. 22 miles from Llanberis.
Adventure Parc Snowdonia
As well as a world-first inland surf lagoon, Adventure Parc Snowdonia is home to trailblazing indoor and outdoor adventures at Adrenaline Indoors, a giant indoor adventure arena. Perfect for weatherproof days out in North Wales, adventures include indoor and outdoor climbing walls, artificial caving, a ninja assault course and indoor high ropes, as well as a Soft Play zone for younger adventurers. There is also a pump track and mountain bike hire on site – handy for exploring the nearby Gwydir Mawr a Bach / Marin Trail. If you prefer your adventures to be a little more sedate, Adventure Parc Snowdonia is also home to The Wave Garden Spa – a fabulous indoor / outdoor spa. 24 miles from Llanberis.
Could this be the scariest assault course in the world? It surely has to be a contender: Go Below’s epic subterranean trip includes a sequence of zip wires, cold-sweat-inducing bridges and traverses, and an abseil to the deepest accessible point in the UK. Boating across an atmospheric underground lake feels like a welcome reprieve. You’ll find Go Below just outside Betws y Coed, in the Conwy Falls Forest Park. Book in advance. 18 miles from Llanberis.
Zip World Caverns
This underground adventure allows you to speed through the caverns of the abandoned Llechwedd slate mine on zip lines, navigating part of the course with a via ferrata, monkey bars, and a whole variety of challenging obstacles. It’s a thrilling experience! Zip World Caverns is part of the Zip World portfolio, which also boasts Europe’s largest zip zone at Zip World Titan. 28 miles from Llanberis.
Zip World Caverns (see above) is where you’ll also find Bounce Below – a series of giant underground trampolines, strung across enormous underground chambers, with climbs, slides and various levels to navigate. Bounce Below is another thrilling and completely unique North Wales adventure. From age 7+. 28 miles from Llanberis.
Climb Yr Wyddfa / Snowdon on the Llanberis Path
As one of the six main routes to the summit of Yr Wyddfa / Snowdon, the Llanberis path is a popular choice for those who are climbing our mighty mountain for the first time. While it’s the longest route (9 miles round trip), it does offer the most gradual climb to the peak. Walk from the end of Victoria Terrace in the heart of the village. Download the Snowdon Walks app, for detailed maps and a live progress tracker. You can read more about how to prepare for a walk up Snowdon, here.
Master Moel Hebog
It’s Beddgelert’s own mountain: a worthy day of walking that will reward you with superb 360 views of Snowdon, Snowdonia and the North Wales coast. At 782m Moel Hebog is no lofty peak, but it shouldn’t be underestimated. A circular route covers around 9km and will take you the best part of a day. Make sure you check the weather, and that you will have enough light to finish, before you set off. You can read our guide to Moel Hebog, here. 14 miles from Llanberis.
Where hiking meets proper mountaineering and an Everest connection. Tryfan is one of the great peaks of North Wales. This 917-metre granite peak is part of the rocky Glyderau range in Snowdonia, not too far from Capel Curig or Llanberis. Tryfan is a mountain where hiking meets mountaineering, and you will need a good level of fitness and some previous scrambling experience to take it on safely, but ropes are not necessary. All the same, be prepared for a significant level of challenge and dress appropriately: this is definitely no easy stroll. 15 miles from Llanberis.
Take on Cnicht – aka the Welsh Matterhorn – for breathtaking mountain scenery and one of Snowdonia’s best 360-degree summit panoramas. Cnicht’s pointed summit really stands out among the rounded bumps of the neighbouring peaks. It is part of Snowdonia’s Moelwyn range, a short drive from Porthmadog. Its appearance when viewed from Porthmadog has earned it the name the ‘Welsh Matterhorn’, albeit a somewhat smaller version (689m as opposed to a whopping 4,478m). You can read our guide to Cnicht, here. 23 miles from Llanberis.
Other local walking ideas
For some more walking inspiration, you might be interested in these websites: Mud and Routes is a great information resource for walking in the area. Simply enter where you would like to walk and it will give you some tried and tested routes. Geocaching is popular in this neck of the woods and if you love a treasure hunt, then this is a great way to while away an afternoon, especially if you’re trying to keep the kids amused too.
MOUNTAIN BIKING AND CYCLING
Set in the stunning slate mountains of Blaenau Ffestiniog, and with far-reaching views towards the Irish Sea, Antur Stiniog offers 14 fantastic gravity fed trails for all shades of rider from novice to world cup racer. The downhill trails are graded from green to black. Antur Stiniog includes a mountain uplift service, and bikes are available to hire from the site. 26 miles from Llanberis.
Coed y Brenin
Coed y Brenin near Dolgellau is the UK’s first and largest dedicated mountain bike trail
centre. Hire bikes from the visitor centre (or bring your own) to explore miles of world-class mountain bike trails, with waymarked routes to suit all abilities. There is also a café, plenty of family walking trails, a nice play area and some gorgeous spots for a riverside picnic. 35 miles from Llanberis.
Just a short drive away, Dinas Dinlle is a popular beach with easy access. Its upper shore of small pebbles soon gives way to a vast expanse of firm, golden sand. The sense of space is overwhelming – in good weather it’s possible to see all the way along the Llŷn Peninsula and across to Llanddwyn Island on Anglesey. The beach has two slipways, so it’s popular with watersports enthusiasts, especially jet skiers, power boaters, scuba divers and windsurfers. There is a craft exclusion zone and restrictions on dogs. 12 miles from Llanberis.
Head to Anglesey’s Newborough Beach and Warren
Newborough is a truly enchanting place on the south western tip of Anglesey. Pine trees roll down to big sandy dunes and a fabulous golden beach with a stunning mountain backdrop. From the beach, you can walk out to Llanddwyn Island, at the west end of the beach, at low tide. Legend has it that Llanddwyn was the 5th century home of Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers. Newborough beach sits on the edge of Newborough Forest and Warren. The forest is famed for its thriving red squirrel population and a huge raven roost. There are loads of trails and paths to explore, and the forest is a lovely place for a day out on foot or two wheels. 19 miles from Llanberis.
FOOD AND DRINK
There are so many great places to enjoy good food and drink in and near Llanberis, we couldn’t possibly list them all here. Instead, here are some of our personal favourites. Enjoy!
THE HEIGHTS BAR AND KITCHEN based in the centre of Llanberis offers a bistro menu in a modern environment.
THE PEAK RESTAURANT is known for its great and varied menu of traditional food. Head Chef Angela was formerly the head chef at the Groucho Club in London.
THE PADARN RESTAURANT named in honour of Llanberis’s iconic lake, the Padarn Restaurant overlooks the hotel gardens with distant views of its namesake.
THE GALLT Y GLYN offers hand thrown pizza’s in a cosy and relaxed atmosphere – they also offer a free pint with a main meal.
LLYGAD YR HAUL offers a good traditional menu – soups, sandwiches, pies and curries.
PENCEUNANT ISAF Tea Rooms is a real gem in the mountains. Offering lovely hot chocolate and cups of tea and cake.
PANTRI is a family run cafe with great cakes, teas and coffee. Dog-friendly, and beautiful mountain views.
PETE’S EATS is an iconic part of the Llanberis Cafe scene; since 1978, it has been a haven for walkers and climbers all sharing their routes and finds on the mountains – the best chip butty is to be had here.
FISH AND CHIPS
PETE’S EATS has taken over from the old Fish and Chip shop.
It’s got to be GEORGIO’S ICE CREAM for fresh homemade dairy ice cream in a whole host of delicious flavours.
THE PRACTICAL STUFF
For medical help
Dial 999 to call for an ambulance if you require urgent medical attention.
You can find your nearest urgent care health services provider by searching the NHS online directory at https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/other-services/
For non-urgent medical advice dial ‘111’ to speak to an operator at the NHS telephone advice service, or visit www.111.nhs.uk
The welsh alphabet is phonetic so once you know how to say the letters, the theory is that reading the words is straightforward; you say what you see. A little time spent familiarising yourself with the alphabet will help no end when you’re trying to navigate your way around the area…
a short, as in ‘hat’, never as in ‘ball’
b as in ‘bag’. Although is there really any other way?
c always hard as in ‘cat’, never an s as in ‘precise’
ch like the ch in the Scottish word ‘loch’, but with more phlegm
d as in ‘dog’, never as in ‘djinn’
dd a buzzy ‘th’ sound, as in ‘this’. Think angry bees with a lisp
e short, as in pen
f v. This is very, very simple, and when you get really used to it, f will play hafock with your spelling
ff f. Equally, you can ffind yourselff getting too used to ff as well
g always hard as in ‘get’, never a ‘j’ sound as in the last g in garage
ng as in ‘song’, where the g isn’t hard, like in ‘gig’, but a soft glottal stop made in your throat
h as in hat, always sounded and never silent
i as in ‘pin’
j accepted now because of the loan words from English that use it, like ‘garej’
l a ‘luh’ as in ‘lava’, but never an ‘ul’ sound as in ‘milk’
ll not as hard a sound to make as some would have you think. Raise your tongue to the top of your mouth as if you were going to say ‘el’, then make the ‘ell’ sound by blowing air round the sides of your raised tongue, instead of by using your voice. You should sound like an annoyed cat
m as in ‘mithridatize’. Or as in ‘mum’, if you want to be boring
n as in ‘nanobot’
o short as in ‘hot’, not round as in ‘hotel’
p can I have a p please Bob?
ph an English f, or Welsh ff sound, as in ‘phase’
r rolled. Some people just can’t get a rolled ‘r’ – their tongues are unable to vibrate in the right way. It’s a genetic thing, apparently,
similar to being able to roll your tongue into a tube, or turn the end upside down. Honestly, some people can, but my tongue’s not that prehensile. Roll if you can, don’t if you can’t
rh hr. Make a huffy, breathy sound before your rolled ‘r’
s always soft as in ‘sit’, never a ‘z’ sound as in ‘juxtapose’
t as in ‘top’. Can it get any simpler?
th as in ‘think’, softer and less buzzy than dd
u If you had stepped in something disgusting and made a kind of ‘eugh’ noise, the vowel ‘eu’ sound would about approximate
y ok, y breaks the rule that Welsh is phonetic. As a single syllable word, y is like ‘uh’, on the last syllable of a multisyllabic word it’ an‘u’ or ‘ee’, and anywhere else it’s like the unstressed, indeterminate noise of the final e in ‘garden’ or ‘letter’. Ysbyty (hospital) is the perfect example.
How are you? Sut mae / Ti’n iawn
Good morning: Bore da
Good Afternoon: P.nawn da, prynhawn da
Good evening: Noswaith dda
Good night: Nos da
Cheers / Good Health! Iechyd da!
Do you speak welsh? Ydych chi’n siarad Cymraeg?
How do you say…. in welsh? Beth ydy….yn Cymraeg?
Thank you: Diolch
I love you: Dw i’n dy garu di
Happy Birthday: Penblwdd Hapus
and a couple of funny ones….
Microwave: popty ping
‘Might as well’: Man a man a mwnci