The sheer number, variety and quality of activity centres to be found in Snowdonia help safeguard its reputation as one of the best outdoor activity destinations in the UK.
Climbing, hiking and abseiling are well catered for with many popular and conveniently located centres such as Plas y Brenin, Capel Curig.
Snowdonia has world-class mountain biking facilities at Coed y Brenin near Dolgellau and the Gwydyr Forest in Betws y Coed whilst excellent opportunities for participating in water activities are provided by the National White Water Centre, Tryweryn and Plas Menai National Water Sports Centre, Caernarfon.
Snowdonia really is the ultimate activity destination - so what are you waiting for?
These and many other centres are starting points for countless paths, routes and trails suitable for all tastes and levels of experience.
Base yourself in Llanberis, for example, and you’ll have Snowdon on your doorstep. And as a bonus you’ll have the 800-acre Padarn Country Park where you can go walking, climbing, canoeing, sailing, fishing or cycling.
You don’t even have to get your boots muddy on Gwynedd Council’s urban walks, with town routes in Barmouth, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Caernarfon, Pwllheli and Tywyn.
And right on Hafoty’s doorstep is the Rhostryfan Slate Trail, offering a gentle walk in spectacular rolling countryside, taking you right to the heart of Caernarfon.
Outdoor climbing available in the area is even more extensive: Dinas Cromlech stands high in Llanberis Pass and is considered to be the most eye-catching crag in the Pass. At its centre two blank looking walls meet in a perfect right-angled corner. Known as Cenotaph Corner, this is one of the most famous rock-climbs in Britain.
The quarries opposite Llanberis, which scar the sides of Elidir offer climbs that are intense, serious and, with very few exceptions, for experts only.
Travelling west towards Tremadog there are several climbs located on good, clean rock and although they’re ‘only’ about 60 meters long, being away from the mountains and facing south, they’re often dry when higher crags are slimy and chilled.
Beacon Climbing Centre also offer guiding services outdoors.
In fact, there are probably more qualified mountain guides per head of population in Llanberis than anywhere in the world! This is Climbing Central.
Whether it be the challenging mountain tracks or the gentle country lanes and old railway lines there is something for everyone.
The most recent addition, the spectacular Lôn Ardudwy, follows minor roads and runs between mountains and coast from Porthmadog to Barmouth.
To experience the magic and mystery of possibly the most dramatic of the mountain strongholds of the native Welsh princes and unforgettable scenery Lôn Dysynni is a must and runs from Tywyn to Abergynolwyn.
Two new Cycle Hubs have been developed on the Llŷn Peninsula and Dolgellau areas. Route Guides for these are available from the Tourist Information Centre in Caernarfon.
Add to this the trails through forests and woodlands such as at Dolgellau and Betws-y-Coed and a network of rural lanes and you will see that Snowdonia really is a leisure cyclist’s paradise.
Canoeing, kayaking, sailing, power boating, wind surfing, wake boarding, kite surfing and rafting.
The possibilities are endless. Bring your own equipment, or hire it from one of the many watersports centres, take lessons and learn new skills. It’s all here!
The area is reckoned to have over 300km of coastline from the north coast by Colwyn Bay, through the Menai Strait and round the cliffs and coves of the Llŷn Peninsula to the sweep of Tremadog Bay and down to Aberdovey.
There are ample fishing options; sand and shingle beaches, wide estuaries, rocky shores and places where cliffs plunge straight into deep water.
One of the most sought-after fish is the noble bass; there are many good spots along the Menai Straits, especially as the rising tide swirls through the channel; Dinas Dinlle’s west-facing beach is another noted spot.
For offshore fishing, Conwy has the widest choice of charter boats; but other ports where charters are available include Barmouth and Aberdyfi in the south, Abersoch on the Llŷn Peninsula and Y Felinheli in the Menai Strait.
Of course it’s not just bass in the waters; you can fish here for turbot, plaice, mackerel, bream, pollock and monkfish to name but a few.
Golfers are well served with a total of 20 courses and four driving ranges providing all kinds of challenges from seaside links to parkland.
Nefyn, located on a cliff top on the Llŷn Peninsula, is one of the most scenic courses in the UK and probably one of the most challenging.
The championship courses of both Aberdovey and the historic Royal St David’s Harlech, which hosted the Ryder Cup Welsh Seniors Open, are long established and immensely popular, attracting golfers back time and time again.
The courses of Pwllheli and Abersoch on the Llŷn Peninsula, the parkland courses of Caernarfon, Criccieth and St Deiniol, Bangor and the many inland courses are all set in magnificent scenery and together offer variety and enjoyment to golfers of all levels of ability.
From scenic hilltops to beautiful beaches, there is something for everyone.
Snowdonia Riding Stables
Cilan Riding Centre
E Prichard Pony Trekking
Maentwrog nr. Porthmadog
Tŷ Coch Farm Trekking & Riding Centre
Llanbedrog Riding Centre
Pen Llŷn Riding Centre & Lusitano Stud
Reserves offer breath-taking scenery and beautiful woodland walks whilst the Conwy Estuary Reserve offers views of various wading birds and the magnificent Conwy Castle. Well located hides ensure an excellent view.
As part of the Glaslyn Osprey project, a round-the-clock protection scheme operates during the breeding season. The public viewing scheme is open between April and the end of August, where you can use telescopes and see live footage from the nest-cam. Staff and volunteers are always on hand to help.
The views don’t get much better than from Uwchmynydd, the wild headland above the little port of Aberdaron, abundant in sandy coves around this spectacular peninsula.
The coastline is also a magnet for watersports enthusiasts. There’s so much variety, including the sheltered waters of the Menai Strait, the open expanses of the Irish Sea and the pounding surf of west-facing beaches.
And there’s the facilities to match, for the coast is dotted with an excellent choice of marinas and harbours – providing you access to superb sailing waters with Snowdonia’s mountains as a backdrop.
The former Bryngwyn branch line, which linked the villages of Y Fron, Rhostryfan and Rhosgadfan to Tryfan Junction on the original Welsh Highland Railway, is now a slate trail footpath, passing directly by Hafoty Farm Cottages - we even have our own access to the footpath! Tryfan Junction is a request stop for trains to Caernarfon and Porthmadog on the Welsh Highland Railway. The little ones will love having to hold their hands out to stop the train!
The WHR runs from Caernarfon, past Snowdon, to Porthmadog, offering breathtaking views of northern Snowdonia. It offers passengers some of the most comfortable carriages, with the first class Pullman luxury and freshly cooked food delivered to your table! The Ffestiniog trains run from Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog. The Ffestiniog is the world’s oldest narrow guage railway with almost 200 years of history.
The only public rack and pinion railway in Britain, taking passengers to the summit of Snowdon at 3,560ft, trains have been running since 1896. Hafod Eryri is the new visitor centre which opened in 2009. Snacks, drinks and souvenirs are available. Booking is recommended for this railway.
Enjoy the spectacular sights of Snowdonia from this narrow gauge steam train. The 5-mile trip passes the 13th century Dolbadarn Castle, following the old 1845 slate railway route, alongside Lake Padarn.
Operating for more than a century, and still using the original Victorian carriages, the Great Orme Tramway is Britain’s only cable-hauled public tramway.
Where to start? Start at Hafoty Farm Cottages and explore!
Great Orme Bronze Age Copper Mines
This is the oldest metal mine open to the public anywhere in the world! During the early bronze age, copper ore was mined here some 4,000 years ago. Follow the ancient workings to caverns 150ft below the ground.
Sygun Copper Mine
This is a self-guided audio-visual tour through the old workings on foot. Abandoned in 1903, explore the winding tunnels and large, colourful chambers with spectacular stalactite and stalagmite formations.
Segontium Roman Fort
Founded by Agricola in 77AD, this was the base for a regiment of around 1,000 infantry. It also served as an administrative centre for the collection of taxes. The excavations revealed the fort, barracks and stores, and the temple of Mithras.
Llechwedd Slate Caverns
This underground train journey provides an insight into the harsh life of quarrymen, taking you deep underground to see how they worked. The slate workshop has slate splitting demonstrations, and the Victorian village has a traditional tavern and old fashioned sweet shop.
Inigo Jones Slate Works
This is a self-guided tour which includes film presentation, exhibitions on geology, calligraphy and letter cutting. The workshop produces a wide range of items, both functional and artistic.
National Slate Museum
Situated in Llanberis under towering slate mountains are the Victorian engineering workshops of Dinorwig Slate Quarry. This working museum tells the story of North Wales’ slate industry. Once thousands were employed in this corner of Wales. The museum illustrates the tough working conditions of the quarrymen.
Conwy Suspension Bridge
Designed and built by Thomas Telford in 1826, this elegant suspension bridge crosses the river Conwy. It was in use daily, for a toll of sixpence, until the 1950’s.
Menai Suspension Bridge
On the 30 January 1826, Thomas Telford’s suspension bridge, the first of its type on such a scale in the world, was opened. The Royal London and Holyhead Mail Coach crossed the Menai Strait to Anglesey with its cargo of mail bags headed for Dublin. Walking across the bridge the views are spectacular, while the swellies flow at great speed through the arches below.
This bridge was completed in 1850. It was designed by Robert Stephenson, son of railway engineer George Stephenson. The design was unusual as the bridge had to have the stiffness necessary to maintain the straightness of the rails under the weight of a train, while avoiding the use of an arch, which would have meant a loss of headroom for the masts of sailing ships passing underneath. He achieved this by building a rectangular iron tube. Damaged by fire in 1970, the present structure has both rail and road tracks.
They offer a vision into a turbulent past that has witnessed Roman invasion, medieval conflict and Industrial Revolution, and serve as icons of a rich culture and heritage that is very much alive and thriving today. The National Trust offer to visitors exceptional historic places and green spaces for all to enjoy.
Here are just a handful of those within easy commuting distance from Hafoty:
George Dawkins extracted slate from the quarries at Bethesda. As a show of his great wealth he built Penrhyn Castle - a grand mock-Norman mansion near Port Penrhyn, the harbour from which the slate was exported.
Queen Victoria declined to sleep in the giant slate four-poster bed made especially for her visit to the area. It is still on display in the house today. Visit the restored kitchens, and the stable block, which houses an industrial railway museum and model railway museum. The 60-acre site has a Victorian walled garden, parkland and an exotic tree and shrub collection.
An elegant 18th century house, designed by James Wyatt, is the ancestral home of the Marquess of Anglesey. The magnificent 18m wide mural by Rex Whistler can be seen in the house.
The first Marquess lost a leg while commanding the cavalry at the battle of Waterloo, and was fitted with the first artificial leg to have sprung joints. You can see the leg on display in the military museum in the house!
Aside from the beautiful gardens, the views across the Menai Strait to the mountains of Snowdonia are absolutely stunning.
Sat high on the hillside on the Llyn peninsula, giving spectacular views of Cardigan Bay, sits Plas yn Rhiw.
A small 16th century manor house, with Georgian additions, was rescued from decay and neglect by the Keating sisters, who bought the house in 1938.
The cottage gardens are a delight whatever the season.
Described as one of the world’s finest gardens, the formal Italianate terraces give spectacular views over the Conwy Valley to Snowdonia.
The woodland has the UK’s largest giant redwood tree.
The 80-acre garden has continually changing displays of colour. In spring there are the many colourful azaleas, and the famous laburnum arch flowers in late May - not to be missed!
The castles at Beaumaris, Harlech, Conwy and Caernarfon are all world heritage sites, and are all easily accessible from Hafoty Farm Cottages.
This is the largest of the castles built by Edward I, standing at the meeting of the River Seiont and the Menai Strait, its polygonal towers and contrasting masonry imitate the walls of Constantinople, and is a symbol of Edward’s overwhelming power.
With the sea on one side of its cliff-top location, and the tough terrain of Snowdonia on the other, and a large gatehouse guarding its landward side, would have been very difficult to attack. This was Edward I’s stronghold in southern Gwynedd.
This was the last castle built for Edward I. Construction began in 1295 but was never completed as the funding ran out. It is a good example of a walls within walls construction - any attack would have to overcome 4 lines of fortification and 14 separate defensive obstacles, starting with the moat.
This is a formidable fortress that occupies a defensive position on a rock by the harbour. It has the most complete circuit of medieval town walls in the UK, over a kilometer long. It is guarded by 21 towers and 3 double-towered gateways. Conwy still has its medieval layout of narrow streets from the quayside to the castle.
With so little light pollution, star-gazing is simply wonderful at Hafoty Farm Cottages.
All of our cottages are far away from towns and streetlights so you get a wonderfully clear view of the night sky.
Here are some tips for budding astronomers:
Below is just a sample of what’s on locally:
Ffestiniog & The Welsh Highland Railway
Holding many events throughout the year, including:
Anglesey County Show
This show is held annually in August at the Anglesey Showground. There are many competitive classes for farm animals, along with horticulture, drystone walling, cookery and crafts. With entertainment, refreshments and lots of trade stands, this show makes for a big family day out!
Anglesey Oyster & Welsh Food Festival
Held annually, usually in October, this is a small and friendly food fair. Welsh producers have stalls selling local beers, cheeses, breads and much more.
Held in May, this festival covers classical music, jazz, theatrical events, poetry readings and art exhibitions.
Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza
The Victorian seaside resort of Llandudno plays host to a Victorian festival over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend each year. There are parades, a fun fair, music, steam engines and much more. A great day out for all the family to enjoy.
This week long festival, held in June each year, is a celebration of music - local bands, folk bands, jazz, choirs - along with a little drama, literature, comedy, exhibitions, garden displays, food and flowers, and all culminating in a spectacular firework display from the castle!
Bodnant Welsh Food
This sensational farm shop has a butchery producing in-house sausages, and providing delicacies such as salt marsh lamb a bakery producing over a dozen specialty breads daily, along with cakes and scones a dairy making creams, butter, cheese and ice creams with milk from the dairy herds grazing in the Conwy valley a delicatessen for pies, pastries, cooked and cured meats. Alongside is the wine shop, so when you’ve bought the ingredients for your meal you can choose your wine. Or you could browse the shop then wine and dine in the restaurant. (Or both!)
Down on the farm in Anglesey, they grow the fruit and vegetables, and rear their own livestock which is then sold in their farm shops and cafe. There is a Hootens Farm Shop at Fron Goch garden centre in Caernarfon - just a stone’s throw from Hafoty Farm Cottages.
Edwards of Conwy
Located in Conwy, this traditional and award winning Master Butcher specialises in sausages and pie making. A proud supplier of Welsh meats!
Supplying locally caught crab and lobster to some of the best restaurants in Wales, along with their cafe and fish and chip shop in Aberdaron.
Supplying locally caught fish and shellfish to the public - order today for next day delivery!
A registered oyster and mussel farm located in the Menai Strait. Available to buy direct from the farm on Sundays and Wednesdays.
Snowdonia Cheese Company
Premium cheeses for every occasion. With names like Little Black Bomber, Green Thunder, Bouncing Berry and Red Devil - to name but a few - there is a cheese here for every taste.
Anglesey Apple Company
Local producers of the finest fruit juices from seasonal fruit including apples, pears and plums.
A family company based in Anglesey, producing sea salt. Every pack of sea salt bears the harvest date and maker’s initials!
The brewery produces a range of cask and bottled ales, using the soft water from the mountains of Snowdonia, malts from Lincolnshire and hops from around the world.
Purple Moose Brewery
A micro brewery based in Porthmadog, with ales such as Snowdonia Ale, Madog’s Ale, Dark Side of the Moose and the Merry X-Moose, there is plenty to choose from.