Things to do in Beddgelert, Snowdonia

by Jan

Today we want to share our choice of the best things to do in Beddgelert.

Beddgelert is an idyllic village in the heart of Snowdonia National Park, North Wales (Eryri in Welsh).  Surrounded by some of the country’s most stunning scenery, Beddgelert is a popular base for walkers and nature-lovers.

It is a pretty, unspoilt village and attracts many tourists who are visiting the Snowdonia area.  Beddgelert is a hotspot for walkers, but has plenty more to offer its visitors.  The charming village is shrouded in local legend and has a unique history which appeals to visitors young and old.  We went to discover the legends and discover the very best things to do in Beddgelert with kids.

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Best things to do near Beddgelert

Hike up a mountain

First on our list of things to do in Beddgelert is go for a hike.  Its location in the centre of Snowdonia makes Beddgelert a perfect hub for walkers.  And it’s not just for experts, you’ll find hikes to suit all ages and abilities.

If you want a taste of the mountains, but don’t feel up to the big hikes, there are several easier, family-friendly walks which start from Beddgelert.  Below are a few Beddgelert hikes that we tried and tested.

The Craflwyn circular walk

Moss covered wall on Craflwyn circular walk, Wales

There are two moderate walks starting at the National Trust car park at Craflwyn, on the outskirts of Beddgelert.

We started with the green trail, a circular route which leads through some ancient woodland and up the mountain.   It is a tough climb at the start, but the path is easy to follow and the views from the top are stunning.  The Craflywn Circular Walk takes about an hour.

On the walk, you’ll pass moss-covered boulders, crumbling walls, and some incredibly old trees.  We even heard a cuckoo!

The legendary trail of Dinas Emrys

The Dinas Emrys walk is the second walk starting from the National Trust Craflwyn car park.  This red route is a slightly more challenging walk, which follows in the footsteps of the Merlin.  It takes you to Dinas Emrys, the legendary home of Wales’ national emblem, the red dragon.

According to Legend, King Vortigern was unable to build his castle here because of  two dragons fighting under the hill.  Merlin saved himself by telling the king about the dragons, who was then able to release them.

The walk will take you up past sheep fields, waterfalls and ancient woodland.  At the top you’ll find the remains of an ancient tower, reportedly built by Llewelyn the Great and the ramparts of an Iron Age Fort.

The Dinas Emrys walk is about 2.2 miles and takes about 1.5 hours.

The walk to Cwm Llan waterfall

Waterfall, Craflwyn circular walk, Wales

If you don’t have the energy for the full Dinas Emrys walk, you can do an out-and-back walk to the Cwm Llan waterfall.  This shorter walk starts at the car park at Craflwyn.  It is a scenic walk and only takes about 20 minutes to get to the waterfall.

The Cwm Llan waterfall is a natural beauty spot, with water flowing from the mountain into a crystal clear pool below.

If you plan to do a lot of walking in Snowdonia, it is advisable to take an Ordnance Survey map.

Ride the Welsh Highland Railway

Another option for enjoying the fantastic mountain scenery of Snowdonia without a big hike is aboard the Welsh Highland Railway.  This heritage railway is 25 miles long running from Caernarfon to Blaenau Ffestiniog, taking in some of Snowdonia’s prettiest landmarks along the way.

Go underground at the Sygun Copper Mine

Just down the road from the Craflwyn car park is the Sygun Copper Mine.  This is a popular family attraction and one of the best things to do in Beddgelert with kids.

The Sygun Copper Mine offers a great opportunity to tour the former copper mines and get an insight into the lives of the Victorian workers.

Explore Beddgelert village

Bridge at Beddgelert, Wales

You can’t visit Beddgelert without spending some time exploring the village.  There’s a pay and display car park at one end of the village and the Tourist Information Office is nearby.

Beddgelert is a tiny village, but absolutely gorgeous.  It battles with Betwys-y-Coed for the prize of prettiest village in Snowdonia, though for us Beddgelert takes first prize.

The focal point of the village is the pretty stone bridge which crosses the River Glasylyn, so it’s a good place to start.

Visit Gelert's grave

Rock marking Gelert's Grave, Wales

Beddgelert is shrouded in local legend and boasts several unique folktales that will appeal to kids.  The most famous of the legends linked to the village is the story of Gelert and a walk to his grave is one of the most popular things to do in Beddgelert.

The walk starts at the south of the village by the bridge and follows the path by the River Glasylyn.  It is a short, sign-posted walk, which takes about 10 minutes.

Gelert’s Grave is marked by a cairn under a lone sycamore tree.  Two plaques, in both Welsh and English, tell the unfortunate story of the faithful hound Gelert.

A visit to the grave is one of the must-do attractions in Beddgelert for kids.  Even better, it doesn’t cost a penny!

Although the memorial at Gelert’s Grave is one of Beddgelert’s most popular attractions, it’s probably not the original stone.  The memorial is actually less than 200 hundred years old.  It was actually laid by a local landlord who promoted the story to boost his trade!

Discover the story of Gelert

The story of Gelert is one of Wales’ best-loved folk tales and will appeal to children of all ages.  It recounts the story of the 13th Century Prince Llewelyn the Great and his favourite hunting dog, Gelert.

The legend of Gelert

One day Prince Llewelyn went hunting with his household, but his Irish Wolfhound, Gelert, remained behind.  On the Prince’s return to his palace the dog bounded up to his master with blood dripping from his muzzle.  In a panic Prince Llewelyn hurried inside to find his baby son.  Upon discovering the nursery smeared with blood, he wrongly assumed that Gelert had killed the child.

Without thinking, he took his sword and plunged it into Gelert’s heart, killing him instantly.  At this point, he heard the infant cry and shortly found the baby unharmed.  Beside him lay an enormous wolf, killed by Gelert, who was protecting the baby.

Realising his mistake, Prince Llewelyn was grief-stricken and overcome with guilt about his beloved dog.  He carried Gelert outside and buried him where everyone could see.

See the statue of Gelert

Statue of the Kings dog Gelert, Beddgelert, Wales

After reading Gelert’s sad story, continue walking to Beudy Buarth Gwyn to see a bronze statue of the dog.

It stands within some abandoned walls, which are the remains of an old cottage.  From the statue you can return to the village, passing the pretty St Mary’s Church on your way.

Have a mooch around Beddgelert Woodcraft

Beddgelert Woodcraft shop

As you return to the village, stop for a browse in the Beddgelert Woodcraft shop.  This shop has a tempting range of local crafts and artisan goods.

Try some Glaslyn Ice cream

Afterwards,  return to the village centre to sample some Glaslyn ice cream.

No visit to Beddgelert is complete without a visit to Glaslyn Artisan Ice Cream & Pizzeria, the oldest ice cream parlour in Snowdonia.  It has a range of delicious flavours, all made with local ingredients.  As you’d guess from the name, they also serve a range of pizzas too.

Places to eat and drink in Beddgelert

If you’re looking for somewhere to eat, Beddgelert boasts three traditional pubs and several cafés.

We stopped at Tanronnen Inn, a tradtional pub by the bridge, where they were serving a choice of baguettes.  It was extremely busy at lunchtime but had a friendly atmosphere and provided a good location for people-watching!

Another option for eating in Beddgelert is the Saracens Head Hotel.

Accommodation in Beddgelert

There are several, charming traditional cottages available in the centre of Beddgelert, including the Snowdonia Stone Cottage and Adwy’r Nant.  Alternatively, if you are looking for adult-only accommodation, try the Sygun Fawr Country House.

Although small, Beddgelert has a few hotels, all in the centre of town near the bridge.  You can click here to book the Saracens Head or Prince Llewelyn Hotel.  Or if you want to enjoy the great outside, the Bryn Dinas Camping Pods, are just a few miles from Beddgelert Centre.

Travel Guides for Snowdonia

Two Boys on rock during Hike to cemmaes wind farm, Wales, UK

If you want more information for your trip to Snowdonia, the Rough Guide Staycations Snowdonia has lots of information about other tourist attractions and walks.

Have you been to Beddgelert?  We would love to hear your comments below.

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