Top 10 things to do in Llanberis, Wales (for a perfect weekender!)
Top 10 things to do in Llanberis, Wales (for a perfect weekender!)
Llanberis (pronounced clan-beris) is a picturesque little village located in Gwynedd, North Wales. It sits at the foot of Snowdonia National Park and despite the hoards of tourists that flock here during climbing season, it remains as peaceful as it is beautiful! But Llanberis has far more to offer than just being a gateway to Snowdon – here are the top 10 things to do in Llanberis, Wales for the perfect weekender!
Other Wales posts you might like…
- BANGOR IN WALES: Best things to do and see over a weekend!
- Top 10 things to do in Conwy
- Caban Crwn review: The perfect off-grid weekender
1) Climb Snowdon (of course!)
Despite there being plenty to do and see in Llanberis and wider Gwynedd, it would be CRIMINAL to visit Llanberis and not hike Snowdon!
It’s honestly one of the most magical places in the world – so much so I’ve climbed it four times in less than three years!
There is nothing more physically and mentally challenging than climbing a mountain. Yet nothing more physically and mentally rewarding! But the great thing about Snowdon is just how accessible it is. There are routes for varying ability levels which makes it the perfect mountain for seasoned as well as first-time climbers.
The views from the top are just breathtaking. It’s impossible to describe being at the summit – you just have to take my word for it and head up to see it for yourself!
If it’s your first time climbing Snowdon or you’re not a confident hiker, I’d highly recommend booking a group tour where you’ll hike with a local mountain guide.
I booked a Snowdon for sunrise hike with a guide over the summer as I wasn’t confident navigating the paths in the dark. It was so worth it knowing we were in the safe hands of a local mountaineer!
Other Snowdonia posts you might like…
- 15 Tips for climbing Snowdon (to ensure you reach the top!)
- Top 10 most awesome facts about Snowdonia
- PYG TRACK SNOWDON: Complete guide + top tips for hikers!
2) Take the Snowdon Mountain Railway
If you don’t fancy hiking to the top of Snowdon, don’t worry you can also take the train up! Or you could take the train up and hike your way down so you get the best of both worlds. It’s much easier to hike down than up – trust me! Plus you still get to enjoy all the same beautiful views.
Just one thing to bear in mind is that the train only runs in the warmer months and gets booked up sometimes days in advance. Make sure you book as early as you can to avoid missing out!
3) Visit the National Slate Museum
The National Slate Museum is a former slate workshop which is part of Dinorwig Slate Quarry and the Snowdonia World Heritage Site.
The museum is a fantastic glimpse into the history of the area as Llanberis was at the heart of the 19th century slate mining boom. Slate mining was the lifeblood of the community and villages across Wales sprung up and thrived around the foot of the mountains as a result.
At the museum you’ll learn all about the history of Welsh slate mining, how the slate was extracted, the workshop process and the impact of the industry’s eventual decline on Llamberis and neighbouring towns.
You can also enjoy a slate workshop and take a tour through several miners’ houses across 100 years of history – all free of charge!
4) Go on the Llanberis Lake Railway
Located right next to the National Slate Museum is the beautiful Llanberis Lake where you can take a ride on a restored vintage steam engine across Lake Padarn.
On the hour-long journey you’ll see Dolbadarn Castle, the peaks of Snowdon and pass through Padarn Country Park.
You then take a short stop at Cei Llydan, which is a lovely tranquil spot for a lakeside picnic and some photos!
5) Go kayaking on Lake Padarn
What better way to soak up the beauty of Snowdon and get a whole new perspective of nearby peaks than by kayaking across the crystal clear glacial waters of Lake Padarn.
The easiest way to do this is by booking a guided kayaking tour. You’ll be provided with all the essential equipment including kayaks (duh!), paddles, wetsuits, buoyancy aids and water shoes. As well as get a basic kayaking demonstration before you head off on your lake adventure.
On the tour you’ll also get a chance to enjoy some kayaking team games, some wild swimming and have a go on a giant rope swing!
6) Explore Dolbadarn Castle
Dolbadarn Castle was built in the 13th century by Llywelyn the Great. A King of Gwynedd in North Wales and eventually the Prince of Wales, who ruled Wales for 45 years.
Traditionally Welsh princes didn’t construct castles, instead living in palaces or courts without defence. This was until the late 11th century when the Normans invaded and began occupying territories in the North and South of Wales!
As a result, fortifications like Dolbadarn Castle were built covering strategic routes throughout Wales for military defence and as a symbol of power.
Sadly much of the castle did not survive with only the tower remaining and the ruins of the outer complex walls.
Although not a large site, it’s a fascinating part of Welsh history and has incredible views from the top of the tower overlooking Lake Padarn and Snowdonia National Park.
7) Take a hike to Dinorwic Slate Quarry
Part of Snowdonia’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Dinorwic Slate Quarry was the second largest slate quarry in Wales at the turn of the century and played a key role in the daily lives of local families.
At one point the quarry employed over 3,000 men before the industry declined. It eventually closed in 1969 but now has a second life being frequented by hikers and adventurers seeking to enjoy its fabulous views.
There are several hiking trails you can take to get there and multiple levels and hidden places of the quarry to explore. But the seven and a half mile circular trail from Llanberis can take up to six hours to complete depending on your pace.
Due to the uneven terrain and slippery rocks, I highly recommend getting a proper pair of walking boots. I got mine from Decathlon for less than £50 several years ago (and still going!) but you can find them on Amazon for a similar price.
They’re super comfy, waterproof and most importantly have good grip for scrambling over rocks on the way up to Dinorwic Slate Quarry!
8) Book an adventure activity with Ropeworks Active
As you’ll know, Snowdonia is already a huge adventure playground! However, the Ropeworks Active offer lots of different fantastic outdoor (and underground!) adrenaline activities for adventurers to try, including: gorge scrambling, cave climbing and coasteering.
Located right next to the National Slate Museum, you’ll enjoy all the adventure that Snowdonia National Park has to offer with the safety of a qualified local guide or mountain leader.
9) Go for a stroll around Padarn Country Park
If you’re looking for a more leisurely experience than climbing Snowdon or hiking up to Dinorwic Slate Quarry, a peaceful stroll around Padarn Country Park might be just what you need!
This beautiful 800 acre woodland park has some of the most spectacular scenery in North Wales, ranged around the stunning Lake Padarn with views of Dolbadarn Castle, Snowdon and beyond.
10) Shop around the Llanberis hight street
If you fancy taking a break from exploring and outdoor pursuits, why not spend an afternoon having a mooch around Llanberis high street?
Full disclosure – it’s a very small high street with only a handful of shops either side down one street of the village. But! There’s lots of local mountaineering shops for all your outdoorsy gear, including ‘Joe Brown Shops’ which was established over 40 years ago by the legendary climber Joe Brown. As well as knick knack shops and little art galleries filled with beautiful mountain art by local painters (which make great souvenirs!).
You can also stop off for a spot of lunch at one of the lovely local cafes or family-run restaurants or spend an afternoon having a few drinks in one of the traditional Welsh pubs.
There’s a surprising amount of food choice for such a small village which also cater for vegan and vegetarians. I even found vegan icecream at the local icecream parlour!
What would your top things to do in Llanberis be? 😄
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