Every year, hundreds of thousands of people make the journey to Llanberis, with a trip up Wales’ epic peak, Snowdon, at the top of the agenda.
But this charming community isn’t just about Wales’ highest mountain (though, it may be rather difficult to ignore!). In fact, you could easily spend an entire day enjoying the village without needing to put on your walking boots.
From boating on Llyn Padarn to a fascinating visit to our National Slate Museum, the town has something for everyone; with wonderful local shops, lovely cafes and fantastic restaurants to boot.
So, let’s explore the magical village of Llanberis, which just so happens to be right on the Royal Victoria Hotel’s doorstep. After all, it is the Year of Discovery – let’s go!
Llanberis’ history goes way back, to a time when Wales was ruled by Welsh princes. The mighty Llywelyn the Great built Llanberis’ very own Dolbadarn Castle in the early 13th Century… and guess what? The ruins sit right here in the grounds of the Royal Victoria Hotel – it’s a lovely walk if you’re staying here that offers some great photo opps along the way.
For hundreds of years, only the brave and adventurous visited Llanberis – Wales was considered wild and difficult to access. But that all changed in the 1840s with the coming of the Welsh railway, when Llanberis became the destination ‘of choice’ for the Victorians.
Today, Llanberis and its dramatic surroundings are a mecca for photographers, climbers, walkers, artists, writers and tourists.
Our picturesque village is easily accessible from the A55. Follow signs for Bangor & Betws-y-Coed and keep an eye out for brown tourist signs marked Llanberis. There are multiple car parks dotted around, costing between £3 and £7 for a full day – just don’t forget to bring change!
Things to do in Llanberis
It might seem a little obvious, but we couldn’t exactly miss out Llanberis’ star attraction – Snowdon!
At an impressive 1085 metres tall, Snowdon is Wales’ highest mountain. To say it’s beautiful at the top on a clear day would be an understatement – though it’s quite a challenge to get there!
If it’s your first time up, we’d recommend taking the Llanberis Path. Make sure you check the weather beforehand and come prepared – good quality, waterproof walking clothes, plenty of water and snacks, sunblock and a pair of trusted walking boots are essential. Read our blog on safe winter walking for more handy tips.
Don’t fancy the climb? The world-famous Snowdon Mountain Railway will take you right to the summit – all you have to do is enjoy the views and a good cuppa tea at the top!
At the time of writing (March 2019), trains are running to the Clogwyn mid-station – weather permitting – with summit journeys starting in May.
2. The National Slate Museum
The National Slate Museum transports you back to Snowdonia’s rich natural and cultural heritage.
The Victorian workshops, nestled below the Dinorwig quarry, once employed more than 3,000 men before closing in 1969.
Now, they’re a fascinating glimpse into the past lives, suffering and craftsmanship of Llanberis’ slate workers and their families – well worth a visit!
3. Llyn Padarn
Llyn Padarn is one of North Wales’ largest natural lakes and perches on the edge of Snowdon’s village. Surrounded by majestic peaks, it’s an incredibly beautiful sight – come rain or shine!
Take it all in on a boat trip on the Snowdon Star, walk the 6-mile circular route, take the kids on a rowing boat or merely enjoy an ice-cream on the shore – it’s a lovely place to relax.
If it’s warm enough, you can even enjoy a quick dip – the lake recently gained bathing water recognition!
4. Electric Mountain
Whether it’s just the two of you or the whole family, a trip to Electric Mountain in Llanberis is a truly one-of-a-kind outing.
Take a guided tour of Dinorwig Power Station’s hub (which just so happens to be 750m deep under Elidir mountain – eek!), learn all about one of man’s ‘greatest modern engineering achievements’ and watch gargantuan pumps and turbines live in action. Great fun!
Where to eat
1. Eryri Bar & Lounge
A hub for visitors and locals alike, Eyryri Bar is a lively watering hole right here in the hotel. Offering a wide range of food & drink, as well as a bar snack menu for lighter bites, you can cosy up by the fire after a busy day or chat with fellow diners. Whether you’re staying at the hotel or just passing through, we’d love to meet you during your trip to Llanberis!
2. Pete’s Eats
Pete’s Eats is somewhat of a legend in North Wales. Serving up massive (and we’re not exaggerating!) portions of chips, burgers and breakfasts along with the biggest mugs of tea you’ve ever seen, this place fills the bellies of thousands of climbers yearly, before they set off for Snowdon.
3. The Peak Restaurant
Fine dining in your walking boots? That’s exactly what you’ll find at The Peak Restaurant! This award-winning eatery has been earning rave reviews since 2003 by whipping up great quality food at reasonable prices . For weekends and holidays, make sure you book ahead.
Where to shop
1. Crib Goch Outdoor World
Forgot your walking boots, your waterproof trousers, your hot chocolate flask or camping supplies? No worries – just head to Crib Goch Outdoor World on Llanberis high street. This extensive shop has everything you could ever need (literally!) for outdoor pursuits and adventures out in the wild.
2. Snowdon Trading Post
You can’t go to Llanberis without picking up a Snowdon souvenir for the family back home, right? This is a relatively new, cute and quirky shop which sells gifts for all the Snowdon lovers out there. Think local produce, cute trinkets and Welsh-themed gifts galore – perfect!
3. Llanberis Bike Hire
You might not have been able to fit the entire family’s bikes in the car for your trip to Llanberis – but there’s nothing better than a fresh, breezy cycle around the stunning Snowdonia scenery! Don’t miss out – just head to Llanberis Bike Hire, which operates out of Tan y Ddraig Pottery cafe. They’ve got you covered with children’s bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes and tag alongs which are all available for daily rent.
While Snowdon is certainly the crown and glory of Llanberis, this picturesque village has way more to offer. Here, you can really get to know Wales – hear the wonderful Welsh language, feel bewildered by the majestic landscapes and visit charming shops, cafes and restaurants ran by the village’s friendly locals.
You’ll certainly feel right at home in Llanberis – why not make 2019 the year you discover it?
Images courtesy: Llanberis village view © Copyright Robin Drayton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence. Llanberis path up Snowdon by © Copyright Jeff Buck and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence. Snowdon Mountain Railway by Chris Buckley via Pexels, 2019.