Accessible By Rail: Snowdonia

Take a train to Snowdonia…

In light of the recent good news regarding the 26-30 Railcard, we have now entered into an unprecedented era of affordable rail travel – or at least as affordable as it’s ever likely to get.

To celebrate TFGB are going to be posting a series of articles highlighting all of the fantastic places that you can visit via the rail network. With reductions now available for many people, this really is an ideal time to book yourself a train somewhere that you’ve not visited before.

We’re starting our series off with a look at one of the most mountainous regions in the UK – Snowdonia!

When you should visit

Snowdonia offers some truly jaw-dropping sights throughout the year, but there are certain times of the year where it’s worth visiting. The summer months are far and away the most temperate during the year, however with this warm weather also comes more crowds. For the last few years Wales has been growing in popularity as a tourist destination, this is great news for local tourism however it also means that areas like Snowdonia can become pretty crowded during the peak summer holiday season.

When you choose to visit Snowdonia will depend on your budget (hotels and campsites hike their prices up during the Summer) and what kind of experience you’re looking for.

Getting there by train

You can catch a train straight into the heart of Snowdonia by setting Blaenau Ffestiniog as your destination. Trains into the region are fairly regular however don’t expect them to get you to your destination in any hurry. Train through Wales often take the scenic route, which is perfect for sightseers, but not so great for people in a hurry. The best thing to do is pack a robust packed lunch and watch the scenery float by!

Where you should go

The first place on any visitor’s checklist should be Snowdon. This immensely popular peak is far and away one of the most accessible in the region and is complemented by a handful of routes which offer varying challenges.

Thousands of people ascend Snowdon each year, even during the Winter you’ll find that dozens of people are scrambling up through mist to reach the top. For those not quite up to the task there’s always the Snowdon Mountain Railway which runs from mid-March through to the summer (check their website to find out more information). Snowdon aside, you’ll be able to enjoy adventurous days out at a number of stellar outdoor attractions including Bounce Below, Surf Snowdonia and Zip World Fforest.

Places to stay in Snowdonia

There are plenty of accommodation choices on offer in Snowdonia from cosy B&Bs to luxury hotels, where you choose to lay your head will depend on your budget. At the cheapest end of the spectrum are the two youth hostels on the outskirts of Snowdon itself. These hostels might not offer the most luxurious of stays, but they offer good value as well as affordable hot meals throughout the day, perfect if you’re on your way up or down the mountain.

Got a few more pounds to spare? The Saracens Head Hotel offers stylish rooms for just over £100 per night that are also dog friendly. You can bring two of your canine friends with you to stay in their Superior rooms for no extra charge. Click through to this guide to find more places to stay in Snowdonia.

What you can eat

Packed lunched are recommended for trips up the mountain, although there is a cafe at the top of the summit it’s best not to rely on whatever they have left in stock. If you’re thinking of staying in the area for some time then you might consider visiting one of the may outstanding restaurants in the area.

Tyddyn Llan is widely considered to be one of the best in the region and it even has a Michelin star to go with it, if your pockets aren’t quite deep enough then you can head to Beddgelert Bistro & Antiques for a more informal dining experience. Finally, Gallt y Glyn offers a deal that is hard to refuse: a free drink (usually a pint!) with every main meal, their excellent pizzas are definitely worth checking out.

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