Beddgelert features in some of the earliest holiday memories of our whole family. It’s somewhere we (Bev and Andy) both visited as children and is the first holiday experience our own children had too, so it’s somewhere we have a great affection for.
It’s a small, incredibly picturesque village right in the very heart of Snowdonia National Park. Beddgelert (pronounced “Bethgelert”) feels like it’s the very centre of Snowdonia – perfectly positioned as a base to explore this amazing part of the UK.
It’s close to the starting points of all the major mountain sights and walks and is a perfect place to return to and recover at the end of a long day in the mountains among some of the most spectacular scenery the UK has to offer.
The journey in to Beddgelert is a brilliant experience by itself. There’s one long road we travel along after leaving the A5, from Capel Curig in the north all the way in to Beddgelert, past the beautiful mountain lakes at Nant Gwynant and some stunning points where you can pull over and look across the valleys and foothills up to the peak of Snowdon itself.
It feels as you drive along this road as if you’re leaving the reality of daily life further and further behind as the awe-inspiring natural beauty of Snowdonia takes over your thoughts and helps take all your stress away!
As you arrive in the centre of Beddgelert village itself, it feels like you’re driving in to a scene on a postcard. It’s such a beautiful, perfect mountain village with a river running gently through the centre, crossed by stone bridges and with rows of small stone shops, houses, local pubs and tea rooms running alongside.
On warm days in the summer, people sit around the edge of the village green and the fields behind the church, paddling in the river (the more adventurous jump from the iron footbridge in to the deep section of the river below). We never get tired of looking up at the views of the surrounding peaks and hillsides of Mount Hebog and Cwm Bychan from the village, however many times we visit (which is a lot!)
Whenever we visit Snowdonia we stay in Beddgelert, either in a holiday cottage (which are limited in supply and get booked up long in advance) or in Beddgelert Campsite. It’s a perfect base for a holiday but is also a fantastic place to visit just for the day if you’re staying elsewhere in North Wales.
Just up the hill from the village centre is a large camping and hiking supplies shop – and just further on from here is Beddgelert Campsite, which is far and away the best campsite we’ve ever stayed at, anywhere.
The campsite is on the edges of the famous Beddgelert Forest, a huge wooded area on the hillside above the village, which is full of walking and cycling trails and is crossed by the Welsh Highland Railway steam train route. Beddgelert Bikes hire out mountain bikes for use around the forest’s trails which have something for people of all ages and abilities.
Back down in the village, in the fields behind the church, is the centre-piece of Beddgelert, which gives the village its name – the grave of the legendary dog ‘Gelert’ (Beddgelert translates to ‘Gelert’s Grave’). There’s a story that in ancient times Prince Llewllyn of Wales killed his own beloved dog after mistakenly believing the dog had killed his baby son, when in fact the dog had saved the baby’s life from a wolf attack. The story is engraved on a stone under a tree where the prince apparently buried the dog.
Beddgelert was the first holiday we had together as a family – a simple week camping at Beddgelert Campsite and walking in the mountains. It’s what started off our love of travelling and holidays, particularly in the mountains and, despite having been to some amazing places around the world since, we still love coming back to Beddgelert and try to do so every year even if just for a weekend at the campsite.
There are so many incredible spots to visit right from the doorstep of the village, whether it’s a simple walk up to the lake Llyn Llewllyn in the forest; a gruelling climb to the top of Mount Hebog, the mountain peak which dominates over the village; or one of the many paths up Snowdon itself which start from close to Beddgelert village.
And Beddgelert village itself has a certain atmosphere about it that seems to make you feel at home. It’s a popular visitor destination and is always buzzing with people, but there’s a laid-back, relaxed feel about it that makes it a perfect place to visit to unwind and appreciate the stunning beauty of Britain’s most beautiful scenery.