*** Update July 2019: We understand that Cae Du campsite in Beddgelert has closed down and will not re-open unless new owners are found to take it over. we seriously hope this happens because, as you’ll see from the below review, it’s a brilliant site. Note that this refers to Cae Du campsite in Beddgelert and not the campsite of the same name in Cardigan Bay, which is un-related. ***
We’ve been coming to Beddgelert in Snowdonia for many years and in the past have always camped at Beddgelert Forest campsite. This year, for a sunny weekend camping trip in June, we tried a new site for the first time – Cae Du, just outside the beautiful Beddgelert village centre.
Initial research on Tripadvisor suggested the facilities were good but there’s a strong theme to the Tripadvisor reviews of rude and aggressive behaviour from the campsite owners / staff.
From our point of view though, as long as the facilities are good, the toilets and showers are clean – and the location is right, some potentially dodgy customer service isn’t high on our list of worries, so we booked up for two nights and headed here on one of the hottest, sunniest weekends of the year.
On arrival, first impressions were good. The location is absolutely superb – closer to the village centre of Beddgelert than our previous choice of campsite (Cae Du is within easy 5 to 10 minute walking distance) and surrounded by some of the UK’s most beautiful scenery. On a clear sunny day like this (admittedly a rarity in normally rainy Snowdonia) there are uninterrupted, panoramic views of all the surrounding peaks from everywhere on site.
We were greeted in reception by a lady who, contrary to our expectations, was extremely friendly and helpful. We booked in and drove off round the site looking for the best pitch for our huge 8-man tent, for which there was plenty of space.
All the tent pitch areas are open, spacious and flat. We were here in the slightly off-peak season – a weekend outside the school holidays – so no doubt it’s busier at peak times, but we were very pleased with the amount of space and choice of pitches.
We chose a spot in a corner of a field close to the river that flows through the site and near to the facilities block. It was ideal – the views were stunning, it was quiet, peaceful and we had the toilets, showers, washing up and other facilities close at hand.
We found the all-important showers and toilets to be immaculate. Again, it was quiet on site with only a handful of other campers and caravanners so we can’t comment on conditions when it’s busy – but it was obvious that good attention was paid to the cleanliness of the facilities.
As well as the toilets and showers, there are ample, covered washing up sinks, a laundry and baby-changing area and an indoor room they call the ‘Bothy’, which has sofas, a table and a selection of books and magazines to borrow, which is no doubt a very welcome feature for those needing a respite from the weather during wetter times.
One of the most useful features for us was the provision of a shared-use fridge and freezer (free of charge) in the laundry room. So many times when camping, we’ve struggled with cooling our food in a cool box, to-ing and fro-ing to change ice blocks which barely keep the milk fresh. Here, we had the luxury of putting all our chilled food – milk, butter, bacon and all-important bottles of beer, in to a proper fridge and also keeping our ice blocks in a large chest freezer.
The fridge is only small and it’s shared with everyone (you have to put your stuff in a labelled carrier bag) so, at busy times, it might be more of a struggle for space – but for us it was a real bonus; a small and simple touch that made a significant difference to the comfort and convenience of our stay.
Over at reception there’s a shop with some basic camping supplies, where they’ll also provide you with freshly baked baguettes in the mornings (for a reasonable cost, if remembered correctly, of about £1.50).
The site feels secure and well-maintained. There’s a large gate at the entrance which closes at 10pm and opens again at 7am, so you can’t come and go outside of those hours (I seem to recall mention of an additional charge for anyone who does want to enter or leave between 10pm and 7am) and there’s a second barrier which is operated by electronic passes that you’re given at reception (for a £10 refundable deposit).
There are rules on the site, which seem to be the source of some of the Tripadvisor complaints, for instance no music is allowed, no fires, no noise after 10pm – but they don’t seem particularly unreasonable to me and the site had a friendly, quiet and peaceful atmosphere about it which was very suitable for families.
Being close to a river, in the evening and early in the morning, inevitably midges descend on the campsite and are a nuisance but they didn’t hang around particularly long. Any mountain campsite by a river is going to suffer from them in the summer months, they’re an unavoidable part of the camping experience in places like this. It’s worth bringing repellent and / or anti-mosquito candles to help keep them at bay.
Each time we went in to reception, the staff we dealt with were friendly, helpful and happy – not a single sign of any of the aggro or unfriendliness reported in some of the campsite’s other reviews. Maybe we got lucky and the staff were in a good mood that weekend; perhaps they’ve taken the criticism on board and improved their attitude or maybe we just dealt with different people.
Either way, our entire experience of this site was faultless throughout. It’s a beautiful, clean, spacious campsite just a few minutes’ walk away from the amenities of Beddgelert village centre and close to Snowdonia’s best walking routes and most stunning scenery. We loved it and will definitely be back!