Fun Day Outs in Ffestiniog & Portmadog

There’s so much to do here in Ffestintog & Portmadog!

One of the reasons why North Wales is such a popular holiday destination is the wealth of fun activities on offer.

There’s something for everyone here in the Ffestinog & Portmadog area, so whether you’re travelling as a family, couple or by yourself, you’re bound to find something to get up to. Unlike many other holiday destinations, North Wales is a great place to visit the whole year round. Although the beaches we have here are undoubtedly more pleasant when the sun is shining, the surf is good regardless and the mountains and forests are fantastic to explore whatever the weather.

Beyond sports activities, there are also a number of completely unique attractions here that you won’t be able to find anywhere else in the world, so why not take a look at what North Wales has to offer before you book your trip?

These activities are mostly suitable for all types of weather, but it’s always best to check with the operators before making a booking first:

Ride the Rails

The biggest draw in the Ffestiniog area has to be the heritage railway which happens to be the oldest of its type in the world. Hop on the train at Ffestiniog then sit back and enjoy a train journey of unparalleled beauty. This scenic train journey takes around 80 minutes to reach its destination at Portmadog, in the meantime you can recline in comfortable seats aboard a piece of history. Each train now comes complete with a Pullman Observation Carriage – perfect for admiring the coastal and mountain views as they pass you by.

Go Bird-watching

Nestled in the heart of Snowdonia; Ffestiniog and Portmadog make for fantastic bird-watching bases. From these two popular tourist towns you can easily make your way to a number of secluded bird-watching sites that fanciers from the world over flock to each year. During the summer it’s best to camp out at these spots overnight so that you can make the most of the early morning sightings, with daylight hours at their longest during June, you can expect to see the most activity during during dusk and dawn.

Downhill Biking


Anyone familiar with cycling will be likely to agree that the most fun you can have is flying down hill – so why not treat yourself to a whole day of doing just that? Whilst the hills and peaks of the surrounding area can make for a challenging day of cycling, you can book ‘uplifts’ from a local bike firm Antur Stiniog taking out the bother of climbing up to the top of the trails. This company specialise in Down Hill Biking so they can take you to all the best trails and also supply you with the best bikes to fly down them with!

Spend a day at the Beach

I fall of the above sounds like a bit too intensive then why not blow them all of for a day at the beach? Black Rock Sands has been consistently praised for its excellent facilities, clear blue seas and pure white sands. There’s everything you’d need from a beach here: toilets, a shop, drinking water and plenty of parking so you can enjoy a stress-free day at the beach without having to worry about the basics.

Peace Gardens & Parks to Relax In

Not quite up to a full-blown adventure?

That’s OK! The Vale of Ffestiniog and the surrounding areas isn’t just for extreme sports fanatics and adrenaline junkies – there are acres of beautiful parks and gardens to relax in here, so you’ll never have to drive that far to find somewhere to unwind.

From its central place in Snowdonia, Blaenau Ffestiniog is a perfect starting point for your North Wales adventure and whilst it might be tempting to pack in as much high-octane activities as possible, it’s always a good idea to leave some time to put your feet up and unwind: after all it’s your holiday!

Gardens are difficult things to look after, there are so many thing to keep an eye on that many people just don’t bother. Fences need looking after, lawns need trimming and, if you’re unlucky, you might even need help getting rid of Japanese knotweed using KnotweedHelp.com! Public gardens and parks offer all the benefits of having your own garden with none of the drawbacks.

Keeping your kids entertained doesn’t have to be an impossible or expensive task either, just make sure you bring along a frisbee or a rounders set to keep them occupied, as well as enough food and drink to keep you all fed. As long as the weather holds, a day out in the park or woodlands can be a care-free relaxing experience that’s also relatively cheap.

These are our favourite green space to relax in:

Caerau Gardens

Opened by Toby and Stephanie Hickish in 1994, the garden and forest areas make for an ideal place for families to escape to for a day. As you can imagine, after nearly 25 years of developing and growing, the Hickish’s garden is quite the sight to behold but it’s also helped by it’s elevation; at over 1000ft above sea level visitors are also treated to spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. The kids can make the most of a sunken trampoline, as well as a zip-line and fort to play in. If you forget to bring a picnic there’s also a cafe onsite that serves a decent spread of food.

Plas Brondanw Gardens

There are no shortage of fine country houses in and around Snowdonia, although many of them have fallen into disrepair over the years. Thankfully, Plas Brondanw is not one of them. The gardens here were designed by the legendary architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis who was given the home and land in 1902 from his Father. Although Williams-Ellis is perhaps best known for designing the iconic village of Portmeirion, it’s been said that the gardens at Plas Brondanw far surpass it in beauty. Entrance is £5 per person, making this a bit more expensive for families, but ideal for couples.

The Joys of Life Country Park

Around an hour’s drive away from Ffestiniog, the Joys of Life Country Park might sound like a rather strange place, but its peaceful seclusion and quality facilities make it an ideal place to unwind in. Ten acres of grounds include a nature trail, ideal for kids who are keen to spot the abundance of wildlife that calls its home there and there’s also a bird-watching hide for the patient ones in your group who are willing to wait for a rare sighting. On a side-note, this is a ideal place to organise a family reunion or party at. The facilities here include a handful of self-catering cottages and spaces that are ideal for hosting a big shindig.

6 Must-Eat Places Around Ffestiniog

Looking for a bite around Ffestiniog?

Although Ffestiniog lies in the heart of Snowdonia, relatively cut off from the rest of the world, you’d be surprised at the variety of food there is on offer.

Despite it’s isolated location you can find a wide range of eateries here to suit all tastes, styles and budgets. If you’re looking to save your pennies then you can make the most of a number of well-established takeaways that offer an affordable range of popular dishes.

We’ve cast our eyes over what Ffestiniog has to offer and picked out our favourites:

CellB

Many visitors do a double-take when they hear about CellB, its mission statement is more in line with an innovative London-based establishment than a cafe/bar you’d expect to find in Wales. In their words, this establish has become one of the most successful places in the region by ‘Connecting culture, drink and food with art and accommodation.’ On Friday, Saturday and Sunday you can choose from a great Breakfast and Lunch menu, from Thursdays to Sundays you can also eat dinner there.

Meirion Vaults

Decent traditional pubs are just one of many things that North Wales does well and Meirion Vaults is a great example of this. The Vaults (as its known by the locals) offers a good mix of well-known beers, as well as locally brewed ales.

Best of all, their menu of classic pub grub meals is super affordable and consistent in quality. Regular events and food deals are held each week ranging from a Burger Night (£9 for a burger and pint or glass of wine) to an innovative ‘Pay What Time You Eat’ night!

Lakeside Cafe

This dog-friendly cafe has something for everyone. Although their claim to serve the ‘best all-day breakfast in North Wales’ could be contested by a number of other excellent eateries in the area, it’s safe to say that the view you get is pretty hard to beat. The Lakeside Cafe is an ideal stop-off point for holiday-makers looking to take a break from the road or families who want to fuel up for a big day of exploration. Open from 9-8 every day, this is a highly recommended cafe to simply sit at and watch the world go by.

Y Pengwern


Just a short drive out from Y Pengwern, this community-run pub is a perfect example of what can be achieved with the power of an entire village! Situated in the heart of the sleepy village of Llan Ffestiniog, this pub has everything you’d expect from a village boozer; a cosy atmosphere, friendly locals, decent beer and a menu of absolute pub classics including: Lasagne, Pies and Lamb Hotpots. You can even stop by at 6:30pm on a Tuesday to learn a spot of Welsh!

Bryn Arms

The Bryn Arms is unique in that it’s a fairly modern building rather than a traditional inn, as a result it has a character and charm all to itself. Located in the village of Gellilydan, this is a down-to-earth pub with a distinct working man’s charm to it, but don’t let that put you off!

On a sunny day The Bryn Arms’ outside seating area is packed out with locals and tourists alike enjoying the sun and a well poured pint. The utilitarian menu offers affordable pub grub for the whole family, so everyone’s happy!