Where to Stay: Porthmadog

Stay in Porthmadog to get the full experience

If you’re pushed for time you can get a whistle-stop tour of Porthmadog in half a day, but if you’ve got a few days to spare it really is best to stay for a couple of nights.

There’s so much to see and do here in the surrounding area that you’ll be kicking yourself if you choose to simply pass through – so why not book a couple of nights and use Porthmadog as a base for your North Wales adventure?

Now, we understand that all different kinds of people come to visit us here in Porthmadog, so we thought we’d put together a list of accommodation options that reflects that. Regardless of the budget that you have or the type of holiday you’re looking for, we reckon we’ve covered all of the bases.

Take a look at the list below and do let us know how your trip to Porthmadog goes…

For the Highflyer

Every town has its high-end establishment and Porthmadog’s is the Royal Sportsman Hotel, the only 3-star hotel in the area. Despite the awards and acclaim that this hotel has been given you’ll find that the service is wonderfully unstuffy. Dogs are welcome in certain rooms of the hotel and the on-site restaurant also happens to be one of the best in the area having been awarded 2 AA Rosettes. You can choose to eat in either the restaurant, bar, lounge or patio garden and take advantage of a changing menu of Modern Welsh classics.

How much? Double rooms start at £82 per night (including breakfast)

For the Budget Conscious

For those that would rather save their money for activities, the Queens Hotel offers unfussy bed and board at a good price. This pub has been refurbished recently, making it a great option for bargain hunters looking to save a few quid.

Reviews for this hotel are generally good across the board with many guests mentioning the polite, friendly staff as well as the relaxing bar. Breakfast is not included with the price here, but when it’s as cheap as this you can probably forgive them for this.

How much? Double rooms start at £60 per night

For the Happy Camper

Fancy spending the night under canvas with the sound of waves breaking against the beach? Well you can do just that at Black Rock Sands Touring and Camping Park. Although there are no static caravans for sale on site there are plenty of pitches to choose from starting at £10 per night per person during low season.

There are all the facilities that you’d expect from a quality camp site and you have the added bonus of being a stone’s throw away from the beach.

How much? £12.50 per night per adult during high season

For the Minimalist

To get the true locals experience there’s perhaps no better option than Tai Shan, a tidy little bungalow tucked away in a residential cul-de-sac on the edge of town. With just two bedrooms and one bathroom this property is hardly brimming with facilities but it has all you really need to get by for a weekend’s visit to Porthmadog.

Five can sleep comfortably here making it perfect for families or a group of close friends, and with shops and a pub within a few minutes walk this is a practical option for those who aren’t too fussy.

How much? Stay for 3 nights and only pay £408 (just over £80 per person for the weekend – if you fill the beds)

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!