Sometimes, the southern part of Snowdonia can get overlooked when people coming to the area are looking at where to go and what to do. However, if you take the time to look, there are some real hidden gems and wonderful things to be done in this part of the National Park. The mountains aren’t as busy which is always a welcome relief and there are a number of great towns to visit, festivals to see and great activities to do. Here is our guide on what to do in southern Snowdonia.
The second highest peak in North Wales, Cadair Idris is situated just outside the market town of Dolgellau. It is a much more gentle walk than Snowdon and has the added benefit of so many myths and legends associated with the mountain. If you take a guided walk, they will of course be able to tell you all the places and rocks to look out for which are part of the legends themselves and if not, then make sure you do your research on the internet so you can keep a lookout yourself. If the weather is good, make sure you come down via Llyn Cau where you can have a quick wild swim on the way back.
Officially one of the best attractions in Wales, this award winning activity is based in Corris. It all takes place underground where you start your journey on a boat. Taking you on through a waterfall and into the labyrinth where you’ll learn about King Arthur, giants, dragons and battles – all of which is said to have taken place in North Wales. It’s a fantastic family day out and perfect for those rainy days.
Coed Y Brenin is an absolute must to visit if you like the outdoors. It is best known for being one of the best places in the UK for mountain biking. Set in a forest just outside Dolgellau, there are 8 trails ranging from green to black, all offering a fantastic mountain biking experience. In more recent years they have also introduced running and walking trails which have added to the overall experience. Bring your own bikes or you can rent once you are there. Entry is free, but you have to pay for parking. There is a visitor centre where they serve hot and cold food and there is a gift shop too.
Based in the market town of Machynlleth which is on the outskirts of the National Park, The Centre of Alternative Technology (CAT) is an eco centre that researches greener ways of living. A truly interesting place to visit to see what we can do to help work towards a zero carbon environment. With demonstrations of environmentally responsible buildings, renewable energy, and organically managed gardens. It is something we should all be looking at and a great place to learn in tandem with our kids.
Aberdovey is a beautiful fishing village on the Cardigan bay. It is a real sailing destination and therefore home to lots of sailing competitions and regattas during the summer months which brings with it lots of family entertainment . There are miles of stunning sandy beaches where you’ll find surfers, swimmers, wind surfers etc – sailing isn’t the only popular watersport here! There is also a very popular golf course where you can enjoy with stunning views. Lots of lovely restaurants, pubs and cafe make it a really great place to stay. Of course the seafood on offer is as fresh as it comes.
For a holiday by the seaside, nothing beats Barmouth. With its award winning beaches and the mountains in the background, it has everything on offer. A 4 mile promenade with cafes and amusement arcades along with a town where you will find a whole host of great shops and entertainment. There is a beautiful harbour with a whole host of places to sit back and have a drink or bite to eat. SUP is very popular here; a trip down the Mawddach estuary on a SUP will be something you will remember for life. Last but not least, if you have never been crabbing before, then Barmouth harbour is where to learn; all the equipment you need is sold locally and the kids will love it – a great way to spend late afternoon and evening (depending on the tide of course).