Part three of our tour around the Snowdonia 360 focusses entirely on the beautiful and action-packed town of Llanberis.
Located at the base of Wales’ tallest mountain – Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa, in Welsh) – Llanberis offers way more than just one day out!
During our day in this stunning location, we (two adults and two children under 6) visited Llanberis Lake Railway & the National Slate Museum, as well as stopping by Llyn Padarn; one of Wales’ largest natural lakes for a quick dip.

LLANBERIS LAKE RAILWAY

  • Duration – 1 ½ hours
  • How to get there – A55: Follow signs for Llanberis, then signs for Llanberis Lake Railway (opposite Snowdon Mountain Railway) in the town.
  • Website – lake-railway.co.uk

We arrived at Llanberis on a beautiful August morning and parked in the large car park just a moments’ walk from the Llanberis Lake Railway station.

The super slick check-in process meant we were in our COVID separated area of the carriage in no time, ready for a trip along the 2-mile-long Llyn Padarn – a lake which must surely be one of the picturesque in the UK.

Setting off with two VERY excited children, the train at first goes back on itself to pick up customers closer to the town centre, before embarking in the other direction along the shores of the lake. Make sure you have your camera/phone handy for this one; there isn’t a moment on the journey that doesn’t have a stunning view. On a clear day like ours, we could see the summit of Snowdon, Crib Goch, Moel Eilio, and the wonderful little town of Llanberis itself.

Taking roughly an hour and a half, the train journey turns back on itself at the far end of the lake but does allow for a 5 minute stop off just afterward before heading back to Gilfach Ddu (the train’s main station).

AROUND LLANBERIS LAKE RAILWAY

Alighting the train, we stopped for a lovely coffee before wandering over to the nearby Vivian Quarry to watch a different kind of adventure take place. This famous quarry is home to a scuba diving centre and some serious rock climbing.

Afterwards, we decided to take a short, well-guided walkthrough Padarn Country Park. Starting off at the nearby lagoon, the walk took us up the Quarry Hospital museum and through the forest that flanks it, before descending back to the Llanberis Lake Railway station and the car park beyond. This is another fantastic opportunity to grab some scenic pictures.

Once we were back, it was time for activity number two…

NATIONAL SLATE MUSEUM

  • Duration – 2 hours
  • How to get there – as Llanberis Lake Railway – they both share the same pay and display car park!
  • Website – museum.wales/slate

Literally just seconds from Llanberis Lake Railway, the National Slate Museum is unmissable in its setting.

Occupying the now disused Dinorwic slate quarry workshops which were built in 1870, the museum is an interesting and interactive journey through all aspects of slate quarrying in Llanberis (and North West Wales as a whole).

There’s a lot to take in here but luckily, it’s all cut down into sections. The first area of the museum is situated in and around the large open courtyard area where the slate trucks and cranes are now kept. In this area, the kids had a chance to get up close with some huge pieces of machinery and the indoor display areas gave a very good indication as to the scale of quarrying in North Wales, as well as the personal cost of the quarrymen who worked there.

Halfway around the tour, we found ourselves at the ‘pit stop’ area of the museum. The museum café and outdoor play area is a great place for the kids to let off some steam while grabbing a bite to eat. The café offers a selection of sandwiches and hot food, as well as some really lovely cakes. The boys had kids packed lunch and we had sandwiches, followed by coffee and cake. After lunch, the boys had more energy to burn so we headed to the nicely secure play area on the site for a run-around.

After a fun time in the park, it was time to carry on with the tour of the museum.

Unfortunately for our visit, the impressive water wheel display was closed due to the COVID-19 restrictions. The largest working waterwheel in the UK is an unmissable part of the experience so hopefully, it’ll be back open soon.

Back in the workshops, the attention to detail in restoring these areas is very impressive, and about halfway through this section, we stopped to watch a real-life apprentice Iron Monger ply his trade, making a pair of pliers from scratch. It was really interesting to watch someone who obviously loved his job talk about the processes involved and how it applied to slate quarrying (and in present-day).

Heading back to the exit, our two boys couldn’t resist heading back for one last look at the outdoor trains and machinery.

BEFORE WE LEFT

We couldn’t leave such a beautiful location, on such a perfect day before heading back to the lake for a quick dip! The kids hopped into their wetsuits and joined the many kayakers, paddle boarders and swimmers for a little cool down before heading back to the car and making our way home. What another great day out on the Snowdonia 360!

For prices of each attraction and cost of dinner please see individual websites:

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