Every year, hundreds of thousands of people make the journey to Llanberis, with a trip up Wales’s epic peak, Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon), at the top of the agenda. But this charming community isn’t just about Wales’s highest mountain (though, it may be rather difficult to ignore). In fact, you could easily spend an entire day enjoying the village without needing to put on your walking boots.
From boating on Llyn Padarn to a fascinating visit to our National Slate Museum, the town has something for everyone; with wonderful local shops, and delicious cafes and restaurants to boot.
Let’s explore the magical village of Llanberis, which just so happens to be right on the Royal Victoria Hotel’s doorstep.
Llanberis’s history goes way back, to a time when Wales was ruled by Welsh princes. Llywelyn the Great built Llanberis’s very own Dolbadarn Castle in the early 13th Century… and guess what? The ruins sit in the grounds of the Royal Victoria Hotel – it’s a lovely walk if you’re staying here and it offers some great photo opps along the way.
For hundreds of years, only the brave and adventurous visited Llanberis – Wales was considered wild and difficult to access. But that all changed in the 1840s with the coming of the Welsh railway, when Llanberis became the destination ‘of choice’ for the Victorians. Today, Llanberis and its dramatic surroundings are a mecca for photographers, climbers, walkers, artists, writers and tourists.
Our picturesque village is easily accessible from the A55. Follow signs for Bangor & Betws-y-Coed and keep an eye out for brown tourist signs marked Llanberis.
The Royal Victoria Hotel sits proudly above the village, tucked away at the foot of Snowdon. Our historic hotel has been a part of the village life in Llanberis since Victorian times when it became popular with intrepid tourists looking for alpine adventure in the mountains of North Wales. The Royal Victoria Hotel was once two hotels; one as you find it today and one at the summit of Snowdon, where guests could stay the night after making their arduous ascent - often in crinolines and top hats!
THINGS TO DO IN LLANBERIS
1. Yr Wyddfa / Snowdon
It might seem a little obvious but we couldn’t miss out Llanberis’s star attraction. At an impressive 1085 metres tall, Yr Wyddfa is Wales’s highest mountain. To say it’s beautiful at the top on a clear day would be an understatement, though it’s quite a challenge to get there.
If it’s your first time up, we’d recommend taking the Llanberis Path. Make sure you check the weather beforehand and come prepared – good quality, waterproof walking clothes, plenty of water and snacks, sunblock and a pair of trusted walking boots are essential. Read our blog on safe winter walking for more handy tips.
Don’t fancy the climb? The world-famous Snowdon Mountain Railway will take you right to the summit – all you have to do is enjoy the views and reward yourself with a cuppa at the top*.
*Hafod Eryri, the summit visitor centre, is due to reopen in spring 2023. Currently, there are no facilities at the summit.
2. The National Slate Museum
The National Slate Museum transports you back to a time when Snowdonia was the capital of North Walian industry, specifically slate mining. Slate was an essential construction material, much in demand during the Industrial Revolution. The Victorian workshops, nestled below the Dinorwig quarry, once employed more than 3,000 men before closing in 1969. Now, they’re a fascinating glimpse into the past lives, suffering and craftsmanship of Llanberis’s slate workers and their families – well worth a visit!
3. Llyn Padarn
Llyn Padarn is one of North Wales’s largest natural lakes, perching on the edge of Llanberis and just a short walk from the hotel. Surrounded by majestic peaks, it’s an incredibly scenic landmark – come rain or shine. Take it all in on a boat trip on the Snowdon Star, walk the 6-mile circular route, take the kids on a rowing boat or enjoy an ice-cream on the shore – it’s a lovely place to relax.
If it’s warm enough, you can even enjoy a quick dip – the lake recently gained bathing water recognition.
4. PADARN COUNTRY PARK
Covering more than 800 acres, you can lose yourself exploring the contrasting landscapes of Llanberis in Padarn Country Park. Designated as an area of Special Scientific Interest the park is also home to a wide variety of unique flora and fauna. Within the confines of the park you can visit the National Slate Museum, take a trip on the Llanberis Lake Railway or follow one of several way-marked walks - there are walks suitable for all ages and abilities here.
If you're looking to up things a gear there are loads of outdoor activities to try here too. From scuba diving and watersports, to climbing and orienteering you can experience the thrills of the Great Outdoors just a stone's throw from the hotel. Llyn Padarn has become a hub for watersports in recent years and Snowdonia Watersports offer great introductory sessions to canoeing and kayaking if you fancy dipping your toe in!
WHERE TO EAT
You'll be spoilt for choice for places to eat when you visit Llanberis, with several excellent pubs, cafes and restaurants in the village and surrounding area to choose from. Whether you fancy some authentic Welsh fare or just a refuelling snack after a day in the hills, there's something to suit all tastes and budgets here.
1. Padarn Restaurant
The leading restaurant in Llanberis, our very own AA Rosette Padarn Restaurant serves delicious local cuisine seven days a week. Welcoming residents and non-residents alike, the restaurant showcases the best local and seasonal ingredients for a true taste of Wales.
2. Eryri Bar & Lounge
A hub for visitors and locals alike, Eyryri Bar is a lively watering hole right here in the hotel. Offering a wide range of food & drink, as well as a bar snack menu for lighter bites, you can cosy up by the fire after a busy day or chat with fellow diners. Whether you’re staying at the hotel or just passing through, we’d love to meet you during your trip to Llanberis.
To find out more about dining options at The Royal Victoria Hotel, click here.
WHERE TO SHOP
1. Crib Goch Outdoor World
Forgot your walking boots, your waterproof trousers, your hot chocolate flask or camping supplies? No worries – just head to Crib Goch Outdoor World on Llanberis high street. This extensive shop has everything you could ever need (literally) for outdoor pursuits and adventures out in the wild.
2. Snowdon Trading Post
You can’t visit Llanberis without picking up a Snowdon souvenir, right? This is a cute and quirky shop which sells gifts for all the Snowdon lovers out there. Think local produce, cute trinkets and Welsh-themed gifts galore. Find it close to the hotel, at the start of the Llanberis Path.
3. Llanberis Bike Hire
You might not have been able to fit the entire family’s bikes in the car for your trip to Llanberis – but there’s nothing better than a fresh, breezy cycle around the stunning Snowdonia scenery! Don’t miss out – just head to Llanberis Bike Hire, just off the High Street in the village. They’ve got you covered with children’s bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes and tag alongs which are all available for daily rent.
While Snowdon is certainly the crown and glory of Llanberis, this picturesque village has way more to offer. Here, you can really get to know Wales – hear the wonderful Welsh language, be awed by the majestic landscapes and visit charming shops, cafes and restaurants run by the village’s friendly locals.