Thinking about a trip to Snowdonia?
If you're thinking about a trip to Snowdonia, you're not alone! Every year, millions of visitors come to North Wales, making it one of the most important tourist destinations in the whole of the UK. It's not hard to see why either.
With some of the most outstanding scenery in the UK, along with world-class tourist attractions and a rich culture and heritage, it's a destination that genuinely offers something for everyone.
In Snowdonia alone, over 800,000 people explored the major landmarks of the National Park in 2019 and those numbers are climbing every year, thanks to a rise in popularity of staycations and day trips.
Whether you're an adventure seeker, a culture vulture, a foodie or a family looking to make memories, Snowdonia is a great choice for your next UK trip. Best of all, it's an all-year-round destination so you're guaranteed plenty to see and do whenever you choose to visit.
Want to know more? Read on!
Snowdonia National Park
Covering more than 800 square miles of mountain, coastline and moorland, Snowdonia is the largest national park in Wales. Home to some of the UK's most recognisable natural landmarks - including Snowdon, Cader Idris and the Glyderau - the park boasts 1,500 miles of tended routes to explore on foot, by bike, and on horseback.
As well as being an immense natural playground, the Snowdonia National Park is a significant cultural centre too. Of the park's 26,000 residents, almost 60% speak Welsh and many live and work within the park, either in conservation, agriculture or sustainable tourism. You will hear the language spoken and see it written wherever you go, immersing you in our proud heritage.
The mountains of Snowdonia are rich in myth and legend - King Arthur is believed to have fought and died here, while the dragons synonymous with our country have made their homes in the caves and lakes of the national park for time immemorial.
Most recently in 2020, UNESCO awarded World Heritage Status to the Slate Mining Landscapes of Northwest Wales, of which large swathes are within the boundaries of the park. Wherever you go in Snowdonia there are visible and tangible relics of our industrial slate mining past which, in its heyday, literally roofed the buildings of the world.
Things to do
Choosing to stay in a hotel near Snowdon, you will have direct access to all the sights and activities the national park has to offer.
Of course, no trip to Snowdonia would be complete without visiting - or conquering - Wales and England's highest mountain, Snowdon. Standing over 1,000 metres tall, Snowdon (called Yr Wyddfa in Welsh) attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.
It's unique among the mountains of the UK in that it is accessible to everyone; you can hike the mountain on one of its many walking routes but you can also reach the top by rail!
Here's a quick overview of some of the most popular routes up Snowdon:
Snowdon Mountain Railway - in operation since Victorian times, this heritage railway utilises both historic steam and modern diesel engines to ferry visitors to the summit of Snowdon. Making an ascent of almost 5 miles from Llanberis, passengers will enjoy a comfortable journey to the summit complex, with breathtaking scenery along the way!
Llanberis Path - without doubt, the most popular walking route up Snowdon, this path loosely follows the railway track to the summit. Whilst this is the longest way up Snowdon, it's popular because it has the most gradual, least strenuous ascent.
Miner's Path - a scenic but challenging trail to the summit which starts partway up the mountain at Pen-y-Pass. This was the route taken to work by nineteenth century copper miners; traces of their workings can still be seen along the way.
The Watkin Path - here you'll find the natural 'infinity pools' and waterfalls made famous on Instagram but the route is not for the faint of heart. It's a tough trek and not recommended for inexperienced or first-time walkers.
To learn more about popular routes up Snowdon, click here.
Walking in Snowdonia
If you love hiking and walking then your visit to Snowdonia shouldn't be confined to Snowdon alone. The mountain gets extremely busy at weekends and during school holidays so you may prefer to explore some of the quieter regions of the national park.
If you simply can't get enough of the mountains and you're a seasoned walker, you might like to try the Glyders, a dramatic ridge of rocky peaks neighbouring Snowdon, or perhaps explore the lesser-known Carneddau, a beautiful range that stretches from the Ogwen Valley to Conwy on the North Wales Coast.
Snowdonia also boasts many accessible walks which can be enjoyed by young and old alike. This being North Wales, great scenery is guaranteed even at ground level! You can view accessible walks local to our hotel here.
There are several lovely walks just a stone's throw from our hotel too, you don't need to hike up Snowdon to immerse yourself in the dramatic scenery! The circular walk around Llanberis Lake is an enjoyable tramp with a mixture of terrains through Padarn Country Park. For a great photo op, take the short but rewarding walk to Llanberis Falls (called Rhaeadr Ceunant Mawr in Welsh) or take a stroll through our hotel grounds to Dolbadarn Castle, a Welsh stronghold overlooking the twin lakes of Padarn and Peris.
And, don't forget, Snowdonia is more than just mountains. A section of the world-famous Wales Coast Path passes through the Snowdonia National Park. The section, which runs from Porthmadog to Machynlleth, takes in several charming seaside towns and traverses a selection of different terrains. You can find out more here.
SEE SNOWDONIA BY TRAIN
We've already mentioned the Snowdonia Mountain Railway as a must-do on your next trip to Snowdon but our region has several heritage railways, many with their origins in our slate mining history. Some of these great little trains of Wales are a short distance from the Royal Victoria Hotel and provide a unique and memorable way of touring the region.
A pleasant walk from the hotel brings you to the Llanberis Lake Railway, a narrow-gauge railway that once served the nearby Dinorwic Quarry. Take the short round trip along the lakeside and then visit the National Slate Museum to learn more about the role of rail in the slate industry.
For the ultimate heritage railway experience, climb aboard the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway. Snowdonia's most popular railway experience, the Welsh Highland follows a 25 mile route from Caernarfon to Porthmadog, making it the longest heritage railway in the UK. The Ffestiniog Railway, the oldest operational narrow-gauge railway, winds its way up into the mountains to the slate capital of the world, Blaenau Ffestiniog.
You can learn more about these and other local heritage railways here.
History & heritage
If you can't get enough of Welsh history and Dolbadarn Castle has whet your appetite, the Snowdonia National Park has its share of castles and historic monuments too.
A short drive from the hotel to Betws-y-Coed brings you to the home of Bishop William Morgan. He was the first person to translate the Bible into Welsh, making it accessible for the masses. His home is now cared for by the National Trust and is a lovely example of a 16th century farmhouse complete with Tudor herb garden.
For a truly unique perspective on Snowdonia, why not gaze upon its rugged peaks from the ramparts of one of the finest medieval castles in Europe? Harlech Castle, on the shores of Ceredigion Bay but within the confines of the national park, was built by English King Edward I during his conquest of Wales in the 13th century. Whilst a stark reminder of a dark time for the Welsh people, no one can deny it's a stunning example of defensive architecture.
Places to eat
We Welsh love our food and drink and we also love showering our hospitality on visitors. As you travel around Snowdonia you'll be spoilt for choice for places to sample some delicious Welsh fare.
From quaint cafes serving 'panad' and 'cacen' (a cuppa and cake in Welsh), to historic inns with roaring log fires and hearty pub grub, to modern brasseries whipping up contemporary takes on old favourites, North Wales has a thriving culinary scene. Welsh food is a lot more than just cheesy rarebit these days!
Dining at The Royal Victoria Hotel
Showcasing the best local and seasonal ingredients and produce, our food and drink menus have been developed to tantalise your tastebuds with a true taste of Wales. Using only the freshest locally sourced ingredients from carefully selected suppliers, we pride ourselves on preparing delicious meals which change with the seasons, making the best of what the Welsh countryside has to offer.
Named in honour of Llanberis's iconic lake, the Padarn Restaurant overlooks the hotel gardens with distant views of its namesake. Enjoy your meal in the stylish yet relaxed surroundings of our restaurant, which has been sympathetically appointed to reflect our hotel's Victorian heyday.
Eryri Bar & Lounge
The vibrant heart of our hotel, Eryri Bar & Lounge is open daily serving food and drinks, indoors and outside. Whether you're dropping in for drinks or something to eat, you're guaranteed to receive a warm Welsh welcome.
To view our seasonal menus, click here.
Where to stay
To enjoy all the activities, sights and sounds Snowdonia has to offer there is no hotel better placed than the Royal Victoria Hotel in Llanberis at the foot of Snowdon.
We are located just across the road from the Snowdon Mountain Railway and the start of the Llanberis Path, the historic Dolbadarn Castle sits within the hotel grounds and, of course, that dramatic UNESCO Slate Landscape surrounds us.
All the sites, walks and attractions covered here are just a short walk or drive from the hotel too, making it a great base from which to explore the wider national park and the North Wales region.
A stunning example of Victorian construction, the hotel was built to accommodate the burgeoning tourist trade to Snowdonia in the nineteenth century. So popular was Snowdon with well-to-do visitors that the Royal Victoria Hotel even had an inn at the summit for those seeking the full alpine experience.
Today like then, the Royal Victoria Hotel offers guests a warm Welsh welcome. However, we won't make you sleep on Snowdon summit when you can choose from our selection of cosy, well-appointed bedrooms instead!
Stay with us
Now you're armed with our top tips for a visit to Snowdonia, your next step is to book your stay! Without doubt, the Royal Victoria Hotel is the ideal base for climbing Snowdon and discovering all the Snowdonia National Park has to offer. Book your stay today.