Snowdonia’s national park is the rural heartland of North Wales — think mountains, glacial valleys, and sparkling waterfalls. But there’s also plenty here for families, history buffs and Sunday strollers.
Travel bucket list idea:
National Slate Museum
Snowdonia National Park, Wales, United Kingdom (UK)|museum.wales|
Located on site of the former Dinorwig slate Quarry, the Museum celebrates the slate heritage of North Wales, which transformed the area from a patchwork of rural farmsteads to a hotbed of the Industrial Revolution.
The slate was used widely to roof industrial-heartland Wales and exported around the world for civic buildings from Copenhagen to Melbourne. The workshops and outbuildings today look as if the quarrymen have just downed tools for the end of their shift.
The Museum is also mooted as a gateway hub to a new slate-heritage project in response the region being named as the UK’s 33rd UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2021.
The crowd-pleasing, daily slate-dressing demonstrations showcase how the skilled craftsmen would have split the slates with a hammer and chisel.
While you're there
Close by are the mystic ruins of 13th-century Dolbadarn Castle, built by Llywelyn the Great, one of the Princes of Gwynedd. It’s myth-shrouded site captured by the artists Richard Wilson and Turner.
Getting there & doing it
Most visits are independent and form part of a wider, self-drive circuit around the attractions of Snowdonia. You could combine a visit, however, with a trip on the Llanberis Lake Railway around Lake Padarn.
Guided tours and behind-the-scenes tours are available on request for group bookings.
Wear strong walking shoes as many of the exhibits are outdoors. Also take layered clothing to allow for the changeable local weather.
There’s a café on site for simple snacks and drinks but a better option is nearby Lodge Dinorwig (open Friday to Monday) with a meu of local flavours and fab views.
When to do it
The museum is open all year round, Sunday to Friday. Closed Saturday.
Expect queues at times with coach parties and school groups, especially during summer months. Arrive early or later in the day for quieter visits.
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