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:
Welsh Highland Railway
Snowdonia National Park, Wales, United Kingdom (UK)|www.festrail.co.uk|
The Welsh Highland Railway is the UK’s longest heritage railway line and an engineering gem for steam enthusiasts and sightseers alike.
It’s a stunning 25-mile route running from the station near Caernarfon Castle, via Beddgelert, onto Porthmadog. The journey builds to a dramatic crescendo through the Aberglaslyn Pass, the train edging along the rock shelf above the River Glaslyn. Head to the open-air carriage for the best views here.
The route is designed as a hop-on, hop-off service with regular stops along the way – make a stop at the village of Beddgelert, one of Snowdonia’s picture-postcard highlights, for coffee and ice-creams. You can walk along the river to Gelert’s Grave, a place of Welsh mythology. Also combine it with a visit to Caernarfon Castle.
If 25 miles is not enough, it also connects with the Ffestiniog Railway at Porthmadog to complete 40 steam-powered miles through the rural heart of Snowdonia.
Getting there & doing it
Driving to Porthmadog or Caernarfon from London takes around six hours. Trains from London Euston to Porthmadog take around six hours, changing at Birmingham International.
You can travel in either direction, stopping en route. Porthmadog station, at one end of the line, is a 10-minute walk from Porthmadog Harbour Station. At the other end, the route starts beneath the town walls near Caernarfon Castle.
The journey one way take just over 2 hours, though you can opt for a ‘full day’ package, which includes the return trip and a 2-hour stop-over. Book tickets in advance on the website – you can also select your specific train.
When to do it
Trains run spring to autumn with some winter services according to maintenance works. Times and dates vary, so check the timetable on the website. Some train feature open-air carriages for the best views. Check the website for exact times and schedules.
Destination guides including or relevant to this experience