by Katy Depledge
Day Out Guides
Beddgelert is a charming village in the heart of Snowdonia National Park.
With its quaint bridge across the River Colwyn, traditional stone cottages and picturesque setting amongst the mountains, Beddgelert really is a beautiful place to visit.
Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about Beddgelert, a place of legend and adventure…
Beddgelert is located in the Snowdonia region of Gwynedd in Wales. The village can be accessed via the A4085 that runs between Caernarfon and Porthmadog.
The legend of Gelert the Dog is a beloved Welsh folk tale about Prince Llewelyn the Great’s faithful hound. This well-known legend is set in the thirteenth century when Prince Llywelyn the Great had a mighty palace in Caernarvonshire. The Prince was a keen hunter and spent a lot of time in the great outdoors.
One morning he called his hunting dogs, however, his favourite dog Gelert did not appear, so he went hunting without him. On returning from his hunt, the prince was greeted by Gelert, who was covered in blood.
Llywelyn’s first thought went immediately to his one-year-old son – and the fact he was missing. His fears were realised when he found the child’s cradle upturned and covered in blood. The Prince, assuming that his favourite dog had killed his heir and mad with grief, took a sword to Gelert’s heart.
In the aftermath of killing his beloved hound, The Prince heard a cry and found his son underneath the upturned cradle, alongside a wolf that Gelert had killed to protect the infant. Llewelyn, struck with grief, carried the body of his faithful hound and buried him where everyone could see the grave of his brave four-legged friend.
To this day, you can go and visit Gelert’s Grave, one of our favourite free things to do in North Wales.
The legend of Gelert, the faithful hound after which the village takes its name, has been well told. There is, however, more to picturesque Beddgelert.
It is a great destination for a short break in Snowdonia, be it summer or winter. Here are a few of our favorite things to do in Beddgelert…
A list of top things to do in Beddgelert had to start with a visit to Gelert’s Grave.
This scenic walk takes you along the banks of the River Glaslyn, surrounded by the impressive peaks of Snowdonia. Whilst strolling along the river you’ll come across a large cairn stone, underneath a tree, marking the place where Gelert was buried.
Continue beyond the grave and you’ll come across the ruins of a farmhouse called Beudy Buarth Gwyn. Here you will find a bronze statue of Gelert inside, proudly protecting the entrance of the farmhouse.
It might not be Euston, but Beddgelert does have its own train station. No crammed commuter carriages here though! Beddgelert is one of the stops on the Caernarfon to Porthmadog Welsh Highland Railway, the UK’s longest heritage railway.
The gentle pace of the steam train means that you can sit back and take in the outstanding scenery as you travel through the heart of Snowdonia National Park.
Beddgelert Forest is a magical place. Stand on the shores of Llyn Llewelyn in the heart of the forest and just listen to the surrounding wildlife! The numerous trails are well-marked and great for walking, but perhaps even better for biking.
1085 Adventures has a range of bikes for hire. There is a traffic-free cycle route from the village, Lon Gwyrfai, starting from the car park by the side of Beddgelert Bikes that takes you up to the forest about a mile away. You can continue to the village of Rhyd Ddu if you like. The total distance is about 4.5 miles.
Just outside the village lies the Sygun Copper Mines, an exciting underground adventure. This popular family-friendly attraction in North Wales won the Prince of Wales award for tourism and is an impressive example of how the industrial heritage can be reclaimed and restored.
Winding tunnels, colourful chambers and impressive stalactites and stalagmites can all be found on the self-guided tour. The Sygun Copper Mines are another stage in Snowdonia’s colourful history waiting to be discovered.
If you’re visiting Gelert’s Grave, you’ll pass St Mary’s Church. This is one of the oldest Christian buildings in Wales and is currently a Grade II listed building.
Discover medieval transept arches and stunning stained-glass windows.
The illustrator of the iconic Rupert Bear stories, Mr. Alfred Edmeades M.B.E lived in the charming village of Beddgelert.
In fact, you can stay at Alfred’s cottage with Menai Holiday Cottages! This cosy cottage, Penlan was the home of the famous illustrator from 1956 to 1986.
Enjoy a holiday in Beddgelert and explore the countryside that inspired the classic Rupert the Bear stores for many years.
Dinas Emrys Hill Fort is the setting for another famous legend surrounding Beddgelert. According to the legend, King Vortigern wanted to build a castle on top of Dinas Emrys, but every night the castle walls would fall down. Merlin claimed there were two dragons fighting beneath the hill, making it impossible for Vortigern to build his mighty castle.
So, Vortigern and his men dug into the mountain and drained the lake releasing two dragons – one was white, the other red. The white dragon fled, whilst the red dragon returned to its lair and has become the symbol of Wales ever since.
The walk up Dinas Emrys Hill Fort passes idyllic waterfalls and through enchanting woodlands. A must for anyone visiting Beddgelert.
Given the location, surrounded by mountain peaks, it is no surprise that Beddgelert is a hub for walkers as well as those visiting Gelert’s grave. Here are two of our favourite walks in Beddgelert (all tried & tested!)
Starting from the middle of the village, this walk takes you past Gelert’s Grave before continuing along the scenic Fisherman’s Path beside the River Glaslyn. You then head up through Cwm Bychan, dropping down the other side to Llyn Dinas.
The route is around 6 miles in length, so if you are walking with younger children you may want to walk to the end of the Fisherman’s Path then retrace your steps back to the village to make it manageable for little legs.
A day exploring the Nant Gwynant Valley, this scenic walk takes you on a journey along the lower slopes of Yr Wyddfa.
A highlight of this walk must be the Afon Cwm Llan waterfalls, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Snowdonia (also known as the Watkin Path plunge pools). If you’re up for a wild swim in North Wales, make sure you pack your swimwear!
Looking for more local hikes? Check out these top walks in Snowdonia National Park and child-friendly strolls in North Wales.
Looking for somewhere to stay whilst exploring the wonders of Beddgelert? Here at Menai Holiday Cottages, we have a fantastic range of holiday cottages in and around this loveable village.
Browse Cottages in Beddgelert
Discover more local towns and villages in our guide to must-visit towns in North Wales or read our blog on unusual things to do in North Wales for a holiday to remember.
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Hi, I'm Katy and I joined Sykes in February 2020.
Favourite UK destination: I absolutely love Snowdonia and try and spend as m...
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