Llanberis Lake RailwayLlanberis, Snowdonia
Llanberis Lake Railway offers a splendid lakeside journey through the heart of Snowdonia. Starting at Gilfach Ddu Station, you will get to see all of what Padarn Country Park has to offer. Outstanding scenery carrying a wealth of history, all to be seen from the comfort of a timeless narrow-gauge steam train! This attraction is the ideal introduction to the village at the foot of Snowdon!
A train led by a vintage steam engine will take you on a five-mile return journey showcasing the beauty of Llanberis. On your trip you will be able to see glorious views of the Snowdonia Mountain Range, Dolbadarn Castle and Coed Allt Wen, all while travelling no further than a few feet from one of the largest natural lakes in Wales! The children will love nothing more than looking out the windows spotting the local wildlife and keeping an eye out for kayakers racing you along the water.
Padarn Lake is a glacially formed lake which lies beneath Mount Snowdon. It is part of Padarn Country Park which spans an impressive 800 acres, covering a diverse landscape of ancient oak woodland and cliff faces containing Llanberis’ twin lakes and the Vivian Quarry! Situated in the Llanberis Pass, this lake is an iconic part of Snowdonia National Park and has become a popular lake for canoeing, boating, fishing and swimming. Themed trains run throughout the year, including spooky Halloween trains, Christmas rides and Easter themed journeys making the trip around this spectacular lake even more enjoyable!
Llyn Padarn is listed as a place of Special Scientific Interest for several reasons, all of which can be explored while on the Llanberis Lake Railway. The 60-minute journey begins at Gilfach Ddu Station, and the first stop is past the 13th century Dolbadarn Castle; a single turret which can be spotted in an elevated position among the trees overlooking the water. Many artists including Turner and David Tress have conducted studies on the castle, creating dramatic paintings of this captivating image! Crossing Afon Y Bala, possibly Britain’s shortest river, you will reach the next landmark; Llanberis’ twin lakes and spectacular views of the Llanberis Pass as the train works its way onto the extension that opened in 2003. The extension travels to Llanberis village and runs straight through the Padarn Country Park before joining the 1845 slate railway route running along the Northern Shore of Padarn Lake to Penllyn. From here you can see the most miraculous views of Eryri including the Snowdonia summit, as well as the top of Elidir Fawr, Crib Goch and Tryfan mountain.
Other highlights of the railway ride include the National Slate Museum and quarrymen’s houses (which can be visited before you hop on the train if you have a few hours to spare, as they are beside the station itself), a volcano cutting of solidified lava (grey ‘sponge-like’ rocks with small pebbles embedded) and the village of Dinorwig (which can be seen in the background). Ducks and swans can be seen on the water along the way too, as well as squirrels darting in and out of Allt Wen woods running beside the train.
All of this can be seen in just 2.5 miles of land! The tiny locomotives used on this track have all once been serviced at Dinorwig Quarry, where they once hauled slate wagons in the quarry. Three of these now operate the line, including the Elidir, the Dolbadarn and the Thomas Bach (named in honour of its original driver). Anyone of these will take you along the length of the lake, and will then retrace its steps. This gives you the perfect opportunity to spot sights you missed the first time around. On the journey back, you will stop at Cei Llydan where the scenery can be enjoyed further. It is worth getting off the train here to settle down for a picnic - you can always catch the next train back! You will find a picture board here which helps identify each summit that can be seen in the distance. At Cei Llydan you will also be able to pay a visit to Menter Fachwen, an attraction run by a local charity. The adventure playground and a waymarked nature trail can be enjoyed over lunch before heading back to the station.
The Railway opened in 1971, spending every year since providing families, groups and couples with a leisurely way to travel and admire the grandeur of the mountains and lakes. Why not climb aboard one of the trains to do some sightseeing? You can pinpoint all of the best places to visit in Llanberis while on the train and plan the rest of your day!
Mid February - November. Trains operate on different timetables depending on the time of year, so we recommend checking the Llanberis Lake Railway website for the latest timetables and availability information.
There is a designated picnic area with picnic chair and tables outside of the cafe at the station.
There is ample free parking in Padarn Park.
The Llanberis station and Gilfach Ddu station are accessible via wheelchair. There is enough room on the trains for wheelchairs too, but it is recommended to book in advance if you plan to visit and will need this space.
Dogs are welcome on the train.
Other useful info
Events throughout the year are held on the annual holiday periods, including Easter Egg hunts, Halloween hunts, and more.
With the Snowdonia Pass, you can ride the Llanberis Lake Railway with a fantastic deal; one child goes for free with one full paying adult or 20% off the ticket price for a second adult
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