St Mary’s ChurchBetws Y Coed, Snowdonia
St Mary’s Church, Betws y Coed, Snowdonia, North Wales
St Mary's Church is a beautiful Victorian building sat in the picture-perfect village of Betws Y Coed. In summer it is a glorious paradise, and in the colder months, a winter wonderland! In the very centre of the village, the Parish Church faces the large village green where you may even see the local football team practising. Better yet, frequent raffles and concerts take place at the church too. Inside and out, there is plenty to feast your eyes on when stopping by the church during your visit to this outstanding inland resort.
The popular village of the valley is hidden in the trees of Gwydir Forest in one of the most remote parts of Snowdonia National Park. Here you can identify and explore the many attractions it has tucked away in the woodland, varying from historic sites to outdoor activities. Saint Mary’s Church is one of the most popular for its stunning architecture and peaceful atmosphere, inviting many tourists in with its irresistible charm. If tranquillity is what you are after, then this church should be at the top of your ‘go-to’ list!
Betws-y-coed translates as ‘Chapel in the wood’ or ‘Prayer house in the wood’, so the church in the centre of the village is a definite ‘must-see’ for all visitors to the area. It is surrounded by Gwydir forest which covers 28 square miles of Conwy County Borough, located where the Conway and Lligwy rivers meet. St Mary’s chapel is roughly a 100 yards or so from Betws Railway Station so it easy to get to, and hard to miss!
It was built in 1873, constructed of rubble stone with sandstone dressings, finished with a slated roof. It was built to accommodate the increase of summer visitors to the area as St Michael’s church was no longer large enough. St Michael’s church is now in the care of a local charity, with the hope of having it restored. Donations to the Church hall and St Mary’s church through events, as well as the cost of the car park facility, are put toward the funds to return the church to its former glory. It now stands as one of the oldest buildings in all of Betws-y-coed. Services were previously held here, while they are now held at St Mary’s Church.
The architectural style of St Mary’s Church is Transitional Norman, and has a series of Pre-Raphaelite stained glass windows which illuminate the interior as the sun seeps through. The bright and colourful church includes an organ chamber, a far-bay nave with a clerestory, a north porch and north/south aisles. Other highlights of the church include the chancel, far-stage stair turret, lancet windows and more. In the tower are tubular bells which are frequently played from a keyboard in the vestry - this along with the grand interior is enough to send shivers down your spine, a truly spiritual ambience! This can be felt as soon as you walk in, and this same entrance leads you to the Church Hall too.
The Church Hall attracts many people to the area with weekly events throughout summer (church and community events). One of the favoured events at the church, without a doubt, is the Cantorion Gogledd Cymru North Wales Male Voice Choir. Every other Sunday crowds gather to hear the faultless talent of the male choir as they rehearse their concerts. Here, a weekly antique fair is held, as well as yoga and pilates sessions, coffee mornings, jumble sales and playgroup meets.
St Mary’s Church was designated by CADW as a Grade II listed building. CADW Welsh Historic Environment Service protects buildings and sites of specific historic or special interest and works to preserve them, making them accessible to all. Now it can be enjoyed by holidayers and locals alike. They have a real community feel at the church, which you can’t help but get roped into - small, friendly and ready to welcome you in!
Open daily with services most Sundays from 11am. The Male Voice Choir rehearse at the church every other Sunday during the afternoon (generally 2pm-5pm unless stated otherwise). Rehearsals are subject to change with their scheduled concerts in other areas of Wales, so it is advised to check this website before coming to the church if you wish to see them.
The antique fair takes place every Thursday, while the playgroup meets are every Tuesday and Friday morning.
There is a village car park beside the Church - it is pay and display.
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