The most popular inland resort in North Wales, partly due to its convenience as a location but mostly thanks to its beauty and splendour. A lot of the village dates back to the Victorians, and their influence still abounds in the buildings. Surrounded by the dense forestry and imposing mountains of the region, Betws-y-Coed feels pleasantly out of the way.
Betws-y-Coed is a small village and community in North Wales with a lovely name – it translates into English as “the prayer house in the woods”. The name is a wonderfully descriptive one, and one which tells you all about the history of the place. The earliest recording of the name is back in 1254, when that is all it was: a chapel, located in the middle of some woodland.
These days, Betws-y-Coed is widely known as a beautiful tourist destination. It is one of the few places calling itself “The Gateway to Snowdonia” – Llandudno, Porthmadog and Blaenau Ffestiniog are the other claimants to the title – and it’s not hard to see why, located as it is just inside the north-easterly part of the famous National Park.
It sits on the confluence of the River Conwy and its three tributaries, the Machno, the Llugwy and the Lledr, which ensures that the area is beautiful and home to a great deal of animal and plant life. Nearby, you will find all sorts of stunning geographical features, including waterfalls, lakes and natural springs. It’s a paradise for any lover of the outdoor world.
Inside the village, you will find the Conwy Valley Railway Museum, a miniature railway, a 39’ model railway, dodgems for the children and the only functioning electric tramcar in Wales. The other main attraction is St Michael’s Church – dating back to the 14th century, it is one of the oldest in the country.
Also be sure to visit Pont-y-Pair, which after a heavy rainfall makes for a spectacular sight: the bridge gets pummelled by foaming waters, truly living up to its name (which translates to “The Bridge of the Cauldron”).
Swallow Falls is nearby Betwys-y-Coed, too. An attraction worthy of a long journey to see, this confluence of waterfalls is happily just a short walk away from Betws-y-Coed. Go on the slightly rugged Swallow Falls walk to see them up close and personal, feeling the cool spray on your face. It is about six miles there and back, so make sure you’ve got a decent pair of boots on: you’ll be walking by a river through the woods and it can get a little muddy. It’s all worth it to see the falls an arm’s reach away, however.
The village has a number of other fantastic walks leading away from and around it, so it’s perfect for any keen ambler. With Snowdon nearby, mountain climbers will love the area, and Betws-y-Coed is also increasingly popular for water sports, with a few operators using the local lakes and rivers for kayaking, rafting, and wind surfing. Add to this local attractions that allow you to take part in a treetop adventure course or travel via zip lines through an abandoned slate cavern, and this chapel in the woods begins to look like the perfect destination for every kind of holiday-maker. Click here to view our self-catered cottages in North Wales and start enjoying it for yourself!
At the southern end of the Conwy Valley about 30 minutes from Llandudno and Conwy on the A470.
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