Adorable UK town perfect for a rainy getaway that's like sitting in a chalet in the Alps

Adorable UK town perfect for a rainy getaway that's like sitting in a chalet in the Alps

The Mirror - UK News·2023-10-28 17:00

If you're looking for that perfect mountain getaway but aren't in a position to head off to the Alps there's a gorgeous Welsh village that will give you that wonderful fresh feel with plenty to do for adults and kids too

If you want to get away from it all and experience a magical place of glassy mountain lakes, wildflower trails in lush woodland and sparkling waterfalls, Betws-y-Coed is the perfect place to visit for a staycation.

As the gateway to the Snowdonia National Park, this picturesque village sits within the Gwydir Forest Park and its 'alpine feel' makes it a year-round, must-visit destination, regardless of the weather.

You can go on an adrenaline-fuelled biking, scrambling, a climbing adventure, hit the Zip World for that rush of excitement or you can just take the dog on one of the 14 trails around the area, stopping off for a coffee to take in the magnificent views.

One of the stunning waterfalls that can be found dotted around the area (


For mountain lovers lucky enough to have experienced the Alps first-hand, this is as close as you come in Britain to something that would not be out of place near Switzerland's Montreux or Interlaken.

Visitors will find that in ‘Betws’ water is a prime attraction, with the much-loved Swallow Falls of Ty’n Llwyn – considered by many to be North Wales' prettiest spot with all its associated legends – but also because The River Conwy meets three tributaries here, The Rivers Llugwy, Lledr and Machno flowing in from the west .

You can find the Swallow Falls by taking a stroll through the forest, past deep mysterious pools, fast-flowing rapids and tumbling waterfalls. Visit Wales suggests people walk along the north bank as it is less populated with day-trippers and offers a more dramatic vantage point.

Once dominated by lead and zinc mines, you can see this legacy throughout the area thanks to the old engine houses and reservoirs. Head to Cyffty Mine for a short trail around the abandoned lead mine and Dolwyddelan for views of Snowdonia’s peaks.

Ancient bridges span the flowing water with the most famous of these being The Miners Bridge (where miners crossed the river on a steep ladder bridge) and Pont-y-Pair Bridge (The Bridge of the Cauldron) a great location in autumn to see spot salmon leaping. The falls are open all year round, with admission by turnstile at £2 adults and £1 for 14 an under.

Rivers meander through the former mining areas around the village (


Then there's the The Fairy Glen, or Ffos Anoddun in Welsh – a secluded gorge and beauty spot on the Conwy River just two miles from the village. However, you can only access it by walking on private land off the A470 road. The gorge has become a favourite place for photographers and artists.

The River Conwy drops through a Victorian fish ladder into a narrow ravine forming rapids and cascades. But be careful while there, the gorge is a protected wildlife site and has a large population of rare ferns and lichens. Flowering plants include globeflower and early purple orchid while otters have been seen in the area.

For kids there's a mile-long miniature steam railway and a one-third-size tramcar – the village station is the only one in the UK with a footbridge that spans three different gauges of track. You'll also find the Conwy Valley Railway Museum, next to the National Rail station.

Add to that Zip World's Fforest Coaster – based on the traditional toboggan but running on rails, it offers a year-round, all-weather experience for ages three and up. There are two high rope courses, one for youngsters and one for aged nine and over. You can also bounce around on the Treetop Nets – giant nets suspended in the trees, or experience Skyride 2, Europe's highest five-seater swing, and for the brave, drop 100ft on the world's first tandem drop experience, Plummet 2.

Visitors can enjoy a picnic with a panoramic mountain view at Cae'n y Coed or have lunch by a lake on the scenic Llyn Geirionydd and Llyn Sarnau scenic trails which take you around two lakes.

Picnics are a dream with so many stunning views to take in (


The village itself has a diverse range of lovely cafes, pubs and an ice cream parlour, where you will be served up locally sourced and award-winning food and drink. Try the aptly-named Alpine Coffee Shop for afternoon tea.

Even dogs are catered for in the coffee shop, with their 'sausages for dogs'! There's also Hangin' Pizzeria and the Olif tapas bar. You can also buy locally-made crafts and traditional Welsh food. And, if you forget your walking shoes, there are plenty of outdoor shops to stock up on the essentials. Most places here are dog-friendly.

The Betws Y Coed and District Tourism Association ask that visitors book direct accommodation providers as third party and online booking agents can take up to 25 percent of room rates, thus starving local businesses and the local economy of much-needed revenue, spurring investment and re-investment. Find out more via the Visit Betws-y-Coed and Visit Wales websites.


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