If you’re planning a family staycation soon, a hike or just a weekend away, this is the place!
I may enjoy our regular Euro trips in our green car, but let’s not underestimate the great benefits of a fun family staycation! I love planning a road trip and I tend to get carried away seeking idyllic locations which sometimes become rather ambitious distances considering the two young children that are now part of the traveling crew.
We recently went to North Snowdonia which was on my list for ages ever since I went on an adventure tourism programme back in my uni days. I wanted the kids to see this tiny, but truly magical corner of the world which turned out to be a wonderful natural playground.
From wild landscapes to villages steeped in history and thousands of family activities, there is surely something for everyone who is visiting Snowdonia National Park. It’s the land of waterfalls, lakes and the highest peak in Wales, add a vintage steam railway and warm hosts and you’ve got all the extra reasons to go see it for yourself!
We didn’t pack much for the trip – make sure though you get your rain coats ready, we didn’t and we instantly regretted it; luckily the kiddies had theirs; plus we were excited to review Amelie’s new Apramo car seat on its first journey (click for more if buying a carseat is on your agenda).
Where to stay
This time we went for a more unusual type of accommodation. By unusual I mean more interesting yet less known as a family first choice: a hostel. What I have personally learnt from this experience, is that this may be the best way to expose children to the storytelling travellers who come here with a genuine love for the outdoors.
We stayed at Wales’ only 5* Independent hostel which location-wise, cannot be beaten as it’s a very very short ride away from Snowdon itself. The hostel has recently been added to ‘The Luxury Hostels of The World’ guide. They welcomed us with fresh hot from the oven bread and a great smile which was all we needed after a car trip with 2 tired kiddies.
The Rocks at Plas Curig hostel is a truly cool space. With spacious rooms and significant parking outside, the dog-friendly hostel is able to accommodate 59 people comfortably, with 14 bedrooms (consisting of private and bunk rooms), a unique outdoor decked fire pit area (with free unlimited hardwood) overlooking the Snowdon horseshoe and modern communal dining and kitchen facilities. All bathrooms are shared but are private shower rooms (no large communal bathrooms).
In the dorms, the built-in wooden bunk beds have fitted curtains, a personal power point and individual reading light, with privacy and convenience having been considered. Our little ones loved the way the rooms were set out, mainly because of the bunks with private curtains…their very own ready made den!
There is also a 7 person holiday cottage (separate entrance with private garden and seperate facilities – kitchen, dining room, living room with large screen TV/wood burner etc) which has two double rooms and a triple room. Guests are still allowed to use the hostel facilities. There’s a great focus on recycling/ reusing and even sharing a surplus of food for example. Just add a little note and put it in the fridge for others to enjoy, I loved that!!
The hostel is equidistant to Betws Y Coed, regarded as the ‘hub’ of Snowdonia, and the most popular mountain ranges including Snowdon (7 miles), Glyderau (5 miles) and Carneddau (behind the hostel). We were initially told that some of the most scenic walks are taken direct from the hostel door, with the 872m Moel Siabod towering above the hostel. From the top of this mountain, it is possible to see 13 of the 14 highest peaks in Wales on a clear day without turning your head. Let’s see if that’s the case 🙂
What to visit
Within less than one hour drive (about half an hour to most locations) you can find endless villages, beaches, castles and fun activities for the entire family. I promise you, no one will get bored!
We have also found the SMALLEST HOUSE IN GREAT BRITAIN! It’s in Conwy, close to the Conwy Castle and the sea, it’s a great walk and there’s a great ice-cream spot just across the road (just be careful, the seagulls there have no fear of humans and they may attack your ice-cream) ;))
A few activity suggestions you might want to check out:
You may also find this useful – https://www.adventuremap.co.uk/
The above suggestions are really just the tip of the iceberg according to Christian, owner of The Rocks and connoisseur of anything Snowdonia! It’s ok if you drive to Snowdonia with no itinerary or 0 travel plans as he will get you covered! Pretty much all we visited were his own recommendations, because who would know better than a dedicated local?
The hostel where we stayed is also only 20 minutes away from the 3 award-winning Zip World sites (where guests of the hostel receive a discount) and Surf Snowdonia.The hostel is also 25 minutes from the beach.
Just walking through the villages is pure therapy for the body and mind!
I know I’m slightly late sharing this, we took these photos in February so I can only imagine how beautiful Snowdonia must be during blooming spring! Or bright summer! If you make it there, The Rocks is a brilliant place to stay where the kiddies; them and us had so much to learn about making the most of nature by listening to travellers’ stories, but also sharing experiences by the fireplace.
(on this occasion our 3 nights were hosted, but we will definitely be back soon!)