We decided to book in a final getaway of the year to Snowdonia National Park, a chance to escape as a family and have some down time away from our regular chaos.
Leaving at Annabelle’s 7pm bedtime we drove 3 hours north west to the village of Tanygrisiau an area within Blaenau Ffestiniog and famous for it’s slate mining. We had booked a 3 night stay in an airbnb cottage that was dog and child friendly and as we discovered in the morning – a stunning view!
The weather forecast had predicted rain for the weekend so on waking up and seeing grey skies we weren’t surprised. We quickly got dressed in wellies and coats to head to breakfast at a recommended cafe less than 10 minutes walk away. Annabelle loved the puddles and was excited to be out in the rain, we were excited when we turn the corner and saw a hill covered in waterfalls – it was stunning! Our weekend of exploring was just getting started….
By the time we had finished breakfast the weather had brightened up. I ran back to get Bisbee from the cottage so we could head to the hill covered in waterfalls. To get there we had to cross the Tanygrisiau Reservoir which itself provided stunning views – Wales is stunning in Autumn. From there we crossed the tracks of the Ffestiniog Welsh Highland Railway and headed up the hill.
One thing about adventures with my girls is that we don’t always have plans but whatever we end up doing we have fun. With Annabelle we have to make sure we are a bit more prepared – have snacks and water, and nappies but other than that not a lot has changed. We still decided to leave the clear path and head up the overgrown, windy path that made a more direct route to the waterfalls. We simply carried Annabelle and went on our way.
After 10 mins of vertical climbing we reached a point where all we could see was waterfalls. It was breathtaking.
From our vantage point we could see the trains pass by the dam every so often, the slate mines and roads that had barely any traffic. The open space was perfect for Bisbee to run free – even if she ended up paddling in puddles- and the fresh waterfall water was thirst quenching, a relief as it turned out we failed to bring any.
After 2 hours of exploring we headed back to the cottage to put Annabelle down for her nap and plan our afternoon. We wanted to see where the railway went and thankfully our cottage had an epic guide book jam-packed with guides including one on the railway. We decided to head to Blaenau Ffestiniog – a quick 5 minute drive away – park the car and ride the train to Porthmadog, a coastal village 13 1/2 miles away. You can find out more here. It’s the oldest railway company in the world still operating trains and the journey is an experience. Not only is the scenery stunning but you have the opportunity to dine while you travel, with Welsh cakes and other local specials on offer. We recommend checking out the railway whatever time of year you visit!
After arriving in Porthmadog we had a quick stroll around before grabbing a bus back. It was already getting dark and with the rain starting we didn’t want to leave it too late to get back. Thankfully the train and bus were both dog friendly so Bisbee had got to enjoy the whole experience to.
We grabbed a chippy on our way back to the cottage and had a lovely chilled evening. We watched RuPaul’s UK Drag Race in front of a roaring fire after Annabelle went to bed and relaxed. It was perfect.
We’ll update you on part two shortly…..