Gwydyr Forest

Top choice in Snowdonia National Park (Parc Cenedlaethol Eryri)

The 28-sq-mile Gwydyr Forest, planted since the 1920s with oak, beech and larch, encircles Betws-y-Coed and is scattered with the remnants of lead and zinc mine workings. Named for a more ancient forest in the same location, it's ideal for a day's walking, though it gets very muddy in wet weather. Walks Around Betws-y-Coed (£5), available from the National Park Information Centre, details several circular forest walks.

The northern section of the park is home to the Gwydyr Bach and Gwydyr Mawr Mountain Bike Trail, a challenging 16-mile circuit starting immediately southwest of Llanrwst, 3.5 miles north of Betws. A map and pamphlet detailing the route can be downloaded for free at

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Snowdonia National Park (Parc Cenedlaethol Eryri) attractions

1. St Mary's Church

1.26 MILES

Built in 1873, when the old Parish Church of St Michael could no longer cope with the devout Victorian tourists flocking to Betws.

2. Conwy Valley Railway Museum

1.41 MILES

If you're the sort who's fascinated by dioramas and model train sets, this tiny museum is for you. In which case the model shop you have to pass through…

3. St Michael's Church

1.41 MILES

The name Betws is thought to be derived from 'bead house', meaning a place of prayer (y coed – in the woods). It's likely that 14th-century St Michael's…

4. Swallow Falls

1.75 MILES

Betws-y-Coed's main natural tourist draw is located 2 miles west of town, alongside the A5 on the River Llugwy. It's a beautiful spot, with the 42m…

5. Ugly House

1.98 MILES

The Ugly House isn't actually ugly at all. This unusual cottage is constructed from huge boulders and is home to a characterful tearoom and, upstairs, the…

6. Llechwedd Slate Caverns

7.02 MILES

Blaenau's main attraction takes you into the bowels of a Victorian slate mine. You descend the UK's steepest mining cable railway into the 1846 network of…

7. Cellb


Recently opened in the Edwardian-era police station (hence 'Cell B'), this multifunction centre hosts everything from yoga to live bands to screenings in…

8. Bodnant Welsh Food

10.67 MILES

On the west side of the vast Bodnant Estate, a collection of lavishly restored 18th-century farm buildings now operates as Bodnant Welsh Food. One of the…