Ugly House

Snowdonia National Park (Parc Cenedlaethol Eryri)

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 Honeybee Room, with displays devoted to the beleaguered insect. Visitors can wander through the grounds and gardens, even when the house is closed. It's located half a mile past Swallow Falls on the A5.

The origins of the house are steeped in folklore. One yarn suggests it was built in 1475 by two local bandits as their hideout; according to another, there was a Welsh law that allowed any man who built on common land after sunset and had smoke coming out of the chimney by daybreak to stake a claim for the freehold as far as he could throw an axe around the property. The Snowdonia Society, a charity working to protect and enhance Snowdonia's heritage and wildlife, rescued the property from dereliction and turned it into its headquarters in 1988 following painstaking renovations by a team of dedicated volunteers.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Snowdonia National Park (Parc Cenedlaethol Eryri) attractions

1. Swallow Falls

0.59 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…

2. Gwydyr Forest

1.98 MILES

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…

3. St Mary's Church

2.42 MILES

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

4. Conwy Valley Railway Museum


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…

5. St Michael's Church

2.54 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…

6. Llechwedd Slate Caverns

7.43 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

7.97 MILES

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. National Beekeeping Centre Wales

9.46 MILES

This nonprofit organisation is dedicated to encouraging people to take up beekeeping. Its corner of the Bodnant Welsh Food complex has interesting…