One rainy weekend in October, George and I decided we were sick of staying in gross hostels whenever we visit Wales and thought we would try something nice for a change. Enter: the Quarryman’s Cottage. By far the nicest place I’ve stayed in Wales and probably some of the best accommodation even offered in the country.
Quarryman’s Cottage | We drove west into Wales on a Friday night with plans to stay until Sunday evening (although the minimum booking is three nights). And we arrived with just enough time to get the fire going and relax for a bit before heading to bed.
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In the morning light, we were able to fully explore the rest of the cottage. It’s only one bedroom (and I completely forgot to take a photo upstairs), but it is the perfect size for two. The slate floors were so amazing I wanted to somehow rip them up and bring them home with me. And the kitchen was lovely and light thanks to a skylight over the sink.
Not to mention this sweet view from the back garden, below. It’s uphill from the house!
After an easy Saturday morning and breakfast by the fire, we set off to explore the rest of the village. Cwm Penmachno village is the site of an old slate quarry in a sleepy part of North Wales. There is an interesting area to explore not far from the cottage where you can see the abandoned mine. On google, it’s called Penmachno Mine.
We spent some time there, in awe of what was once there and wondering what happened to leave it in its current state. But before long, we were heading back to our car and talking about where we should go next.
Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant | Neither of us really wanted to go far, so we settled on a national trust site close by, tŷ mawr meaning big house in Welsh. It is the former home of Bishop William Morgan who first translated the Bible into Welsh, thereby standardizing the Welsh language and helping to keep Wales’ national dialect alive.
It was fascinating just listening to the host speak about the building’s history and turned out to be our favorite stop of the trip.
Dolbadarn Castle | With Snowdonia Park serving as the most picturesque backdrop for this castle, I’m surprised it took me so long to find out about it. Regardless, I’m so glad we made time on this visit to see it. It is within walking distance of all the car parks for the mountain train, making it super easy to squeeze in.
Tu-Hwnt-I’r Bont | More about the picturesque spot than the tea room itself to be honest. Regardless, it’s a fun stop and a good place to try some Welsh Classics like bara brith or rarebit. If you time your visit well in the autumn, those leaves covering the stone (in the photo above) become a vibrant red. We arrived a bit too late for that in early October and all but a few leaves had gone brown.
Cwmni Cacen Gri | The absolute best place in Snowdonia to try Welshcakes and probably the best Welshcakes in Wales. Get them fresh off the griddle for the best experience.
Climb Snowdon, duh. George walked up the mountain whereas I opted to take the train and we planned on meeting at the top. In the end, he decided to run up and beat me by a fair amount of time!
Snowdon Mountain Railway | I actually loved taking the train up Snowdon, but I also had a number of issues. Firstly, it’s way too expensive, especially when a window seat cannot be guaranteed–you kind of have to fight your way into the line to make sure you have first pick of your section. And second, there is no way to walk up and take the train down. Single tickets up are available, but not down. A return ticket only allows 30 minutes at the top, which doesn’t leave any time for exploring and you must go back on the same train…or else you have to walk down the mountain. But if you’re short on time or otherwise unable to make it up the mountain, it was a pretty cool option.
Pyg Track | Of the routes I know for climbing Snowdon, this is my favorite. The main, “easy” path that most people take is just too boring for me. At Pen Y Pass, you start in the mountains and have views almost the entire way up. And unless you go in winter, there is nothing difficult about this path. But if you plan on going in the summer, you must arrive early as the carpark fills up by 8 or 9 am. Of course, you can also arrange for a bus or taxi to drop you off at the trailhead. All the info for the walk can be found in the link above.
Not sure if I would feel worse after climbing all that way for no view or paying to take the train. Either way, we tried to make the most of it. I do love foggy days afterall and these are some of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken. The feeling they evoke for me, takes me right back to that cottage in the mountains, snuggled in front of the fire.
On Sunday night, when we arrived back at our cottage from our journey up Snowdon, both of us decided we might as well spend one more night. It meant waking up at 4 am for me to drive George back to work in the morning, but it was totally worth it for one more night relaxing in front of that fire.