Betws-y-Coed lies in the heart of the Conwy Valley, North Wales. The village is a natural hub from which the roads, rivers and valleys radiate and is ideal for touring the central area of the Snowdonia National Park and the Conwy Valley in North Wales. Straddling the A5 London to Holyhead road the town became popular in the 19th Century with the arrival of the railway and the frequent visits of English artists and their followers.
Today walkers, climbers, canoeists, anglers, mountain bikers.. all congregate in Betws. Accommodation varies from small friendly bed and breakfast houses and holiday cottages, some off the beaten track, to luxury hotels. Scroll down the page for snapshots of Betws y Coed where you will find plenty of things to do and places to see in Betws y Coed, Wales.
There is a good selection of pubs and restaurants. The economically priced, and informal, Stables Bar and Restaurant in the centre of the village is very popular but you have to arrive early to get a table on busy weekends. Which is most weekends.
You can get a lovely fish, chips, and mushy peas, eat in or take away, from the Fish and Chip shop at Pont y Pair, next to the bridge in the heart of the village. Another pub I would recommend is the Pont y Pair Public house, they do a very nice "leek flavoured sausages on mashed potatoes with onion gravy” …bangers and mash washed down with a pint of Black Sheep bitter.
Betws y Coed (often called Betsy Coed) is North Wales' most popular inland resort and weekends can attract huge crowds including quite a few motor bike riders, especially near to the railway-station and shopping precinct. The motor cyclists are a surprisingly sensitive bunch, so I will not say anything derogatory about them driving too fast on the narrow country lanes.
Walks, Cycle Trails and Other Activities
Many visitors choose to walk the forest and mountain trails that surround Betws-y-Coed. Several walks start within the village including walks to the beautiful lakes of Llyn Elsi, Llyn Geirionydd, and Llyn Crafnant. However, one should not visit Betws y Coed without visiting the main attractions ...the rivers and riverside walks of which there are so many. Flowing past the centre of the village you will find the Afon Llugwy (River Llugwy), crossed by the Pont y Pair (the bridge of the cauldron). The bridge was built in the 15th Century and after heavy rain in the hills, the foaming water buffeting the bridge is a site to behold. Many buy a bag of Fish and Chips, cross the bridge toward the car park and sit on the rocks contemplating the beauty and power of nature. In the car park you will find the start of a number of sign-posted trails into the surrounding countryside.
One such trail takes you up river to the Miner's Bridge on the road to Capel Curig. In harder times the miners used a steep ladder to cross the river on the way to work. Continuing up river you come to the famous Swallow Falls, where the Llugwy river hurls itself into a spectacular chasm.
Venture out of the village in the opposite direction to the point where the A5 crosses over the River Conwy. From here there are several options but first cast your eyes on the bridge itself. Thomas Telford's cast iron Waterloo Bridge, built in 1815 bears the inscription "This arch was constructed in the same year the battle of Waterloo was fought.” Continue south for a thousand yards or so and you will reach Beaver Pool, and another thousand yards leads to the famous Fairy Glen.
For centuries, artists have attempted to capture, whether on canvas or in camera, the magic of the Fairy Glen. Close by the valley shrinks to a narrow gorge and forms the dramatic setting of the Conwy Falls and the Machno Falls. Each is a marvellous site to visit but no place to dawdle when the rivers are in full flow.
From the Fairy Glen you have but a 3-mile walk along forest tracks in the beautiful Lledr Valley to the hanging valley of Wybrnant, and Ty Mawr (Big House). Ty Mawr is the ancient home of Bishop William Morgan, the man who translated the bible into Welsh.
Another walk takes you eastwards and upwards into the hills at nearby Capel Garmon where there is a celebrated cromlech; a 5,000 year old Neolithic burial chamber overlooking the mountains of Snowdonia ...truly a "Tomb with a view.”
One of many attractions at Betws y Coed is the train journey on the Conwy Valley Railway Line. The famous journey runs from Llandudno on the coast through Betws y Coed to Blaenau Ffestiniog in the Snowdonia Mountains. It follows the banks of the River Conwy, and the turbulent River Lledr. A breathtaking range of scenery unfolds before you, from majestic crags and pastoral delights of the upper valleys to the historic castle of Dolwyddelan. You glimpse fairytale landscapes, ancient quarries and tracks, forests and the high peaks of Snowdonia before eventually reaching Blaenau Ffestiniog.
At the railway station itself is one of Betws' many other attractions, the Conwy Valley Railway Museum. There is a miniature railway, shop, and buffet coach restaurant.
Close by is the Betws-y-Coed Golf Club; superbly situated on meadowland between the rivers Llugwy and the Conwy.
The 14th century church of St Michael's, one of the oldest in Wales, sits below ancient Yew trees between the River Conwy and the rail track. The old church is looked after by “The Friends of St Michaels” and houses a fine medieval stone-carved effigy.
The parish church of St Mary's opposite the village green holds regular services and performances by Welsh choirs on summer Sunday evenings.
Dolwyddelan Castle, some six miles to the south east of Betws-y-Coed sits high on a rocky outcrop with commanding views of the Lledr Valley. When viewed from the road the 13th century castle appears to consist of a single rectangular tower, but on entering the site the layout is a lot more interesting with the partial remains of a second tower and the curtain walls that links the two.
Ty Mawr, the big house, was the birthplace of Bishop William Morgan, first translator of the entire Bible into Welsh. The historic house is situated some three miles from Betws y Coed, as the crow flies, however it will probably feel more like five or six miles when taking into account the Welsh topography. The house has been restored to its 16th-17th-century appearance and houses a display of Welsh bibles. A footpath leads from the house through woodland and the surrounding fields, which are traditionally managed. Ty Mawr lies in the beautiful Wybrnant Valley; it is accessible from the Lledr Valley via the Forestry Commission pathways and is a pleasant walk from Betws y Coed.
The Capel Garmon Burial Chamber is a neolithic burial chamber of the 3rd millennium BC. It sits on a hillside some two and a half miles from Betws-y-Coed in the village of Capel Garmon. Its great age confers an air of importance on the site, but it is well deserved and should you not be interested in Neolithic stones it is well worth the walk for the fine views. Moreover, there is the opportunity to slake your thirst in the White Horse Inn in the village of Capel Garmon before the downhill return journey.