“ Llyn Gwynant is the nature lovers' campsite in the very heart of Snowdonia. The campsite lies below Snowdon in the most beautiful valley in Wales. It is an ideal base for walking, swimming and other adventure activities. You can walk up Snowdon directly from the site. Alternatively you can simply enjoy natural beauty and quiet beside the lake or river, relaxing by your own camp fire. No radios are allowed, recycling is required and respect for the land and for others is essential. Bookings are not needed for families or individuals, only for groups of 20 or more. „
Even though it was August Bank Holiday weekend we didn't want to book our pitch in advance in case the weather was atrocious as it can often be in Snowdonia. The campsite it situated on the A498 between Betws-Y-Coed and Beddgelert in a beautiful valley, surrounded by mountains and at the end of a lake. Llyn Gwynant Campsite does not take bookings unless you are a party of 20 or over so with us arriving on the Thursday we knew we would get a spot.
The campsite is designed with nature lovers in mind so is not over developed. On arrival you come to reception where you are met by friendly staff. Our pitch cost us £9 per adult and £3 per child (15 and under) per night, if you want to take a dog it costs £1 a night and they must be kept on a lead or in the car at all times. The staff stress the no radio and no noise after 11pm rule and that if you have a problem with noise after this time just go and see them and they ask you to recycle all your tins and glass. One of the best things is you can enjoy 2 days at the site but only pay for one night as you can arrive anytime after 8am do not need to leave until 5pm the next day.
The fields are large and flat and do have a tendency to be muddy but it was easy enough to find a nice dry area. We choose one of the fields where your car had to be parked in a specific area away from the tents but you can choose a field that allows you to park your car right next to your tent. There are no electric hook ups but reception does refreeze ice packs, charge up cameras and phones and pump up airbeds at no extra cost. They also provide a payphone as there is no mobile phone signal on the site. A torch is essential after dark as there is no site lighting and you could be a way from the toilet block as we were. The way will be lit up partially by the campfires that the site allows in the fire pits that they provide for free. They do ask that you only use the wood that they provide which costs £4 a bag (easily enough for a large fire for one night) as they don't want the surrounding trees to be damaged. There is no shop on site so you need to make sure that you have everything you need before hand.
The toilet block has male and female facilities. The ladies has 7 sinks, 1 mirror, 6 toilets, 1 shower and a large notice board which also has up to date and extensive weather reports . I didn't visit the men's so can't comment ! Another 5 showers are positioned at the back of the block and are unisex. The showers are free and hot but do lack a bench to place your clothes whilst showering you have to rely on the hooks on the doors. Despite it being very, very busy during our visit the facilities were always clean and toilet roll was always available. The 3 dishwashing sinks with hot and cold water are also located in this area. Portaloos are provided next to Bridge field at the back of the site during the busiest of times.
A river runs alongside the site which is ideal for children to play in with a safer beach area near to the bridge for paddling and many rope swings erected along the banks for older children. Where the campsite reaches the lake there is a large "beach" perfect for playing on and is always kept clear from tents. The site offers single kayaks, double kayaks and Canadian Canoes for hire at £5, £10 & £12 an hour respectively which includes the use of a life jacket. Whilst kayaking on the lake you can disembark at Elephant Rock and try your hand at a little cliff jumping which my boys loved even though the water was freezing. If water is not your thing then there are plenty of walks around the site to suit all levels you can even walk up Snowdon directly from the site.
We will definitely be visiting this site again in the future and I wouldn't rule out another Bank Holiday visit if the weather is good as the site was nice and quiet and we managed a reasonable amount of sleep. Next time I would take wellies with us and of course the Marshmallows are a must especially when freshly toasted on the fire and sandwiched between 2 chocolate digestives!!
This summer my friends and I decided we were going to climb Snowdon, we were looking for somewhere to camp and Llyn Gwynant was a perfect choice as it is situated at the base of the mountain.
The site consists of 5 massive fields, even though we were there on one of the nicest (and therefore busiest) weekends of the summer we had no problems finding a pitch and there was plenty of space between groups. One field is reserved for large groups and although you can drive to most of the site one field is car free. If the weather is bad then access to other parts of the site by car maybe restricted to prevent the grass being damaged. If you arrive after 11pm you are asked not to drive further than reception to avoid disturbing other campers.
There is no need to book ahead unless you are in a group over more than 20 people or are bringing a caravan as only 10 are allowed on site (15 on bank holiday weekends). It costs £6 per adult per night or £8 on bank holiday weekends and between mid July and the end of August, £3 per night for children and £1 per night if you bring a dog. Although it is a very busy site the atmosphere at Llyn Gwynant is very relaxed and quiet - radios are not allowed and wardens patrol in the evening and after 11pm will ask any groups still outside to keep the noise down. You are allowed campfires but must use a firepit and only burn wood bought from reception. I love this as so many campsites don't allow fires but I really think it completes the camping experience.
The facilities are fairly basic but adequate - there is a stone building housing male and female toilets and showers, a disabled access toilet and dishwashing facilities, there are also various recycling bins. In summer there are extra portaloos around the site and there are multiple taps in the fields which supply drinking water. Reception is located just beside the main gate on to the campsite. Here you can buy firewood, recharge appliances and refreeze freezer packs. There is also information about the local area, walks and other activities, weather information which is updated daily and a public payphone - essential as no mobile network gets any coverage here!
If you are a fan of just about any outdoor activity you will find it here - you can walk up Snowdon directly from the site or if you fancy something a little more gentle there are plenty of other walks to choose from. Guided walks leave from reception at 9am every day or grab a map and head out on your own. You can kayak and canoe on the river bordering the campsite or try rock climbing or abseiling - instruction for all of these can be arranged at reception. Mountain bike tracks can be found at Coed Y Brenin and Beddgelert or you can ride one of the bridleways up Snowdon if you are feeling really brave! There are restrictions on bikes on Snowdon in the summer though so check out the rules before you go. The lake from which the site takes its name is also available for more leisurely recreation - you can hire boats or just chill on the beach.
The site also has camping barns and a 4 person caravan available for hire, there was a wedding happening when we were there which looked great - certainly a beautiful background for the wedding photos.
If you prefer not to camp then you can make use of the site's facilities as a day visitor.
The nearest facilities are 2 miles away in Gwynant where there is a shop/cafe and 2 miles in the other direction is the Pen y Gwryd hotel and pub. A bigger selection of facilities are available in Beddgelert 5 miles away or in Llanberis.
It is possible to get here by public transport - the Snowdon Sherpa bus runs past the site and you can then connect to other buses and trains but the service is limited so we found it much more convenient to come by car. The site is situated just off the A498 and is easy to find but do use the instructions on the website as getting directions from multimap or similar may well direct you to the wrong place!
I found this site really friendly, it had all the facilities we could need and the location is superb. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone wanting to climb Snowdon or explore the local area.
For more information go to www.gwynant.com
Llyn Gwynant is a lake in Snowdonia in North Wales. It is about 3 kilometres from Snowdon itself and right by the shores of the lake is Llyn Gwynant campsite.
I have stayed regularly at this site for the last ten years or so and have seen it gradually develop from a tap and a toilet kind of place to a fully fledged nature lovers paradise.
A river runs along one side of the site. It is fed from the lakes on the flanks of Snowdon and flows through a small hydro-electric station. Depending on whether the station is pumping or not the water can be lovely to swim in or icy cold even in the summer.
The site is divided into 5 main fields and has been very well thought out. The furthest field from the entrance has been made inaccessible to cars. There is plenty of parking available and you have to carry your tents and equipment into the field if you want to stay there. This may sound a bit of a chore but it means it is an extremely safe place for children and there are plenty of other parts of the site that are accessible by car.
Many people working towards their Duke Of Edinburgh award use the site and can often be there in quite large groups, it is also a very popular destination for school parties. For larger groups there is a separate field which is somewhat separated from the rest of the site but still very close to the facilities.
There is a large stone-built toilet/shower block near the entrance to the site. There are toilet and washing facilities including one shower inside the men's and the women's sections and behind the toilet block are a further 5 showers. There is also a disabled-access toilet. Free hot water is always available but the temperature does vary with the amount of users. The showers have push buttons to turn the water on, as these gradually spring back out the water goes off so you have to keep pressing them while you are showering. It's a great way for the campsite to know no one's left the showers running but can be annoying when you've got soap in your eyes. The clever trick is to tie some string round the button once you've pressed it in, remembering of course to untie it when you've finished.
There are washing-up facilities at the sides of the toilet block and the sinks, toilets and showers are regularly cleaned throughout the day. During very wet weather the site gets muddy in places and this can work its way into the loos and showers, be prepared.
Drainage has been a big problem on the site for a long time, one that the owners are working very hard to improve. The site has got better and better over time but when it wants to rain in Snowdonia it's got to go somewhere. Beware if you go in wet weather. Camping right next to the river has caught out quite a few people. I've woken up to water running under my tent in the past and now keep well away from this part of the site. The owners do fence this section off now in bad weather but we all know that it can sometimes come along out of the blue.
Depending on how busy the site is, some fields may be closed off. The whole site is open when it's busy but even when any of the fields are closed there is plenty of room to camp without being too close to other tents.
In every field there are plenty of taps supplying fresh drinking water. This comes from the streams flowing down the mountains and is purified on site. There are also fire points spaced regularly round the site.
The site is aimed mainly at campers with tents but camper vans, tourers and motor homes are all catered for with the exception of electric hook-ups. There are some restrictions on the number of caravans that the site can take but all the information you need is on the web site, details below.
There is a reception building where the staff are always happy to answer any questions, suggest local walks or help in any way they can, you can get freezer blocks refrozen or charge up your mobile. There is no network coverage however so you wont be able to use it on site but a pay phone is available.
You can also buy firewood at reception, this is one of those rare sites where you can have a real fire. You have to use the fire pits that can be found all over the site. Just drag one near your tent and away you go. We always take cast iron pans and cook right over the open fire. Not so good when it rains though.
Fires are a good idea in the summer as there is a problem with midges. You can always tell the people who've been before from the newbies. The newbies get bit. A lot. The answer to the midges is usually a multi-sided plan of attack. Camp fire smoke, mosquito coils in the tent, mosquito head-nets, citronella candles and bite/sting relief spray. After all that you will still get bitten but even midges need to eat something! They don't come out to play all the time though, usually morning and evening but not if it's windy.
Now the wind is another problem on the site. When it blows it nearly always comes from the direction of the lake and the gusts can be vicious. Some hopeful people take gazebos with them, if it's windy, they won't last. Cheap tents get flattened and anything that's not secure will blow away. There is always a pile of wrecked tent poles and gazebos the morning after a storm. The answer is pitch your tent behind one of the stands of trees on the site and take some rope with you, if you tie the tent to one of the fences you tend to escape any problems.
If none of that puts you off then this site is definitely for you but don't worry if you don't fancy camping there as many people just go as day visitors and spend time playing in the water, hiring a canoe, launching your own boat (not motor boats though) or just going for a walk. There are lovely walks directly from the campsite. You can walk up Snowdon if you're a bit of a masochist but there are easier places to start from. All the information on the routes up Snowdon can be found at the information points. Guided walks also operate from the site in the summer. There is an orienteering course on the site and activities will gladly be arranged for you if you are in a group of 6 or more including kayaking, abseiling and rock climbing to name but a few.
There are recycling facilities on the site and disposal for chemical toilets.
A number of camping barns are also available and a static caravan is available for hire overlooking the lake.
Prices are not bad for a site in such a beautiful location. Cars are not charged for nor is the use of fire pits although you must buy wood on site.
Adults £6 or £8 in high season (bank holidays and from July 18th to the end of August)
Youth groups £4 per person
Bag of wood £4
The site has been used as a film location. Parts of Tomb Raider 2 The Cradle Of Life were shot there and the 1997 film Merlin. The site was used as the location for Camelot in the 1991 mini-series Merlin Of The crystal Cave.
As well as the lakes and mountains of Snowdonia, other nearby attractions include the village of Llanberis with it's Snowdon Mountain Railway, National Slate Museum and Llanberis Mountain Film Festival. Beddgelert is another village close by where you can learn about the legend of Gelert and see his grave. Gelert was supposedly the dog belonging to Prince Llywelyn the Great, his story can be found on the Beddgelert web site below.
By car take the A498 which heads inland from Porthmadog or from llanberis drive up through the pass and turn right onto the A 498. If coming from Capel Curig follow signs for Beddgelert. You can't miss the lake and the turn off to the site is signposted.
Travelling by train or bus is not quite so straightforward but the questions page on the website explains the best routes to take.
Llyn Gwynant Campsite, Nantgwynant, North Wales. LL55 4NW. www.gwynant.com
Snowdon Mountain railway: www.snowdonrailway.co.uk
National Slate Museum : www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/slate/
The campsite is usually open from mid-March to late October. Check the website though because at the moment they are open till late November. Groups can make arrangements to use the site at any time of the year.