“ Address: Beddgelert / Gwynedd / LL55 4UU / Wales / For Telephone Bookings: 0845 130 8224 „
I have a long, and occasionally chequered history with Beddgelert Campsite. Non of it detracts from the excellence of the place at all. For me, it is the number one campsite for families in the UK. Bar non.
My love affair with the place started of with a certain amount of mixed feelings. I first went there in 1990 for seven weeks. That's a bleedin' long time in a tent. Even Bedouin camel herders get piddled off after 7 weeks let me tell you. Why do you think camels spit? I wasn't on holiday but mapping a nearby mountain as part of my undergraduate degree. It was hot, hot hot. I missed the World Cup semi-final against Germany. I was by myself with no transport. Then it bucketed for 2 weeks solid. I was still glad to be suffering it in Beddgelert.
Since then, and more recently, I have been back to Beddgelert 3 times and had a fantastic time with the family. Our stays have been shorter. Kids get a bit weird after no-telly for more than a week. Come to think of it kids are just a bit weird period.
Anyway I could go on about things done there forever but the tedium would probably drive you to pour petrol over yourself so I'll get on with reviewing.
What is it?
Beddgelert campsite is one of the forestry commissions campsites. There are many of these throughout the UK. Most take tents and caravans, some also have cabins, which look very nice but are expensive. They're only made of wood for God's sake. The beuty od these places literally is the beauty of these places. They all tend to be in National Parks and are a fairly 'environmentally friendly' source of income that gives revenue to maintain the forests the sites are in. Good effort tree-huggers!
Beddgelert itself is a really small little village on the banks of the fast-flowing Avon Glasyn river. It has a village shop, small tacky souvenir shop if the kids need to buy fake blood or a kite (I sound mocking but really it's a god-send, the kids love it), a few nice pubs and café's and a restaurant-cum-icecream parlour. And that's pretty much it, apart from a few B&B's and a large camping shop ½ a mile form the 'centre'. All this is set in a spectacular scenery under the imposing Moel Hebog. It's a really nice place, probably bit too small for a sunny day in July when it can get very bustling.
The surrounding area is full of things to do, all with a half-hour/10 mile drive. Good beaches can be found in Porthmadog and Criccieth. Snowdon is a short drive away to some of the popular starting points, but you can walk a trail from Beddgelert itself. Llyn Padarn with its Mountain Train up Snowdon and its lakeside steam train is an equally short drive away. You'll also find 'Electric Mountain' there. The Castle's at Criccieth and Caernarfon are accessible. Basically TONS of stuff. Snowdonia does tourism well!
The campsite is about 1 mile outside Beddgelert on the Caernarfon road. Forestry Commission campsites are well-run, tidy and very family-orientated. This does not mean it is full of kids. Riff-raff are banned and there is a good mix of ages and characters from young couples to elderly walkers. The atmosphere is very pleasant there. The site is best pre-booked online or by phone and you earn a discount for future visits to Forestry sites if you buy their discount card when you book. It costs £12 but you save that with the discount it gives you. You can pay a deposit or full amount.
When you arrive, you pick a spot - get one by the river if you can, it'll keep the children entertained for days without them being far from you. The other spots are in equally advantages positions and non are far from the toilet and shower blocks. The pitches can be a bit uneven and rocky but you'll find a good one after a bit of snooping. Caravans are also catered for, further into the forest but I won't comment on them because I ain't got one and have no idea at all about the facilities for them. I walked past one once. It was white. Er.....that's it.
The campsite has a shop which sells a range of camping equipment, mostly Gelert stuff as well as foods (including frozen) and drinks. The range isn't extensive but there's enough for basic supplies. Supermarkets can be found in Porthmadog, 5 miles away. There is local bread and meat for sale and the sausages and bacon make a good breakfast. For the kids, there are lollies and cheapo toys such as water pistols etc etc. The prices are, unusually, good and you don't feel anyone's there to rip you off which is something I detest.
Showers and bog
The most important bit for campers, especially the wife-like ones. The toilets are plentiful and clean. They are in 2 adjacent blocks. One is an older block which has toilets and sinks and the other is a newer block which has showers as well. The showers and all hot water are included in the cost. I think the ladies has hairdryers as well, but I'm not allowed in to find out and the wife is watching Jeremy Kyle so I can't ask her. Nevr had a problem in the loos and everything is tickety-boo.
There is a laundry room, which takes tokens with washers and dryers as well as a dish-washing room with big sinks and free hot water. Just clean up after yourself and everyone's happy.
Reception and common room
The reception has friendly staff and plentiful information in the form of leaflets and maps. It is here you can get your freezer-blocks for a small deposit and nominal fee. The common room has a use but I have no idea what it is. I don't go in. Far too common.
Close to the first pitches and reception, you can find a small but well-equipped playground with swings and climbing frames. The place is so safe you'll have no worries about the kids wandering off by themselves for 20 minutes peace.
Running through the campsite is a fast-flowing, shallow mountain stream. Not a trickle and not a torrent - just right. The water comes bubbling over large rocks and little waterfalls and the kids absolutely adore it. They spend hours damming and swimming and exploring. It is truly wonderful. It is never deeper than about 1m so the older ones are very safe (or at least as safe as they can be near water), and the younger ones can paddle around in the shallow bits throwing rocks and watching sticks float down. I love it too, just for its sounds. We always try to get a pitch alongside it so the kids can have their breakfast next to it, and we can put the wine in there overnight to keep it cold. Glorious.
As campsites go, it's one of the more expensive. In high season you'll pay about £13 per night for a 2-man pitch with extra costs for more bodies, gazebo's and the like.
All prices, info and booking can be discovered her at http://www.forestholidays.co.uk/camping__caravanning/wales/
I have spent a long time here and enjoyed it every time I've been. The scenery and location is spectacular . The kids love it - it is safe and friendly with lots to do on-site and in the surrounding area. I'd make it 1st choice for anyone wanting to camp in Snowdonia and I can't wait till I go again.
Reserve your campsite today! and get back to nature. Outdoor activities climbing, walking, canoeing, wayfaring and pony-trekking are just a few ways to enjoy Beddgelert.