Nestled in the foothills of Snowdonia National Park you’ll find the idyllic village of Betws y Coed. Surrounded by green forest and gorgeous mountains, Betws y Coed Wales is a perfect place to base yourself for adventuring in the area.
Betws y Coed Wales
In this guide we’ll give you the rundown on all the best things to do in Betws y Coed, North Wales. Plus information on how to get there, suggestions on where to eat and some awesome recommendations for where to stay.
Betws y Coed Pronunciation
But firstly let’s cover off the first question non-welsh speakers have when they first hear of this place. And that’s how to pronounce Betws y Coed?
Well it takes a bit of practice, but it goes something like this: ‘beh-tuhs-wai-kow-ed’.
Translated to English it means ‘prayerhouse in the woods’. Which is thought to relate to St Michael’s Church and its surrounding yew trees which are more than 500 years old.
How To Get To Betws y Coed
By Train | Betws y Coed railway station is on the Conwy Valley railway line, a seriously picturesque train journey through scenic countryside and quaint villages. Starting at Llandudno Junction it joins the North Wales mainline running between Crewe and Holyhead.
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By Bus | National buses from other parts of the UK only come into major cities in Wales. From there you would have to make your way using local bus services. The local bus service operating in the Betws y Coed area is the fflesci Conwy Valley service.
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By Car | Travelling to Betws y Coed Wales by car is the best option if you are planning to do plenty of other things in the area too. That way you can work to your own schedule and spend as much or as little time in places as possible.
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Things To Do In Betws y Coed
Originally built in 1500, it was the first bridge to cross the river Conwy and is now a grade I listed building. Owing to how picturesque it’s setting is. Pont y Pair bridge is one of the main Betws y Coed points of interest.
Translated the name means ‘Bridge of the Cauldron’ named so after the fierce waterfall flowing underneath it and is pronounced ‘pont-uh-py-er’.
We were there in the height of summer and some brave/crazy people were actually jumping off the bridge into the fast flowing waters below. Not something we would recommend with so many jagged rocks around!
Conwy Valley Railway Museum
Located just near the current Betws y Coed train station, the museum was founded in the early 1970’s. For anyone interested in the history of this part of Wales it’s an absolute must for things to do in Betws y Coed Wales.
Perhaps the best thing about the Conwy Valley Railway Museum though is the miniature train rides. They operate daily between 10:30am and 4:00pm and booking is not required.
Entrance to the museum is £2 per person and train rides are £2.50 per person. Under 2’s go free and dogs are welcome.
Gwydyr Forest covers an area of over 72km² and completely encircles the village of Betws y Coed. Home to numerous lakes, the woodland extends north to the village of Trefriw and south to the village of Penmachno.
There are an abundance of Betws y Coed walks that you can take through the forest. Here’s a few of the most popular:
Coed Tan Dinas Walk | Difficulty = Easy, Distance = 1.2km, Time = 30 minutes
Cyrau Walk | Difficulty = Medium, Distance = 2.5km, Time = 1.5 hours
Pen yr Allt Walk | Difficulty = Hard, Distance = 7.1km, Time = 2-3 hours
Llyn Parc Walk | Difficulty = Hard, Distance = 10.6km, Time = 3-5 hours
All of these Betws y Coed walks start from the Pont y Pair car park. And you can download copies of the walking routes here.
Or if you’re into your mountain biking, check out the Marin Trail. A 28km route with 860m of undulating track. There are also a number of rare plants and wildlife, with parts of the forest having been designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
St. Michael’s Church
Built during the 14th century, St Michael’s Church is the oldest building in the village. After being replaced by a newer church, St Mary’s Church, in 1873 it fell to rack and ruin over a number of decades. Fortunately it was restored in 1994 and is open to visitors once again.
It is normally open daily 10am-5pm, from Easter until the end of October.
Things To Do Near Betws y Coed
Descending into the enchanting emerald green realm of the Fairy Glen feels like you’re entering another world. More simply put it’s a thickly wooded ravine with amazing rock formations and tumbling cascades of water.
But it is gorgeous and really is one of those places that you have to see to believe.
It is within walking distance of Betws y Coed village, but it’s easier to get there by car if you have one. You can read our guide to visiting the Fairy Glen Gorge here.
Less than 5 minutes drive along the A5 from Betws y Coed will lead to an ancient woodland walk along a deep gorge to see Conwy Falls. It’s not a very strenuous walk, although some of the paths are steep and can be slippy so wear appropriate footwear.
Access to the waterfalls is £1.50 for adults and £1 for kids.
There’s a free car park and a lovely cafe on site serving lots of homemade scran. The afternoon tea menu is a winner. You can check out the menus here. Alternatively there’s plenty of picnic tables if you wanted to bring your own.
The Ugly House, or Ty Hyll to use it’s Welsh name, isn’t actually that ugly at all. In fact, we think it’s more charming than anything. But you can make your own mind up about that.
Situated west along the A5, just a few miles from Betws y Coed village, this unusual building is now a delightful tea room. Must-tries are their ‘secret recipe’ Welsh Rarebit and sticky Apricot and Sultana Flapjacks.
Zip World Fforest
We had so much fun here and it’s definitely not just for kids! The Fforest Coaster is a must, but there’s also the tandem drop experience, the zip safari and skyride.
Nestled in the Conwy Valley, it’s nothing short of an exhilarating experience flying through the trees. If you haven’t done anything like this before be sure to add it to your list of things to do in Betws y Coed Wales.
Just over two miles from the village of Betws y Coed you’ll find the spectacular Swallow Falls. Or Rhaeadr Ewynnol to use the local name. It’s a very pretty natural sight formed by the River Llugwy flowing through a narrow chasm to create the waterfall.
You can get there by car, along the A5 and park in the Swallow Falls Hotel car park just opposite. Or you can walk from Betws y Coed along the river in around an hour.
If arriving by car you can view them from a location above the river with very little effort, or alternatively make your way down the steps to a closer viewing platform. The falls appear more dramatic from this angle and this is the first viewpoint you’ll come to if walking in.
Adventure Parc Snowdonia is less than 20 minutes north of Betws y Coed and is another of the awesome places to visit near Betws y Coed if you love a bit of adventure. You can just surf if you already know how to, or take some lessons.
There’s beginner, intermediate and advanced zones and the guaranteed man-made waves roll out every 90 seconds. Granted you’re not on the coast, but with a backdrop of green forest and mountains behind you, it really is a beautiful place to spend an afternoon.
Of course, one of the main reasons visitors come to North Wales is to hike the mighty Snowdon. And Betws y Coed is a great hub to stay at for doing just that. Just half an hour east and you have the start of many of the most popular Snowdon trails.
For more adventurous things to do near Betws y Coed, there’s also Snowdonia Caving Trips nearby. Below ground challenges range from 5 to 7 hours and include ziplines, traverses, boat sections and free fall jumps. Definitely something that will make for a memorable trip!
Places To Eat In Betws y Coed
Olif | Tapas bar serving Welsh inspired small plates, using locally sourced Welsh produce.
Hangin’ Pizzeria | Wood fire oven cooked pizzas with lots of vegan options to boot.
Alpine Coffee Shop | All day breakfasts or afternoon teas are where it’s at here.
Y Stabalu | Tasty dishes made for big adventures from local produce. The burgers are lush.
Abbasi’s | Quality and authentic North Indian food – be sure to try the signature Naan breads.
Places To Stay in Betws y Coed
Betws y Coed Hotels
The Courthouse | Originally a Victorian police station, this Betws y Coed B&B is steeped in history and full of character. And the riverside location makes for a postcard perfect setting.
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Mary’s Court Guest House | At this beautiful Victorian B&B in the heart of the village expect a stress free stay with a delicious full cooked or continental breakfast and off road parking.
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Hendre Rhys Gethin Betws y Coed | These luxury self catering lodges with hot tubs are the perfect place for families or leger groups to unwind after an exciting day of exploring.
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Betws y Coed Campsites
Tan Aeldroch Farm
Rynys Farm Camping Site
If you’re after free overnight parking spots in Betws y Coed North Wales, unfortunately you are going to struggle. Snowdonia National Park has seriously clamped down on it. It’s not however impossible, but you’ll need to go a little further out & on some of the smaller roads.
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Yorkshire born & bred, Sarah is a professional blogger who loves to travel. Pushing her boundaries with new adventures is her jam, so you likely won’t find her in one place for too long. Also a serious Marmite addict.