Lying in the heart of Snowdonia, Beddgelert is a small, beautiful conservation village nestled below mountains at the confluence of the Glaslyn and Colwyn rivers.
Bedecked with flowers, it is the winner of several Village in Bloom contests. It’s a great place for families to visit, with tea gardens, picnic spots and a wide range of walks, including wheelchair- and pushchair-friendly paths.
The easiest family-friendly walk is to Gelert’s Grave – the name of the village in English. During medieval times, Llywelyn ap Iorwerth, a Welsh prince, had a hunting lodge here. According to legend, he killed his faithful hound, Gelert, mistakenly thinking it had slaughtered his infant son – only to discover that the dog had in fact saved the child from a savage wolf.
The village is also connected to Alfred Bestall, the illustrator and writer of Rupert Bear, who lived here at Penlan from 1956 to 1986. In 1935 he took over the Daily Express comic strip and many of his illustrations were inspired by the scenery around Beddgelert.
An easy riverside walk with many resting places takes you to Gelert’s Grave and gives you a view of Penlan. You can arrive here by car, Sherpa bus or the Welsh Highland Railway, which runs between Caernarfon and Porthmadog.
1.7 miles/2.8km | 2 hours | easy
1. Gelert’s grave
From the car park below the railway station, go out to the road and turn left. When the road veers left, keep ahead on a lane beside Afon Colwyn, passing Caffi Colwyn Tea Garden. Beyond the toilets (disabled, requires radar key) with baby-changing facilities and before a footbridge, turn right on to a concrete path beside Afon Glaslyn. Bear right to Gelert’s Grave, with its slate slabs telling Gelert’s story in English and Welsh.
2. Rail over river
Walk to a ruin containing a dog sculpture before returning to the river. Bear right to reach the Welsh Highland Railway where the river is crossed parallel to the 25-mile line. Turn left and, after a gate and field, you’ll see a grassy hollow with log seating, perfect for a picnic.
3. Penlan Plaque
At the footbridge, bear right on a path across the pretty green to a T-junction. Go left and, shortly after, right. A short distance uphill and you’ll soon see, on your left, Penlan Cottage with its plaque commemorating Alfred Bestall. Return downhill and keep ahead to the river before turning left to the footbridge and village centre.