Did you know? Several of Snowdonia’s beautiful lakes claim to be the actual resting place of Excalibur and Llgend has it that the pile of stones marking the summit of Snowdon is where Arthur fought, killed and buried the giant Rhitta.
Two miles from the mainland is tiny Bardsey Island, said to be where Arthur himself is buried. The latest big-screen appearance of King Arthur sees Charlie Hunnam jousting in scenes filmed near Conwy, at the northern tip of the park, and launching his magical sword to its final resting place in the waters of Llyn Gwynant in the heart of the National Park.
Here are five places to stay to explore Snowdonia National Park:
Trem y Foel, near Betws-y-Coed
Four miles from the mountain town of Betws-y-Coed, Trem y Foel is a former stable and coach house that has been beautifully converted to offer luxurious accommodation for up to four in an ideal location for exploring many of Snowdonia’s adrenaline activities. Within easy reach are several of the region’s top adventure attractions – Zip World, Surf Snowdonia and Bounce Below, plus the Plas y Brenin National Mountain Sports Centre and many challenging mountain biking routes.
After a day exploring, the cottage’s under floor heating, top-of-the-range power showers, cosy log burner and power showers are a welcome treat. There’s a spacious farmhouse kitchen and two comfortable bedrooms, plus the whole property is very eco-conscious with water from a natural spring and hydro-electricity produced in the nearby valley. The cottage is dog-friendly and children are encouraged to interact on the farm too, including collecting eggs for breakfast.
Prices start from £465 for seven nights, based on four sharing on self-catering basis. Visit www.qualitycottages.co.uk or call 01348 837871.
Tal y Maes Mawr, near Caernarfon
Tal y Maes Mawr, a four bedroom house in the village of Nebo, on the western edge of the National Park, is great for walkers. Those with a head for heights can step out of the door and onto the Nantlle Ridge Walk, a challenging walk that runs east towards Rhyd Ddu and the foot of Snowdon itself, with panoramic views across the coast towards Anglesey. The house has recently been renovated and features a large open-plan living/dining area with a sun room; separate living room with a log burner; spacious bedrooms including one on the ground floor for those with limited mobility; and large enclosed gardens. There’s also a utility room for all those muddy boots!
Many of the starting points for climbing Snowdon are within easy reach, while those who prefer less strenuous activities can enjoy the award-winning beach at Dinas Dinlle, visiting Caernarfon Castle, heading further west to the Llyn Peninsula, or taking in the mountain views from the comfort of the Welsh Mountain Railway.
Prices start from £600 for seven nights, based on eight sharing on self-catering basis. Visit www.qualitycottages.co.uk or call 01348 837871.
The Old Farmhouse, near Harlech
Sitting high above Harlech with incredible views across the beaches of Harlech, Shell Island and Llandanwg, The Old Farmhouse is a two bedroom, dog-friendly property that was originally built in the 1700s but has been completely renovated and offers comfortable, contemporary accommodation for up to four. The gable end has floor to ceiling windows and French doors, which open onto a patio that is a wonderful spot from which to soak up the views.
For anyone who prefers to take in the scenery of the National Park by rail, there is a choice of historic steam railways running nearby and starting from Porthmadog. The pretty coastal towns of Harlech and Portmeirion are a few miles away, and the Coed y Brenin Forest Park, home to the UK’s first dedicated mountain bike trail centre, is within easy reach too for anyone with a taste for adventure.
Prices start from £525 for seven nights, based on four sharing on self-catering basis. Visit www.qualitycottages.co.uk or call 01348 837871.
Dysynni and Craig y Deryn, Dysynni Valley
Dysynni and Craig y Deryn are two cosy cottages converted from a former 17th century cow byre and hay loft, in the tranquil Dysynni Valley, at the south of the Snowdonia National Park. The cottages are just three miles from the sea and six miles from the old fishing village of Aberdyfi, with views across to Cadair Idris, the second highest mountain in Wales.
Each has an open plan downstairs living area, with Welsh slate floors and modern kitchen, dining area and lounge with log burning stove.
They are ideally situated for bird watching – Craig y Deryn (Bird Rock) is nearby and offers the only inland nesting site for cormorants, while the protected large area of reed beds is home to a myriad wildlife. Barn owls and a pair of buzzards also nest on the property, and two flocks of Canada geese are often seen feeding in the adjacent fields.
Prices start from £330 for a seven night stay in Dysynni, based on two sharing.
(www.premiercottages.co.uk 01654 710913).
Located in the heart of the Welsh countryside on the banks of the River Dee, Rivercatcher is an award-winning collection of five luxury cottages each featuring a private hot tub in its own secure garden. Located on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park, the property has stunning views of the river and Berwyn Mountains.
Take a wide variety of walks straight from the door, ranging from short scenic ones to strenuous climbs over mountains almost 3,000 feet high. Rivercatcher is perfect for those wanting to enjoy the mountain experience without the crowds.
Prices for a week’s stay in Rivercatcher’s sleeps six property Flyfishers Cottage starts at £995 and a week in sleeps ten property Cilan Farmhouse starts at £1650.
(www.premiercottages.co.uk, 01490 440498)
Guy Ritchie’s latest blockbuster, ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’ will hit cinema screens on 19th May
Main image: Panorama of the view from the summit of Moel Eilio, overlooking the northern side of Snowdon and many of the other peaks in Snowdonia National Park, North Wales. Credit: Getty