Where: Llechwed Slate Mine, near Blaenau Ffestiniog in Snowdonia.
How much: From £100 for a budget double including breakfast. Prices start at £135 for a family suite.
The Plas Weunydd Hotel opened earlier this spring just as Lockdown restrictions started to ease. The grand, 24 bedroom hotel sits proudly at the entrance of the Llechwed Slate Mine looking down the stunning valley towards Blaenau Ffestiniog and beyond. Dating back to 1836 the hotel has been fully restored and refurbished in its original style as the former quarry owners home, preserving the historical importance of the building and its role within the mine. We spent two nights in a family room during the May half term, just a few weeks after the hotel had opened its doors to the public. Here’s the full lowdown on our experience…
We we given a lovely, family suite on the top floor of the hotel. The room consisted of a Super King bed, a sofa bed for the kids to share, a spacious bathroom (with a bath and shower), coffee facilities (with some tasty biscuits), smart TV, wifi and ample storage. Being so new the decor in the room is pristine with some really nice touches like local artwork, Welsh wool knitted throws, Llechwed slate accessories and Welsh wash products. As family hotel rooms go the room has plenty of space. We also had a cute little window alcove where our youngest would sit and draw whilst watching what was going on in the car park below. The King Size bed is firm and comfortable – however I slept really badly on our first night because our room was so hot. Being at the top of the building with only a small window there was little ventilation. I was assured by hotel staff that this was a problem they were aware of and that it was in the process of being resolved, so hopefully this should no longer be an issue. Overall we were really happy in our family room which worked as a very comfortable space to recharge and refresh between the numerous awesome activities on offer in the area.
There’s a gorgeous bar and dining area at the front of the hotel allowing guests to sit back and take in the views across the valley. We received breakfast as part of our stay and were really impressed the level of service and quality of the food. Breakfast is served to your table with friendly waiting staff delivering fresh coffee and tea as well as a range of continental and cooked breakfast options. With busy days ahead of us I opted for a full, cooked breakfast which included sourdough toast, egg, sausage and bacon – the perfect start to a day of adventuring.
One notable point is that the hotel currently does not serve evening meals. It’s worth being organised (unlike us!) and booking somewhere local as pubs can get really busy during peak times. We found a great spot about a 10 minute drive away which I can highly recommend – The Oakeley Arms
Things to do
There is so much to right on the doorstep of Plas Weunydd! The slate mine has become an adventure sports playground with Zip World having set up a number of activities within the original slate caverns and zip wires running the length of the excavated quarry areas. As if this wasn’t enough excitement there’s also Antur Stiniog Cyf mountain biking, Deep Cavern Slate Mine Tours and Llechwed Glamping all within a stone’s throw from the hotel itself. We managed to fit in visit to Bounce Below, the Deep Mine Tour and a quick hike up Snowdon during our stay.
What? An incredible underground network of giant trampolines, slides and netted walkways suspended in vast caverns in the slate mine.
Who for? Bounce Below is aimed at ages 7 and up. I found it just as much fun as my 11 year old daughter! Definitely just as much fro the grown ups as for the kids.
How much? Prices are around £20 for an hours activity.
Is it worth it? Yes! Such a fun, unique activity and great value. Don’t miss it!
What? A guided tour 500 feet underground through the slate caverns. You’ll be walked through the story of how slate was mined and what life was life working here years ago.
Who for? Everyone. All ages will enjoy this tour.
How much? £60 for a family of four. The tour takes around 1.5 hours.
Is it worth it? Definitely. It’s impossible to ignore the importance of slate when visiting this part of Wales so investing some time in building a better understanding of the areas history seems really valuable. We were guided by a former miner who worked here in the 80’s which made the experience all the more memorable.
What? The highest peak in Wales! Parking in either Llanberis or the Pen Y Pass is about a 50 minute drive from Plas Weunydd. There are a number of different routes you can take up Snowdon including the Mountain Rail Train which runs from Llanberis (check times and book ahead – the train wasn’t running a full service when we visited due to Covid).
Who for? It depends. Obviously ascending via the train is an option accessible to most. If you intend to attempt the summit please prepare well checking weather forecasts, wearing suitable clothing and planning your route. On this occasion we climbed with our children aged 5 and 11 – we didn’t quite make the top but still hiked for over 4 hours taking in some incredible views.
How much? Just parking and petrol.
Is it worth it? Hell yes!
Thoughts on Plas Weunydd
This gorgeous hotel has a cosy, ski lodge feel with staff making huge efforts to go out of their way to accommodate your every need and make you feel at home. There’s a very friendly, intimate and laid back feel to the place that is a rare find. As a family, the children were made to feel as welcome as us adults with plenty of adventurous pursuits to keep us all buzzing through the day. Yes, there was the problem with the room being too hot, but the hotel had been open a matter of a couple of weeks when we visited so I think it’s fair to allow for a few teething issues. Plas Weunydd is the ideal base to explore the rugged beauty of Snowdonia offering the perfect blend of luxury and affordability.
Disclosure: We were invited to stay at Plas Weunydd and experience some activities in exchange for this review. Thoughts and opinions are all genuine.