Llechwedd mine was established back in 1836 being one of the world’s busiest mines in its time. The dark days of grueling labour when workers spent up to 12 hours a day underground are now an important part of local history…but the life of the mines continues! Llechwedd has opened a new chapter, reinventing itself as Slate Mountain, a thriving tourist attraction offering a range of adventure sports, mine tours….and now luxury glamping.
The glamping tents
The set of 6 ‘luxury safari lodges’ were opened in May 2018 offering a unique place to stay for visitors wanting to make the most of the activities on site. Sat overlooking the quarry the lodges all enjoy sweeping views across the slate mine and beyond into the surrounding mountainous valleys.
The accommodation is a real mix of tent and lodge. The insulated glass doors at the front ensure that those incredible views can be enjoyed whether inside or out. These large windows also create a bright, indoor space – unlike most safari tents. Each lodge sleeps between 4-5 guests with solid floors, wood burner, electricity and bathroom. Everything you might need for a base for your Welsh adventure.
All six tents are pitched up a steep, slate path over looking a large quarry towards the main slate mine. Zip World run one of their sites from Slate Mountain with one of their zip wires running straight in front of the tents. A great way to spend an afternoon on the deck watching the zip liners whizzing past! The glamping team offer a concierge service driving arrivals and their luggage up the track if you arrive before 6pm. Sadly for us our journey from Sussex meant we rocked up out of hours so it was a steep hike carrying our supplies! All part of the adventure of course…but something to consider in advance. The location of these safari lodges is really something quite unique with the novelty of their environment being a huge part of their appeal. The surrounding mountains are strikingly beautiful with snow capped summits, rolling foothills and hidden lakes. A perfect blend of rugged escapism and stress-free comfort.
The lodges are smartly presented with plenty of creature comforts. The main living area is bright and spacious with a large dining table, wood burner and small kitchen. The kitchen comes complete with a wide range of utensils including cutlery, crockery, bbq tools and even a cork screw. Cooking facilities include a microwave and a bbq on the decking area. One bag of fire wood and kindling is provided with further supplies being available to buy in the main reception area. Small touches like a basket of local produce and pictures of the slate miners act as a reminder of the historical significance of this place.
Beyond the living space is a snug sleeping area. We had the choice of a double bottom bunk with three further single bunk beds. The beds are made up with heavy duvets, heavy woolen blankets and hot water bottles. Despite feeling more like a lodge than a tent in lots of ways at night when the temperatures dropped we were starkly reminded that we were certainly still under canvas. During our stay, over the May bank holiday temperatures dropped below zero with fresh snow fall overnight. Despite the wintry conditions our bedding ensured we were all warm and slept well…it was hard getting up in the morning though!
At the far rear of the lodge is a toilet and shower room complete with heated towel rail, fresh towels and Cole & co wash products. No need to worry about cross country late night trips to use the facilities here…this bathroom is more akin to a boutique hotel than a regular campsite.
Slate Mountain is situated near Blaenau Ffestiniog in Gwynedd. The area is a paradise for adventurers with Snowdonia National Park being a stones throw away, as well as a number of activities based at the Slate Caverns heritage and adventure hub. The attraction has a range of Adrenalin fuelled activities on offer including a Deep Mine Tour, off-road Quarry Explorer, zip lines above and below ground, world-class mountain biking and a unique underground trampoline complex.
Deep Mine Tour
During our stay we were invited to take part in one of the mine tours. Having spent a full on day climbing Snowdon the day before we opted for one of the more laid back tours: Llechwedd Deep Mine. The tour takes you back 160 years and 500 feet underground offering an eye opening insight into the hardship of life for the slate miners who once lived and worked here. History is brought to life through clever story telling using visual effects and light displays. We are also given the opportunity to try some of the mundane daily tasks like digging holes for gunpowder or swinging from huge caverns on the end of a precarious metal chain. The experience culminates in a fantastic light display in one of the larger caverns. A really thought provoking and engaging educational experience for guests of all ages.
There are three places you can grab a bite to eat on Slate Mountain. The Llechwedd Cafe is a warm escape from the cold mountain temperatures outside. Open throughout the day for warm drinks or a bite to eat.
The Emporium and the Quarryman pub are open until early evening serving hot food including pizza and burgers. Having a drink sat outside the Quarryman on a warm evening seemed the absolute perfect way to finish an active day in the Welsh mountains to us!
Slate Mountain continues to expand as a one stop adventure resort with the addition of a brand new luxury hotel which is due to open in early 2020. The 24-bedroom hotel will give allow even more visitors to the adventure hub the option of staying over and will also serve as a wedding and events venue.
The glamping lodges at Slate Mountain are not only comfortable and well presented but a truly unique experience. As a parent of young children I would recommend staying here with older children…I’m not sure how my 3 year old would have coped on the steep paths and slate scree…but I think primary age upwards would get a lot out of both the glamping and slate mines tours. So whether you’re an adrenaline junkie looking to get stuck into the extreme zip wires, or you’re looking for a more sedate stay taking in the views across the Ffestiniog Valleys this place is somewhere you won’t forget in a hurry.
Disclosure: We received a complimentary stay at Slate Mountain glamping in exchange for this review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.