Southern Snowdonia Family Walking Adventure
Get away from the crowds and uncover one of Wales' best kept secrets - Dolgellau
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Choosing the level of your walks
Our easy grading system shows whether a region offer gentle strolls or more challenging routes to help you choose the right holiday for you. Difficulty is measured on many factors such as distance, ascent/descent, terrain, weather and more. There's no magic formula, but from our experience we grade our walks 1 to 5 (where 1 is easy and 5 hard). Our challenger holidays require a high level of fitness and stamina.
Children Aged 5 and Under Go FREE
Tucked away from the honeypot hotspots to the north, there's something for everyone in southern Snowdonia; the rolling green hills of the lowlands to conquering the high peaks of Cadair Idris, the Rhinogs and the Arans. Dolserau Hall sits in Dolgellau within the National Park and boasts spectacular views from every room.
Snowdonia has all the ingredients for a great family holiday. Active teenagers will love the high mountains, while the whole family will love the coastal walks that end on the glorious sandy beach at Barmouth, or the iconic Harlech Castle.
- Choice of up to 3 walks per day
- Discover the wild Welsh hillsides alive with legends of giants, monsters and heroes
- Visit Barmouth Beach
- Explore waterfalls & a goldmine
- Conquer Cadair Idris
- Discover the great little trains of Wales
Located just a couple of miles away from the attractive market of Dolgellau, this town is a pleasure to explore with fascinating history surrounded in and out of the local area. Enjoy highly scenic journeys on old traditional trains through Snowdonia, or explore the area on foot.
Our bedrooms are either located in the main building or the tastefully converted coach house.
These rooms are all ensuite and furnished to a good standard. They include:
These rooms are slightly larger and/or have a better view. They include:
Only an extra £15 per person per night
Choose Your Room: Our new “Choose Your Room” service is available at our UK country houses, providing the option to choose and confirm a specific room for an extra £30 per room. Supplement to upgrade to 'Better' rooms still apply. The choice of room number must be of the same room type as originally booked and is subject to availability.
At the house
|All holidays at our Country Houses are full board accommodation including evening meal on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure. All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
√ Start your day with our extensive breakfast.
Just relax and take it easy, or if you'd like to continue to chat with our guides and fellow guests then why not grab a drink or take part in one of our optional evening activities.
All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.
Our family holidays offer the choice of up to 3 guided walks each day – you can choose an Easier Walk one day and switch to a Harder Walk the next. Our routes range from short coastal strolls that are ideal for little legs, to challenging mountain ascents that will appeal to active teenagers.
Mountains, beaches, forests, waterfalls and goldmines! What more could we pack into a week in wonderful Wales? Explore the myths and legends of this stunning area.
- Expert leaders: our friendly leaders are the cornerstone of these guided holidays and will ensure that families get the most out of the walks
- Peace of mind: only families can book on our dedicated Family holidays - the kids get the run of the Country House in a safe environment
- Free day: on our 7 night holidays, enjoy a day without walks to get out and make the most of the nearby family-friendly attractions
Cadair Idris and the Talyllyn Railway
2019: Available on Thurs 30 May, Sun 4 Aug, Sun 11 Aug
Option 1: Talyllyn Railway
Distance: 5 miles (8km)
Total ascent: 1,000 feet (320m)
The walk in a nutshell: Explore the area around Abergynolwyn, before taking a ride on the Talyllyn railway, a historic narrow-gauge railway set in beautiful Welsh scenery.
Don’t miss: The Talyllyn railway was the first preserved line in Britain, and was the inspiration for the Skarloey Railway in the Thomas the Tank Engine books.
Option 2: Bird Rock
Distance: 8½ miles (14km)
Total ascent: 1,100 feet (335m)
The walk in a nutshell: Burn off some energy: a more challenging walk around the Abergynolwyn area taking in the impressive outcrop of Bird Rock.
Don’t miss: Admire the views down to the sea from the top of Bird Rock. Our day concludes with a ride on the Talyllyn Railway.
Option 3: Cadair Idris
Distance: 7 miles (11km)
Total ascent: 3,100 feet (940m)
The walk in a nutshell: Ascend to the top of Cadair Idris via the Minffordd path. Our route takes us past an impressive corrie lake and a dramatic ridge.
Don’t miss: Cadair Idris is the most impressive mountain in Southern Snowdonia; a favourite with many walkers.
2019: Available on Wed 29 May, Mon 5 Aug, Mon 12 Aug
Option 1: Harlech Beach
Distance: 5 miles (8km)
Total ascent: 750 feet (240m)
The walk in a nutshell: We’ll start the day exploring Llanfair Farm Park before making our way to Harlech to play on the beach.
Don’t miss: Visit Harlech Castle which commands a wonderful position overlooking the sweeping sands of Cardigan Bay with the mountains of Snowdonia behind.
Option 2: Harlech coastline
Distance: 6½ miles (10½km)
Total ascent: 850 feet (260m)
The walk in a nutshell: We’ll be walking from Llanbedr on to Llandanwg and then on to Harlech and time on the stunning beach.
Don’t miss: There are great views along the coast, and of Harlech castle on the final leg.
Option 3: Over the hills to Harlech
Distance: 9 miles (14½km)
Total ascent: 1,400 feet (420m)
The walk in a nutshell: Walk in the rolling foothills of the Rhinog mountains. We’ll finish in Harlech for a well deserved ice-cream.
Don’t miss: This is a real 'away from it all' walk, passing through unspoilt scenery, with views down to the sea.
Rhinog Fawr & Coed y Brenin
2019: Available on Wed 7 Aug, Wed 14 Aug
Option 1: Gruffalo Trail
Distance: 6 miles (10½km)
Total ascent: 1,300 feet (400m)
The walk in a nutshell: Follow the Gruffalo Trail through the Coed y Brenin forest, discovering more about the woodland creatures mentioned in the story.
Don’t miss: There's also a great woodland playground at the end of the walk.
Option 2: Coed y Brenin
Distance: 8 miles (13km)
Total ascent: 2,050 feet (620m)
The walk in a nutshell: Our woodland journey will take us to view waterfalls and a goldmine!
Don’t miss: There's plenty of interest on this walk, with time for games in the woods.
Option 3: Rhinog Fawr
Distance: 8½ miles (14km)
Total ascent: 2,250 feet (680m)
The walk in a nutshell: Don't be misled by the ascent, this is a tough walk in the wild and rugged Rhinog mountains. We ascend to the head of the Roman steps then on rough terrain to Rhinog Fawr summit.
Don’t miss: The Rhinogs are one of Snowdonia's lesser-known gems, with rugged shapely peaks and fabulous sea views.
Over the hills to Barmouth
2019: Available on Fri 31 May, Thurs 8 Aug, Thurs 15 Aug
Option 1: Barmouth Bridge
Distance: 5½ miles (9km)
Total ascent: 750 feet (220m)
The walk in a nutshell: Walk from Barmouth across the River Mawddach estuary on the Grade II* listed Barmouth bridge. We'll head to Fairbourne then take a boat back to Barmouth.
Don’t miss: We'll have plenty of time to enjoy Barmouth; a classic seaside town with lots of sand, donkeys, ice cream and fun.
Option 2: Panorama Walk
Distance: 5½ miles (8½km)
Total ascent: 1,050 feet (320m)
The walk in a nutshell: Follow the stunning panorama walk above the Mawddach Estuary, heading over the hills to Barmouth.
Don’t miss: This walk combines spectacular ridge walking with wonderful views of the coast and estuary, and beyond to the Snowdonian mountains.
Option 3: The Southern Rhinogs
Distance: 10 miles (16m)
Total ascent: 2,450 (740m)
The walk in a nutshell: Heading to the southern end of the magnificent Rhinog mountain ridge we ascend the summit of Diffwys, before descending to the coast at Barmouth.
Don’t miss: Diffwys, the second highest of the Rhinog peaks, commands a wonderful view out into Cardigan Bay and to Cadair Idris.
Friday: Arans and Around Dolserau
2019: Available on Fri 9 Aug, Fri 16 Aug
Option 1: Llyn Cynwch
Distance: 5 miles (8km)
Total ascent: 450 feet (140m)
The walk in a nutshell: A circular walk around the beautiful Llyn Cynwch, which is just a couple of miles from Dolserau Hall.
Don’t miss: Legend has it that there is a marble fairy castle at the bottom of this lovely lake.
Option 2: Old Precipice Walk
Distance: 6 miles (10km)
Total ascent: 850 feet (250m)
The walk in a nutshell: The Precipice Walk is a real classic - a contouring path with amazing views over the Mawddach Estuary and the surrounding mountains (and it's nothing like as scary as the name suggests!).
Don’t miss: This panoramic trail enjoys wonderful views of Coed y Brenin Forest, the Mawddach Estuary and Cadair Idris.
Option 3: Aran Fawddwy
Distance: 7½ miles (12km)
Total ascent: 2,750 feet (840m)
The walk in a nutshell: A big day out traversing the Aran Ridge, in part grassy, in part rocky, but with stunning views. Our highest point is the summit of Aran Fawddwy.
Don’t miss: Choose a clear day and you'll be rewarded with a stunning panorama across the Snowdonian mountains.
Terrain and transport: Easier Walks are in valleys and woodland with some moorland walking. Medium Walks are in valleys and over high moorland with some steeper and rougher paths. Harder Walks are over mountains and high moorland.
On some days the walks start or finish at Dolserau Hall; on other days we use hired transport at the start and/or end of the walks. The cost of all transport to and from the walks is included in the price of your holiday.
Activities at Dolserau Hall: Your leaders will inform you about the choice of walks for the next day and answer any questions you may have. After a sociable evening meal you could join in an evening activity created specifically for all the family or use the Country House facilities.
During your stay at Dolserau Hall you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest, either in your free time, or on your journey to and from Snowdonia:
This narrow guage railway was the first in the world to be taken over and run by volunteers. The line runs from the coast at Tywyn to the former slate quarries at Nant Gwernol. Historic locomotives and carriages, some dating back to the line's opening in 1864 add to the unique atmosphere. The nearest station is at Abergynolwyn, about 25 minutes' drive from Dolserau Hall. www.talyllyn.co.uk
Great Little Trains of Wales
Snowdonia is noted for its concentration of narrow guage steam railways, all of which offer highly scenic journeys. The Ffestiniog Railway, Vale of Rheidol and the Welshpool & Llanfair railways are all within reach. You may also want to experience the newly rebuilt Welsh Highland Railway which runs from Porthmadog to Caernarfon. www.greatlittletrainsofwales.co.uk
Built by King Edward I after his conquest of Wales, Harlech Castle is one of the most historically important and well preserved fortifications in the principality. Along with neighbouring castles at Caernarfon, Beaumaris and Conwy it now has World Heritage status. Around 45 minutes' drive from Dolserau Hall. www.cadw.wales.gov.uk
Centre for Alternative Technology
Situated near Machynlleth, around 20 minutes' from Dolserau Hall, the Centre for Alternative Technology is at the forefront of researching and teaching sustainable living. Displays focus on green technology, energy efficiency and organic farming. www.cat.org.uk
The nearby RSPB reserves at Arthog Bog, Coed Garth Gell and Ynis-hir offer a wide variety of habitats including oak woodland, heathland and salt-marsh that attracts an equally diverse range of birds.
This quaint Italianate village was the brainchild of the architect Clough Williams-Ellis. It is also well-known as the setting for the cult 1960’s TV series The Prisoner. Portmeirion is around 35 minutes' drive from Dolserau Hall. www.portmeirion-village.com
Harlech Castle image © Crown copyright (2016) Welsh Government
Travel to Dolgellau
Our address is: Dolserau Hall, Dolgellau, Gwynedd LL40 2AG
The most convenient railway station is at Machynlleth. For train times and route planning by train visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or phone 03457 48 49 50.
The 16 mile journey from Machynlleth railway station takes approximately 30 minutes. Pre-booked taxis cost approx £30 per taxi. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Dolserau Hall Manager.
From Machynlleth take the X27 bus to Dolgellau. The 2 mile journey to Dolserau Hall from Dolgellau can be completed in a taxi. Alternatively alight at Dolgellau Little Chef, from where it is a 1 mile walk along a quiet country lane to the hotel. For bus times see www.traveline.info
From the north head to Chester then take the M53 and A55 around the south of Chester. Join the A550 then the A5104 for about 20 miles, then finally the A494 to Bala. Stay on the A494 heading towards Dolgellau. A mile after the junction for the B4416 to Brithdir, take the next turning on the left, after the campsite. Follow the country lane for ½ mile to Dolserau Hall.
From the south take the M54 and A5 to Shrewsbury. Follow the A5 around the south of Shrewsbury and join the A458 towards Welshpool. Continue on the A458 through Welshpool and after a further 27 miles turn right at a roundabout onto the A470 towards Dolgellau. As you come down a steep hill beofre Dolgellau, look out for a petrol station on the right hand side. Take the turning on the right immediately before the petrol station. Dolserau Hall is about 1 mile along this country lane on your right. Look for the HF Holidays sign.
Travelling from overseas
Birmingham Airport has the quickest onward connections to Machynlleth. Direct trains from Birmingham International station take 2 hours 35 minutes. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
Manchester Airport has a better range of long-haul flights. Trains from here take around 3½ hours with changes at Crewe and Shrewsbury. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
Flying to London Heathrow airport is another option, but has a longer onward train journey - allow at least 5½ hours to reach Machynlleth by train. You'll need to head to Euston station in the centre of London. Take a train from here to Birmingham, then change for the onward connection to Machynlleth. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
In each case complete your journey from Machynlleth to Dolgellau by taxi or bus (see above).