6-Night Southern Snowdonia Outdoor Escapes

Harlech Castle at sunrise
Duration: 7 nights
Walking Grade: 2, 4 & 5

Experience the very best of Southern Snowdonia on our walks. Each day we'll offer three options, ranging from relaxing shorter strolls, to more challenging longer walks. Our flexible programme allows you to choose the option that suits your mood. For those of you staying for 6 nights, there will be a free day in the middle of the holiday - the perfect chance to head off and explore independently, or just kick back and relax.

Holiday Highlights

Moment of the weekend

When you find the secret tidal island on the edge of Snowdonia. Overlooked by the Moelwyn Mountains, the small island of Ynys Gifftan in the Dwyryd Estuary is a seemingly isolated, insignificant, unbridged granite outcrop. Roll up your trousers and step onto the rippled sands at low tide though for an adventure unlike any other. Explore the temporary pools, shallow channels and exposed sandflats as you splash to the island, watching for wildfowl, otters and water voles. If you’re lucky you might even catch sight of an osprey diving for fish. Climb up to find the island’s only house, an abandoned stone-built farm cottage and imagine living in splendid seclusion!

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

On our Guided Walking holidays, we believe that choice is key. Our walks descriptions will help you choose according to your interests and fitness. The walks are grouped together with care by local experts to give the best experience. While every effort will be made to adhere to the described itinerary, we may occasionally vary the sequence shown here or substitute an alternative route to suit local conditions or for other operational reasons, potentially at short notice.

Join us at Dolserau Hall, our Country House, for an action-packed short break. If the weather is fine we can take a short pre-dinner stroll along the Torrent Walk to help get your bearings. After a delicious 3-course evening meal, there's time to relax with the rest of the group and look forward to the adventures to come.


Enjoy the choice of 3 guided walks, ranging from a leisurely exploration of the beautiful Mawddach Estuary, to a scrambly ascent and the Dragon's Back.

Option 1 - Panorama Walk

Distance: 9 miles (14km). This walk can be split into two if you're looking for a shorter half day walk.

Total ascent: 650 feet (200m)

In Summary: After the Panorama viewpoint, we cross the estuary at Barmouth to pick-up the Mawddach Trail, all the way to Penmaenpool.

Highlight: Watch for birdlife on the way, then relax with a pint in the George III at the end of the day.

Option 2 - The Dragon's Back

Distance: 9 miles (14.5km)

Total ascent: 1,750 feet (540m)

Total Descent: 1,750 feet (540m)

In Summary: From Dolgellau we've got a gradual climb up to Gwernan Lake. It's then an ancient trackway and the Dragon's Back, before we finish on the Mawddach Trail to Penmaenpool.

Highlight: Fantastic ridge walking with cracking views of the coast and estuary and beyond to the Snowdonian mountains.

Option 3 - Cregennan Lakes

Distance: 10 miles (16.5km)

Total ascent: 2,050 feet (640m)

In Summary: We climb up beside waterfalls to Cregennen Lakes. We've then the option of a scrambly ridge, before we continue to the Dragon’s Back and then Penmaenpool.                      

Highlight: This is the chance to get off the beaten track and appreciate superb mountain scenery and solitude.


Today's 3 guided walks focus on the area around the stunning Dolgoch Falls and the Talyllyn steam railway.

Option 1 - Castell y Bere

Distance: 5 miles (8km)

Total ascent: 1000 feet (320m)

In Summary: Walk to Castell y Bere, a 13th century castle - the last stronghold of the Welsh Princes, and Mary Jones’ chapel, before the Dysynni valley takes us to Abergynolwyn village for trip on the Talyllyn steam railway.

Highlight: See the beauty of Dolgoch Falls, after a trip on the steam train.

Option 2 - Bird Rock

Distance: 8½ miles (14km)

Total ascent: 1,100 feet (335m)

In Summary: Starting near Abergynolwyn we climb up onto Bird Rock, the most inland nesting site for sea birds. We then follow the beautiful Dysynni valley, along the river to Abergynolwyn.

Highlight: The chance to visit Castell y Bere and Mary Jones' chapel, and to end the day with a pint in the Railway Inn.

Option 3 - Tarren Hendre

Distance: 6½ miles (10.5km)

Total ascent: 2,150 feet (660m)

Total Descent: 1,950 feet (600m)

In Summary: From the pretty village of Pennal, on the Dovey estuary, gentle hills treat us to 360 degree views of the mountains and coast from the top of Tarren Hendre. We then head down to beautiful Dolgoch Falls.    

Highlight: If we're in good form, there should be time to ride the Talyllyn steam railway to Abergynolwyn at the end of the day.



Enjoy the choice of 3 guided walks, ranging from a leisurely exploration of the Ardudwy coast, to the highest point in the Rhinogs.

Option 1 - Llandanwg & Harlech

Distance: 5 miles (8.5km)

Total ascent: 750 feet (240m)

In Summary: Explore the Ardudwy Coast and stroll along the stunning beach at Llandanwg. En route we’ll visit a slate cavern then continue to Harlech with its impressive 13th century castle.

Highlight: Harlech Castle - this magnificent medieval castle was built by Edward I to control the Welsh. Not into castles? - kick back and relax in one of the local cafés.

Option 2 - Over the Hills to Harlech

Distance: 8½ miles (13.5km)

Total ascent: 1,850 feet (540m)

In Summary: Walk on the lower slopes of the Rhinogs above the Ardudwy coast. Our walk passes a beautiful lake and an ancient stone circle before we descend gradually to Harlech.

Highlight: There are great views along the coast and of Harlech castle on the final leg.

Option 3 - The Southern Rhinogs

Distance: 11 miles (18km)

Total ascent: 2,400 feet (720m)

In Summary: This circuit of the southern Rhinog peaks sets off from near Bontddu, ascending to Diffwys, then north along a stunning ridge to Llethr, the highest point in the Rhinogs. It's then downhill to the coast and Llanbedr.

Highlight: A well-deserved pint in the Queen Victoria at the end of a fantastic day's walking.


Today's 3 guided walks offer the chance to explore beautiful coastline, or to tackle the mighty Cadair Idris.

Option 1 - Wales Coast Path

Distance: 5 miles (8.5km)

Total ascent: 1,080 feet (330m)

In Summary: From Llwyngwril village, the Wales Coast path treats us to great views down to the sea. We visit the Blue Lake then head down to walk along the beach to the seaside resort of Fairbourne in time for ice cream.

Highlight: A trip on the scenic coastal railway from Tywyn to Llwyngwril, where we begin our walk - a fantastic start to the day.

Option 2 - Cadair Idris

Distance: 6½ miles (10.5km)

Total ascent: 2,900 feet (880m)

In Summary: We tackle Cader Idris, climbing along the Minffordd path above the corrie basin of Llyn Cau on a dramatic ridge to reach the summit. The Pony path then leads us down to Gwernan Lake, and (if you're still feeling fresh) Dolgellau.

Highlight: Cadair Idris - one of our favourites and arguably the most impressive mountain in Southern Snowdonia.

Option 3 - Cadair Idris Ridge

Distance: 12½ miles (20.5km)

Total ascent: 3,900 feet (1,200m)

In Summary: Not to be missed! We follow the route of the option 2 walk to Pen y Gadair summit, walk on the Pony path, then continue along the mountain’s west ridge, with stunning views to the coast, before descending to Fairbourne.

Highlight: A superb ridge walk on top of one of Britain's most loved mountains, with great views down the Mawddach Estuary to the sea.


Make the most of your final morning with the opportunity to join us on a local classic - the Torrent Walk.

Torrent Walk

Distance: 2½ miles (4km)

Total ascent: 500 feet (150m)

In Summary: This is the signature walk for the area around Dolserau Hall. It includes a nice mix of woodland, waterfalls, a pretty church and open fields - a bit of everything. We'll arrive back at Dolserau in time for lunch before your journey home.

Highlight: Take some time and see what wildlife you can spot. The gorge is an SSSI, and otters, amongst other wildlife, have been spotted here.


Dolserau Hall

Walkers in the know head to southern Snowdonia to uncover one of Wales’ best-kept secrets. Stood in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park, just a couple of miles from the attractive market town of Dolgellau, Dolserau Hall makes a superb base for getting off the beaten path.  The tranquillity of the location wraps around you. A smart country house with breathtaking views from every room, attractive gardens and vistas that stretch across the valley to the summit of Cadair Idris, you’re surrounded by rural inspiration. Depending on what mood strikes, explore the Rhinogs, take on a classic ridge walk with great views, set foot on the Mawddach Trail or follow the coast to Harlech, where the eponymous medieval castle stands on a wonderful position overlooking the sweeping sands of Cardigan Bay. Croeso I Cymru, as they say around here.

 

Need to know

Important Covid-19 steps we have taken for guest safety: Please Read

As we slowly reopen in the wake of the Coronavirus lockdown, our country house stays are set to be organised a little differently; extra steps have been taken to keep our guests, house teams and leaders safe while we return to action. We ask all our guests to respect the measures put in place.

Initially the overall capacity of the houses has been reduced. Guests must wear face coverings in public spaces. To adhere to social distancing guidelines, we have taken the necessary steps to space out furniture and seating in public areas. In addition, a one-way system will be in place around the house. Adequate signage will be displayed to support the direction of travel to be followed by guests and house teams.

As a temporary measure, we will not be servicing rooms during a stay. Extra tea, coffee, milk, and toiletries will be made available on request for all guests. It is recommended that guests bring their own toiletries for the duration of their stay. We have removed all non-essential and reusable items from our rooms for the meantime including cushions, hairdryers, bathrobes, bed throws, and printed materials to reduce the number of items that need to be disinfected. Hairdryers will be available on request. Clean towels will be available on request. We will though be increasing the frequency of cleaning in our public areas providing particular attention to frequently touched items including door handles and handrails.

For now, there is no cream tea on arrival day. We have also adapted our food offering to remove all buffets and open food items. Different sittings may be required for breakfast and dinner due to the occupancy and size of the house. Picnic lunches will now be pre-ordered the night before from an order form in the room. The bar in each country house will be open, and we will be offering a table service for drinks. At this time there is no, or only a very limited, evening social programme available. Outdoor swimming pools at those houses that have them will re-open throughout August, except at Freshwater Bay House, where the pool will remain closed for 2020. Indoor swimming pools will remain closed.

For more information and to see all the steps taken, visit our page on how house stays will be adapted.

Rooms

Tea & coffee-making facilities, TV, Hairdryer, Toiletries, Wi-Fi

Stay in the smartly presented rooms in the main house or in one of the handful of bedrooms in the converted coach house close by. With 23 rooms, Dolserau Hall has plenty of space and there’s a range of Good and Better Rooms to choose from. Enjoy the extra space of Room 1 and soak luxuriously in the tub that comes with the room, or watch the light change outside from the comfort and privacy of the sofa in front of the large picture window in Room 5.

All ‘Good’ rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Better’ Rooms that are either larger or have a desirable view, a more luxurious mattress and larger television – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-25 per person per night. You can choose a specific room for an extra £30 per room, subject to availability. Upgrade supplements still apply.

Facilities

Free Wi-Fi, boot room and drying room, extensive garden, lounge bar, library and board games to borrow

After a day rambling over the slopes of the Rhinogs or summiting a cracking peak, come back to the house and its specially tailored walkers’ facilities. Wander through the Coach House garden and admire the far-reaching views. Settle into the lounge bar and sink into the comfy leather sofas here. Grab a book or a board game and make yourself comfortable.

Food & Drink

As at all our country houses, holidays are full board, from afternoon tea served as a welcome treat through that evening’s meal to a hearty breakfast on the day of departure. Lunch is a chance to stock up on our famous picnic snacks. Food at Dolserau Hall is varied and tasty and has a strong emphasis on ingredients from the area and seasonal produce. Once a week the dining room hosts a Local Food Night, when, over a sociable evening, you might try a six-course feast of regional flavours. Look out for highlights including Cawl Cennin, a leek and potato broth, smoked haddock with Welsh rarebit and lava bread and Welsh lamb Wellington. If you’ve space, tuck into a slice of Monmouth Pudding, a great old-fashioned desert of breadcrumbs, fruit, cream and meringue

Accessibility

For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865

10666_0048 - Dolserau Hall - Exterior

Getting to Dolserau Hall

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

What to Bring

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong type of clothing!” goes the adage. Come prepared for all eventualities and you’ll walk in comfort as well as safety. Britain’s famous for its changeable weather, so here’s our advice on what to wear and bring.

Essentials

  • Waterproof walking boots providing ankle support and good grip.
  • A waterproof jacket and over-trousers
  • Gloves and a warm hat (it can be chilly at any time of the year)
  • Rucksack
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litre capacity)
  • A small torch (everywhere in winter, year round in mountains)
  • Sun hat and sunscreen
    Denim jeans and waterproof capes are not suitable on any walks.

Recommended

  • Several layers of clothing, which can be added or removed
  • Specialist walking socks to avoid blisters.
  • A first aid kit inc plasters– your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication
  • Sit mat (insulated pad to sit on when you stop for a break)

You might also want

  • Walking poles, particularly useful for descents.
  • Insect repellent
  • Flask for hot drinks
  • Rigid lunch box
  • Gaiters
  • Blister kit (eg Compeed) just in case
  • Waterproof rucksack liner

Guest Reviews

Duration:
7 nights
Walking Grade:
2 & 4

7 nights from 0pp

...or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

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