Rambles with a Sketchbook in Northern Snowdonia

Wales

Code: BGPDW

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Activity types:

  • High Mountains
  • Rural peace

Holiday overview

Create your own artistic impressions as we walk through some of Snowdonia’s most inspirational landscapes. We’ll walk up to 4 miles (6.5km) each day, sketching scenes along our journey. Your sketches may be the finished result or used as a source for further painting or drawing. Some of the rambles will include stiles and cover rough and uneven ground so you will need to bring good walking boots and have a reasonable level of fitness. Be aware that you will be spending a fair amount of time on your feet as you ramble between sketching spots!

Holiday highlights:

  • Gentle rambles of up to 4 miles with plenty of stops for sketching
  • A variety of inspirational landscapes from hign mountains to beautiful green valleys
  • Our professional artist leader will guide and encourage
  • Enjoy the sociable atmosphere of sketching in a group

Great reasons to join us

  • Great value: all prices include Full Board en-suite accommodation, transport for rambles and tuition from our expert leader
  • Accommodation: enjoy high quality accommodation and excellent food at our Country Houses
  • Expert leaders: all our leaders are expert in their field and will ensure that you get the most from your holiday
  • Sociability: spend time with like-minded people in a relaxed and friendly environment

In pictures...

Accommodation

HF Holidays' Craftwyn Hall (Beddgelert) in Snowdonia

Cralfwyn Hall offers a stunning and peaceful location on the edge of Beddgerlert village. There are superb walks right on the doorstep, with the local mountains of Snowdon and Moel Hebog within easy reach.

Leased from the National Trust, Craflwyn Hall has 21 bedrooms, located in the main building and in the stable block which has been converted retaining many of the original features.

Green Tourism - awaiting grading

 

HF Holidays Cralfwyn Hall - Grading coming soon!

 

Choose your room

Classic Rooms
• Check-in from 2:30pm
• Comfortable accommodation
• En-suite bathroom with bath or shower
• TV
• Hairdryer
• Tea and coffee-making facilities
• Single rooms are available at no extra charge
Premium Rooms
• Check-in from 1:30pm
• Enjoy extra space or exceptional views 
• Toweling robe, complimentary slippers 
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Available from an extra £10 per person per night
Family Rooms
• Check-in from 2:30pm
• 3 or 4 beds
• Same facilities as our classic rooms 
• Full sized twin or double beds for adults and bunk or occasional beds for children

Facilities

• Excellent boot and drying rooms 
• Dining room 
• Three lounges  
• Free WiFi is available in the public rooms 
• Attractive grounds 
• Peaceful location at the foot of Snowdon
• Variety of walks within the estate 
• Attractive views of the surrounding peaks

Dining

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.
 Take your fill from our famous self-service picnic lunches
A relaxed social dinner is a highlight of any stay at our Country Houses

An example of Snowdon (Beddgelert) evening meal

Your evenings

Make the most of your evening or join us at the bar


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.

Accessibility

Craflwyn Hall is generally accessible to wheelchair users. There are no ground floor rooms, but there is a lift. One of the rooms on the 1st floor has a converted bathroom that is suitable for wheelchair users.

More details on Snowdon accessibility

Additional information

  • Fire procedure is displayed in each room and guests are requested to read the booklets in the rooms regarding safety procedures. Guests requiring assistance at an evacuation are identified at this time and door hanger cards are issued on request. An under-pillow vibrating pad is available on request
  • Good signage for fire escape routes
  • Internet access computer available free of charge. Free Wifi
  • Mobile phone reception in the house and surrounding area is not available
  • One bedroom key issued per room (second key available on request)
  • Guide dogs can be provided for
  • Information can be provided in large print

Itinerary

Guests need to be aware that some paths involved are very rough with rocks, exposed roots and boggy areas.  Whilst there is very little climbing, you need to wear good walking boots and have a certain level of fitness. There are a number of stiles on one of the walks, which you need to expect to have to negotiate whilst carrying all your equipment.

Friday: Arrival day

You can check in to your room from 2.30pm onwards. Please join us for afternoon tea at 4pm. All guests are invited – we’ll introduce your leader and welcome you to your holiday.

Saturday:  Beddgelert

Before we set off there'll be a discussion on sketching techniques and composition. We'll then walk by the Glaswyn river to Beddgelert village – a chance to sketch the mountains and the river. We will visit Gelert’s grave and sketch the views from there before passing through the village on the way back to the Country House.

Sunday: Swallow Falls & Betws y Coed

Today we'll walk down the Llugwy river, sketching the stunning Swallow Falls and the miners bridge before arriving in Betws y Coed – an opportunity to sketch the famous beauty spot by the bridge. 

Monday: 

A free day for you to relax in the Country House or explore the area independently.

Tuesday: Beside the sea

Today we'll head for the coast and walk on part of the Llyn Coastal path along cliffs to Criccieth, an unspoilt seaside resort with an impressive castle (and a modern house that featured on Grand Designs). There will be a chance to sketch the wide views of the Cambrian mountains and the peninsular, the town and castle and some wild flowers.

Wednesday: Llanberis

Today we'll travel over the famous Llanberis pass to Llyn Padarn, the lake at the foot of Snowdon. We will sketch Dolbadarn Castle, made famous by Turner’s painting, then walk to the slate mine and the hospital museum where we can sketch the wonderful views of the lake and mountains. Turner also painted in the ancient woodlands surrounding the lake which now make up the Padarn country park.

Thursday: Final sketches

Today we'll take some time to look at the work done over the week and do some sketching in the surroundings of Craflwyn Hall – we'll walk up the valley to sketch some of the inspiring views once more.  In the evening there will be a chance to exhibit your work, if you would like to.

Friday: Depart after a leisurely breakfast

Sometimes things happen beyond our control – the weather, traffic jams or changes at the places we visit. If we need to adjust your holiday programme, for whatever reason, your leader will help smooth the way.

 

What to bring

  • sketchbooks – good cartridge paper (e.g.150gm), A4 or 8” square and/or A5 or 6” square (spiral bound or hard back)
  • 2B & 4B pencils and a watersoluble graphite pencil
  • craft blade for sharpening pencils
  • putty rubber
  • bulldog clips or large elastic bands
  • a sketching pen
  • blank slide mount or small cardboard mount for view finder (e.g. postcard or smaller)
  • Optional – a set of Caran D’Ache Neocolour water-soluble pastels, or a set of water-soluble crayons (e.g.Derwent Inktense)
  • Any other lightweight materials you like to use
  • A rucksack to carry the materials
  • A foam seat pad or lightweight stool that you can easily carry
  • Protection against weather & insects!
  • You will have to carry your equipment and lunch so keep it simple!

Guests need to be aware that some paths involved are very rough with rocks, exposed roots and boggy areas.  Whilst there is very little climbing, you need to wear good walking boots and have a certain level of fitness. There are a number of stiles on one of the walks, which you need to expect to have to negotiate whilst carrying all your equipment.

Wooden A3 painting boards are available at the country house for guest loan.

Local area

Discover Snowdonia

The picturesque village of Beddgelert is about 1 mile from Craflwyn Hall. Facilities here are limited and include a post office, pubs and cafés. The nearest town is Porthmadog, about 8 miles away, which has a wide range of shops and facilities

During your visit to Craflwyn Hall you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest:

Couple looking out of the train window at Snowdonia sceneryWelsh Highland Railway
The recently re-opened Welsh Highland railway runs from Caernarfon to Porthmadog, passing through Beddgelert on route. This is a spectacular journey which includes the dramatic Aberglaslyn Pass and views of Snowdon. The steep gradients require powerful locomotives which have to work particularly hard on the climb from Beddgelert to the summit of the line at Rhyd Ddu. www.festrail.co.uk 

Steam train climbing to the summit of SnowdonGreat 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 and Snowdon Moutain Railways are both within reach. For a truly unique day out you can take the mountain railway to the summit of Snowdon (best to book in advance as tickets can sell out quickly on busy days). www.greatlittletrainsofwales.co.uk

National Slate Museum
Located at Llanberis, the excellent, and free, National Slate Museum tells the story of this once extensive industry. You can see slate being cut by hand, the huge waterwheel that powers the machinery, and the fascinating quarrymen's houses which show their development over the centuries. Llanberis is around 30 minutes' drive from Beddgelert, and can also be reached using the Snowdon Sherpa bus. www.museumwales.ac.uk/slate

View over harbour to Caernarfobn CastleCaernarfon Castle
Built by King Edward I after his conquest of Wales, Caernarfon Castle is one of the most impressive and well preserved fortifications in the principality. Along with neighbouring castles at Harlech, Beaumaris and Conwy it now has World Heritage status. Caernarfon is around 30 minutes' drive from Beddgelert, or can be reached using the Welsh Highland Railway. www.cadw.wales.gov.uk 

Criccieth
The seaside town of Criccieth is around 25 minutes' drive from Beddgelert, and full of Victorian character. You could visit the historic castle, relax on the beach, or sample the excellent ice cream at Cadwaders parlour.

Llyn Peninsula
The long arm of the Llyn Peninsula offers beautiful and contrasting scenery, with wild cliffs and white sandy coves. Enjoy the glorious beaches at Aberdaron or Abersoch, or walk to the tip of the peninsula and enjoy the views of Bardsey Island.

The imposing entrance to Harlech CastleHarlech Castle

Harlech Castle occupies a superb vantage point overlooking the coast and the mountains of Snowdonia. Built by Edward I, its imposing walls were built by 1,000 skilled craftsmen between 1283 and 1295. www.cadw.gov.uk

 

Llechwedd Slate Caverns
Located near Bleanau Ffestiniog, about 30 minutes' drive from Beddgelert, the Llechwedd Slate Caverns are one of the area's most popular attractions. Take the underground railway deep into the mountain where a knowledgeable guide will tell you how slate was hewn by hand. www.llechwedd-slate-caverns.co.uk

Bodnant Gardens
Situated in the Conwy Valley, about 50 minutes' drive from Beddgelert, the National Trust's gardens at Bodnant have impressive collections of colour and views of the Snowdonian mountains. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/bodnant-garden

Plas Newydd house and the Menai StraitsPlas Newydd
The grand house at Plas Newydd enjoys glorious views overlooking the Menai Straits. Built for the 1st Marquess of Anglesey, the house itself is impressive, as are the extensive gardens. Now managed by the National Trust. Around 50 minutes' drive from Beddgelert. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/plas-newydd

 

Portmeirion
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 20 minutes' drive from Beddgelert. www.portmeirion-village.com

 

Plas Newydd image ©National Trust Images/John Millar. Caernarfon Castle and Harlech Castle images © Crown copyright (2016) Welsh Government

Travel

Travel to Snowdon

Our address is: Craflwyn Hall, Beddgelert, Gwynedd, LL55 4NG

How to get to us by train

By train:

The nearest railway stations are Porthmadog and Betws-y-Coed; however we would recommend taking the train to Bangor which has the best train service. For train times and general rail enquiries visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or call 03457 484950 (from outside the UK call +44 20 7278 5240).

Train heading to Wales 

Get to us by Taxi

By taxi:

The 25 mile journey from Bangor railway station takes approximately 40 minutes. Pre-booked taxis cost approx £40 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 Craflwyn Hall Manager.

 

Bus

By bus:

There is a limited bus service which runs past Craflwyn Hall. Any bus route that goes between Beddgelert and Pen-y-Gwryd will pass the end of the drive of Craflwyn Hall. For bus times see www.traveline.info

 

Driving to us

By car:

For a lovely drive through the Welsh countryside, head towards Betws-y-Coed. In Betws-y-Coed take the A5, heading towards Bangor, as far as Capel Curig, then turn left onto the A4086. After a further 4 miles bear left onto the A498 at the Pen-y-Gwyrd Hotel; this road follows the Glaslyn Valley passing two large lakes. The entrance to Craflwyn Hall is on the right hand side of the road, approximately 1 mile after the second lake. Look out for the brown National Trust sign.

 

 Travel by plane

Travelling from overseas

Manchester Airport has the quickest onward connections to Bangor. Trains from the aiport take 3 hours, with one change at Crewe or Chester. 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 4½ hours to reach Bangor by train. You'll need to head to Euston station in the centre of London, from where there are direct trains to Bangor. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.

In each case complete your journey to Craflwyn Hall by taxi (see above).

 Quantas Boeing 747

Leaders

Helen Halliday

Helen is an experienced artist and tutor whose enthusiasm for her subject is infectious; her patient and encouraging way of teaching gives every student the chance to progress without feeling inhibited, whatever their standard. She studied painting with professional artists in the UK and USA, gained a BA Hons in Fine Art at Hertfordshire University and a post-graduate diploma in printmaking. She appeared on Channel 4’s Watercolour Challenge and has worked with the sculptor Andy Goldsworthy. She has taken part in many solo and group exhibitions in London and the South-East and also a touring exhibition in Scandinavia. She has achieved awards in several national art competitions and has work in both public and private collections.

 

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Dates & Prices

We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.

Prices are per person

Information

  • Premium single room: £15 per night
  • Premium twin/double room: £10 per person per night
  • Non-member associate fee: £10 per person

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