Car-free adventures aroundBarmouthGwynedd

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Seaside Barmouth, with its Victorian cottages and steep, winding alleys, its classic waterfront promenade and spectacular viaduct, is a perfect base for adventures by train, ferry, bike or foot. And great for staycations - scroll to the end and find more tips on buses, trains and places to stay. There are glorious walks like the Mawddach Trail to explore, castles and wildlife reserves dotted along the coast, and fabulous visitor attractions like The Ffestiniog Railway.

  • County: Gwynedd
  • Great for: beaches | boat trip | castles | scenic train | walking | wildlife |
  • Refreshments: pubs, cafes and restaurants in Barmouth - elsewhere as listed in text
  • Please note: researched/updated November 2023. If anything’s changed or you have tips to share, do get in touch:
Welsh coast boardwalk - Barmouth car-free adventures
  1. 3. Get the Ferry to Fairbourne

    Besides the spectacular viaduct over the Mawddach estuary, the Barmouth ferry runs daily and connects with the Fairbourne steam railway.

    • You can cross from Barmouth’s harbour quayside to Barmouth Ferry Station at the mouth of the beautiful Mawddach Estuary on a small motorboat ferry.
    • Ferries have been crossing the Mawddach estuary to Barmouth since Roman times and in the middle ages local monks used to operate them. Famous ferry passengers have included William Wordsworth and Charles Darwin.
    • From Barmouth ferry to Fairbourne village, the little Fairbourne Railway has splendid views, with Cader Idris mountain on one side and the sea on the other.
    • Fairbourne Station hosts a large model railway a museum and a licensed, café, usually open when trains are running, which serves cakes, sandwiches and ice creams as well as tea, coffee, wine, cider and the award-winning, locally brewed Purple Moose beers. The Harbour View Café, right by the beach at Barmouth Ferry Station, serves a similar range of drinks and snacks, and overlooks Barmouth Bridge and the estuary.
    • Fairbourne is also famous for its two-mile-long golden sandy beach backed by a pebbly bank with great views of the woods and mountains. Windsurfing and sailing are popular on the windy westward side and along the top end, there are “dragons’ teeth”, concrete anti-tank blocks left over from World War Two, designed to stop the enemy landing.
  1. 4. Hike or bike the Mawddach Trail

    This ten-mile walk and cycle route along the beautiful Mawddach estuary follows a disused railway. Scroll down for details of bike hire. You can follow it all the way along the estuary, to the historic market town of Dolgellau, and, if you’re walking, come back on bus T3. Or just as far as the picturesque George III pub at Penmaenpool.

    • For a shorter walk, try Barmouth’s town heritage trail. Discover Victorian cottages and steep, winding alleys in Old Barmouth and 15th-century Ty Gwyn (“white house”), which is the town’s oldest building.
    • The classic Panorama Walk above Barmouth provides dramatic views and routes of differing lengths, from one mile to six. On the way you pass the site of the Victorian pleasure gardens, relics of 19th-century manganese mining and a First World War memorial on Craig y gigfran (“raven rock”).
  1. Trains, bikes, buses and places to stay

    Here’s a bit more practical info if you’re planning a staycation in Barmouth.

    • An Explore Cambrian Coast day rail rover ticket is a great option for getting around the area and enjoying the scenery (you’ll still want to plan ahead as the trains are not very frequent).
    • The great value North Wales Rover allows unlimited trips in chosen areas on all buses and trains.
    • You can hire bikes from Birmingham Garage in Barmouth (near the harbour, 01341 280644). And there are more options on the Mawddach Estuary website.
    • There are plenty of places to stay in Barmouth, including cottages and airbnb type options. There are also B&B rooms in The Royal, a lively pub near the station. Half way along the Mawddach Trail, with an occasional bus 28 stopping outside, the Graig Wen offers glamping, camping, cottages and B&B.

    Here are some more ideas of green travel in Snowdonia from our friends at Green Traveller.

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  • Welsh coast boardwalk - Barmouth car-free adventures