The 6 Best Campsites in Snowdonia

July 7, 2020 in Destinations, Wales & Campsites

A recent survey found that most campers are now more likely to book a staycation in the UK this year, with many commenting that the travel restrictions reminded them how much the UK has to offer. It’s true that we’ve all been dreaming of the rugged wilderness beyond our walls, just out of reach. Now, with Wales is opening its borders as of next month, we’re turning to campsites near Snowdonia National Park for planning the next trip. Here, the impossible choice between woodlands, mountains and sea doesn’t need to be made. It is actually one of the best places for a Honeymoon in Wales.

By now, you might be craving an immersive experience in natural ecologies, an action-packed adventure, or a luxurious and rejuvenating weekend away. Luckily, this National Park offers something for everyone, whether you're the exuberant mountaineer, or prefer to just breathe deeply and soak it in. Below are the best campsites in Snowdonia, and all offer something unique. Where better to take your first steps back into the outdoors than in north Wales’ wildest landscape?

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1. Llyn Gwynant Campsite

Llyn Gwynant Campsite sits on a lake, beside an outcrop known as ‘wolf rock’ which was originally thought to be the ruins of an ancient Celtic castle. It may have turned out to just a rock, but this spot is no less magical. It marks the very start of the ranger’s path and two other main routes up Snowdon, making it one of the best-located campsites near to Snowdon mountain for hikers.

The lake itself is deep, and homes a population of arctic char - the northernmost freshwater fish in the world, who’s Welsh name torgoch refers to the red belly you can spot flashing beneath still, clear water. The lake is fed by the river Glaslyn, and is also well-known as a popular Osprey nesting site. For the active types who want to immerse themselves in this idyll, you can hire canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards by the lakeside. There are qualified instructors for paddling, climbing, abseiling and gorge-walking sessions that can be pre-arranged.

For a more serene experience, there are yoga sessions on the shore, or simply the opportunity to enjoy a still dawn on the water from the comfort of your sleeping bag. 

Price: £12 - 15 per person, subject to seasonality. 
GPS: N 56.783123, E 2.920888. 

2. Aberafon

Aberafon is outstandingly situated on the Llyn peninsula. It’s definitely not one of Snowdonia’s motorhome sites to miss, though larger vehicles might struggle to access this secluded nook between beach and mountain. The campsite’s 16 pitches and 7 electric hook ups are dispersed across two grassy tiers, which closely hug the rugged coastline. A private, wild sandy beach lies full of rockpools waiting to be explored. Braver swimmers do bathe here, but there are plenty of sandier spots dotted along the peninsula. Watersport enthusiasts can slide their boats or kayaks off the campsite’s slipway, or have a go at wakeboarding at the nearby Glasfryn Park. Walkers can take to the hills and enjoy a view so spectacular it attracts a local paragliding school. The super adventurous can even enrol to have a go! It’s possible to have bikes delivered to the site by Velovert  to make the most of the tracks between the site, Clynnogfawr and Trefor. The amenities are clean but basic, and the onsite shop open in the summer means trips to the supermarket can be avoided. There’s even wood available to buy for a sundown campfire on the beach, which is a great way to make sure you don’t miss out on stargazing - Snowdonia has Dark Sky Reserve status so you’re in for a treat on a clear night.  

Price: About £9 a night per person, subject to seasonality. 
GPS: N 56.729399, E 2.346312. 

3. Bert’s Kitchen Garden

This seaside campsite is also on the Llyn Peninsula. Bert’s is suitable for small campers, campervans, and its tent pitches are mowed into wildflower meadows alive with butterflies. A 5 minute walk takes you to the shingle beach, or 5 minutes further along the coastal footpath takes you to Trefor Harbour’s sandy beach. This back-to-nature camping experience makes it one of the best campsites in Snowdonia for those who have similar low-impact values. Clean, functional compost loos are complemented by free-to-use eco toiletries. There are free herbal teas and hot chocolates to sip beside a communal campfire or barbecue, whilst swapping stories with other campers after an invigorating wild swim. 

Mountain hikes or leisurely rambles to nearby castles can also be rewarded by hearty veggie dinners from the kitchen garden, yoga sessions, and the opportunity to step up the indulgence with a massage. There are also immersive workshops and retreats at Bert’s, but the campsite is by no means exclusive. In fact, most of their reviews are from family groups, who have been happy to let their children play safely and freely in the spacious, tranquil site. 

Price: £30 a night for 2 people. 
GPS: N 52.994100, E -4.430320

4. Gwern Gof Isaf Farm

Gwern Gof Isaf Farm is perhaps the most legendary of campsites near Snowdon Mountain. Located snugly at the foot of Tryfan’s 3,000 foot peak, rain clouds may wander around the craggy upper slopes, but that doesn’t deter keen mountaineers. Campers here can join the ranks of Sir John Hunt, who used it as a base for his Everest training hikes in 1952. In fact, climbing and abseiling are available on site. But there are plenty of other attractions if you don’t aim to fill those boots - including underground adventures, mountain bike hire, pony trekking, historical mines and museums, botanical gardens, railways and local pubs all within near reach. And, though opened in 1906, it is no less in keeping with the times. With optional electrical hookups for campervans and motorhomes, it offers arguably the most advantageous spot of all Snowdonia’s motorhome sites. After all, nothing matches the quiet, early morning calm of the mountains on a fair day, full of the promise of adventure!

Price: £6 a night per person. Vehicles £10/15 depending on hookup. 
GPS: N 51.595160, E -3.137050

5. Smuggler’s Cove 

This rustic camping and glamping site is nestled waterside, on the Dyfi Estuary. Previously a slate yard, Smuggler’s Cove is now a working boatyard and offers a unique experience to other campsites near Snowdonia National Park. The secluded situation offers serene privacy aside a hidden shoreline. It’s just a few hundred metres from the coastal footpath, but bird-watchers might enjoy gazing across the waterline to the RSPB site on the opposite shore, Ynis-Hir. It’s possible to take a boat for a closer look, in fact, boating in the estuary is a big attraction for this Smuggler’s Cove. Nonetheless, it is still well-located for heading into the vast Snowdonia national park!. The owners advocate foraging or fishing for your dinner in the surrounding trees and water, but if that sounds ambitious, they also vouch for the eateries offering Welsh cuisine and seafood in nearby towns Aberdyfi and Machynlleth. Aberdyfi is actually accessible along the sands if the tide is out, a great place for motorhome hire in Wales.

Price: £22 a night for 2 people. 
GPS: N 150.218130, E -35.770590

6. Graig Wen

The owners of Graig Wen have gone to great lengths to preserve the wild nature of this campsite, and it has paid off. 40 acres of rambling native woodland and wildflower meadows have won this spot a Green Snowdonia award for the ‘Most Sustainable Campsite.’ Campers regularly witness an exciting array of thriving bird species. The remote tranquility is uncompromised, thanks to impeccably clean facilities. For touring vehicles, there are 9 hard-standing pitches and electrical hook up points, and facilities include newly-furbished conventional loos and washbasins, hot showers, drinking taps with filtered natural springwater, hot-water washing up areas, refuse and recycling points, and free use of a fridge-freezer for re-freezing ice packs. Nothing has gone forgotten here in an earthy experience curated by campers, for campers. 

Cader Idris, the highest peak in southern Snowdonia, watches the scene from behind the campsite. For those wanting a challenge, this mountain offers spectacular hikes. Despite being a campsite near Snowdonia National Park, it has access to quieter trails than the famous Snowdon. Other leg-stretching opportunities include the cycle trail along the Mawddach estuary. The two aptly-named ‘panorama pitches’ boast views of Snowdonia’s sweeping, rugged scenery, but there are benches dotted around the site for all to enjoy an unrivalled golden-hour view, regardless of how far you’ve walked that day. 

Price: £15 - 23 a night depending on pitch and seasonality. 
GPS: N 56.771085, E 2.569325. 

Goboony Campervan Van Motorhome H2 BeachThese hand-picked spots are the best campsites in Snowdonia for anyone needing to re-energise after too much time spent indoors. You can enjoy plenty of great walks in Snowdonia, so why not make a Wales road trip out of it? Wales’ most exciting wilderness area has plenty of motor-home friendly options, so hire a motorhome and let your adventure begin!