The Welsh seaside resort of Porthmadog grew up around the country’s slate industry, with the port shipping slate around the world. As the mining industry declined, the town’s popularity as a holiday and tourism destination developed. Close to the famous Eryri National Park, Portmeirion and Cardigan Bay with its glorious beaches, Porthmadog is perfect for family breaks, a weekend away or just a day spent relaxing on the Welsh sand.
With frequent trains, lots to see and do, and a wide choice of places to stay, head to Porthmadog for a holiday to remember.
1. Ride the Trains on the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways
Running from Porthmadog’s harbour to the mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog, the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway runs through 14 miles of the most gorgeous Welsh countryside.
Opened in 1836, the narrow gauge track was 1 ft 11+1⁄2 in (597 mm) wide and remains the same to this day. With this region being a remote community, the railway made the transportation of locally mined slate simple. Initially only a freight service, in 1864 the trains began to carry passengers, and this continued until the line was closed in 1946.
A group of dedicated railway enthusiasts managed to reopen the service as a heritage line in 1951, and today passengers ride in comfortable carriages pulled by lovingly restored steam locomotives, through the heart of Eryri. Enjoy homemade snacks at the station’s cafe, and the on-site shop offers a wide range of railway-related gifts.
The mountains, rivers and castles along the length of the track make this a truly magical experience.
- The perfect day out for railway buffs
- Explore living history
- Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways Website
2. Spend a Day at Black Rock Sands
Black Rock Sands is named after the dark-coloured headland rocks nearby, while
the beach itself consists of miles of soft golden sand and wonderfully shallow waters. You’ll find fascinating rock pools and low tide caves.
The beach is backed by a large dune system, and with inhabitants such as lizards, beetles and moths, is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The views across Eryri National Park from the taller dunes are spectacular and the nearby village of Morfa Bychan has a good variety of local shops and cafes.
Popular with young families, Black Rock Sands offers the traditional seaside experience we all love so much.
- Perfect for getting away from it all
- Blue Flag beach
- Black Rock Sands Website
3. Discover history at Porthmadog Maritime Museum
Porthmadog’s bustling harbour was even busier 150 years ago. The Porthmadog Maritime Museum tells the story of the port’s shipbuilding and slate exporting heyday. You’ll find it in the quayside’s last remaining slate shed.
With a large collection of artefacts depicting the seafaring activities of the area, it is a great place to visit for anyone who enjoys maritime history.
- Great for history lovers
- Last remaining slate shed in the harbour
- Porthmadog Maritime Museum website