Llanberis, Wales

Llanberis, in Northwest Wales is part of the itinerary for a small group tour of Wales for senior and mature travellers couples and solo travellers. Explore the lakes, National parks and castles of this part of Wales or join a Odyssey tour of Wales.

2 May 20 · 4 mins read


By Marco Stojanovik

Llanberis is a lakeside village in Gwynedd, northwest Wales, on the southern bank of Llyn Padarn at the foot of the magnificent Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales. The area has a long history spanning back 1000 years, initially as the location of a strong defensive castle for native Welsh princes, and later an industrial centre for slate mining. Today it is an attractive tourist location and famous centre for outdoor activities, renowned for its beautiful scenery to be explored via hiking, mountain biking, pony riding, or amazing train trips. This article assists your tour of Llanberis by exploring its historical and modern significance.

An amazing sunrise over the Snowdonia national park as view from the summit of Snowdon on a cold Octobers morning.

Saint Peris

Llanberis derives its name from Saint Peris, a Welsh saint and cardinal of Rome who lived during the early Christian period around the sixth century. He is believed to have retired to the solitude of this area, residing in a small chapel in a meadow between the site of Dolbardarn Castle and present day Dolbadarn Inn.

Dolbadarn Castle

Built by the Welsh prince Llewelyn ab Iowerth (“Llywelyn the Great”) during the early 13th century, Dobaldarn Castle stands on a mount above Llyn Padarn lake in Llanberis, strategically deigned as a defence against threats from the direction of the Llanberis Pass, a main route through the north and link to the rest of Wales.

It was one of a series of castles in Snowdonia important not only militarily but also as symbols to reinforce Llywelyn’s power and authority. The main feature is a large round stone keep enclosing a complex series of chambers, 40 feet tall and 40 feet in diameter, guarded by walls 8 thick feet.

Ruins of Dolbadarn Castle, and the mounains of Snowdonia
The castle remained in use after the death of Llywelyn the Great in 1940 and the power struggles amongst his grandchildren for control of North Wales. Victorious, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd (“Llywelyn the Last”) imprisoned his brother Owain ap Gruffydd on the upper floor of the castle between 1255 and 1277.
During English King Edward I’s conquest of Wales the castle was then used as the last defensive stronghold in Snowdonia, before eventually being seized by the English army in 1282, the year of Llywelyn the Lasts’ death. The castle was abandoned and its building stone and timber beams removed by Edward I to build his own new castle at Caernarfon.Little activity occurred at Dolbardarn until the 18th and 19th century when it became a popular destination for Romantic artists, such as J.M.W. Turner, interested in the Sublime landscapes of the castle and surrounding scenery.
J.M.W. Turner Dolbadern Castle, 1800

Slate Mining

By the early 19th century, as Britain’s industrial revolution began to ramp up, the region around Llanberis became a popular source of slate needed for the enormous demand in roofing for new foundries and factories and the rapid growth of urban housing.

The Dinorwic quarry, located between the villages of Llanberis and Dinorwig, grew at an exponential rate to become the second largest slate quarry in the world. At the industry’s peak in the late 19th century the quarry covered more than 700 acres, producing 100,000 tonnes of slate annually and employing over 3000 men, transporting slate all around the world from Port Dinorwig on the nearby coast connected by railway.

Dinorwic Slate Mine Quarry, Snowdonia, Wales

As the quarries grew so did the surrounding villages with Llanberis developing into a bustling village housing workers. However, production dropped in the 20th century due to the declining industry and difficulties of removing hard to access slate and the mines closed in July 1969.

Derelict workers’ houses At Dinorwic Quarry, Llanberis, North Wales.

The slate quarries of north-west Wales have since been nominated for UNESCO World Heritage Site statues, with the Dinorwig quarry a major tourist attraction. The National Slate Museum in Llanberis tells of its significance and history.

Modern Times

Today Llanberis, although only a small village consisting of three or four houses, remains a popular spot for tourists to explore the scenery and partake in numerous outdoor activities such as walking, climbing, mountain trekking, and water sports including scuba diving.

The village is a popular destination for those making their ascent to the summit of Snowdon. The Llanberis Path, despite being the longest route, is a common starting point as it is the most accessible and less strenuous and can even be accomplished on ponies. Snowdon Mountain Railway, a narrow gauge rack and pinion railway, also leaves from Llanberis, travelling 4.7 miles along sweeping vistas to the peak.

A train descends from the summit of Snowdon Mountain on the narrow gauge rack mountain railway with the Llanberis valley and spoil heaps of Dinorwig slate quarry in the distance.

Lyn Padarn lake is also a popular site to enjoy outdoor activities and spectacular views. It can be explored by foot or on the Llanberis Lake Railway taking passengers on a beautiful 60-minute return ride along the shores of the lake and through the Country Park, all with stunning views of Snowdon.

View across Llyn Padarn Llanberis, North Wales.

Odyssey Traveller offers package tours to Wales for small groups each year for senior and mature travellers as well as to the British isles.

Articles on Wales published by Odyssey Traveller.

External articles to assist you on your visit to Wales.

Related Tours

234 Total Tours
Autumnal small group tour of the Blue Mountains

7 days


Autumnal small group tour of the Blue Mountains

Visiting New South Wales

Spend a week in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney exploring the historic homes and gardens of the region over a week. For mature and senior travellers. This small group tour visits 13 very different homes and gardens during the Autumn.

From A$3,995 AUD

View Tour

13 days

Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Jan +1

Small group tour of New Zealand's North Island


Escorted 13 day small group tour of the East coast of New Zealand’s North island. Off the beaten track, for like minded people curious about history, culture, wine and landscapes. Your tour director and local guides share their knowledge with you the traveller on this New Zealand tour for senior travellers.

From A$9,450 AUD

View Tour
Small group tour of the Blue Mountains in the Spring

7 days


Small group tour of the Blue Mountains in the Spring

Visiting New South Wales

Spend a week in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney exploring the historic homes and gardens of the region over a week. For mature and senior travellers. This small group tour visits 13 very different homes and gardens during the Spring.

From A$3,995 AUD

View Tour
Albany town hall

21 days

Apr, Jun, Aug, Oct, Feb +1

Western Australia tour

Visiting Western Australia

Escorted small group tour for senior and mature travellers as a couple of solo traveller. Upto 12 people of WA's regional History tour. The program including Esperance, Kalgoorlie, Gwalia and Perth. Local guides and program leader share knowledge about this fascinating region.

From A$11,995 AUD

View Tour
Kimberley and Pilbara explored by air

14 days

Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug +2

Kimberley and Pilbara explored by air

Visiting Northern Territory, Victoria

Small group air charter tour of the Kimberley and Pilbara for senior and mature couples and single travellers. Learn about Purnululu, Bradshaw art, visit Derby, Broome and Alice Springs.

From A$20,450 AUD

View Tour
Open Outback Road

13 days

Mar, May, Jun, Jul, Aug +5

Escorted small group tour of New South Wales and Victoria

Visiting New South Wales, Victoria

Discover the Brewarrina fish traps, the World Heritage Site of Mungo man and lady stopping in Mungo National Park and other significant locations such as Broken Hill. Then continue through the Victorian goldfields as well as Mildura and Canberra. A small group tour for senior couples and mature solo travellers to the edge of Outback Australia.

From A$8,995 AUD

View Tour
Houses in Amsterdam The Netherlands

75 days

Aug, May

Grand tour of Europe

Visiting Austria, Belgium, Croatia

For the senior couple or mature solo traveler seeking a small group educational tour focussed on exploring and learning with like minded people in Europe.

From A$42,980 AUD

View Tour
Early Bird
Egypt tour valley of the kings

17 days

Nov, Jan

Egypt tour: escorted small group history & cultural tour of Egypt

Visiting Egypt

Our small group program for senior and mature couples and solo travelers takes us to contemporary feats such as the Aswan Dam and also to current crucibles of the Egyptian experience such as Tahrir Square. Proof, were it needed, that Egypt’s role as the pivot of civilisation is far from ended. There is the opportunity to visit our Morocco, Jordan or Iran tours before embarking on this tour of Egypt.

From A$9,350 AUD

View Tour
Early Bird
Mount Connor in Australian OutBack

13 days

Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug +3

Small group tour exploring Alice Springs and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Visiting Northern Territory

Explore and learn about historic Alice Springs, The MacDonnell ranges, and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. This escorted small group tour for mature and senior travellers, travelling as a couple or solo travellers also visits the Hermannsburg Lutheran mission plus Henbury meteorite site learning about the Aboriginal outback and contemporary art.

From A$9,295 AUD

View Tour
Portree, Isle of Skye, Scotland

20 days

May, Jul, Sep

Scottish Islands and Shetland small group tours for seniors

Visiting Scotland

An escorted small group tour for couples and solo travellers of the Scottish isles including the isle of Skye draws on local guides to share their knowledge of the destinations in this unique part of Scotland. UNESCO world heritage site are visited as breathtaking scenery and authentic experiences are shared in a group of like minded people on this guided tour of remote Scotland.

From A$14,450 AUD

View Tour
Liverpool, Newscastle, Glasgow

22 days

Sep, Jun, Aug

Liverpool, Newcastle, Glasgow

Visiting England, Scotland

Spend 22 days in 3 cities in England and Scotland. Your tour leader and Knowledgeable local guides examine the history of these great cities. Liverpool & Glasgow faced onto the Irish sea, and Newcastle onto the North sea, and all where connected to the city of London.

From A$12,650 AUD

View Tour
Edinburgh Fringe Festival small group for Mature travellers

9 days


Edinburgh Festival Fringe Small Group Tour

Visiting Scotland

One of the few European tour companies to have in Scotland an escorted small group tour of Edinburgh during the fringe festival. As well attending performances, this trip includes time to experience, the old town, new town and the royal mile, a UNESCO world heritage site plus Edinburgh Castle and Palace of Holyroodhouse.

From A$5,150 AUD

View Tour

Join 22,383 like-minded travellers receiving our weekly newsletter.

Special offers and promotions
A$350 AUD first trip travel voucher
The latest tours and articles