One of the things we have all wanted do ever since we moved here is go to the top of Snowdon. Being a mountain, it’s kind of big, and well, I reckon we would get about twenty feet up before giving up. The only other way we could get up to the top of the 3560 ft mountain was on the Snowdon Mountain Railway
The base station of the railway is in Llanberis, which is one of my favourite places in North Wales. The car park (a pay and display) is situated around the corner from the station. I’m not entirely sure it is big enough because we really struggled to park, driving around a couple of times and back into the town before coming back and spotting a space right in the corner. It possibly didn’t help that there was some sort of event on in the town that day as well, meaning all of the other carparks were full, and the side roads are for resident parking only. You definitely need to make sure you leave plenty of time to find somewhere to park, particularly if you went in the peak tourist times.
Once we had collected our tickets, we sat down in the outside seating area and grabbed some drinks. Be warned – they are expensive, costing £9.70 for a coffee and three bottles of Fanta. The food, in comparison, didn’t seem too expensive and looked really nice.
We queued up for our train, which was the diesel service. They are every half hour. You are allocated a compartment, and we were lucky enough to have one to ourselves for the ascent, meaning we could look out of both of the windows. The boys were a little bit worried that the train would go really fast, but it goes up at a lovely slow speed, giving you chance to take in the spectacular scenery. I can’t really do the views justice with words, so I’ll let the photos to do the talking.
It took about an hour to get to the top. For around 50 minutes of it, we had beautiful clear views, but shortly before we got to the summit, we hit thick cloud and sadly couldn’t see anything. The kids thought it was brilliant being in the clouds though – something they’ve never experienced before. There’s a 30 minute stopover at the top, where you can go the final few steps right to the very peak, pay a visit to the gift shop or grab a coffee and something to eat in the visitor centre. It was extremely busy there and had we attempted to go to the summit, I don’t think the kids would have had time to go to the toilet before we had to board the train. We went out to the steps, but there are no handrails and lots of adults with big backpacks and sticks, not really watching where they were going. We decided it probably wasn’t safe with three young children, and we wouldn’t have been able to see anything anyway. Once we had queued up and gone to the loo, we headed back to the train.
The train was a lot busier on the return journey – I guess lots of people walk up to the top and then get the train back down, so our views were more limited to the one side, but they were still breathtaking. We had to stop at a few points to wait for other trains to pass as it is a single track in most places, but this was great because it gave us more time to really take in the surroundings. It makes you realise just how beautiful this part of the world is!
Going up to the top of Snowdon on the Mountain Railway was an incredible experience. It’s something we would really like to do again in the future, on a day when the clouds stay away.
*We were provided with these tickets free of charge for the purpose of this review. All words and thoughts are our own and have not been influenced in any way.