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Shorter half day/day trips Q with infant

Melbourne, Australia
10 posts
Shorter half day/day trips Q with infant

Hi I am in the Wales area staying in Abersoch for a few days and wanted to plan a trip to visit some of Snowdonia whilst we are here.

I was reading that the railway trip between Porthmadog to Waunfawr was particularly nice and looking at the timetable it seems like you would need to stay overnight in Caernarfon? There is a castle there to visit too.

I am travelling with my husband and 15 month old, and we do have a hire car. Ideally we would just do a day trip but I don't think this is really possible looking at the timetable. So does that mean we would drive to Porthmadog, and then stay overnight and just bring a small overnight bag (is there much room on the railway to bring luggage?) and then catch the train back the next day?

What do people usually do? Is it worth it to take 2 days out to do this railway trip? Are there shorter half day trips we could do without needing to take an overnight stay?

I was reading about the Precipice walk and this sounds really good - not too strenuous but scenic +++

Any other suggestions?? Thank you :)

6 replies to this topic
Wrexham, UK
Level Contributor
1,361 posts
276 reviews
1. Re: Shorter half day/day trips Q with infant

As you'll have noted the trains start from Caernarfon, but ther's one train leaving Porthmadog at 10.50am which enables you to catch the train back to Portmadog the same day.

Accommodation on the train is cramped, and I wouldn't want to carry luggage.

Personally I prefer the route to Blaenau Ffestiniog, it's only about an hour each way, which to me is a long enough trip on a bumpy narrow gauge railway.

Lincolnshire...
Level Contributor
202 posts
63 reviews
2. Re: Shorter half day/day trips Q with infant

You can do the trip as a day trip. Abersoch to Porthmadog is only 20 miles. To allow for parking, getting to the station and buying tickets you need to allow an hour for the drive.

Trains on the Welsh Highland leave Porthmadog station at 9.40. I’m not sure why you want to go to Waunfawr as there isn’t a lot to do once you get there. Carry on to Caernarfon which you will get to at 12.10. It is a short walk from the Welsh Highland Station to the Castle. You need to catch the 15.45 train back from Caernarfon which gets you back to Porthmadog at 17.55.

My only concern about this is that it could be quite a long time for the 15 month old to be cooped up.

An alternative is to catch the Ffestiniog Railway which also leaves from Porthmadog, from the same station as the Welsh Highland train. This takes you up through the Vale of Ffestiniog to the terminus at Blaenau Ffestiniog. The jury is out as to which is the best sceniacally. Personally the Ffestiniog has always been my favourite. Trains leave at 10.05 and the journey only take 75 minutes as opposed to 2.5 hours to Caernarfon. It is also possible to break journey at Tan y Bwlch, the half way point where there is a cafe and children’s play area which would give the toddler chance to stretch legs.

You would need to check the timetable for the return trip as this varies depending on the day. Fridays to Monday there are only two train services at the moment. On the other days there are four.

Also on your way back to Abersoch, make a stop in Criccieth and go and visit Cadwalader’s Ice Cream Parlour.

MAKE SURE YOU GO TO THE CORRECT STATION IN PORTHMADOG! The Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland station is at the far end of the town. There is also the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway which has a station near the main line Railway station, at the start of the town. This is a very short ride of about a mile through somewhat uninspiring scenery.

You may be lucky and be able to park in the station car park. Alternatively there is a large pay and display car park off to the left, just before the Shell Garage. It's a 5-10 minute walk from here to the station.

Lincolnshire...
Level Contributor
202 posts
63 reviews
3. Re: Shorter half day/day trips Q with infant

HeatSeekerWrexham is right. OOPS, I was looking at early September on the Welsh Highland Timetable! As he so rightly points out, at the moment trains do only leave Porthmadog at 10.50 arriving at Caernarfon at 13.00. You would need to leave Caernarfon again at 14.20 getting back to Porthmadog at 16,30.

This seems a non runner of an idea. The Ffestiniog Railway makes much more sense. l’m glad he also likes the Ffestiniog Railway best too!

Wrexham, UK
Level Contributor
1,361 posts
276 reviews
4. Re: Shorter half day/day trips Q with infant

Hi Eesw1, Nice to see we both prefer the Ffestiniog line. In my opinion the scenery is just as splendid, and 1 hour on a narrow gauge train is enough in one session.

Also the last time (a few years ago) when I went on the Welsh Highland, there was one toilet on the train, and that was for the staff, although they might tolerate customers using it. They'll happily sell large drinks, but a 2 hour journey with no access to a toilet is no fun. Yes there were toilets at the stations, but the train didn't stop long enough to get to them.

And part of the trip on the WHR, near Caernarfon, is rather dull and flat in my opinion.

Liverpool, UK
Level Contributor
262 posts
8 reviews
5. Re: Shorter half day/day trips Q with infant

Other suggestions: if the weather is clear, Harlech Castle is good for a combination of history and magnificent views. Beddgelert is a nice village surrounded by mountains with a folklore tale. Lots of medieval to neolithic sites to see, from Edward's castles to long barrows / burial chambers and stone circles (e.g. Dyfryn Ardudwy burial chamber) that you could tie in to short walks.

Lincolnshire...
Level Contributor
202 posts
63 reviews
6. Re: Shorter half day/day trips Q with infant

Hi Heatseaker, I had my first trip on the Ffestiniog Railway in 1960 when it had just reached Tan y Bwlch and have been in love with it ever since. There is something about the sheer naked power of a a double Fairlie going uphill with a full train of ten coaches. Ddualt with its spiral and no road access is a great fun. And you come out of the the Moelwyn tunnel and it always feels a top coat cooler. We used to walk the area regularly until old age and dodgy knees caught up with me.

I think they have improved the toilet situation on the Welsh Highland since you went on it! The first bit from Porthmadog is also a bit flat and boring as well as the run into Caernarfon. The middle bit though is good.

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