July 3rd, 2017
Welcome to our new series of travel blogs here on the Oakeley blog. This is where we’ll discover the very best places to visit in Snowdonia and North Wales – with just a weekend to explore, we’ll give you the lowdown on where, when and how to visit!
So if you had just 48 little hours in the lovely seaside town of Porthmadog, what would you do? Could you get to know this town in just a weekend? Well, let’s give it a go!
Porthmadog is a historic seaside town, it’s fortunes built on the lucrative slate mines of the mid 19th century. Slate from the quarries of Blaenau Ffestiniog were transported to the docks at Porthmadog and shipped around the world.
A relatively new town, Porthmadog sprung up in the early 1800s, and by the end of the century, the town was a thriving hub of business and activity. A downturn and eventual demise of the local slate quarrying industry in the mid 20th century saw Porthmadog redevelop itself into a mecca for visitors – attracted by the fresh sea air, stunning mountain scenery and historic location.
Where to start
Start the weekend with a hearty lunch at The Big Rock Cafe in the centre of town. Serving big portions of baguettes, salads, homemade cakes and delicious coffees, this will set you up for an afternoon of exploring!
Next, start on a walking trail of the town (you can find some directions in our previous blog post here). This walk will take you to all the historic sights of the town and nearby villages. And after all the walking (it’s about 5 miles, so expect it to take you 2-3 hours), why not enjoy some fish and chips by the harbour and an ice cream from Cadwalladers for pudding?
Take the Train
The next morning head back to the harbour for a look around the interesting maritime museum. This little museum is packed full of history and information about Porthmadog’s past. Next, head to the nearby Ffestiniog Railway station and hop on a steam train – either all the way to Blaenau Ffestiniog, or part way to Minffordd, Penrhyndeudraeth or the stop closest to us at the Oakeley Arms – Tan y Bwlch. Find out more information about times and prices here
As you step off the train, try a refreshing drink at the Staiton Pub, Spooners, and then head down the High Street to the newly refurbished Australia Pub (thought to be so named after a Porthmadog-built ship which sailed for Australia, the North Wales, left in August 1852 carrying emigrants who hoped to benefit from the gold rush). After that, there might just be time for a spot of shopping in some of the town’s beautifully quirky independent gift shops. Try Glosters in Bank Place, the Portmeirion Shop on the High Street and the renowned Kerfoots further down by the roundabout.
And after all that, you’re probably pretty ravenous, so why not head to nearby Tremadog (1 mile away) to the delicious Y Sgwar bistro.
I am not a Number
The next morning you might just have time for a quick visit to Portmeirion, the iconic Italianate village about 2 miles south of Porthmadog town centre. It’s well worth a visit if you can find the time, because it’s truly a magical place. Find out more information here. As well as the village itself, you’ll also find cafes, shops, the famous Portmeirion Hotel and a lovely spa, not to mention the acres of wild woodland and beach to explore too.
Where to stay
The Oakeley Arms of course! We are just a 10 minute drive from Porthmadog, and we have a range of accommodation options to suit – from family hotel rooms to self-catering cottages.