Blaenau Ffestiniog is a small town located in the Snowdonia Mountains in Wales.
Blaenau Ffestiniog is a former slate-mining village and consists of one main road with all the others leading off it.
A narrow-gauge railway, the Ffestiniog Railway, was built from Blaenau Ffestiniog to take the slate down to the sea at Porthmadog. The railway ceased operation after some 110 years of operation due to the run down of the slate industry, road competition, and the Second World War. It was fully reopened to Blaenau Ffestiniog in 1982 and is one of the town's main tourist attractions.
There aren't that many buses to Blaenau. X1/84 run from Llandudno and Betws-y-Coed, every 1-2 hours on workdays. There are also buses to Porthmadog (1B - approximately every 70 minutes) and Dolgellau.
The Conwy Valley Line runs from Llandudno to Blaenau, but only has a train every 3 hours or so. The main railway station is also the terminus for the narrow-gauge heritage Ffestiniog Railway from Porthmadog. On some summer days it has more frequent departures than the "real" railway.
As the town itself is quite small you can easily get around on foot and the town has recently undergone a face lift to help attract visitors to what was the 'Slate Capital of the World' in its hay day. The Llechwedd Slate Caverns, which celebrate the town's famous history, are a mile's walk from the station on the road to Dolwyddelan over the Crimea Pass - or go by car. As all the main roads in and out of town are very narrow main roads with quite fast traffic, so the bicycle isn't a good idea - and for mountain biking other towns in the area are better bases. Blaenau Ffestiniog is celebrated as the only town in North Wales where all roads lead into the Snowdonia National Park. At 850 ft above sea level, it makes the town an ideal base for exploring the park.
- Ffestiniog Railway (Ffestiniog Railway station is adjacent to the mainline station in the town centre), ☎ +44 1766 516000, fax: +44 1766 516005, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. April - Oct with reduced timetable the rest of the year. Narrow-gauge railway built in the 1800s to convey slate to Porthmadog, opening in 1836. It closed in 1946 due to declining demand but was reopened thanks to public work in sections over the next several decades and finally completely finished by 1982. Part of the original stretch had to be built higher up due to a power station reservoir that was built on a section of the original track in 1954. Stations are as follows, West to East: Porthmadog, Boston Lodge, Minfford, Penrhyn, Plas Halt, Tan-y-Bwlch, Dduallt, Tan-y-Grisiau, & Blaenau Ffestiniog. The journey is 14 miles. Costs £16.50 round trip, 2.5 hours round trip, £6 more for first class observation car.
- Llechwedd Slate Caverns (On the northern edge of town on the main A470 road), ☎ +44 1766 830306, fax: +44 1766 831260, e-mail: email@example.com. Open daily at 1000 except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day. Last tour: 1715 (mar-sep), 1615 (oct-feb) Victorian Village closed oct-mar. One of North Wales' premier tourist attractions, and with good reason. Two separate underground tours (combined tickets available). The Miners Tramway takes visitors on a tour of part of just one of the 16 levels within the mine. As the name suggests, you travel in a small train, alighting at different points along the route for light/sound displays explaining the workings of the mine and the life of a Victorian-era miner. The Deep Mine tour involves some walking, including steps, and takes you down as far as 450ft below the summit of the mountain. This tour starts with a ride on Britains steepest passenger railway, dropping down several levels within the mine. There follows a 25 minute walking tour through 10 of the huge "chambers" within the mine. There are a number of attractions and displays on the surface, including the Victorian Village which aims to paint a picture of daily life for local people in the mid 19th Century. Adults £14.75 (both rides)/£9.25 (one ride). Children £11.25/£7.00. Group discounts..
- Bryn Elltyd eco Guesthouse, Bryn Elltyd, Tanygrisiau (2m south of A496. 200yds from Ffestiniog hydro power station), ☎ +44 1766 831356, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 1883 guest-house with 6 bedrooms and all energy inputs from renewables. Zero carbon 2 mile south and downhill from Blaenau ffestioniog. In a long curve of the Ffestiniog steam railway. station..Tanygrasiau station is 200m. Visit Wales graded...all ensuite....sauna...wi-fi....3 electric car charge points....Robust bike store...ample parking...acre of mountain / garden.....drying room Keep winning national sustainability awards. Gold GTBS Considerate Hotelier winner. £20k of biomass heating integrated to 4 solar arrays. solar PV electric array.....rainwater harvest for loo flushing....sheep's wool insulation....warm air captured in two conservatories and used in house. Own timber for tables Fresh bread cooked each day £38pppn.