North Wales Staycation 2020

Another week, another staycation! Our North Wales trip is our fourth dog friendly staycation this year, and we’ve loved every single one. Coronavirus has really made us appreciate all of the beautiful places that are a lot closer to home.

We have two very good reasons to celebrate this week: the boys’ 2nd Gotcha Day, and the hooman’s 3rd wedding anniversary. In case you didn’t know already, Cheddar and Chester were our first anniversary gifts to each other. We certainly can’t beat that, but we can definitely create some memories as a family.

We decided to venture over to North Wales this time. It was a last-minute decision which turned out to be an excellent choice. We managed to secure a beautiful AirBNB just two days before our check in date. We found out when we arrived that the cottage had only been available for half an hour before we booked it!

Monday

We set off in the afternoon on as we couldn’t check in until 3pm. We packed the car with all of our things (see our blog on top 10 staycation essentials for more info) and made the 2.5 hour drive to a hamlet called Sarnau, which is near to Bala. We decided we wanted to climb Mt Snowdon, so wanted to be within a short drive of the mountain.


We arrived at 4pm and were immediately impressed with our cottage. It was set at the top of a hill, overlooking beautiful rural countryside. You could even see a mountain range in the distance. We had access to a meadow which the dogs could play in and a large field complete with firepit. 

The cottage itself was a stable conversion, which was just so well done. Super cosy and homely. It had a small kitchen and living area downstairs, and a bedroom and bathroom upstairs – everything you need for a week away in the countryside. The bed was a SuperKing too, lots of space to relax. 

The boys loved sniffing out the new scents in the cottage and soon met up with the resident black lab Jac. Poor Jac probably wished he hadn’t though – there was a lot of borking involved.

On our first evening we headed into the nearest town of Bala to pick up some supplies to cook in the cottage, and to explore the town. We ended up in the pub, of course. It was a dog friendly place at the end of Bala High Street called Plas Yn Dre. Customers could take their dogs either inside or out, but we chose outside because it was lovely and sunny. 

We headed back to the cottage early, because we had big plans for the next day: climbing Mount Snowdon!

Tuesday

Snowdon is the highest peak in Great Britain, at 1085 metres above sea level. We needed to get our rest in, as we planned to set off early!

We managed to set off about 5.45am, which is good for us. The dogs did not know what was coming!

We chose to climb the Llanberis Path – the longest, yet easiest route to the summit. It took us three hours, and the boys managed to walk the entire way. They refused to be carried, and had a brilliant day. We couldn’t resist taking a few pictures when we made it to the top.

The journey back down was longer and slower, as we stopped to take more photos and enjoy the incredible scenery. We were incredibly lucky to have had glorious sunshine during our ascent and at the summit, it only started to cloud over when we were coming back into Llanberis village.

Arriving back at the cottage was a huge relief – we all slept well that night, and the next day too!

If you want to hear more about this day, check out our blog post about climbing Snowdon, it goes into much more detail.

Wednesday

Cheddar and Chester had a lovely lie in, so we didn’t go out until later in the afternoon on the Wednesday. Today we decided to ride a dog friendly steam train with the sausage dogs. Another item to tick off the bucket list!

We headed over to Bala in the car to catch the train, which we booked in advance online. The fare was very reasonable, with doggie tickets costing only £1 each. The train runs alongside Bala lake, a picturesque landscape of countryside and of course, the lake itself. Once again we were blessed with lovely weather so we had great visibility. We travelled in an open carriage, which was lovely as the dogs could look outside easily. They seemed to really enjoy it, and were very relaxed. So relaxed in fact, that Chester fell asleep in my lap.

“Stop looking at me, dad! Look at the view” – Chester
“Lets go already mum!”

A relaxing day was definitely needed, but now we’d had a quiet day, we were ready and recharged for more adventures on Thursday.

Thursday

It was early start as we set off for our first destination – Colwyn. It’s a lovely little town with a castle in the middle. You can walk around the old city walls with your dogs, which we did first thing in the morning. The views were lovely, as we could see out into the harbour.

We managed to locate the smallest house in Great Britain too – which I thought was the perfect size for a 5ft1 woman and her sausage dogs… Aaron might have struggled though!

“I will look out over my kingdom” – Cheddar
“Shall we live here momma?”

Next, we set off in the car again to Great Orme, another mountain right next to the seaside town of Lllandudno. Great Orme is another mountain in North Wales – luckily not as tall as Snowdon at 208m. We took the easy option today though and drove to the summit. The boys probably wouldn’t have minded the walk. I, however still had very sore leg muscles!

“Quick! We’re about to take off!”
“Is this even a sausage dog?”

It was very windy at the top of the mountain, but we made the most of it and walked all around. We found an interesting old rock formation that was covered in ancient fossils preserved in limestone. Aaron couldn’t resist making a sausage dog out of stones.

On the way back down the mountain, I spotted a sign for the Great Orme Copper Mines, and after a speedy Google search, we discovered they are dog friendly.

Walking through the mines was lots of fun and we learned that the mines were 4000 years old and had been created in the Iron Age, which is crazy if you think how old that is. They are constantly discovering more mines, as many are still covered, or are too small for adults to explore.

We headed to the car park, and went to buy our tickets. For the four of us it cost £16 – dogs go free. It is a self-guided tour around the old copper mines, with some eductional videos to explain the history of the mines. We love to find out about local history so this was a great experience for us. Cheddar and Chester hadn’t been in a mine before, so it was yet another tick of their barket list.

Next we headed into the town of Llandudno, which is a nice seaside town on the North West coast of Wales, with a beach and an old fashioned pier. We had a walk along the seafront, but for once we didn’t go to the beach, as it wasn’t dog friendly in early September The beach becomes dog friendly after the 30th. We did see some naughty people on there with their dogs, but we didn’t fancy breaking the rules.

We walked up the pier in the sunshine and decided to sit and have a drink. The boys received lots of fuss and attention, and even had their picture taken by some members of the public! I’m sure they loved the attention.

The next morning we checked out early and headed back home, it was the end of our relaxing week away. No matter whether you go on holiday abroad or in your own country, they still go too quickly.

“Is there any gin for me?” – Chester

We are already thinking about where we should head next, what do you think?

Thanks for reading!

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