By Carl Jones

Llanberis nestles in Llanberis pass, sits on the Southern shore of Llyn Padarn and nearby Llyn Peris, flanked by the mountains and with the legacy of the slate industry of the past etched into the landscape all around it.

The focus here is on the village of Llanberis, and the surrounding slate quarries, but doesn’t include Snowdon itself, which deserves a guide all of its’ own.

The area offers great photographic opportunities

  • The Llanberis Mountain Railway Station, train up Snowdon
  • Llanberis path to walk up Snowdon starts here
  • Walks through the old slate quarries of Dinorwig and Glyn Rhonwy,
    giving opportunities for endless slate landscape shots, images of the
    derelict buildings, great views of the mountains and the pass itself.
  • The Padarn Country Park lies on the northern flank of the lake, including Coed Allt Wen, a rare and ancient sessile oak woodland.  Both the woodland and Llyn Padarn are designated as sites of special scientific interest.
  • The lakes of Padarn and Peris, there are always lots of ducks around,
    and Llyn Padarn is a popular place for model boat enthusiasts
  • The slate museum
  • The quarry pools, especially in the Vivian cut, which offers great water reflection shots
  • Dolbadarn Castle
  • The steam train from Llanberis and along the shores of Llyn Padarn
  • ‘Electric Mountain’ and Dinorwig Power Station
  • Walks through the woodland and along the inclines around the slate museum, the Quarry Hospital and the Mortuary
  • Walk along Lon Las Peris (old railway track), through tunnel, nice woodland walk
  • There is a waterfall there too

Special Photographic Features or notes

Google Maps Image of Area

Padarn Country Park.

The Country Park has so much to offer. The Coed Allt Wen woodlands and Llyn Padarn are included within its 800 acres, and the intriguing combination of industrial heritage and natural environment makes it an ideal place to visit at any time of the year. It offers a range of themed trails, from the five mile trek around Llyn Padarn, through shorter Nature trails and industrial heritage trails.


I might not have been there, but Anthony Thomas has …

See original here

Dolbadarn Castle

Located on the tree covered hillside, some 80 feet above Llyn Padarn, it is accessible via a path from the road between the two lakes, Dolbadarn castle was built by the Welsh Princes, probably in the 13th Cantury.

Image by Sean Bolton

Llyn Padarn and Llyn Peris

Padarn is a glacially formed lake, measuring about two miles long which at its’ South Eastern end links with Llyn Peris. Llyn Peris forms the lower reservoir for the Dinorwig Power Station.

This view of Llyn Padarn was taken from Brynrefail, on the Northern end of the lake

Llyn Peris, taken from near Dolbadarn

Further views of these lakes can be seen in the section about Dinorwig Quarry

Slate Museum

Located within the Padarn Country Park, the slate museum offers an intriguing insight into the Slate industry. Entry is free, and there is a large (not free) car park. There are workshops, the foundry, a smithy and the largest working water wheel in Wales, along with a terrace of four quarrymen’s cottages were moved here stone by stone here from Tanygrisiau, Blaenau Ffestiniog.

The Slate Museum

The Smithy


The park area surrounding the museum, offers trails that take you through the ancient woodland, to visit the Vivian Cut as well as walks up to the quarry hospital and the mortuary.

Cliff face at Llanberis by Meirion Matthias

Up the incline

Reflections in Vivian Quarry Pool


For me, the Dinorwig quarry on Elidir Fawr is integral to Llanberis. The village looks across Llyn Padarn towards the carved mountainside. It is inextricably linked to the slate museum, and paths up the mountainside link the two.

Man made

The legacy of the quarrying works are everywhere to be seen; in the landscape. The abandoned machinery that litters the mountainside, and the old workings offer great photographic potential.


The image of the Cabin above, has to be one of my favourite of the area. The Dinorwig slate quarry closed without warning in August 1969, and it seems that the workmen didn’t even take their work clothes away. The coats, trousers and boots are still in the cabin years later surrounded by the graffiti of those that have visited in the subsequent years.

More images of this area can be seen at Llanberis

Special Equipment

There are a few bits of special equipment that might be needed in this area.

  • Hiking boots. I would recommend strong footwear, the areas by the lake and roadside are fine, but anywhere that you venture onto the paths and slate would benefit from walking boots.
    • Tripod. Essential if you want to shoot anything inside the slate museum, and for the landscape shots too. A lightweight tripod might be better if you fancy really going off the path, as the weight of the equipment becomes a factor.
    • Extra lens cleaning cloths I always tend to carry cleaning cloths. The weather is unpredictable to say the least.
    • Wide angle lens I would take a range of lenses, but think that as wide an angle as possible is a must.

    Best time of Year or Day

    I would be inclined to say anytime.


    Fantastic timing here, with thanks to Ana for this image

    Night Image

    Snowdon light trail, Carl Jones original

    Spring – with all the new leaves and greenery
    Summer -great lake reflections
    Autumn – fantastic colours in the woodland
    Winter – snow capped mountains

    The mood of the shots changes with the weather, from clear blue skies to misty and brooding dark shots, maybe I am biased and just love the area. Dawn is a good time, have seen some nice views of Dolbadarn, against the backdrop of Nant Peris with sun rising beyond, but there seems to be something to see or photograph most times of the day.

    Getting There

    To see on Google Maps

    9 miles from Caernarfon, 12 miles from Bangor, 17 miles from Betws-y-Coed.
    Follow the signs for Llanberis from the A55 expressway and the A5.

    For Dinorwig, take the signposted turn for Dinorwig off the B4547 and follow the road through the village as far as you can go, to where there is parking at the start of the path through the quarry.

    Public Transport The Snowdon Sherpa allows you to easily and economically explore the area, as the site says ‘Sherpa buses enable you to relax, enjoy the scenery, and the challenge of the mountains and the charm of Snowdonia’s towns and villages’.

    Author Bio

    Marian Jones

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