Llanberis Touring Park Site Review

Date of Visit:    First May Bank Holiday Weekend 2024

Overall View

This is a 54-pitch site, 19 of which are fully serviced.  The site is situated on the edge of the village of Llanberis, Lake Padarn in North Wales.  It is part of the Morris Leisure Group, www.morris-leisure.co.uk  Members of the CAMC receive a discount when using their parks.  It is generally open from beginning of March to beginning of January each year.  Arrival is permitted after 1pm, there is very limited parking should you arrive too far in advance of this time.  Departure is between 8.30am and 12 noon.

Access is good from the A55 to the North, East and West.  The A5 is available from the South but it is highly recommended that you use the A55 if towing a caravan.  Please see site arrival video HERE

The non-service pitches are closer to the main road into Llanberis and, as result, there is some road noise.  However, it is only at specific times of the day, and we did not find it too intrusive.  Serviced pitches are further away from the road and are not subject to the same level of noise.

Facilities

This is a full facilities site with a facilities block at the entrance.  It consists of the usual services, toilets, showers, small shop, reception, laundry and fully accessible shower room.  Entrance is via a key with a separate key for the disabled access room.

Security is very strong here with key fob operated barriers on entering or leaving the site.  The barriers are locked between 11pm and 7am each night.

There is free on-site Wi-Fi and on test showed 10.2Mbps download speed and an upload speed of 10Mbps. 

EE showed a strong performance at 5G and Vodafone at 4G.

There is a good dog walk to one side of the site and this also encompasses the short pathway from the site direct to the bottom end of the High Street.

Motorhomes are well catered for with a drive over service point and general use service points are distributed around the site.

A food van visited whilst we were there over the bank holiday weekend, they offered the usual range of fast food, including vegan offerings.  These times do vary so you are best advised to check with the Wardens on arrival.  We did not try the food on this occasion, in part as their prices were somewhat expensive.

There is a bus service which operates in the area, https://www.gwynedd.llyw.cymru/en/Residents/Parking-roads-and-travel/Bus-timetables/Bus-timetables.aspx and there are services to Bangor, and this is where the nearest National Railway station is.  Connections are to Holyhead on the Isle of Anglesey and ferries to Dublin,  and Chester and beyond in the other direction.  Direct trains do run to London Euston, but it is essential you check the timetables as services do change frequently.  www.nationalrail.co.uk

Review of Site Pitch

The pitch was of the usual generous proportions and level.  They use the peg system similar to the CAMC sites.  There was ample space to park the caravan, awning and a car.  Wider or larger awnings may require you to park the car in front of the van & awning but there is sufficient space to do so.  The grass areas surrounding the pitches is kept to a very high standard.  There is a 16-amp bollard, and you are recommended to use the TV booster point here too.  We were able to receive a good amount of channels, including the Welsh language service.

Around and about

Llanberis is a small village, situated in the foothills of Snowdon.  It is due to this that the village can become very busy and congested as a result.  This is serious hiking, mountain biking, cycling and other adventure sports countryside.  https://www.visitsnowdonia.info/llanberis

The small High Street has a couple of pubs, takeaways and a One-Stop shop.  There is no petrol station in the village itself although you will pass a Texaco garage on the way to the site.  The nearest supermarket is Tesco in Bangor – a twenty minute or so drive and just off the A55.  Tesco has a fuel station.

At the opposite end of the village from the site is the starting point for the Snowdon Mountain Railway.  You are strongly advised to book ahead as it does get very busy, especially when the weather is clear.  Dogs are not allowed on the train, other than assistance dogs.

Llyn Padarn is a lake which is used by the Port Dinorwigg Power Station, (aka Electric Mountain).  Guided tours are available and there is a very interesting visitor centre explaining how the whole system works.  Good facilities for young people too.  It is possible to kayak on the lake as well.  The lake also has two further attractions to offer, as well as some level walking trails. https://snowdoniawatersports.com/

The first one is the Lyn Padarn Lake Railway – this is a miniature railway with fully enclosed carriages if required.  It runs from the main station at the far side of the lake from the village.  There is ample paid parking here, blue badge holders are exempt.  The station also has a cafe and a visitor information room.  Toilets are available for customers.  Again, as most of these attractions are on the coach tours itinerary they can be very booked up – booking ahead is advised.

The second attraction, across the road from the railway is the National Slate Museum for Wales.  This was free to enter when we visited, and dogs are allowed apart from the inside of the period houses.  It has a cafe, toilets and a gift shop.  It was well patronised, and the exhibits were both interesting and thought provoking.  It is not necessary to book in advance for this.

In between these two attractions is a Wi-Fi hotspot and a small range of craft shops and an independent coffee shop.  There is seating outdoors under a weatherproof veranda and we can highly recommend their coffee and Bara Brith, (a traditional Welsh fruit cake eaten with butter slathered over it).  There are also a set of public toilets with a fully accessible toilet if required.

Slightly further afield, both pretty equidistant – 20-25 minutes’ drive, depending upon traffic are the towns of Bangor and in the other direction Caernarfon.  It is here where you will find the usual bigger stores and services. 

During our short visit we went to Bangor and opted to take a stroll on the pier, entrance fee payable, dogs are allowed.  There is a car park, (pay as part of entrance fee) and toilets although not a disabled one by the entrance.  It has been restored a great deal over recent years but sadly some of the little shops are still suffering in the post COVID era.  There is a cafe right at the end with outdoor seating, the leeward side being most populated!  You are ¾ of the way across the Menai Straits at this point and the wind can certainly howl down the Straits between the mainland and Anglesey.  On a clear day, as it was when we visited, it possible to see the old Menai Bridge in one direction, Beaumaris and the Great Orme in the other.  https://bangorpier.org/

Summary

A very smart, well-presented site as you would expect from Morris Leisure.  The site is easily accessible which makes it an ideal destination for both a short and longer stay if you wish.  There are a good range of attractions and activities, but nightlife is very limited indeed.  It is a site to which we would return.

Pop-up at Holkham, National Camping and Caravanning Week, and watch your speed!

This is the time of year that caravanners new and old, seasoned and beginners, hitch up the ‘van, take to the high road, and pitch up at their favourite campsite or explore pastures new.

If that is you, you’ll want to set out when you’re abreast of the latest UK caravan news – so, here is a brief selection of some of the headlines …

CAMC’s pop-up campsite to return to Holkham Hall

Book your pitch by the end of May, use a special code, and you’ll earn yourself a 10% discount on your stay at the popular Holkham Hall pop-up site to be opened once again this year (from the 16th of August until the 13th of September 2024) announced Practical Caravan recently.

That’s not the only saving you’re likely to make by setting up camp at this iconic site in the heart of some of Norfolk’s most popular attractions. If you’re staying here, you also qualify for a 30% discount on the price of entry to the magnificent Holkham Hall itself, its 6-acre walled gardens, and a tour of Holkham Stories – an immersive and interactive tour of the Hall’s past, present, and future.

Holkham Hall is just a mile inland from the inviting north Norfolk coastline, close to the Holkham National Nature Reserve and Holkham Beach – opportunities for walking, hiking, and cycling are boundless.

Celebrate National Camping and Caravanning Week

Monday the 27th of May until Sunday the 2nd of June is the National Camping and Caravanning Week hosted by the Camping and Caravanning Club.

It’s an opportunity to celebrate everything about enjoying the pleasures of the outdoor life, including a chance to connect with nature, its flora and fauna, and the serenity of simple daily events such as the sun going down in its unique blaze of glory. All in all, these are the moments designed to increase the regular caravanners’ sense of well-being.

This year’s special week is also a celebration of the recent inauguration of the Camping and Caravanning Club’s new President Hamza Yassin. He will be putting in at least one personal appearance at the Blackmore Club Site in the Malverns – and further events are scheduled to take place at other sites across the country.

DVSA warns hundreds of drivers over speed limit changes

As the new caravanning season gets underway, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has warned those with a caravan in tow to watch their speed – and, specifically, to keep within the limits for vehicles pulling a caravan.

A story in the Birmingham Mail on the 21st of April reminded motorists that when you have a caravan in tow, you are restricted to 30mph in all built-up areas (remembering that in some places – Wales in particular – that limit could be reduced to just 20mph).

On single-carriageways outside built-up areas, the speed limit is 50mph, rising to 60mph on dual-carriageways and motorways.

It’s worth taking heed of these warnings – exceed the speed limit and you could find yourself with up to six penalty points on your driving licence.

Caravanning in the Cotswolds

There are very good reasons why so many of the rich and famous have homes in this place. The Cotswolds are at the very heart of England and offer a quintessential idyll of all that’s comfortably easy in a countryside lifestyle.

Caravanning in the Cotswolds

But you don’t have to live there to enjoy these many and varied delights – it is a haven for caravanners. So, where can you find the Cotswolds and what can you do once you get there?

The Cotswolds cover a surprisingly large area – a total of 790 square miles (2,038 square kilometres) with land in no less than six counties (Bath and NE Somerset, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, and Worcestershire). This makes it the biggest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the third-largest protected terrain in England.

Things to do

Towns and villages

Thanks to the large tracts of land included within the Cotswolds, there are a host of attractive and historic English towns to visit. Among them, you will find tourist hotspots such as Bath, Cirencester, Stow-on-the-Wold, Cheltenham, Stratford-upon-Avon, Bristol, Oxford, and Swindon.

The real treasures, however, are probably away from the major settlements and are instead found in the smaller, picture-postcard villages of honey-stoned cottages such as Bilbury, Burford, Bourton-on-the-Water, and many, many others.

History

Given its place at the very heart of England, it is hardly surprising that the Cotswolds also include its share of historic estates, castles, and monuments.

While history buffs will be swotting up on all the important dates and events, other visitors to places such as Berkeley Castle, Blenheim Palace, and Sudeley Castle can engage in the gentler pursuit of simply admiring the timeless architecture and marvelling at the beautiful gardens.

Activity

But your visit needn’t be all stately and sedate – the Cotswolds offer a glorious stage for all manner of activities, adventures, and exercise.

You might want to try exploring the quiet country lanes on a bicycle or even walk the length of the Cotswold Way – the full trail winds an impressive 102 miles (164km) between Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire to the Roman city of Bath in Somerset. The route is not only scenic but will give you a real sense of stepping back in time as you pass through its historic villages, ancient woodlands, and rolling hills.

Whether you’re a beginner or well-acquainted with equestrian sports, horse riding is another way of enjoying this gem of rural England.

Festivals and events …

As you arrange your itinerary of visits to the wealth of market towns throughout the Cotswolds, remember that a host of events and festivals are held throughout the year at many of these places.

One of the best-known is the Cheltenham Literature Festival but there are other, quirkier events such as the Tetbury Woolsack Races, the Moreton Show for a traditional agricultural and horse show proudly hosted by the town of Moreton-in-the-Marsh. Or even the – positively hair-raising and neck-breaking Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling competition down the 200 yard (180m) drop of Coopers Hill.

… and relax!

Remind yourself that you’re at home with the rich and famous when you visit the Cotswolds. So, that means a spot of pampering will not go amiss.

As befits those who will have plenty of leisure time on their hands, spas and wellness centres are dotted throughout the Cotswolds and offer the opportunity to unwind in tranquil surroundings and luxuriate in indulgences ranging from full body treatments, to massages, and facials.

Staycation destinations for this summer

If you have a touring caravan, it might seem that summer lasts longer and longer each year. With summers stretching further and further into the year, therefore, practically any time represents a golden opportunity to reacquaint yourself with just some of the riches you may find in just about any corner of the British Isles.

Destinations

Post-pandemic, you can again be reasonably comfortable about keeping you and yours as safe on holiday as you are at home. Once more, you are free to open and explore the veritable treasure trove of potential destinations for your staycation treat.

It’s not as though you’ll ever be stuck for choice. Just about every region, county, landmark, and town across Great Britain has its own particular draw and appeal. So, let’s take a virtual tour around the country and identify some of your jumping-off points.

The Southeast of England

The Southeast of England is the closest these islands come to our neighbours on the continent, so it is little wonder that this is where you may find some of the oldest remaining evidence of invasions from the likes of the Vikings, the Romans, and the Normans.

A relatively unexplored historical gem from that part of the world is the Isle of Thanet, where there is still plenty of evidence from both the Viking and Roman invasions.

The Viking Coastal Trail, for example, takes you the entire length of Thanet’s coastline from Margate in the north, down to Ramsgate, via Broadstairs,  and then inland through many a picturesque village.

You might be glad of the bike rack you mounted on your caravan since the trail is some 32 miles long – a good cycling distance but one you might want to break into several sections if you are on foot.

The Southwest of England

If it’s a staycation, in summer, with a caravan, you are almost certain to be drawn to the Southwest of England – along with what might feel like the whole of the rest of the country!

It’s certainly not difficult to understand the immense popularity of the Southwest’s beaches, shimmering sands, and glistening waters on a sunny summer’s day. With your caravan in tow, though, you can kiss goodbye to the crowds, head inland, and discover a different kind of Devon or Cornwall.

For somewhere different this year, therefore, why not explore the less well-known Goss Moor National Nature Reserve – right in the middle of Cornwall? Whether you are coming in from Exeter or St Austell, the world-renowned Eden Project is only a short drive away and offers something pleasantly different from the buckets and spades of the innumerable beaches.

Wales

Is it the Eyri National Park (previously Snowdonia National Park of North Wales); the Gower Peninsula; or the Pembrokeshire coast of South Wales that’s likely to host the better staycation?

This year, both North Wales and South Wales have seen more than their fair share of visitors, day-trippers, and holiday home renters. Delightful as Snowdonia, the Gower and the Pembrokeshire coast might be, therefore, perhaps now is the time to discover the hinterland of mid-Wales – the very heart of the Principality.

Here, you’ll find one of the great unspoilt natural landscapes of the UK, where the Cambrian Mountains give rise to two major rivers – the Severn and the Wye.

The mid-Wales Marches are a magical land of small market towns, country houses, gardens, and mile upon mile of walking and cycling trails. Why not make your base at the market town of Machynlleth and explore the surrounding countryside from there?

The Midlands

The Midlands are not just for travelling through en route to elsewhere – the heart of England has surprisingly open and attractive countryside of rolling hills and fertile farms – and with caravan sites aplenty while you rest up for the night or establish your base for exploring the delights of this central region.

The indisputable draw and attraction, of course, is likely to the birthplace of the bard William Shakespeare, whose Stratford-upon-Avon continues to evoke the times he lived in the sixteenth century.

The North of England

Just as the family has finished arguing over North or South Wales, and you’ve already driven through the Midlands, so you might introduce another bone of contention – the Northwest of England’s Lake District or the Northeast counties of Northumberland and Durham.

Once again, there’s so much to be said for both the Northwest and the Northeast that you might want to follow the road less travelled and opt to explore the northern tip of the Pennine Range.

It’s one of the most remote parts of England, with Kielder Water being the largest man-made lake in Northern Europe, surrounded by England’s largest forest – it’s truly a natural paradise for exploring on foot or by bike or challenging yourself in one of the many available water sports.

After a strenuous day of outdoor activity, in the quiet of the evening, you might spark another family debate about whether the nearby border towns of Hawick and Jedburgh are in England or Scotland – in fact, they’re both in Scotland.

Scotland

And, so, across the border we go into Scotland – a staycation that makes you feel that you’ve practically come abroad.

You asked us for inspiration in our suggested destinations, but Scotland is a nation unto itself – with more history, landmarks, geography, forests, mountains, and lochs than you could shake the proverbial stick at. So, we’ll dodge any attempt to highlight the best of an already stunning bunch by suggesting just some of those likely to sound most familiar:

  • Glasgow – not just historic, but now a major European capital of culture in its own right;
  • The Highlands – rugged, bleak, romantic, and with a brooding air of mystery;
  • Loch Ness – you know that “Nessie” is there, and maybe you’ll be the one to finally capture him (or her!) on film;

Northern Ireland

It’s part of the UK – so, yes, your holiday in Northern Ireland counts as a staycation.

For many of the UK’s caravan owners, however, the trip to the province certainly counts as a route less travelled – and all the more eye-opening and exciting for that. You’ll probably need to do a little homework getting to know just something that the six counties (Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone) all have to offer – and a good place to start is the official Discover Northern Ireland website.

It’s a compact Province – taking only around two hours to drive from one end of it to the other. If you want to tack on some international travel, of course, then it’s easy enough to hop across the border into the Republic of Ireland.

There’s natural beauty galore – not to mention the castles that survive its turbulent and troubled history. The City of Derry is one of the most complete examples of any European walled city.

The museum that goes by the name of Titanic Belfast is a World’s Leading Tourist Attraction.

“Life is like a box of chocolates”

To borrow a quote from film’s Forrest Gump, your staycation choices in the UK can be many and varied. Surprise yourself and discover some of the less visited corners of the country. Wherever you go, you’ll realise that “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get”.

Mis-sold statics, no caravans on historic site, riverside planning application, help needed for those without off-road EV charging

Do you have a spare moment or two for some light reading while you relax on the threshold of your caravan? Then read on for a glimpse behind some of the headlines currently making UK caravanning news.

Buyers mis-sold holiday caravans as full-time homes

One of the questions we’re often asked is whether owners of static caravans bought as second or holiday homes can live there permanently all year round.

The answer inevitably depends on the particular local authority licensing held by the caravan park owners. Unless the park is specifically licensed for mobile homes that can be occupied 365 days a year then the answer to those buying a static holiday home is no, it cannot be occupied as your permanent address.

That fact was made painfully clear in a recent report by the BBC recently detailing the disappointments suffered by numerous correspondents who claim to have been cheated out of their life savings after being hoodwinked into buying a static caravan as a permanent – often retirement – home.

The official government website warns holiday homeowners that they could be forced to leave the site if they are living on one without the necessary licence and local authority planning permission. Nevertheless, the BBC estimates that “thousands” are living permanently on sites that are licensed only for holiday use.

Read our FAQs section and find out more about living permanently in a static home and the insurance implications here.

Plans for caravan park on medieval site refused

Yorkshire’s East Riding Council Planning Authority has turned down an application to develop a medieval monument as a 64-pitch caravan site, according to a report by the BBC last month.

Fort Paull – near Kingston-Upon-Hull – was built by the Tudor King Henry VIII as a fort and gun battery on the banks of the River Humber. The 10-acre site hosted a military museum until economic difficulties forced the owner, Brian Rushworth, to close it down in January 2020.

Mr Rushworth insisted that he had tried desperately to identify alternative uses for the site but had concluded that a caravan site would best preserve the monument and its surrounding environment.

The local council disagreed and rejected the planning application.

Riverside Caravan Park in Bleadon planning application

Meanwhile, North Somerset Council has been asked to consider an application to extend the permitted opening times for the Riverside Caravan Park in Bleadon, just to the south of Weston-Super-Mare.

In a story on the 9th of March the Western Mercury explained that the park is currently licensed for opening between March and December each year but must be closed to visitors during January and February.

The current planning application aims to lift that restriction so that the park’s 191 static caravan pitches and 61 touring pitches can be used throughout the year.

Greater support for drivers without off-road EV charging required

Do you tow your caravan with an Electric Vehicle (EV)? It is clearly the more environmentally friendly option but a story in Fleet News on the 26th of March echoed a plea for better help and support for all those who live in built-up areas where their only option is to park on the street.

The journal gave the example of the 75% of homes within the circumference of the M25 circular motorway that have no permanent EV charging point in the homes they occupy.

According to Fleet News, the solution lies in granting greater and more widespread ability for residents of those homes to access “cross-pavement” solutions that allow households to connect to a charger at home – while saving the local authorities any additional work in digging access trenches.