Over the last few years since buying Penbryn Mynach, we haven’t got out much in the local area other than walking the hills near to Barmouth! Too busy at Penbryn Mynach. But, on our holiday last week at Dyffryn Seaside Estate, we took the opportunity to enjoy ourselves. Firstly, we had a lovely afternoon in Portmeirion Village and then spent a whole day on a trip on the Welsh Highland Railway.
Two relatively recent road projects make trips much easier to Portmeirion and on both the Welsh Highland Railway and the Festiniog Railway. Both steam train lines start in Porthmadog, which is famous for many things, one of which was traffic jams! In 2008 a northern bypass was announced for Porthmadog and this was opened in October 2011. Porthmadog was pretty much out-of-bounds for Barmouth holidaymakers in 2014 as Pont Briwet (over the estuary to the river Dwyryd) was closed for a re-build and an upgrade from a single-track toll road to a two-lane road. It re-opened in Juy 2015 just in time for the summer holidays. There are still traffic jams in Porthmadog, but they aren’t so common or so bad. The car park for the start of the Welsh Highland Railway jouney is now about a 30 minute drive from Penbryn Mynach in good traffic.
We travelled the whole 24 miles of the rail journey with a destination in mind. The journey takes about two and a quarter hours and our destination was Caernarfon Castle. This is one of Wales and the UKs busiest tourist attractions. But it is big enough to soak up all the visitors. The station is fairly close to the castle and there is about four hours to be had in Caernarfon before the train leaves for the return jouney, arriving in Porthmadog about 6:30pm.
At the time of writing, train ticket prices were approximately £35 return for an adult which included a free child return journey.