Situated in the south-west corner of the Snowdonia National Park, there’s no doubt that Graig Wen enjoys one of the best campsite locations in the whole of Wales. Set among some 45 acres of its own wild woods and meadows, and with amazing views over the Mawddach Estuary curling down to Cardigan Bay below, this established spot plays host to happy campers and ample wildlife alike. It's unsurprising, then, that it has won the Green Snowdonia Award for ‘Most Sustainable Campsite’, along with a clutch of other gongs, including 'The Best Camping and Glamping Site' by Go North Wales. Yet for all those certificates, Graig Wen remains a wonderfully peaceful and unpretentious spot to stay.
At the heart of the campsite's success is the owners' passion to constantly improve the site, whilst simultaneously preserving its wild nature. To accompany the grassy camping pitches, Sarah and John have hand-built two bespoke yurts from ash trees found on the land, kitting them out with quirky furniture and textiles, while two more pop-up yurts have been designed to move around the site depending on the season (closer to loos, showers and the comforts of electricity in winter time). There's also a cute wooden 'caban' with a rather Scandinavian feel – its glazed walls provide magnificent views but can be shuttered when needed – plus a bell tent available in summer and a holiday cottage. Really, across the campsite, every possible type of visitor is covered.
In keeping with the award-winning status, Graig Wen's well-maintained facilities are kept spick and span, with hot showers and sparkling ablutions. Viewing benches overlooking Mawddach Estuary offer the best seat in the house at sunset o’clock – especially given Snowdonia’s ‘Dark Skies’ status – and a simple camp shop stocks local ales and other essentials; you can also book breakfast hampers and chilled bubbly for arrival. The pitches themselves are also positioned to suit most tastes, with space for tourers and tents as well as all the glamping options, and campfires permitted in fire pits.
A geocache trail provides a way of exploring the site’s woods and streams, and learning a bit about the area’s slate-mining heritage. More intrepid explorers, meanwhile, can tackle Cader Idris – the spectacular mountain at the back of Graig Wen, where the crowds tend to be much smaller than you get on the summit of Snowdon. According to legend, if you spend the night on the top of Cader, you’ll come down a poet or, yes, a madman. You can cycle all the way to Fairbourne beach or Barmouth without even seeing a road, and virtually the entire route to Dolgellau in the other direction is road-free, too. In addition to the cycle track, there’s another family cycling path, plus more challenging mountain-bike trails at nearby Coed-y-Brenin.
FacilitiesTest your animal-spotting skills – owls, nightjars, glow-worms, badgers and kingfishers are all in residence here. There are a couple of ropeswings, plenty of trees to climb, occasional wildlife walks and bikes to hire. In the car-free lower field you must park a few hundred meters away. Drop off service available 2 - 4pm and on morning of check out. Wheelbarrows provided to move your kit. 2 new unisex showers on lower tent camping fields plus more on the upper touring van site and one just for glampers. Electric hook-ups (£4 per night). Campfires allowed on lower fields and communal camp fire for touring site (bag of logs £5). Hire bikes at Dolgellau Cycles (0044 1341 423332) call for prices.
Suitable ForTents, campervans, caravans, glampers, dogs, cyclists/mountain bikers, walkers – in fact it’s hard to think of anyone who wouldn’t enjoy Graig Wen.
Cadair Idris (892 metres) - clambering up the mountain is a great local option and the Pony Path makes is family friendly. Alternatively walk straight off the camp site along the stunning (and flat) waterside Mawddach Trail to the seaside treats of Barmouth. Go crabbing or visit Knickerbockers ice-cream parlour. As well as the cycle track along the estuary to the Fairbounre beach, there’s mountain-bike routes for all abilities, at nearby Coed-y-Brenin (01341 440747), around 5 miles north of Dolgellau. Head north to Llechwedd Slate Caverns where Zip World (01248 601444) is hugely popular. Over 8km of wires are strung throughout the mountains providing a truly unique areal experience. Slightly more theme park-like, King Arthur’s Labyrinth, on the A487 between Dolgellau and Machynlleth (01654 761584) is an attraction themed around ancient myths and legends. Every third Sunday of the month Dolgellau holds a Farmer's Market.
Food & DrinkThe owners sell eggs, ice cream, marshmallows and breakfast hampers in high season (local bacon, sausages, bread, juice) for £30. Stock up on local produce and tasty treats at the Country Market on Thursday mornings, or the Farmer’s Market on the third Sunday of every month, both in Dolgellau. Down at Fairbourne, the unassuming Indiana Cuisine (01341250891) is a pleasant surprise. South Indian specialities are created with colour and flourish from fresh ingredients and traditional home recipes. Plenty of non-spicy options available. Good pub grub at The George III Hotel (01341 422525) 5 minutes drive or an hour's delightful walk along the estuary cycle trail. Locally produced lamb, beef and fish can be enjoyed outside in view of the estuary.
Opening TimesTop Site all year and yurts March - January. Lower camping fields open May - end of September. Call ahead to check.
The Owner Says
Our self catering holiday accommodation in Snowdonia National Park, near Barmouth and Dolgellau, North Wales is in an exceptional location. Overlooking the Mawddach Estuary, one of the most beautiful in Wales, the views are breathtaking. Step straight onto the scenic Mawddach cycle Trail from our camping field. The mountains are all around, with sandy beaches, castles, steam trains, zip lines and bike trails close by. Whether you prefer a cottage, cosy yurt or sleeping under the stars, Graig Wen offers you a range of quality accommodation.
Our small, tranquil campsite has direct access to the beautiful Mawddach Estuary. There’s a sheltered area with electric hook ups for 10 vans or smaller tents near the showers and our holiday cottages. If you really want to get away from it all, go wild and pitch your tent down near the estuary to star gaze around a camp fire. Dogs on leads welcome.
For family glamping adventures and romantic retreats you can also hideaway in one of our four pet-friendly yurts. You’ll be blown away by the views, scenery and seclusion…but have a bit of comfort too!
In recent years we are proud to have featured in The Guardian’s 10 Best Glamp sites, The Times' Coolest Places to Camp, The Independent’s 10 Best Luxury Coast Camp sites, as well as Country Living Magazine and many more.
Accommodation10 pitches with electric hook up and hardstandings on the top touring site and 2 grass pitches for tents. 18 grass pitches in the lower camping fields (3 with parking). 4 yurts, (sleeping 2–5). Welsh Caban (sleeping 2). Bell tent for hire in July/August.
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