What can I say, I love Welsh Slate! So let me run through some top slate themed days out in and around Snowdonia.
1) Llechwedd Slate Caverns
I’ve not been on the Llechwedd tours for a few years but I know the Deep Mine Tour has had a revamp in recent years. It’s still a must see for anyone who wants to immerse themselves in the history of a working slate mine. It’s worth going on the Deep Mine Tour just to see the underground lake – it’s BEAUTIFUL!
In addition to the Deep Mine Tour, Llechwedd Slate Caverns also offer a Quarry Tour where they take you around the quarry in an old army truck – similar to the one at Penrhyn Quarry.
2) Inigo Jones
Inigo Jones Slateworks is near Penygroes. At the site they make beautiful slate products. In addition you can take the self guided tour around the site which includes the video presentation detailing the journey from extracting the slate at Aberllefenni to creating the fabulous works at Inigo Jones.
3) Amgueddfa Llechi – Slate Museum
Possibly the most local slate themed day out I can get is of course the Amgueddfa Llechi Genedlaethol (National Slate Museum) in Llanberis.
Learn all about the history and heritage of the Welsh Slate Industry by visiting the old workshops and the water wheel. Additionally there’s various demonstrations including an excellent slate splitting demonstrations. There’s a film being shown there called “How to Move a Mountain” which is an amazing piece of video.
My favourite thing is the old quarrymen houses. I love the quarrymen houses as they’ve been taken from Tanygrisiau in Blaenau Ffestiniog. The crew of Amgueddfa painstakingly took down each house brick by brick, numbering each one, and rebuilt the houses as they were at the Slate Museum. I was there when this was being done – I think I was in primary school and we were in the background of the news report.
Whilst you’re there, pop over to Vivian Quarry for a look…. stunning place.
4) Dinorwig Quarry Walk
The Amgueddfa Llechi is the end point of the Dinorwig Quarry Walk as well. It’s a lovely walk downhoill from Dinorwig down to Anglesey Barracks and eventually down to the Amgueddfa Llechi. If you can find yourself a guided walking tour then it is well worth doing. I was lucky enough to go on a walking tour with Dr Dafydd Roberts himself
If the idea of quarry walks excites you then I would highly recommend a walk up to Cwmorthin. It’s amazing and eerie all at once. Better yet, why not take the ultimate underground adventure with Go Below. They take you on a crazy underground tour of the old Cwmorthin mines. There’s zipwires and the most extreme picnic bench ever! If I was a braver woman I’d do it!
The newest addition to the slate themed days out is the Zipworld adventures. Sean Taylor came to a football match at Bethesda, took one look at the old slate heaps and had the idea of installing zipwires and thus Zipworld was born. There’s numerous different zipwires to choose from –
- Velocity 2 – the fastest zipwire in Europe (if not the world) at Bethesda
- Titan – the largest zipzone in Europe at Blaenau Ffestiniog
- Zipworld Caverns – in the old Llechwedd Slate Mines in Blaenau Ffestiniog
In addition to these there’s also the Zipworld Fforest at Betws Y Coed which is home of the Fforest Coaster.
With these sorts of attractions, there’s plenty of slate themed days out dotted around. And this isn’t everything either – there’s no wonder that the Slate Industry in Snowdonia is (hopefully) being put forward as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.