Last updated on February 14, 2023 by Wandering our World
Porthmadog is a little-known location in North Wales close to the beautiful mountains of Snowdonia National Park. But it’s the perfect place to go camping if you’re looking for an escape from urban life, or if you’re looking for things to do and see with the family – within nature or the town of Porthmadog.
You’ll be close to a beautiful coastline and surrounded by remnants of Welsh maritime history, as well as quaint craft shops and restaurants.
Luckily if you’re planning your own Porthmadog camping adventure we have everything you need right here. From what to expect at each campsite and any rules that exist, to the best places for food, and even what wildlife you could spot and what time of year is best to see them!
Simply put, everything you need is right here. Let’s get started!
- Getting There
- The Six Best Campsites In Porthmadog
- Camping In Porthmadog: Rules, Regulations & Advice
- Things To Do When Camping In Porthmadog
- Places to Eat
- When to Visit: Weather, Wildlife, Events
Getting There (Within the UK)
Journey planners like this one are quite handy, especially if you are planning to exclusively use public transport to get to Porthmadog.
From Manchester, you can get to Porthmadog via the M56 and then turn off on the A494. Keep following that road then turn onto the A487. It should take about 3 hours or so. You could also turn off onto the A55 from the M56, but this takes longer.
From Liverpool, take the M53 and then turn onto the A55, and then the A487. It takes about 2 hours.
From London, go via the M40 and then via the M54. Then take the A5 until you get to Porthmadog. It will take 5 and a half hours.
From Edinburgh, take the M6 and then continue going along the A494. This will take around 6 hours.
Your own car can be brought with you from Northern Island if you get a car ferry. Keep in mind that you may come across tolls on your journey.
The UK has an extensive train network. But you will probably need to change trains multiple times to get to Porthmadog.
From Manchester Piccadilly Station, you can catch a train to Carmarthen in Wales. Then you can change platforms to get the train that drops you in Porthmadog (terminating at Pwllheli).
From London Oxford, get the train towards Wolverhampton. Get off there and catch the train to Machynlleth, and from there get a train that stops in Porthmadog.
From Edinburgh Waverly, get the train to Crewe, then change for the train to Shrewsbury. Go from Shrewsbury to Dovey Junction, and then from there get the train towards Pwllheli which will drop you in Porthmadog.
Via Car Ferry
If you live in Northern Ireland, you can catch a car ferry from Belfast to Liverpool and follow the driving directions from there. These ferries depart daily and cost around £40.
You can catch a domestic flight from cities like Manchester, London, Edinburgh, and Belfast which will drop you in Cardiff, where you can hire a car and other gear and drive to Porthmadog. These flights range in price from around £20 to £60.
From Manchester Coach Station, you can travel via coach to Bangor. This service departs daily and takes 4 hours. From Bangor Bus Station B, you can then catch the T2 to Porthmadog.
It’s not as straightforward for London Euston Coach Station, where you will have to get a coach service to Newtown, then from there get the T12 to Machynlleth where you can get the T2 to Porthmadog.
The Six Best Campsites In Porthmadog
1. Tyddyn Llwyn Holiday Park
Tyddyn Llwyn Holiday Park is great for caravan owners. Their pitches are fully serviced with electricity and facilities include showers, toilets, drinking water, dishwashing areas, chemical disposal points, a telephone, an information point, a children’s play area, wi-fi access, access to mountain footpaths, a laundrette, an on-site shop, and a restaurant.
Premium pitches are also available, and pets are welcome.
Depending on the season and pitch type, prices range from £28 to around £50 per night. Children under 5 stay free.
2. Tyddyn Adi Caravan and Camping Site
Suitable for both caravans and tents, Tyddyn Adi is perfect for those wishing to spend their time in Porthmadog exploring Snowdonia.
It’s also just half a mile from Black Rock, a blue flag beach. Facilities include toilets, showers, dishwashing and a laundrette. There’s also an on-site shop. Seasonal pitches are on offer.
3. Glan-Y-Mor Camping Park
Situated at a sand dune near Black Rock, Glan-Y-Mor Camping Park is home to stunning views and electrical and non-electrical pitches. You can bring your caravan or your tent.
Depending on the season and pitch, prices range from £12 to around £20. Extra items like boats are £5 per night. You can bring pets too, but they cost £2 per night to stay. Use a lead at all times.
4. Hadfer Glamping
If you fancy something a little more luxurious, Hadfer Glamping hosts luxury glamping tents as well as other accommodation options.
There are also on-site cafes and restaurants, and you’ll be on the doorstep of Snowdonia, nearby beaches, and local towns. Breakfast is included with your stay.
5. Garreg Goch Caravan Park
Garreg Goch Caravan Park features a panorama of the Welsh landscape and is nearby Black Rock as well as a plethora of popular hikes.
Pitches include electricity and water hookups. There’s even an on-site bakery. Prices vary by season.
6. Glan Morfa Mawr Caravan Site
Glan Morfa Mawr Caravan site is located on Black Rock beach and is also based in Snowdonia National Park, like many of the sites mentioned.
Facilities include wi-fi, security systems, a washing room, toilets, showers, a small shop, a fridge freezer, and a laundry room.
Depending on the season, prices range from £23 to £31.50 per night. You can also buy extras and up to two pets are allowed for free. Children cost £5, and under-3s stay free.
Camping In Porthmadog: Rules, Regulations & Advice
Free Camping In Porthmadog
Free camping in Porthmadog and Wales is strictly prohibited if you don’t have permission from the landowner.
However, when hiking, people have been known to set up camp after the sun has set if the journey takes more than one day to complete.
That’s only tolerated if you leave no trace of your stay, and you should ensure to pack up before the sun rises again. Camping on any beach is definitely not allowed.
Looking After Yourself & Nature
Given that the campsites in Porthmadog mentioned above are all private and not owned by one government or National Trust body), be sure to stick to individual campsite rules and regulations. The following advice is a guide for how to ensure you stay safe and look after the environment in general.
Fires and fire-pits may or may not be permitted depending on your campsite. If you are to use one, make sure you put it out properly to prevent wildfires: wet it, stir it, and wet it again.
Have you ever wondered how sustainable your cleaning and washing products really are? How much plastic do they contain in their packaging? How harsh are the chemicals within the product? Plastic, non-biodegradable packaging and harsh chemicals should be avoided.
Thankfully, plant-based products are easy to come by in UK supermarkets. Consider using soap bars instead of bottled products for example. When cleaning out tanks, use organic cleaners. Just make sure to avoid any natural water sources so you don’t contaminate them or scare away wildlife.
Scaring wildlife can also be avoided by not making too much noise! This is also great for other campers too. As a general rule, if the sun isn’t fully risen, keep to a whisper. Also, stick to small groups.
Another way to ensure all campers are comfortable is to not feed any animals, as they will associate the site with food and become a nuisance. It can also make them ill.
Leave no trace: this means taking rubbish with you when camping in Porthmadog if there are no bins available. Seal food waste away to not attract anything. Don’t touch or disturb anything natural, like rocks, tree trunks, wildflowers etc.
Watch out for any ground nests underfoot. If you (or your pet!) end up touching or hurting anything endangered – plant or animal – this is illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, and you could be fined.
Biting insects in the UK include gnats, midges, and mosquitos. The best way to avoid getting bitten is to wear long sleeves and apply plenty of insect repellent.
Another way is to avoid damp areas, so for instance, camp on high ground so everything is well-drained. You can also check the forecast and position your tent away from the direction of the wind, so you don’t wake up to a faceful of biting bugs!
Other tips include sealing away waste, using non-fragranced products, and using smoke to deter insects.
Ticks are also a pesky insect (or more accurately, an arachnid) to watch out for, especially since being latched onto by one can cause serious illness and even long-term problems. So again, wear long sleeves and insect repellent. Keep some tweezers on you in case you need to remove one from your skin.
Under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, you may walk through fields of cattle. Just keep a good distance and don’t disturb them.
Here is a handy guide to fishing in Wales.
In short, you will always be on private land when fishing from rivers and lakes, so make sure you always have written permission.
Sea fishing is a lot simpler as permission is not needed and there are no limits when fishing from the shore. There are limits to how much you can catch though, which varies depending on fish species.
Things to Bring
Here’s a list of things to take with you when camping in Porthmadog:
- A water filter
- Rubbish bags
- A filtered torch
- Warm clothing
- Waterproof clothing
- Insect repellent
- A fire pit
- First aid kit
- Plant-based/organic and non-fragranced toiletries
- Plant-based/organic cleaning products
Things To Do When Camping In Porthmadog
1. Snowdonia National Park
Snowdonia National Park must be explored if you’re in its vicinity! There are a plethora of walks to choose from, but the most popular by far is the hike up to the peak of Mount Snowdon. Make sure it’s a clear day to maximise your chance of good views.
Other walks include easy, family-friendly routes like Aber Falls, Benar Boardwalk, Craig y Fron, Cwm Penamnen and many more.
If you fancy more of a challenge when camping in Porthmadog, take a look at this guide for a list of all the walks the park has to offer.
2. Maritime Museum
On Cardigan Bay, you’ll find the Maritime Museum, where you can explore its large collection of artefacts telling the story of maritime history.
It’s great if you have kids, as there is an area dedicated to them that will keep them entertained. It costs only £2 per person or £4 for a family.
3. Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways
Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways offer miles of railway line with stunning views of the Welsh countryside. The trains are also historical artefacts themselves.
These perfectly preserved steam-powered trains are sure to provide a unique experience for the whole family. Prices vary but tickets are around £30 for family returns.
4. Black Rock Llamas
Visit some adorable llamas and see what they and their trainers are capable of at Black Rock Llamas. You can even trek with them with tickets starting from £25.
You will experience all of this against the backdrop of Snowdonia National Park. Book in advance here.
5. Welsh Highland Heritage Railway
Welsh Highland Heritage Railway not only offers picturesque rail journeys but also a pit-stop at their railway heritage centre.
If you’re lucky, the buffet cart might also offer you a drink to enjoy on your journey. But there’s a café at the station anyway! Families cost around £30 and adults around £10.
6. Harlech Castle
Harlech Castle is a historical gem that overlooks distant dunes and the shore far below as it sits on a rocky edge.
Its backdrop is Snowdonia National Park, and you can marvel at its history too, with it being one of Edward I’s castles.
Prices vary by season but admission generally costs around £8 per adult and £27 per family. It’s even cheaper if you’re a junior, veteran, senior or disabled person. Under 5s are free.
Places to Eat
1. The Port Café, Deli, and Restaurant
Enjoy some quiet views with your cooked breakfast (vegetarian option available) or lunch at The Port. Drinks are included with your meal too. And why not try their raved-about lemon meringue pie while you’re there?
2. The Australia
In the harbour town of Porthmadog is The Australia Purple Moose Brewery Tap, which serves real ale (amongst many other drinks) in a fantastic pub setting. You can also order yummy meals from their menu of classic pub dishes like pies, burgers, or fish and chips.
3. Spooner’s Café, Bar, and Grill
Spooner’s Café serves everything from cakes and cask ales to coffees and spirits. It’s not only a good pit stop but also a place to admire a collection of railway artefacts from history. There are also some great views across the bay.
4. Allports Fish and Chips
No trip to Wales is complete without some fish and chips to take with you to the beach. Allports sells affordable and fresh produce, and there’s a kids’ menu too. Other foods like burgers and curries are available.
When to Visit: Weather, Wildlife, Events
Wales is cold or mild most of the time. Bring waterproofs as you can expect rain at least 10 days per month.
The rainiest months tend to be January, December, and November with an average of 16 days of rain (it can be more). And when it isn’t raining, it’s dull and overcast. Remember to check visibility if you’re planning to go somewhere with panoramic views (like Mount Snowdon) – you might be disappointed otherwise.
Summer or spring are best for hiking up mountains – spring being a little better as it is not as hot. But try not to gauge temperatures – even in summer they’re unpredictable in Snowdon.
The summer months of June, July and August have pleasant highs of around 20 degrees (C), but it will be a little humid due to Britain’s moist atmosphere. The coldest months by far are December, January, and February, with average lows of 2 degrees (C).
Porthmadog is next door to Snowdonia National Park. So, while on Porthmadog’s beaches, you’ll find the usual seagulls, crabs, jellyfish, and other British coastal creatures, Snowdonia National Park offers unique wildlife to admire.
Mammals to look out for include the nimble mountain goat, otters, ravens, polecats and stoats. The winter is an especially good time to spot the goats as they come down from the freezing mountain peaks. You’ll even spot some of their kids.
Snowdonia’s acres and acres of forest are also not to be ignored. These ancient woodlands offer native trees, fungi, and plants. During spring or summer, you can enjoy the canopies of leaves that native oak and cherry trees provide. Across the forest floor in spring, you can admire thousands of blooming bluebells.
Birds to watch out for include owls (especially at dusk), cuckoos, and woodpeckers. Near water sources, like ponds in springtime, you might spot common frogs ranging in colour, and newts.
During the autumn you might catch the wood mouse scavenging for food, and badgers have been known to wander Snowdonia’s forests too.
Throughout the year in Porthmadog, many markets take place.
Weekly markets take place in Porthmadog on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, where you can find clothes, food and drink, crafts, flowers, and more.
There’s the Porthmadog Local Produce Market that sells locally sourced foods, which have been farmed, grown, or processed by the stall holders themselves.
Finally, there’s the Porthmadog Artisan Fair, selling unique crafts from the local area regularly from March.