We take our children to stay at this hotel in the centre of Porthmadog opposite the railway station
Premier Inn Porthmadog Hotel.
Where is it?
This Premier Inn hotel is in Porthmadog in the county of Gwynedd, North Wales, a small coastal town on the Glaslyn Estuary.
It’s in a great location, opposite Porthmadog Railway Station and the estuary. The rear of the hotel has views over Snowdonia National Park.
What is it?
Premier Inn is the UK’s biggest hotel chain with over 800 hotels and this one only opened in 2022.
Our Standard Family room had three beds – a really comfortable and cosy king size, a single and a smaller pull-out.
Our Standard Family room
All rooms have an en-suite bath and shower with shower curtain, tea and coffee facilities, hairdryer, desk and chair, plus free Wi-Fi and a flat screen Smart TV.
Other room options are a Standard Double, Premier Plus Double, Standard Twin and Standard Accessible which includes adjustable beds, more space and wider entry bathrooms.
We were very grateful that the room had very effective air conditioning, as we stayed during a heat wave.
Food and drink
The hotel’s Thyme restaurant serves breakfast and evening meals.
Breakfast is self-service and includes hot options like bacon, eggs, hash browns, mushrooms and baked beans plus fruit, cereals, croissants and yoghurts.
You can toast your own bread, pancakes and crumpets. Breakfast was £9.50 per adult or £7.50 for just the continental options when we stayed.
In the evening, you can choose from a huge menu which includes reasonably-priced standard pub favourites like lasagne, steak and pizza.
Is it family friendly?
Yes, this is a family friendly hotel, our room was a great size for the four of us.
Breakfast is free for children (up to two children eat free with a paying adult).
Also, travel cots are available at no extra cost.
*The location – this is a great spot to explore Porthmadog and we enjoyed several walks from the hotel.
It’s a two-minute walk to the pretty harbour and town centre.
*Spooner’s cafe bar at the railway station opposite serves good value drinks and its terrace has a nice view across the bay.
*The views – from our window at the front we could watch steam trains arriving and departing from Porthmadog Station and the estuary beyond.
Windows at the back look over a pretty pool with mountains beyond.
*The comfortable beds and the room’s air conditioning were a real bonus, as was the cleanliness and the modern fresh feel of the whole hotel.
*Car parking is described as limited on the website. Although the hotel was full when we visited we did manage to park on site each day. If you are keen to ensure your vehicle is left in the hotel car park, then we suggest arriving earlier as it rapidly filled up from around 5pm.
*Don’t miss out on a lovely short walk directly behind the hotel around a lake. If you follow the green railings around the back of the hotel, it looks like a dead end, but you can head out on to Cob Crwn – a short, circular stroll.
A view of the hotel from the lake behind it.
*Breakfast times were allocated at 6.30, 7.30, 8.30 or 9.30am. The area was busy around 8.30am but quietened down afterwards so we suggest if you don’t want to wait for a table, get there either before 8am or after 9.30am.
*There are six electric car charging points in the car park. However, none of them were working when we visited! The nearest charging points in Porthmadog are at the Tesco supermarket, which is a 10-minute walk away.
Porthmadog Railway Station
Porthmadog Railway Station is opposite is a major hub with three lines – the Ffestiniog (which runs to Blaenau Ffestiniog), the Welsh Highland Railway (which goes to Caernarfon) and the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway.
Porthmadog Railway Station is opposite the Premier Inn
The Welsh Highland Railway is the UK’s longest heritage railway and runs 25 miles between Porthmadog and Caernarfon.
The Ffestiniog Railway is a vintage railway which has been running for nearly 200 years. It is 13.5 miles long and runs from Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
The Welsh Highland Heritage Railway offers a short train ride in historic narrow-gauge railway carriages to Pen-y-mount station and back.
This Italian-style tourist village, built between 1925 and 1975, is two miles south east of Porthmadog.
It is famous for being The Village in the tv show The Prisoner.
Black Rock Sands (Morfa Bychan)
This big beach is two miles west of Porthmadog. It’s very accessible as you can park your vehicles on it.
Just be careful of little ones running around and also keep an eye on the tide and your car – one had to be towed out of the sea when we were there.
Cars parked on the beach at Black Rock Sands
We visited Harlech Castle and Harlech Beach, which were 20 minutes away.
Harlech Beach is large and sandy and is a fair walk from the car park.
It is overlooked by the castle, set high on the cliff.
You don’t have to go far from the hotel for a stunning stroll.
The marina is very close or you can head around the back of the building to a footpath which takes you around a lake. A 20-minute walk brings you back to the hotel.
You can find out more about the attractions by reading our feature on what to do around Porthmadog with children here.
Premier Inn Porthmadog Hotel, Britannia Terrace, Porthmadog, Wales, LL49 9NB.
We take our children to review GreenWood Forest Park near Caernarfon in North Wales
What is it?
GreenWood Forest Park is a family adventure park which has been voted the best family day out in North Wales for seven years.
Where is it?
It is between Caernarfon and Bangor near Snowdonia National Park.
What did we think?
It’s a fantastic family day out for younger children, especially those aged three to 10.
We visited on a grey, drizzly day and still had a wonderful time. The wet weather meant it wasn’t busy, plus, although it was our school holidays, local children were back at school.
Great Green Run
An exhilarating 70-metre sledge run loved by our three and seven-year-old children and we parents alike. It is the longest sledge run in Wales.
The Great Green Run
And little ones don’t need to miss out on the fun. Next to it is the Little Green Run for toddlers to enjoy.
The Little Green Run
Green Dragon Roller Coaster
This is the world’s only people-powered roller coaster.
The Green Dragon Roller coaster
You walk up a hill, get into a people carrier which travels down an incline, pulling the cars up to the station. You then walk up another hill and get on the ride which is gravity driven.
It’s not a ‘scary’ roller coaster, no loop the loops. Perfect for children, although you have to be 97cm. Our three-year-old loved it.
There were two shows at 1pm and 3pm (same entertainer, different show) and we went to both. He really made the children chuckle.
You have to work as a family to navigate the canal using one paddle and ropes to propel you along.
This is the first solar-powered ride in the UK and is for braver visitors to the park. You climb up a 12 metre tower and take an inflatable boat down one of two wave shoots or a spiral tube.
There’s also a barefoot trail, den building, a crocodile maze, Tree Top Towers tree house with slides, zip wires, Moon Karts, crafts, archery and a soft play area for under-threes.
Tree Top Towers tree house
And there is a bigger soft play area with a great cafe/restaurant where I was thrilled to find a wood burner to sit next to, to warm up at the end with a cake and a cup of tea!
We all leave with a smile on our faces feeling like we’ve had a thoroughly lovely day.
Our top tips
*If it is wet, the magic show is undercover and the soft play areas will be open. Also if it is raining it would be handy to have a towel or cloth to wipe seats/sledges etc so little ones don’t get too wet and uncomfortable.
*Dogs on leads are allowed.
*Be warned, the exit is via the shop!
*Some of the rides don’t open at certain times of year or in certain weather so check first.
GreenWood Forest Park information
Food: Picnics are welcome. There is a restaurant and snack bars.
Opening hours: 10am to 5.30pm.
Cost: It is cheaper in low or mid-season, rising at peak season to £16.20 for adults and children, seniors and students. Free for children under three. It is cheaper to book online.
Best for: Ages three to 10.
Time needed: At least three to four hours or a whole day.
Access and restrictions: It has partial disabled access but some areas and rides are difficult or impossible to access for disabled visitors. There are height and age restrictions on some rides.
Address: GreenWood, Y Felinheli, Gwynedd. (For sat nav use the postcode LL55 3AD).
It’s not often you get to stay in a castle – let alone one that has featured in ITV’s Cold Feet
Where is it?
It is in the Menai Bridge area just into Anglesey rising above the waters of the Menai Straits in its own large grounds.
What is it?
A castle built like a French chateau with 30 rooms and three self-catering lodges on site.
Is it family friendly?
Fairly, it is an historic house with some quiet areas for couples plus dinner is a very formal affair. But having said that the hotel does welcome families, giving them the option of self-catering lodges or hotel rooms. The staff are friendly and the outside space is great to run around and explore.
You have two options and we sampled both:
Our hotel bedroom had a large double bed and sofa-bed. The furnishings were top notch and the bathroom had luxury toiletries and a powerful shower. It was fun negotiating the winding staircase up to our room and the old fashioned lift as well.
A hotel room
If you prefer self catering, there are several options of varying sizes. We stayed in the Gate Lodge, which used to be home to the attendants who worked for the Chateau owners.
The two-storey cottage had great views across the Menai Straits, plenty of space and a well-equipped kitchen. You get full use of the facilities but no food is included.
Food and drink
Breakfast was tasty and filling in a large, wood-panelled dining room. The evening meal was spectacular, with lobster pasta a hit with our four-year-old.
I enjoyed the best cooked steak I have ever had. It is a formal, romantic setting so I would definitely eat as early as possible with a family to avoid feeling uncomfortable – but don’t miss out because of that as the food is great.
The location provides easy driving to Beaumaris Castle, Anglesey Sea Zoo and the popular beaches in every direction. It is a long walk to the nearest shops and restaurants off site.
*Real history. How often can you say you’ve stayed at a castle? Chateau Rhianfa was built in the French renaissance style in the mid-1800s. Just going through the huge main door to reception feels like an adventure.
Inside Chateau Rhianfa
*The gardens. The beautifully kept gardens are great for exploring, there are steep bits so keep an eye on small children.
*Its own beach. Okay, that may be slightly exaggerating as there isn’t a lot of sand but when the tide is out on the Menai Strait, the hotel has its own stretch of mainly rocky beach to use. Think more rock pooling than lying on a lounger but it will keep children occupied for an hour or so.
*The wine bar. The best part about stopping here is exploring all the nooks and crannies inside and outside. There are lots of turret windows to grab a table and a view at, we found a wonderful secret bar called the Wine Cave complete with peep hole for a quick family drink. The children loved the historic feel of the bar.
Claim to fame
Fans of ITV’s Cold Feet will recognise this venue as it featured in an episode for the wedding of Spanish nanny Ramona in 2019.
We review Chateau Rhianfa in Anglesey and explore the surrounding area, beaches and attractions with our young children
It is not every day you wake up in a castle.
And the spectacular sight from our ridiculously comfortable bed through a large picture window means getting up is not appealing.
We are in Anglesey and our view takes in the waters of the Menai Strait, framed by majestic Snowdonia.
Other families we know holiday in Anglesey yet we had never been so we had decided to visit the beautiful island off north Wales for a half-term break.
Chateau Rhianfa is more decadent than your average venue with its grand decor and tiered gardens sweeping down to the water (click here for our full review of Chateau Rhianfa).
Fans of ITV’s Cold Feet will recognise it as it recently featured in an episode for the wedding of Spanish nanny Ramona.
It was built in the mid-1800s in the style of a French Renaissance chateau as an aristocratic country retreat.
This fairy tale venue is impressive from the outside and fascinating on the inside.
Inside Chateau Rhianfa
Our children loved exploring the grand drawing and music rooms and were excited to discover cosy cubby holes in turrets.
And we were all happy to find an atmospheric wine cave among the rabbit warren of spaces.
The hotel rooms and suites are lavishly finished.
A hotel room
The Gate Lodge
Or you can stay in equally beautiful self-catering accommodation in the grounds.
We were in the Gate Lodge, a two-storey cottage with arched entrance and miniature turrets, where attendants of visitors to the chateau would once have stayed.
It has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen/diner and lounge area.
The Gate Lodge self-catering accommodation
With the space and the large grounds to enjoy, I could have stayed there all day. But there was an island to explore and two children eager to get going.
We were spoilt for choice for beaches and our favourite was Newborough, a wide sweeping bay backed by sand dunes and woodland walks.
We also liked Lligwys Beach near Moelfre – quiet and good for rockpooling – and the more rugged and windy Rhosneigr which was home to kitesurfers and kayakers.
Our daughter never tired of throwing stones into the water and our son loved hunting for crabs among the rock pools and paddling in the sea.
And we discovered exactly how crashing waves worked through clever replications at Anglesey Sea Zoo.
Everything in this aquarium is found around the British coast, and we found out plenty thanks to the friendly staff as they fed the fish and lobsters.
You can enjoy a feed too at the well-priced cafe and outside there’s a playground, bouncy slide, crazy golf and more.
Back at our castle, trying the food is a must as it has previously won Hotel Restaurant of the Year (Welsh Food Awards).
We had a delicious breakfast on our last morning and also risked our young children in the quiet and refined dining room for an evening meal.
Thankfully they behaved. Or at least, nobody was looking when they didn’t.
It was a small, thoughtfully put together menu. There were no separate options for children. But the chefs were happy to adapt one of the dishes to suit them. And my steak was the best I have ever tasted.
The food lived up to expectations, as did the venue, as did Anglesey itself.
We are one more family won over by its charms.
Chateau Rhianfa on the Menai Strait
Have you been to Anglesey? Where do you recommend for children?