The Ugly House

Capel Curig, Betws-y-coed, Conwy, LL24 0DS, Wales

This cottage is full of history, legend and mystery. Nobody knows who built it or when, but we do know about some of the people who have lived here in the past…

The first person who we know lived here was local shepherd, John Roberts, in 1900. Within the thick dry stone walls his accommodation would have been basic: a single living room with the large fireplace for heat and cooking and a ladder up to a sleeping loft under the roof.

The people who lived here longest were the Rileys, from 1928 to 1961. Edward Riley was a groom at The Towers which is above our car park. He gradually ‘improved’ The Ugly House – installing an upstairs with bedrooms and a bathroom and a separate parlour and scullery downstairs. Edward and his wife Lilian welcomed visitors into the house over the years, entertaining them with tales and their pet cockatoo, starting a long tradition which you are now part of as a visitor yourself!

The Ugly House was bought by the Snowdonia Society in 1988 following a number of different owners who ran it as a tea room, antiques shop and tourist attraction. It was rescued from a very run down state and renovated by teams of tireless volunteers to provide a small visitor centre and offices for the Snowdonia Society until 2010. It still remains within the care of this small charity and its hard-working volunteers.