Best for mountain scenery

Llyn Llydaw (Brittany Lake), Eryri (Snowdonia) - of all the Welsh lakes we could mention here, Llydaw is one of the most ravishing, especially on calm days when Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) reflects perfectly on its glassy surface. The Miners’ Track from the Pen-y-Pass car park off the A4086 leads straight to the lake. It’s an easy, surfaced path with wonderful views of the Gwynant Valley and the Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) Horseshoe. For a more challenging hike, you could continue up to Llyn Glaslyn or even to the summit of Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon). There’s some steep climbing along the way, but a reasonably fit hiker could make it from Pen-y-Pass to Hafod Eryri and back in six hours.

Find out more about walking in Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park

Walker looking towards snow-covered summit of Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa) from Llyn Llydaw.
Llyn Llydaw lake on a sunny day with Mount Snowdon  in the background and reflected in the water.

Llyn Llydaw, Eryri (Snowdonia), North Wales is stunning in all seasons

Best for birdwatching

Lake Vyrnwy (Llyn Efyrnwy) in Mid Wales is a huge Victorian reservoir hemmed in by a stone dam built in the 1880s, the oldest of its kind in the world. Surrounding the peaceful waters are the grassy hills and woodlands of the RSPB Lake Vyrnwy Nature Reserve, managed by the RSPB and Severn Trent Water. You’re sure to see buzzards, siskins and grebes here, and you’ll hear the calls of pied flycatchers, wood warblers and redstarts.

For a luxurious break, take a room at the Lake Vyrnwy Hotel & Spa, one of the few hotels to be situated right on the shore of a Welsh lake.

Looking down on Lake Vyrnwy and surrounding forests and hills.
Image of the lake with the straining tower and trees in the background

Lake Vyrnwy, Mid Wales

Best for toddlers, pushchairs and wheelchairs

Llyn Cwellyn in Eryri (Snowdonia) offers superb opportunities for people of all abilities to enjoy the natural environment. Starting at the Snowdon Ranger YHA Car Park, which has disabled parking, an accessible toilet and a Sherpa'r Wyddfa (Snowdon Sherpa) S4 bus stop, the Janus Path is a scenic, 400m wheelchair-friendly trail through stunning National Park scenery. A gravel path gives way to a timber boardwalk which loops through pretty woodland beside Llyn Cwellyn, a glacial lake which was dammed to create a reservoir.

Check out more Access for All routes in Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park.

reflection of hills and sky in lake.

Overlooking Llyn Cwellyn towards Mynydd Mawr, Eryri (Snowdonia), North Wales

Best for cycling

The Elan Valley Reservoirs in Powys, Mid Wales are a chain of reservoirs created by damming the Elan and Claerwen rivers between the late 19th and mid 20th centuries to provide water for Birmingham. You can explore the reservoirs’ peaceful shores on two wheels by following the nine-mile Elan Valley Trail, a Sustrans National Cycle Network route created in conjunction with the Elan Valley Trust. Leading from Rhayader to the Elan Valley Visitor Centre and Craig Goch Dam, this easy route follows an old railway line and is mostly traffic-free. It takes just over an hour each way. There are also mountain bike trails, including two new downhill skill tracks for more experienced riders.

Best for watersports

Llandegfedd lake Visitor and Watersport Centre, South East Wales, offers a wide range of watersports, including kayaking, windsurfing, raft building canoeing and dinghy sailing. There are sailing experiences for adults, children plus groups and equipment hire for all the activities (March to October). The lake, which is only 20 miles from Cardiff, has clean water and there are no currents or tides, making it a great place to try out stand up paddle or pedal boarding. You can also enjoy bird watching at this Site of Special Scientific Interest, with 240 species of birds recorded. It's a great place for fishing and walking, plus there’s a dog friendly restaurant and café.

Two boys paddle boarding on the lake.
two children kayaking on Llandegfedd  lake.

Watersports, Llandegfedd lake Visitor and Watersport Centre, South Wales

Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake), like many of Eryri's (Snowdonia’s) lakes, was formed when a long, deep glacial valley became blocked by Ice Age debris. At four miles long and well over 40m deep, it’s the largest lake in Wales, with its own Loch-Ness-style mythical monster. With plenty of space and predictable conditions, it’s perfect for kayaking, sailing and windsurfing. You can rent gear from accredited activity operators in Bala at the lake’s northern tip. Gwersyll yr Urdd Glan-Llyn provides a range of activities both on and out of the water, including canoeing, paddle boarding and sailing.


Best for ancient history

Llangorse Lake (Llyn Syfaddon) is in the Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) National Park and is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Close to the shore of this picturesque lake is a partly reconstructed 10th century crannog, or man-made island stronghold. Built on water for defence, crannogs were common in Ireland and Scotland between 5000 and 400 years ago, but Llangorse’s crannog is the only one in Wales or England. It’s thought to have been a residence of the King of Brycheiniog. The Welsh Crannog Centre provides more details about this tranquil spot, with a journey back into Crannog time and an ideal day out for anybody who has an interest in Welsh history, culture, archaeology, wildlife and plant-life.

A wood-walled and reed-roofed crannog hut on a platform on a lake.
A boat moored up by a scenic lakeside.

Llangorse Lake, Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) National Park

Best for vintage railway fans

Llyn Padarn, Eryri (Snowdonia), is a glacial lake, two miles long, a quarter of a mile wide and an impressive 29m deep. Near its southeastern tip is the outdoorsy village of Llanberis and the hamlet of Gilfach Ddu, home to the National Slate Museum and the Llanberis Lake Railway. Its little steam locomotives take around an hour to do their five-mile return trip, chuffing along the lakeshore and stopping at Cei Llydan halfway. You’re welcome to hop off here for a waterside picnic, then catch the following train back.

steam engine with carriages passes lake.
Reflection of clouds in lake, Llyn Padarn, Llanberis.

Steam loco 'Dolbadarn' takes a train alongside Llanberis Lake, and views of Llyn Padarn, Llanberis

Best for trout fishing

Tal-y-Llyn Lake (Llyn Mwngil), Eryri (Snowdonia) is a large glacial ribbon lake at the foot of Cader Idris, famous for its wild brown trout. This is also a good place for wildlife-watching – hares, otters, weasels, stoats and polecats are found here, and you’re likely to see ravens and red kites overhead. You may even catch a glimpse of an osprey from the Dyfi Wildlife Centre, which is based in the Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve near Machynlleth.

Tal-y-Llyn Lake surrounded by mountain landscape in autumnal colours.

Tal-y-Llyn Lake, Eryri (Snowdonia)

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