National Slate Museum and Llanberis Lake Railway

train at llanberis lake train station in snowdonia in wales

Our visit to the National Slate Museum in Wales was in October 2014. I had gone with school when I was in year 6, and I don’t think I’ve visited since then, but I could clearly remember the yard and train, so to say this place made a lasting impression is quite true – cough 25 cough years later I was thrilled to go back to see what had changed or stayed the same about this place deep in the heart of Snowdonia.
The scenery on the way to the museum is stunning – tall, imposing hills and sheep dotted about a grey and green landscape. The odd little abandoned slate and stone house are here and there, and the views are so spectacular you begin to wonder if you could live off the grid and set up in one of the cottages. The rumbling of the coaches travelling through Snowdonia would put me off – the road is a very busy one, for all it is quite narrow and twisty-twiney.
So, eventually we arrived and parked in the car park next to the entrance. There are public toilets in the car park, and it’s pay and display, though I don’t recall how much it is but seem to remember a day rate was quite reasonable. The museum itself is free.
The museum has trains outside, and the carpark is right next to the station where you can jump on a steam train, so this is a brilliant space to base yourself for a lovely day out with a toddler!

in the yard of the National Slate Museum in Wales on a day out with a toddler
Inside, there is a courtyard with rooms all around, and cranes and rail trucks to have a look at spread about. It is exactly as I remembered it – I could even recall some of the conversations I had with school friends next to the crane!
A toddler pushing a wheelbarrow at the National slate Museum in Wales

In the rooms there are various displays, multimedia exhibits and also staff-led talks about various activities that used to go on here. Sadly we missed the talk twice – so do be there on time if you want to see some of the skills and methods for getting the slate out.
A rusty crane at the National Slate Museum
We wandered around the sheds, looking at the train and other machinery.
The waterwheel is quite imposing – you can go right next to it and all that water rushing about it quite loud. There is a lift to take you to the top of the wheel.

We enjoyed a cup of tea in the café, and got James a little snack. The teapot, however, was a real leaker – it sounds very English to have a moan about that, but it’s so disappointing when you’re losing half your tea because it doesn’t pour out of the pot properly!

We noticed the play area that is adjacent to the outdoor seating of the café, but didn’t go in because we’d decided to go on the train when we’d finished looking all around the Slate Museum.  The Llanberis Lake Train is not cheap – nearly £16 for two adults (James was free) but it is a lovely scenic route through some of Wales’ best landscapes.

train at llanberis lake train station in snowdonia in wales
train at llanberis lake train station in snowdonia in wales

The train takes you along five miles of track, through the forest and past lakes, until it stops at a station. I think in high season you can buy a cuppa, and probably ice creams, at the station, but although it was busy and the weather lovely, the little shop was closed, so we had a wander around the grassy area next to the lake. Overhead there were fighter jets whooshing about. The train waited at that station for quite a while before we all jumped back inside the carriages and we set off back again.

What a place for a picnic on a day out with a toddler on the llanberis lake train in wales! The station is just next to this lake and pretty spot.

snowdonia castle of a hill view from the llanberis lake train

a fabulous day out with a toddler at the national slate museum and on the llanberis lake train in snowdonia in north wales

We all enjoyed our day out at the National Slate Museum in Wales. We’d love to go back to the area, but next time we’d go on the train up Snowdon, which is something I’ve never done, because I’ve walked up the few times I’ve been there.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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11 Comments

  1. January 30, 2016 / 12:22 pm

    This looks like a great place to explore for James, what better than big machinery and trains to keep little ones entertained? It’s great that the museum’s so hands on and James got to experience so much, I wonder if it’ll leave as much of an impression on James as it did you. The station you get to on the train looks beautiful, I’m sure in summer there would be plenty of people dotted around enjoying the lake views and picnic spaces. Thanks for linking up with me on #CountryKids.

  2. January 30, 2016 / 3:39 pm

    This looks like so much fun and a beautiful place to visit. Looking at the pictures it looks very familiar to me I must have visited as a child when I went to Wales with me Grandparents

  3. February 7, 2016 / 10:24 pm

    Wonderful photos! Isn’t it a great place? The last time I went into the museum itself was Halloween 2010 I think when they were doing ghost stories. Was a great night out! I hope to take the kiddies to the slate museum this year as I want to take them around the Quarrymen houses (they were taken down from the village I grew up in. I remember actual people living in them!). We live down the road – yes those twisty roads which you get used to. Although yes the buses are a pain!

    Fab post! x

    • February 7, 2016 / 10:28 pm

      Those quarrymen houses are interesting to me but I’ll bet they’re proper fascinating to you because you get to spy inside something you’re familiar with. Like touring round your neighbours house or something!
      Yes, it’s an amazing place x

  4. entertainingelliot
    March 13, 2016 / 7:43 pm

    That looks like a great place to visit, looks like you had the museum to yourselves! Love the scenery in Wales, makes me want to visit again very soon! x #daysoutwithatoddler x

    • March 14, 2016 / 7:15 am

      It did feel like the museum was quiet, until we tried to get in the demonstration talks, and those were heaving! People had appeared out of nowhere! It is a great place for a day out. Thanks for linking to #daysoutwithatoddler

  5. March 13, 2016 / 9:19 pm

    I’ve been here with primary school! I remember it well all these, (many!) years later too! I must take the kids next time we’re there. Snowdon is such a cool mountain, one of my faves. I think I got the train up once, it’s a nice ride up for children. And tired or elderly adults, or those who just don’t fancy the hike! 🙂 Thanks for hosting. #DaysOutWithAToddler

    • March 14, 2016 / 9:08 pm

      Yes, definitely worth a look again, even to see if it’s changed at all from your primary school visit. We were in Snowdonia this weekend just gone, and there was snow on the hill tops – so very cool!
      Thanks for joining #daysoutwithatoddler

  6. March 14, 2016 / 8:17 pm

    What a brilliant museum. Can’t believe it’s free! And in an amazing setting. My LO would love the little train too! A great day for sure. #daysoutwithatoddler

    • March 14, 2016 / 9:10 pm

      Some really great places are surprisingly free – another reason why I started this linky, actually; I wanted to be able to have a nosy round the country and find some fab, free, days out! Thanks for joining #daysoutwithatoddler

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