Betws y Coed


Best at / for: any time as long as the river levels are up, or for Autumn foliage.

Best avoided: public holidays, weekends.

Parking: easy parking close to both locations.

Access: The falls are easy, but the Glen requires care on slippery rocks.

Notes: see the details …


Followers of my YT channel will know that I’m happy to share my opinions on things. And in this case I may well split opinion. I don’t mean in any way to denigrate any photographers artwork or choice of subject. But I just don’t get Betws y Coed.

As a little town, it’s pleasant enough in a twee, wannabe Alpine sort of way. But you just can’t avoid the year-round Wallace Arnold coach-trip location vibe. As thousands of pensioners throng every square inch of pavement (and a good part of the single road which meanders through the heart of the village). It’s just too small a place for so many trippers. Even in January! The tourism consultant who put this place on the map must be very smug.

And so to the photography. Well that’s where I’m really confused. There are 2 iconic shots to be had. In a poor second place, the Swallow Falls. And at number one, for the 5000th week running, it’s that family-favourite, the Fairy Glen.

And they each have pretty much one single composition available. So there’s such a limited scope for originality. And as both locations are in deep river valleys, you can’t even really make much use of the light if it happens to be really good.

The visitor to Snowdonia is already on the doorstep of some of the finest locations in England & Wales. Wouldn’t they surely be far better served to head just a few short miles up the road? Rather than spending valuable photography time in Betws?

I can be there is about 45 mins from my house. And despite finding myself just up the road in Capel Curig more times than I can count, I’ve never once thought “oooh, let’s pop down to Betws …”

Just saying.