#OffTheBeatenTrack—A Welsh holiday in Pwllheli

#OfftheBeatenTrack is NationalRail.com’s tribute to the tracks less travelled – finding hidden gems amongst towns and stations that don’t regularly attract the headlines or the limelight.

This Christmas we will explore the small coastal Welsh town of Pwllheli, located in the North of Wales on the Llŷn peninsula.

Town/city: Pwllheli


Population: 4,076

By train: The terminus station of the Cambrian Coast Railway, trains here are operated by Arriva Wales. Pwllheli station was originally built in 1869 and moved to its current site in 1909. The station saw just 30,652 passengers last year.

Things to do:

The nearby Penrhyn Castle hosts our favourite local attraction: a museum that features industrial locomotives! Find one of the rarest locomotives that once was used on the local Padarn Railway, named the Fire Queen.


The castle also boasts a beautiful garden, festive winter décor and charming holiday accommodation.

Welsh Christmas tradition includes carolling, or eisteddfodde. Carols are sung at church alongside a harp, around the tree with family, and at dawn on Christmas morning, with families waking to invite in carollers for a warm drink in between songs.

Soak in the Welsh language by attending one of many Christmas concerts, performed in Welsh, during the Christmas season!

Or why not hop aboard the Festrail Victorian Santa Train running along the Ffestiniog Railway and Welsh Highland Railway. Children will receive a present from Santa and parents can enjoy a sherry and mince pie on the train.


And don’t forget the Welsh Christmas fairs. Find all the nearby ones here.

Popular/famous tourist spots:

Pwllheli is located near Snowdonia National Park, one of three national parks in Wales. This park hosts the highest mountain in Wales and the highest point in the British Isles outside the Scottish Highlands. Snowdon stands at an elevation of 1,085 metres above sea level and is a popular climb by experienced hikers.

For those looking for a thrill: how about a zip down the longest zip line in Europe? Open during the holiday season, the zip line at ZipWorld in North Wales can reach up to 100mph—the fastest in the world. About an hour drive from Pwllheli, this attraction also features a cavernous zip line and the only four-person zip line in Europe.

The Llŷn Coastal Path is a must see for all: the 146 kilometres of gorgeous seaside footpath is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.


Did you know?

This region is known for conservation of historical Welsh culture, with about 80% of the population speaking the Welsh language.

The Llŷn peninsula has a micro climate that tends to offer warmer temperatures and milder weather due to the Gulf Stream.

Nadolig Llawen! (Or Merry Christmas, in Welsh)! Get your tickets for your holiday in Wales at nationalrail.com.