Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel, Nant Gwynant
This building was erected c.1810 as a farmhouse. By the middle of that century it had become an inn, catering for the growing numbers of tourists attracted to Snowdonia. The location is at the junction of the roads from Llanberis and Beddgelert towards Betws-y-coed. Both roads were a gruelling climb for horses pulling tourist coaches, and a break at Pen-y-Gwryd was a necessity as well as a pleasure.
Pen-y-Gwryd’s location near the Snowdon massif and the Glyderau has long made it a popular base for mountaineers and climbers. In the early 1950s it was used as the base for training the mountaineers who, in 1953, became the first people to climb to the summit of Everest. A collection of memorabilia from that pioneering Everest team is displayed inside the hotel. The signatures of many mountaineers, including Edmund Hillary and Chris Bonnington, are visible on the ceiling of the bar room.
This location was important for another strategic reason in the first century AD. A camp was created here for Roman soldiers to rest as they marched through northern Snowdonia. Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel and its grounds occupy part of the camp site, as does the road junction outside.
During the Second World War the hotel accommodated Lakeside House Preparatory School, which evacuated there 35 pupils from Bexhill-on-Sea in Sussex under the tutelage of Headmaster AH Williams.
At the junction where the Llanberis Pass meets the Nant Gwynant Pass and close to where the Pen-y-Gwyrd Hotel stands, the Royal Artillery manned four heavily fortified pillboxes. The military hierarchy felt that the German army might invade Britain by landing on the beaches of West Wales, and Pen-y-Gwryd would have been an important strategic point to slow down or stop a German advance.
With thanks to Adrian Hughes, of the Home Front museum, Llandudno
Postcode: LL55 4NT View Location Map