Pistyll Rhaeadr Waterfalls, Lake Vyrmwy and Barmouth

My birthday really creeped up on me this year – alas, I am now 25 and still not any closer to really knowing the meaning of what it is to be an adult. Thankfully, instead of spending the weekend of my birthday pitying that I am now in fact half way to 50, Troy had organised a weekend in Wales. We have neglected the fact that Wales is (kinda) on our doorstep and we haven’t visited since the notorious Tryfan climb of Easter 2017 … but more of that another time.

We were blessed with beautiful sunshine (a rarity on our previous Welsh encounters) and set off towards our home for the night in Machynlleth with a couple of planned detours. The first of which was Pistyll Rhaeadr – now I will be honest, I had never heard of this waterfall and we were lucky enough to visit some breathtaking waterfalls in Bali last Autumn so my expectations were pretty high. Pistyll Rhaeadr totally lived up to those exceptions and was just as magnificent as those we had travelled 1000s of miles to see in Indonesia. It’s Britain’s largest single-drop waterfall at 80m and it certainly packs a punch when you’re stood at the foot of it.

The base of Pistyll Rhaeadr

We parked down by the base of the waterfall near to the Tan-y-Pistyll (the little house under the waterfall) tea room and climbed the track you can reach though the gate just outside the tea room car park. You can follow several tracks up the fell side to reach the top of the waterfall where several smaller waterfalls converge. It’s a special little haven at the top of the waterfall and has such a serene atmosphere that you almost forget that the water drifting by you will soon literally fall of the face of the earth and crash to the ground nearly 100 meters below. We spent some time here, peering nervously over the edge and absorbing the tranquility before heading back to the base of the waterfall where you can witness the sheer power of the water.

Views on the way to the top of pistyll rhaeadr
Enjoying the tranquil atmosphere atop of Pistyll Rhaeadr

Our next detour was to Lake Vyrnwy, a stunning reservoir built to provide fresh water to Liverpool. The reservoir has the most elaborate damn built across it which you drive across to reach the car park for the reservoir. It all seems very extravagant for something such as a reservoir but that is the beauty in seemingly everything built in the Victorian era. The ornateness of the dam feels almost medieval as you cross to the other side.

Dam at Lake Vyrnwy

The Lake is now also a RSPB Nature reserve and many birds hide around the lake with some rare birds allegedly breeding here also. We didn’t spot too many birds, but we did get a very good hot chocolate from one of the cafes on the site whilst the sun shone down on us.

Lake Vyrnwy

We finally reached our final destination in Machynlleth, a beautiful converted train carriage on top of one of the many beautiful Welsh hills. The carriage is so removed from the humdrum of normal life, and we thoroughly enjoyed the night, building our own fire and making our own entertainment after cooking a lovely birthday tea together. I cannot recommend this little airbnb gem enough!

Our carriage for the night
Inside our home for the night

After waking to the rising sun and calls of the chickens we sadly ventured back home to the city but not before visiting one of Wales’ beautiful beaches. We detoured via Barmouth, a little seaside town on the estuary of the River Mawddach and Cardigan Bay, to enjoy some fresh clam chowder and take in some of that fresh sea air!

Barmouth Beach

What are your must see sites in Wales?

Until next time,



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