Smugglers Cove Boatyard
Frongoch, Aberdyfi, Gwynedd, LL35 0RG
Situated in a former slate works and quay overlooking the beautiful Dyfi Estuary, Smugglers Cove Boatyard has been offering moorings and acting as a hub for local sailors for years. But these days it's much more than just a boatyard, with camping pitches in the best spots along the riverbank, a glamping boat on the foreshore and four-star self-catering holiday accommodation in two almost adjacent properties – Chapel House and Quarry Cottage – which are rented together as a single holiday let. With room for 14–18 people in 7 bedrooms (as well as the ability to book the camping pitches and The Boy John glamping boat for even more guests), it's an ideal venue for family reunions, parties, celebrations and get-togethers.
Both properties were fully renovated by local architects and are furnished in a comfy rustic style that is cosy rather than posh. Five-bedroom Chapel House, the larger of the two properties, has three bedrooms downstairs, one with a four-poster, one a twin and another with bunk-beds. There are also two double bedrooms upstairs and a total of two toilets, two shower rooms and a family bathroom. The large open-plan area on the ground floor has a big sitting room, a communal dining table that can fit everyone, even at full capacity, and a well-equipped kitchen with a gas-fired hob, electric oven, American-style fridge, dishwasher and microwave. There's gas-powered central heating and also a wood-burning stove for cosy nights in, a Freesat flatscreen TV and a DVD player, a CD player and free wifi; and one of the sofas opens up as a sofa bed for additional guests.
Quarry Cottage, has a similar layout and facilities but just two bedrooms, plus a small double sofa bed. It also has a small, secluded garden, while Chapel House has a patio area with bench tables & BBQ. Dogs too are welcome, and it couldn't be more ideal; they even have an outdoor tap and drinking bowls for thirsty hounds and dirty paws.
One of the nice things about Smugglers Cove is the access it gives to the rocky foreshore and the river. You can launch your own boat or canoe or just enjoy the private beach, from which you can swim or just watch the boats bobbing about. The RSPB Ynys-hir nature reserve on the opposite shore is worth rowing across to, or you can stride out into the hills behind on numerous footpaths; Snowdonia National Park and the ridges that crinkle towards the north east are a short drive away – as is Cadair Idris, Wales' second most popular mountain for walkers, after Snowdon. There's also Aberdyfi beach at the far end of the estuary, which is a wonderful expanse of golden sand and dunes. All in all Smugglers Cove is the perfect place for a celebration or just a few days away from the daily grind.
FacilitiesThere are toilets and showers in an ablutions building near the car parking area. There is also a compost toilet and shower block by the railway bridge in the foreshore area, (available in the summer season only), complete with sinks for washing up. Firewood is available for sale (by the bag or wheelbarrow load) and small campfires are permitted in the three camping pitch fireplaces or the glamping boat fire pits. Pitches have outstanding estuary views (partly because they are practically in the water!) and, when the tide is out, there is a beach. There is no vehicle access to the camping pitches, however the site provides a wheelbarrow for carrying your kit and it's only a 100m walk (please be aware of uneven ground along the route). The Boy John, a converted fishing vessel, is available for groups to use as a communal space or as glamping accommodation. It features a sleeping cabin, wheel house with bench/bed, piano, log-burning stove, galley, fridge, music station, furniture and storage, and access to the top deck to enjoy the views at your own risk. The Hannah is a converted 32ft mahogany Hillyard yacht on the shore overlooking the Dyfi estuary, next to the Boy John. There is a double bunk in the fore and twin bunks in the aft, with a cosy seating area/kitchen and a wheelhouse/entryway with a view.
Suitable ForGroup bookings, family gatherings and celebrations.
NearbyThe natural beauty of the valley river and surrounding area - mountains, beaches, forests, sand dunes, wildlife, bird reserves, protected wet lands etc.
Food & DrinkSeabreeze, Penhelig and the delicatessen in Aberdyfi. Number 21, Wynnstay, the delicatessen, Llew Coch, Caffi Alys, Dyfi Roastery in Machynlleth and Ynyshir Michelin star restaurant in Eglwys Fach.
Open all year.
From £1395 to £1895 most of the year; short (3–4-night) breaks from £995. Dogs £25.
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