Smugglers Cove Boatyard
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. Firewood is available for sale (by the bag or wheelbarrow load) and small campfires are permitted in the three camping pitch fireplaces. 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. 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.
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.
The Owner Says
Two cottages available as a single let, with 7 bedrooms comfortably sleeping up to 18 people.
Chapel House & Quarry Cottage
By car from Machynlleth, take the A487 towards the train station and continue under the railway bridge and over the river bridge and then turn left onto the A493 to Aberdyfi. Drive for about 6 miles, through Pennal and Cwrt, and then follow the road down to the river. The white-walled building on the right is Quarry Cottage; continue for 100m and turn left into the boatyard. Park and walk through the tunnel to Smugglers Cove cottages. By public transport, take the train from Birmingham to Machynlleth, where there's a taxi rank; there's also a local bus, the X29 which runs every two hours and stops at the boatyard.The nearest train station is Penhelig in Aberdyfi (3 miles) or Machynlleth (6 miles).
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