Top 7 things to do if you turn left
Updated: Aug 31
What to do in Mid Wales? A big, but very frequently asked question. Here at Nant Awen in the village of Carno, we are the most central point in Wales (you can fact check me on Wikipedia folks!) and as such we are ideally situated to adventure out to any activity you've set your sights on! Unless it's a walk along the Grand Canyon that you fancy, then I'm afraid this is not the blog post for you, and probably not quite the right location for your romantic getaway either. So back to what to do? Well, let's make things a little bit smaller and a little more simple, and instead look at what to do if you head left (North out of the village along the A470) I'll try an include a variety of things that should cater to all tastes, but mainly it's just things that I like. Because this is my blog.
Cadair Idris Mountain
First things first; I always recommend a hike up Cadair Idris. Yes, it's a mountain but do not fear, you don't have to climb to the top for a good trip.
I am by no means a mountaineer and frankly just the thought of exercise gives me the shivers, but trust me this place is worth it. If you park at Minffordd carpark at the foot of the mountain near the visitors centre you can take a leisurely hike half way up to the lake that sits in the "seat" of the "Cadair" (Cadair Idris is "Idris' Seat" named after the giant Idris who, I believe, threw some big boulders down the mountain to make a comfy place to sit.) If a picnic at the lake isn't enough, you can then continue all the way up to the summit.
The Minffordd Path is the most direct route but also the most steep in parts, so you can feel like you've been on a real adventure!
You can check out Cadair and the Minffordd Path here
Not too far away from Cadair Idris a little further down the valley is a picturesque stop at Dolgoch Falls.
A walk up the wooded gorge takes you to various points where you can view the waterfalls that cascade down to a deep pool at the bottom of the ravine.
Bonus points for spooky caves to explore.
Directions and more deets here
Castell Y Bere
If waterfalls aren't your thing how about castles? This is Wales after all!
You can head straight past Cadair Idris to Aberganolwyn, take a right in the middle of the village and follow signs for Castell Y Bere where you will eventually come across the ruins of a 13th century castle on the valley floor.
What was probably a very impressive castle is now quietly grazed by sheep -because it wouldn't be a trip to a Welsh castle if you didn't see a sheep too! Truly one of our favourite places to visit, lots of nooks and crannies to explore and a panoramic view of the valley and mountains. A great place to stop and take a breath.
More info on Castell Y Bere here
Perhaps leaving the comfort of your cosy hot tub in Y Capel or Y Stabl for a long walk or crumbling structure isn't really your thing, don't worry! Just because you're in the deepest, rural Wales that doesn't mean we haven't got something for you.
Retail therapy sound nice? We gotchu, kid.
Wales' original capital city and the site of our first parliament, this market town is cute with a capital C (for Cymru!) With independent stores to browse and some great places to eat (I will get to food later, don't worry) it's got a bit of something for everyone, if what you want is classy homewares and quality coffee. Also note that Wednesday is market day, that means more shopping!
Corris Craft Centre
Fancy something a little more twee? Then this little hub is perfect. With a varied collection of independent makers shops and a cafe that serves delicious cawl it is definitely worth a visit. Even if the weather is a little glum there's plenty of interesting things to see.
I'm a particular fan of the blown glass shop, because it's beautiful.
Honestly the thing that's most likely to get me out of the house is food, so without further ado here are two food stops for when you've exhausted yourself with all the shopping and walking you've been doing during your stay.
Number Twenty One, Machynlleth
Full disclosure I've only eaten here for an evening meal once because I then immediately got pregnant and lost my social life entirely. But it's on my list of places I really want to go back to, because it was delicious. Home grown and local produce all freshly prepared, this bistro in Machynlleth is open for a light bite during the day or an evening sitting. They also have themed food evenings worth booking if they fall during your stay.
Follow them on instagram if you want to see some seriously good looking foraging skills.
Cross Foxes Bar & Grill, Dolgellau
Guys, we used eat here all the time pre Mabli, and a few times since Mabli, actually! It's also the place I recommend most frequently, I should probably get myself a uniform, you'd think I work for them! If you're ticking Cadair Idris off your list of activities then this Bar & Grill is ideally situated for a pub lunch and a pint on your way back home. And with an outdoor decking a summer Sunday lunch at the foot of Cadair Idris is rather lovely too.
My special mentions go to to Caffi Alys in Machynlleth, if you want the most beautiful tasting Portuguese Tart North of Portugal in a cosy setting surrounded by local art then this is the place.
And to Dyfi Roastery, also Machynlleth, where I had two chai lattes in one day because I have no self control and it was too lovely.
So there we have it, a very little capsule of some things to do without detouring too far away or off the beaten path and all in the same general area for those of us out there who may be a little directionally challenged.
Don't forget to comment with your favourite things to see and places to visit when you turn left out of Nant Awen!