UK stopoversWales

New Llanberis overnight parking spot faces criticism

Motorhome parking

A recently opened overnight parking site for campervans and motorhomes at a Snowdonia beauty spot has faced heavy criticism from locals.

Y Glyn, or “the lagoons” near Llyn Padarn in Llanberis, underwent major resurfacing work to create 114 parking spaces and an “Arosfan” campervan facility – but locals say it has instead morphed into a mass campsite.

The Llanberis Arosfan site has been hailed by many motorhome owners as the “closest to a proper French-style aire in the UK”.

One owner expressed: “I really want this to work, so I hope it isn’t a victim of its own success. If they have the bays and pay facility, it needs to be enforced so people don’t take the mickey.”

Locals report that vans are overflowing across the three car parks, taking up spaces and disregarding prohibition signs.

Many have voiced their frustration at not being able to park after 8am once the remaining spaces are occupied.

“It’s horrendous,” said local resident John Horrigan. “Van owners are setting up BBQs and putting up chairs and tables despite signs telling them not to,” he said.

“Once in place, they’re there for the weekend, and parking becomes a problem for everyone else.

“On Monday, a group of children were brought to Padarn by the National Watersports Centre but the party couldn’t get on the car park. Tents are erected nearby too I saw one as big as a marquee!

“In the old days, wild campers would pitch overnight, leave early and leave no trace.

“Now it’s different they have BBQs, chairs and fires, and some don’t take their litter. What’s really shocking is the sheer number of vans using the site, one was a 40ft US motorhome too big for the lagoons site. It’s always been busy but now things are just crazy.”

Campsite owners from the surrounding areas of Llanberis to Caernarfon are also reporting a slump in business due to the neighbouring “free campsite”.

Residents insist they are not anti-tourist but are calling on Cyngor Gwynedd to restore order and manage the influx of tourists more effectively.

A spokesperson for Cyngor Gwynedd said there was ongoing efforts to regulate the area: “We are working with our partners from other organisations and with the local community to encourage visitors to be mindful and respectful of the area when visiting popular attractions such as Llanberis.

“We urge people to plan their visit beforehand for instance, if they’re planning on camping, to arrange accommodation at a licenced campsite before setting off; to plan their activities beforehand so that they ensure their own safety and the safety of others; and to check the availability and opening times of the facilities they will require during their visit.”

Further actions being taken by the council includes “taking proactive steps to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone using Parc Padarn and the surrounding area”.

The council said: “For example, a security company has been used to monitor the area during weekends and over the school holidays for the last two summer seasons and following the success of the scheme, this arrangement will be in place again this year.”

“Significant work has been carried out at Y Glyn car park, to improve the look and feel of the site and to ensure parking is better regulated.

“The private company employed by the council to install the pay-and-display machines are due to be on site next week to complete their work so that the machines can be up and running ready for the main holiday period.”

“Due to the number of vehicles coming to Parc Padarn with watercraft and other leisure equipment on the roof of their vehicles, and motorhomes legitimately parking for the day, the height barrier cannot be lowered at the car park entrance.”

“We remind the public that overnight camping is not allowed in lay-bys and car parks. Following consultation with local communities and motorhome users, Cyngor Gwynedd is developing a network of Arosfan sites (similar to Aires on the continent), including one at Llanberis, which will also be operational once the final work on the pay-and-display machines has been completed.

“All motorhomes using these sites must be self-contained, with on-board facilities.

“Motorhomes may park in any of Cyngor Gwynedd’s car parks, but sleeping overnight in any car park apart from the specific Arosfan sites is not permitted.

“We are aware that there were three tents pitched at Parc Pardarn on Saturday night during the last Bank Holiday weekend, and the council’s staff moved the people on. We are also aware that many visitors to Llyn Padarn bring tent-like shelters for changing and so on, but these are not used for camping overnight.”

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Van Life Matters newsletter or download the Van Life Matters App to stay up-to-date with the latest UK Van Life news, tips and advice.

Related articles

Plans for Isle of Man motorhome parking at wildlife park

Mike Ruff

Pembrokeshire overnight parking still up for discussion

Mike Ruff

New private parking code of practice to govern UK car parks

Mike Ruff

Lytham St Annes campervan parking ban given go-ahead

Mike Ruff

Wales set to drop blanket 20mph speed limit

Mike Ruff

Norfolk coast beauty spot to ban overnight parking

Mike Ruff


Paul Simpson May 27, 2024 at 1:03 pm

It would Appear Gwynedd Council are possibly their own worst enemy here, and ‘Jumped the gun. .”Following consultation with local communities and motorhome users, Cyngor Gwynedd is developing a network of Arosfan sites (similar to Aires on the continent), including one at Llanberis, which will also be operational once the final work on the pay-and-display machines has been completed.”.

They opened the first Arosfan (Aire) at Y Maes Car Park Cricieth in March 2023. With further developments at Llanberis, Cei’r Gogledd Pwllheli and Doc Fictoria in Caernarfon The ‘Private Company’ employed by the council to install the Pay & Display machines, are ONLY returning this week to complete the installation at Llanberis, in time for the ‘ MAIN Holiday period ‘. Council has not taken in to consideration that Motorhome owners TOUR ALL YEAR ROUND, not just in main season. Perhaps it would have been better waiting until all the P&D machines had been installed and operational before opening the four Arosfan’s.
NO Management currently in place.
Whilst the Council website does not state how many dedicated bays there are in each Arosfan, they Do state the rules. MAX stay 2 subsequent nights with NO return within 7 days. NO CAMPING BEHAVIOUR ALLOWED.

Concerned Vanner May 27, 2024 at 6:29 pm

Whilst I agree that this doesn’t seem to have been the smoothest of openings in relation to the pay machines etc not being in place etc by the council, it appears that there seems to be education needed amongst the users as well regarding this type of park-up with some being unfamiliar with the concept of aires / obviously haven’t understood that you’re not supposed to empty half of your van out & to be courteous & considerate to others in the area in the surrounding area.

It does sound like there are signs up. I wonder if it’s clear that it’s supposed to only be 1 of the car parks / numbers are limited and that it says on site (not just on the website) that there’s no camping behaviour allowed.

This area is short of decent park-ups and I’m sure that other Welsh councils are probably watching how this roll-out goes along with Gwynedd themselves. It’s unlikely to encourage them to invest more in this type of facility if the area is misused right from the off and it just leads to a ton of bad feeling from the locals. It has the potential to be a very useful facility. Let’s not abuse it.


Leave a Comment

Van Life Matters