The Boy John

UK Wales North Wales Gwynedd Aberdovey Smugglers Cove Boatyard

  • Sleeps 2 (max 2 adults, 0 children)
  • Beds Provided
  • Bed Linen Provided
The Boy John is a 40ft long fishing trawler converted into a glamping shelter and installed on the shore overlooking the Dyfi estuary

The Owner Says

The Boy John is a rustic fishing trawler located in a small rural working boatyard, positioned above the slipway and converted into a charming holiday destination with views across the Dyfi estuary.
Entering through a door in the hull, the main living area has plenty of seating, dining table, woodburner, music system and even an upright piano. Some wood is provided and more can be purchased on site (usually by the shower block).
To the fore is an adjoining kitchen area with a two ring gas hob, sink, kettle, toaster and mini fridge. Various pans, crockery and cutlery is provided. To the aft is a bedroom with a double bed and storage space. Please make sure to bring your own bedding and towels etc.
A short ladder takes you up into the wheelhouse, which has outstanding views across the estuary. The wheelhouse features a sofa that can be folded out to make another double bed.
Outside there is a firepit and seating area for your use.
The Boy John is unique accommodation perfect for lovers of nature and rustic nautical adventure!

About Smugglers Cove Boatyard

Suitable For

Tents, families, groups, dogs – yes. Campervans, caravans and motorhomes – no.


Aberdyfi is 3 miles away. It's a charming, colourful little fishing village with a few good eateries and a big sandy beach. The drive takes less than 5 minutes but if the tide is a long way out you can walk, for around an hour, along the sands. It's a 10 minute drive to Machynlleth, a larger market town with independent shops along the high street, and a little further on the same road is the Centre for Alternative Technology (01654 705950), an interesting place to visit if you've been taken in by the eco-conscious camping. Smugglers Cove looks across the water to RSPB Ynys-hir (01654 700222), the location for much of the BBC's Springwatch series and the Dyfi Osprey Project (01654 781414), nearby, is particularly interesting. It is one of only two breeding locations for Ospreys in the UK with a walkway and hide for observing. Of course, by far the two biggest things here are heading into vast Snowdonia National Park (01766 770274) to walk, hike, bike and explore or to go boating on the estury directly from the boatyard. If you need a little tution try Dyfi Yacht Club (01654 767607) in Aberdyfi where there is sailing, kayaking, kitesurfing and more.

Food & Drink

Forage the trees around the camping pitches or get out your fishing rod and try to reel in your own dinner to cook on the campfire or if you're after something a little more speedy then the local towns of Aberdyfi & Machynlleth have a range of good eateries specialising in Welsh cuisine, fish and seafood etc. with a great deli in each.  There is even a Michelin starred restaurant on the other side of the river!
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Site Reviews

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Rated ★★★★★ over 36 reviews


Beautiful and unique

Such an incredible place - the view from the boatyard across the estuary is stunning, you couldn't ask to wake up to better. The boat itself is beautiful - definitely rustic so don't expect everything to be pristine - but we absolutely loved it. So cozy around the log burner in the evenings, and sitting up in the captains cabin in the morning with panoramic views is brilliant. Will definitively be back, and telling everyone i know about this spot! So magical!

Never want to leave!

This is the third time I have stayed on the boy John. I absolutely love it’s rustic charm. The boat is so cosy and the views are stunning. Wood was provided for the log burner and it was clean and tidy. The new shower and toilet block is great. We’ve already booked to come back here at Christmas! Don’t come here expecting a sterile Glamping unit! Probably more suited to old hippies like us! Love it!

Omg it was awesomeness

Once we were there as you go under the bridge the john boy was just was the most amazing sight..ok it is old but it just fits in with rustic, secluded boat on the edge of an ever changing estuary view.. It was an anniversary suprise for my husband and his face said it all..wood burner inside fire pit outside..absolutely brilliant..we are going to go again...we also had fantastic hot weather but any weather would be welcome as sitting in the wheelhouse was spectacular...please go you wont regret it...


We have stayed on several echo, greener and cool camping sites and this knocks spots off all the others. If you are looking for a wild camp experience, close to nature with little foot print, then this is one of the best. We can't wait to go back. Just 3 pitches, estuary, wading birds, otters etc for company.
Sep 18, 2021 by Linda Beech Verified Review

We had a great time

We had a great time staying on The Hannah. The boatyard is intimate, peaceful and in a beautiful location made all the better by the sunny weather. The boat is small but was clean and equipped with the essentials you could need and some welcome extras too (hairdryer, toaster and record player!). Comfy beds and we were pleasantly surprised by the showers - nice and hot! The fire pit and outdoor area were perfect for mealtimes overlooking the estuary sunsets. Cons: The toilets are compost toilets, something to be aware of if that's not your thing. Heavy rain meant a little bit of leakage in the boat one night but nothing major and probably easily fixed.
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Smugglers Cove Boatyard is located at Frongoch, Aberdyfi, Gwynedd, LL35 0RG

Show Map

Getting There

Take the A493 from Machynlleth for about 6 miles, after a sharp right then left hand turn the entrance to Smuggler's Cove is on the left. There is parking as you enter, then walk under the railway to the estuaryside where you will find the boatyard and camping. The nearest train station is Penhelig in Aberdyfi (3 miles) or Machynlleth (6 miles).