The Boy John

UK Wales North Wales Gwynedd Aberdovey Smugglers Cove Boatyard

  • Sleeps 2 (max 2 adults, 0 children)
  • Beds Provided
  • Bed Linen Provided
Sleeping up to 2 people

The Owner Says

Love nest for two – village hall for campers – music or party venue.
We have converted an ex-Scottish fishing boat into a quirky space, she is pulled up onto the shore and is entered via a doorway cut in the side.
She is not gleaming and shiny, more quirky and fun.
She has been used for gigs, music, films, storytelling and a party space. As a standing music venue she holds 25/30 people.
If you have booked our cottages or camping pitches, she can provide a warm dry space for your group on the foreshore. If you are looking for a romantic weekend away with a difference, the experience will be memorable.
She is 40 foot long and 13 foot wide, with good standing headroom. On entering through the door in the hull, you find yourself in an area of about 20' x 13', the ribs and planking of the vessel are visible, giving lots of character.
At one end is an area which can be used for a bar or for cooking (double ring gas cooker and kettle) and at the other end a wood burning stove.
There is seating along the sides for 12 people plus a few loose chairs. There is also a piano.
You then pass through to the stern cabin, which has a double bed and a love seat! This cabin is lined with boards that follow the lines of the hull, which gives it a real nautical feel.
Upstairs is the wheelhouse which is glazed and has amazing views of the estuary, outside there is a deck for sitting and enjoying the ambience and beauty of the estuary.
The space is lit with fairy lights and spot lights using solar generated electricity.

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 23 reviews


Magical place

What a magical and wild site. We went with two families and five children between 8 and 15 and we all had a wonderful time. The kids were constantly entertained by the beach; high tide and low tide were equally fun and there were so many crabs to catch! The location feels really wild although the road is close it doesn’t disturb you. The boatyard is really fun to look at. We saw fish jumping and birds of prey overhead. Aberdovey is just down the road and great for ice cream and jetty jumping. The facilities are very basic but I would not agree with the reviews that say the loo is grotty, it was always clean. One word of warning; the tides are strong so might not be ideal for little kids as they would need very close supervision.

A magical location and a really wild experience

We loved watching the tides turn, swimming at high tide and playing in the sand at low tide. The kids spent hours hunting crabs, we spotted birds of prey and ate blackberries from the hedges. It is a wild and magical site. Perhaps not good for little kids as the tides are strong and you would have to keep a very watchful eye. Facilities are clean but basic.

Incredible escape from the world in stunningly peaceful and beautiful Welsh landscapes.

The boat is simplistic but lovely, rustic and homely with just the right amount of equipment to make you feel comfortable. There are lights, cosy blankets, so many options for places to make into a bed and a log-burning stove to keep you warm through the cold nights. The views of the Dyfi Estuary are unparalleled in their beauty and no matter how cold your hands and feet are when you wake up, those views are enough to warm you right through. The boatyard itself is clean, tidy and organised and all facilities are modest but functional, exactly as you'd expect for somewhere so remote and natural. There are natural wooden chairs and a fire pit so you can sit on the estuary and watch the sun go down, as well as a comfortable wicker sofa in front of the fire to enjoy a glass of whisky by as the night draws in. The site is well signposted, the team are always on hand and happy to help with anything, as well as being friendly and very knowledgeable. I couldn't recommend this place more as even though my partner and I stayed on perhaps the coldest night of the year, we had a fantastic and memorable visit and wouldn't hesitate to come again.
Jan 23, 2020 by Emma Stocks Verified Review

Beautiful place

The boat was stunning so cosy and cute, very cold in December but my boyfriend loved this as his birthday gift and our little get away really recommend!
Dec 13, 2019 by Sophie Clarke

A piece of heaven

Whata fabulous location, great site with a clean beach. We all loved it and the sunsets were amazing! It was so relaxing - it was heaven!
Oct 25, 2019 by Caroline Howard
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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).