Travel Trade Wales

Snowdonia eco guesthouse wins National Green Tourism Award

Snowdonia eco guesthouse wins National Green Tourism Award

Bryn Elltyd

A small guest house in Snowdonia has won a national green award for environmental, sustainable and socially responsible performance in the hospitality sector.

John and Ceilia Whitehead of Bryn Elltyd eco guesthouse, Tanygrisiau, near Blaenau Ffestiniog, won the Considerate Small Accommodation Provider of the Year Award at a ceremony in London where they rubbed shoulders with Savoy Hotel’s green team and many other bigger businesses from across the UK.

Bryn Elltyd was the only Welsh business shortlisted by Considerate Hoteliers in the 10 award categories and triumphed against much larger five star businesses.

The eco guest house was described by the judges as “a beacon of sustainability at the foot of Snowdon. Has to be seen to be believed! When you are next in the area drop by and see what John and Ceilia Whitehead have achieved in their six years of ownership.”

Ceilia took John to the Centre for Alternative Technology, near Machynlleth in 1982 and was amazed at working solar panels in a slate quary. John left his aerospace career, fitted solar panels on their suburban semi-detached home in Coventry and devoted the next 20 odd years to teaching technology.

The chance six years ago to change careers and run a green guesthouse in the Welsh mountains was a quest. Bryn Elltyd eco guesthouse is a 1883 granite building, which was not a good start for energy efficiency.

John has sensitively developed the property with massive insulation and turf roofed buildings, lined with sheeps wool, solar panels, hot air extraction from conservatories, rainwater loo flushing and biological sewerage into a reed bed and duckpond.

The property is carbon neutral and was one of the early adopters of a boiler that turns local wood to gas and burns it at 900c. The boiler is computer integrated with a massive solar array.

Bryn Elltyd is one of the few places that offers free electric car fuel to guests, with all power for the car charging points either made onsite or from 100 per cent renewable UK green sources. The guesthouse has two hydro power stations within 200 centres.

The couple promotes local activities, buy mainly local products and services and have their own orchard and vegetable plots hewed from the mountainside.

Bryn Elltyd has achieved gold in the Green Tourism Business Scheme, is one of 150 in the Superhomes schemes, was runner up in the Green Hotelier 2013, won the Gwynedd Renewable Energy Project 2012 and was also the subject of a three page eco case study in last year’s OCR exam A level paper.

“With many folk it’s a case of just talking about sustainability,” said John. “We are delighted that guests are often keen to actually see real things working. We are passionate about what we are trying to do here and embrace new technology.”

The Whiteheads are members of Mid Wales Tourism, an independent organisation representing around 600 tourism and hospitality businesses in Powys, Ceredigion and Meirionnydd.

For more information please contact John and Celia Whitehead on Tel: 01766 831356 Mob: 07905568127 or Email:

  • UKInbound Member
  • Association of Group Travel Organisers
  • ETOA Member
Link to home page