Coastal areas of North and Mid Wales
An overview of the coastal areas of North and Mid Wales
The closest coastal area to Bala is at Barmouth or Fairbourne, accessed by a drive along the magnificent Mawddach Estuary. All of the coastline to the west of Bala is along Cardigan Bay with the mountains of Snowdonia as the back-drop. The sheltered Bay provides a superb location for boating where you may be lucky and spot dolphins and seals. The three major estuaries of Snowdonia are all within easy access from Bala. Travelling further away is the Llŷn Peninsula - another area of outstanding natural beauty - and the North Wales Coastal resorts - all accessible for a day out.
Barmouth is a lively, Victorian, seaside resort with a host of amenities and amusements. Its beach running north from the pretty harbour, is long and sandy. The town and beach is flanked by cliffs of the Rhinog mountains. There is a lifeboat museum and a lock-up used in the 1700s for drunken sailors!
Fairbourne is a small seaside resort, which has a long sandy beach 2-miles long with rock pools at either end of the beach. A beach car park is available for day-trippers. In the summer months the central part of the beach is dog free, however, this still leaves large stretches of beach either side of the exclusion zone for dog walkers. Running through the centre of the village and along the sea front to Penrhyn Point is the Fairbourne & Barmouth Steam Railway. You can catch the narrow gauge railway to Penrhyn Point, board a ferry across to Barmouth and return either on foot across the Barmouth Bridge or by British Rail.
Shell Island (Llanbedr, Nr. Harlech)
Shell Island is 7-miles north of Barmouth and 3-miles south of Harlech, turn west at Llanbedr Bridge and follow the coast road for 1½-miles to the causeway. There are over 200 different varieties of shells, wild flowers including 13 species of wild orchid seen over a season, birds and panoramic views. Sandy beaches and fishing are also possible. Snack bar, restaurant, bar, gift shop and supermarket are available. It is open March-November inclusive - an entrance fee is charged.
Llŷn is the crooked finger of land pointing into the Irish Sea from Snowdonia. Its coastline, an “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty”, is full of contrasts, with everything from long beaches to tiny coves, open bays to inaccessible cliff-backed shores. Its most popular holiday centres are Criccieth, Pwllheli, Abersoch, Aberdaron and Nefyn. Criccieth's headland castle looks out across two beaches, Pwllheli has a long stretch of sands and a modern marina, Abersoch is a bustling little resort and sailing centre, Aberdaron's picturesque whitewashed cottages look out over wild headlands and a sandy beach, while Nefyn is part of a double crescent of sands which ends at the beautiful little coastal settlement of Porth Dinllaen.
North Wales Coastal Resorts
This sandy strip of coastline, stretching from Conwy to Prestatyn, is popular seaside visits. The four main resorts - Llandudno, Colwyn Bay, Rhyl and Prestatyn - have a range of attractions, traditional and modern, which appeal to all ages. Yet within this formula there's a scope for variety. Llandudno is the dignified ‘Queen’ of the Welsh resorts, a place that has convincingly preserved its Victorian character. There are splendid views along its curving seafront, set between two headlands. Great Orme Head has views and a number of attractions. Close by is Conwy, one of Wales’ most historic towns, which has grown up around a mighty medieval castle and picturesque quayside. Colwyn Bay, along the coast from Llandudno, has a more colourful character. In the wooded hills above its long beach is the famous Colwyn Bay Mountain Zoo. Rhyl is a seaside resort firmly in the traditional mould but with a wonderful range of up-to-the-minute attractions, including a Skytower and all-weather Sun Centre. Prestatyn is another cheerful resort offering fun and amusement through its mix of excellent beaches and the entertainments on offer at the Nova Centre.
Information compiled by Bryniau Golau and Abercelyn Country House & Cottages.