Magical sandy bays, traditional seaside towns and action-packed water sports – the beaches of North Wales have bags of experiences to look forward to. North Wales is easily reached from Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester, meaning the beaches are just a short drive away for those longing for a British city break with an added extra.
If you’re dreaming of adventure, you can also look forward to a trip following the North Wales Way. This 75-mile long old trading route passes many of the country’s most spectacular stretches of sand, as well as the imposing castles at Beaumaris and Caernarfon, and the walled citadel at Conwy. Whether it’s a city break with a coastal twist or epic road trip, North Wales is home to plenty of coastal adventures for your bucket list.
Rhyl, Prestatyn and Colwyn Bay
In Rhyl, Prestatyn and Colwyn Bay sunny days beckon you out to enjoy the long, broad, sandy beaches, but you can also tuck into freshly cooked fish and chips, lose yourself in fun arcade games or join in with feeding time at the SeaQuarium or the Welsh Mountain Zoo – just the ticket for a fun day at the coast!
Prestatyn has four miles of glorious sandy beaches and an incredible set of sand dunes, while Rhyl is home to a brilliant miniature railway that dates back to 1911. Wide promenades, numerous beach activities and an abundance of water sports means this stretch of coast promises fun for all the family.
A little further east is Llandudno, the epitome of the elegant Victorian seaside resort, with great places to stay, eat and drink. It’s also a hub of North Wales’ thriving contemporary arts and crafts scene. There are several galleries in town, with Oriel MOSTYN Gallery leading the way. It’s a striking reinvention of a grand Edwardian gallery that was the first in the world to be purpose-built as an exhibition space for women artists.
After dosing up on art, your dream day out could also include a ride up the Great Orme on Britain’s only cable hauled tramway. As a bonus, both Llandudno and Colwyn Bay also both have the magnificent driving, walking and cycling routes of Snowdonia right on their doorstep.
Over on the island of Anglesey, life moves at a gentle pace. Connected to the mainland by road and rail since the 1800s, most of its coast is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, making it a top spot if you’re wanting to lose yourself in coastal charms.
Foodies and history buffs will also want to add the seaside town of Beaumaris to their bucket list. Located on the east coast, it has charming Georgian architecture, a fine castle and some of the best restaurants in North Wales. You can also enjoy a host of cruises with Seacoast Safaris, which reveal the most striking local landscapes and native wildlife.
For another change of atmosphere, try the Llŷn Peninsula – one of the area’s lesser-known gems. The small towns of Abersoch, Pwllheli and Criccieth are popular with all ages for sailing and windsurfing, as conditions there are challenging but reasonably safe. Abersoch has a charming stretch of sandy beach, complete with traditional beach hut rental, and access to some lovely sections of the Wales Coast Path, with lots of coastal vistas for your Instagram feed.
At the tip of Tremadog Bay, where the Llŷn meets Snowdonia, there’s a unique seaside village – Portmeirion. Stemming from the romantic imagination of architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, it’s a little piece of Italy tucked away in a tranquil corner of Wales. This fascinating collection of villas, squares, towers and domes is now a conservation area owned by a charitable foundation. Imagine a day spent wandering through the gardens and dipping your toes in the bay, or staying overnight to immerse yourself in its unusual magic…
Barmouth, further south, is one of the most impressive locations in Wales, with the Mawddach Estuary and Cardigan Bay lapping at its toes and the foothills of Snowdonia rising dramatically at its back. With direct trains from Birmingham taking just three-and-a-half hours, it’s been a favourite with visitors since Victorian times. The huge beach is great for family fun, and there are trails around the estuary for walkers, cyclists and birdwatchers to explore. Alongside the miles of continuous sands, Barmouth is home to all of the seaside amenities you could need, from speciality shops and amusements to cafés and restaurants offering an array of delectable local cuisine.
Restrictions on travel to and around Britain are in place due to Covid-19. You are encouraged to always check individual websites for the latest information, as details are subject to change.