Discover North Wales’ coastal resorts

Whether you want to hit the surf, chill out on secluded beaches, savour ice-creams while strolling along Victorian piers, marvel at medieval castles, or simply soak up the sun this summer, you’ll find it all on north Wales’ gorgeous coast. It’s also the perfect location to team up with a city break in Manchester or Liverpool in north-west England, which are both around an hour’s drive from North Wales.

 

Anglesey

A unique island just off the coast of north Wales, Anglesey is surrounded by 125 miles of coastline that just begs to be explored. Bring sturdy shoes to walk the Isle of Anglesey Coast Path, or take a more laid-back approach and relax on its scores of beaches. Pack up a picnic and head to sheltered bays such as Lligwy Bay – also a popular spot for seal- and dolphin-sightings – gaze out over to the peaks of Snowdonia from Llanddwyn Island, walk for miles with your toes in the sand at Red Wharf Bay, or enjoy the crystal clear waters at Benllech. A visit here, and you’ll understand why the coastal zone of Anglesey is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which also incorporates the town of Holyhead, itself currently in the throes of exciting marina and leisure redevelopment with the Holyhead Waterfront regeneration.

The island is also home to Beaumaris, a pretty seaside town that’s home to architecture stretching from the medieval era to the Edwardian, cute cottages and a historic pier. Standing majestically within the town is the last of medieval King Edward I’s ‘iron ring of castles’; Beaumaris Castle is a World Heritage site and a must-see on a trip to Anglesey. And why not challenge yourself with learning how to say the name of the village that’s the longest in Europe –  Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch – it’s right here in Anglesey.

Go this summer for: Tour de Mon cycle race (19 August), Beaumaris Food Festival (1-2 September)

Where to stay:

Hotel: The French chateau-style Chateau Rhianfa combines a romantic history with stunning design, its waterside location affording awesome views over to Snowdonia’s peaks.

Historic Inn: An 18th-century inn, The Bull is found in the lovely town of Llangefni – spoil yourself and check into its Lloyd George Room with four-poster bed and roll-top bath.

B&B: Right on the promenade at Benllech Beach, Sea View House is a cute Victorian B&B with its own Pebble Bistro overlooking the beach.

 

Llandudno and Conwy

If you’re looking for a quintessential British seaside resort, you’ve found it at Llandudno, which has been a popular retreat since the Victoria era, thanks to its expansive, award-winning beaches – Llandudno North Shore Beach, a sheltered beach with a wide promenade and West Shore Beach, a smaller beach fringed by sand dunes. It’s here you’ll find heritage-style, British seaside activities (think Punch & Judy shows, donkey rides and live music at the bandstand) as well as a vibrant, contemporary town. Fans of Alice in Wonderland will be enchanted with the town’s Alice in Wonderland trails (the real Alice, Alice Liddell, spent time at her family’s holiday home in Llandudno) and you can stroll along Wales’ longest pier (built in 1876), which stretches 2,295ft/700 metres out to sea. Just one way to enjoy a magnificent view of the area is by heading to The Great Orme, a coastal landmark more than 200 metres above sea, which can be reached by the charming Great Orme Tramway.

Just 15 minutes’ drive away is the seaside town of Conwy – home to the spectacular medieval Conwy Castle, also built by English King Edward I; climb up to its battlements for incredible views across the sea and the town. And Conwy may possess a grand-scale castle but it’s also home to the smallest house in Britain on its quayside; this miniature red-painted house is just three metres high by 1.8 metres wide.

Go this summer for: Llandudno Jazz Festival (27-29 July), Conwy River Festival (14-15 & 20-22 July)

Where to stay:

Hotel: It’s enviable location on the coast means the luxurious rooms at St George’s Hotel overlook Llandudno’s glorious seascape, particularly from its new rooms with balconies on The Rooftop.

Townhouse: A classic townhouse on the promenade, Osborne House Hotel offers six luxurious suites elegantly furnished with antiques while right next door is the larger Empire Hotel, with its own spa, which guests at Osborne House can also use.

B&B: The modern-style Escape Boutique B&B offers nine double rooms each designed with their contemporary theme.

 

Abersoch and the Llyn Peninsula

Picturesque beaches, a laid-back vibe and a pleasant micro-climate mean the Llyn Peninsula has also been a popular seaside resort since the end of the 19th century. It’s a brilliant spot for surfing and sea-kayaking, thanks to the considerable swells at Hell’s Mouth (Porth Niegwl) yet it’s also the area home to family friendly beaches such as Abersoch. The waters off Abersoch are great for sailing in too – or go seal spotting on a boat trip off St Tudwal’s Island – its beaches are dotted with brightly painted beach huts, there’s a lovely harbour to stroll around and the village has a vibrant café culture.

On the other side of the peninsula are the famous Whistling Sands (Porth Oer) – where the sand squeaks as you walk on it! The sound emanates due to the stress of weight put upon the sand and this is one of only two beaches in Europe you can experience this. The beach is managed by the National Trust, as is Porth Ceiriad, a great beach for walkers, kayakers and surfers alike.

A unique coastal resort worth visiting close to the peninsula is Portmeirion; inspired by classic Italian resorts, Welsh architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis designed and built the resort between 1925 and 1975. With its Italianesque architecture and multi-coloured cottages, it was famously used as the location for cult 1960s TV show The Prisoner.

Go this summer for: The Abersoch Regatta (August), Festival No.6 (6-9 September)

Where to stay:

Hotel: The country house-style Porth Tocyn Hotel overlooks both Cardigan Bay and out to Snowdonia and also offers a self-catering cottage in its grounds.

Historic house: Set in more than three acres of grounds in the Llyn Peninsula, The Old Rectory offers guests a stay in a Georgian house that was home to the rectors of Boduan since the early 18th century.

B&B: Five-minutes’ walk from Abersoch Beach, the Egryn Hotel is located in an Edwardian villa with most of its rooms boasting sea or mountain views.

 

Rhyl and Prestatyn

Sail, windsurf or simply hang out on the long stretches of golden sands at the beaches of Rhyl and Prestatyn  and meet sea lions at Rhyl’s SeaQuarium, which sits on this stretch of coastline with an open seafront location. Or enjoy the coastline from a different perspective on a hike. There’s around 60 miles of sea views from the north Wales element of the Wales Coast Path and, at Prestatyn, it joins Offa’s Dyke, Britain’s longest ancient monument and a National Trail that follows the English/Welsh border for 177 miles.

In fact, this area is awash with ancient sites and historical attractions, from the well-preserved remains of the Roman Bath House outside Prestatyn, prehistoric sties such as the Gop Hill (Trelawnyd) and England’s medieval King Edward I reared his head here too by ordering the construction of the dramatic Rhuddlan Castle. And fascinating insights into what life would have been like in World War One (2018 is a poignant time to visit as this year marks the centenary of the war’s end) can be found at the 600-year old Bodelwyddan Castle and Park, which has a network of replica trenches at its World War One Trenches Experience.

Go this summer for: Mid-summer night ghost hunt at Bodelwyddan Castle (28 July)

Where to stay:

Hotel: Simple yet comfortable, Beaches Hotel’s seaside location means all of its rooms either offer views overlooking the Prestatyn Hills or Barkby Beach.

Restaurant with rooms: Located in the oldest house in Rhyl, dating back to 1672, Barratt’s at Ty’n Rhyl offers charming rooms to stay in once you’ve dined at its award-winning restaurant.

B&B: Enjoy breakfast overlooking peaceful gardens at Plas Ifan B&B, housed in a building that was built as a chapel in 1770.

TASTE June 2018

TREND: Pop up food

For its fifth and biggest year this summer, Carnaby Street Eat is returning this year with over 30 food stalls and trucks in the heart of London’s West End on 11 July. The free-entry street food festival will showcase some of London’s most diverse restaurants with a focus on the variety of global cuisines available and exclusive dishes. Another temporary delight, HipChips has launched a pop-up in One New Change and will be serving hand crafted heritage potato crisps alongside a menu of premium sweet and savoury dips. They will be open every Wednesday and Friday from 10am to 3pm throughout the summer months.

 

London

The all-embracing vegan trend continues to rise as three vegan newcomers are in London’s spotlight this summer. Following the hugely successful launch of the Covent Garden site in February, the plant-based phenomenon by Chloe will open its second London restaurant this summer in Tower Bridge. The chef-driven vegan menu features locally sourced ingredients in their most natural form to create hearty, nourishing meals made from whole ingredients that can have a positive impact on the overall mind, body and health. As part of W London Hotel's Dining Series, a new fully vegan menu that masterfully showcases just how flavourful and versatile vegan food can be, has been unveiled at W London in Leicester Square by Ravinder Bhogal. This residency is available to book until the end of June 2018, so grab a spot while you still can. Purezza (purity) was the first vegan pizzeria in the UK when it launched in Brighton in 2015, and plant-lovers will be pleased to know that last month they launched a new restaurant in Camden. Their aim is simple: to make their plant based menu superior to the traditional alternatives.

Top chef Mark Sargeant has bought modern British dining to his new venture at the iconic Tower of London with the launch last month of Sargeant's Mess, in collaboration with independent hospitality group, CH&Co and Historic Royal Palaces. Using ingredients from local producers, the restaurant has an extensive outdoor terrace with impressive views across the river and a dedicated bar serving prosecco on tap, frozen cocktails and beer slushies makes it the perfect alfresco spot for this summer. 

 

South West England

Roth Bar & Grill, Somerset, will be joining over 1,000 farms across the UK in Open Farm Sunday on 10 June: an annual initiative celebrating the diversity of British farming and the many ways in which the countryside can be farmed, foraged and maintained. Expect tractor and trailer rides across the farm, butchery demonstrations and farm produce samples such as Durslade Farm cider. With its own working farm and kitchen garden supplying the restaurant, the farmhouse offers a slice of culture in the countryside with its on-site art gallery and landscape gardens.

Gin lovers rejoice as the UK's biggest Gin Festival Tour arrives in Salisbury on 23 June. Based in Malthouse Lane, The Great British Gin Festival features over 100 different gins from around the world alongside cocktail demonstrations, talks and presentations, trade stands and even a virtual reality gin distillery.

 

South East England

The new official pub tour of Oxford offers a great way to discover a fine range of medieval and more recent inns and hostelries, providing a glimpse of history, and finishing with a lovely, cold pint. Led by a qualified guide with an intimate knowledge of the city (and the interior of many of its pubs), the tours are 1.5 hours long and start at 7pm.

 

East Midlands

Fischer’s Baslow Hall has launched a brand new foraging dining experience in Derbyshire, led by one of the UK’s top foraging and wild food experts, James Wood. Guests will have the chance to experience the abundance of wild ingredients on offer in the area: from flowers tasting of pineapple, to leaves tasting of aniseed. There will be a whole morning of foraging will be followed by a three-course lunch inspired by the morning’s bountiful harvest, showcasing truly local, seasonal and fresh wild ingredients at their best. The next available date will be 10 October.

 

Edinburgh, Scotland

The latest addition to the Chop House family has opened in Edinburgh’s Bruntsfield. Serving the best British beef, dry-aged and butchered in-house, Chop House offers a unique casual dining experience focused on steak and cocktails. Renowned for a sociable style of dining, Chop House presents large cuts of beef, sharing starters and enticing side dishes designed to be enjoyed by the whole table. The custom-made marble bar on the ground floor is the perfect spot to soak up the bustling atmosphere and views of Bruntsfield Links. A fantastic selection of drinks includes a carefully-curated wine list, inventive cocktails and locally-sourced beers including Chop House’s own beer brewed in partnership with Drygate Brewery.

 

The Fishmarket is a new seafood venture from Ondine’s Chef Patron, Roy Brett and Gary Welch, owner of Welch Fishmongers. Situated on Newhaven Harbour where boats have landed fish since the 16th century, the refurbishment of the original fish market building has taken over a year and extensive investment. There is both a traditional fish and chip counter and a 50-cover restaurant with a champagne bar where dishes on offer include Crispy Crab Claws from Scrabster and Grilled Tobermory Langoustines, Oysters and the Grand ‘Fruits of the Sea’.

 

Hawksmoor, one of UK’s best-known and most respected restaurants is coming to Scotland this summer with a new restaurant opening in Edinburgh in mid-July. Situated in the banking hall of the former Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters, the 170-cover restaurant and bar will celebrate the original features of the A listed ‘building of national importance’ and a rare example of late Art Deco Scottish architecture. The restaurant will also draw on the amazing produce the country has to offer and feature seafood from around the Scottish coast alongside its famous beef from grass-fed native breed cattle from both sides of the border.

 

AWARDS

Welsh and proud, Aber Falls Distillery, the first whisky distillery in North Wales in more than 100 years, has achieved five prestigious medals at the this year’s San Francisco World Spirits Competition – one of the spirits industry’s most respected competitions. The brand’s multiple successes include a Gold for its new Welsh Dry Gin, a Silver for its Orange Marmalade Gin, Violet and Salted Toffee Liqueurs, and a Bronze for its Dark Chocolate & Coffee Liqueur.

In 2018, Olive Magazine honoured Radnor Preserves, who are based in Caersws, Powys, as one of the top 10 finest artisan food producers in Britain. They have been judged as one of the best artisan marmalade producers in the world, and 2015 they won the Champion of Champion's Double Gold Prize at the World Marmalade Awards. Ingredients are locally sourced as far as possible, and all products are gluten free and are suitable for vegetarians and vegans. 

The Bull, Beaumaris on the Isle of Anglesey has won the Wales Pub of the Year at the National Pub and Bar Awards.

Explore Royal Britain

Britain just oozes with royalty with its roots dipped in rich history. Discover the UK’s castles, palaces, yachts and more. Explore our interactive map to discover royal attractions across Britain.

Royal things to do in Scotland

Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire

Balmoral Castle tells of Scottish history like no other, built in 1856 it served as the Queen’s countryside getaway in Aberdeenshire. This stately castle was also the setting for Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s honeymoon – romance is in the air!

 

Iona Abbey, Isle of Iona

This sacred site situated on the Isle of Iona traces all the way back to AD 563 and was a regular destination for Christian pilgrimages. Take the chance to soak in this spiritual haven first-hand.
 

Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh

It’s most famous resident monarch was Mary, Queen of Scots whose secretary and confident was assassinated on the premises. Visit the home of Scottish royal history and the Queen’s office residence in Scotland.

 

The Royal Yacht Britannia, Edinburgh

With the Royal Yacht Britannia in Edinburgh, you’ll wonder which British royal hasn’t graced its elegant deck. From Her Majesty The Queen and Winston Churchill to Nelson Mandela and Rajiv Gandhi, notable figures have boarded this majestic vessel. All aboard the deck for stunning exhibitions!

 

Royal things to do in England

Chatsworth House, Derbyshire

Indulge your inner artist with one of the UK’s largest private art collection and follow the footsteps of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. Located in heart of the Peak District, you could roam the stunning greenery and lavish rooms at Chatsworth House for days.

 

Sandringham, Norfolk

Housing four generations of British monarchs Sandringham is the Queen’s countryside retreat! From coastal wetlands to beautiful woodlands, find out what makes it the perfect escape.

 

Warwick Castle, Warwickshire

Previously used as a medieval fortress, Warwick Castle has a long and varied history. Visit the well-preserved castle where Earl of Warwick enjoyed his leisure time in style.

 

The Althorp, Northampton

Once the home of the late Princess Diana, Althorp House is now her resting place. Roam around the tranquil cottages, beautiful woodland and farms surrounding the estate.

 

King’s College, Cambridge

Feel like royalty as you gaze up at the stunning architecture of Cambridge’s King’s College. Founded by Henry VI, pop in to see its chapel that took a whole century to complete.

 

Longdole Polo Club, Gloucester

Enter the depth of rural tranquillity in Gloucester and learn to play Polo with the best of them. Even Prince Charles, William and Harry made an appearance on the grounds.

 

Kensington Palace, London

Did you know that original Leonardo da Vinci drawings were found in the palace with no clues as to how they got there? Get the royal insight by visiting the London home of Queen Victoria, Princess Diana and Will and Kate.

 

Buckingham Palace, London

You can’t get much more royal than Buckingham Palace. With one of the best known balconies in the world, it’s where the Royal Family appear to the public after royal or national celebrations. Inside you’ll find stunning interiors and the finest art collection to marvel at.

 

Windsor Castle, Windsor

The largest inhabited castle in the world, this building is simply breathtaking. Soak up the history of the artefacts, staterooms and grounds of one of the Queen’s favourite palaces.

 

Highgrove House, Gloucestershire

For the finest greenery in all the land, Highgrove garden in Gloucestershire will supply you with more than just a spring walk. Indulge in your luxury tastes with the kind of fine living suitable for a prince and a duchess.

 

Osborne House, Isle of White

Queen Victoria spent her holidays on the Isle of White in the palatial Osborne House. Marvel at its ornate terrace gardens or take a dip in the sea at Osborne beach.

 

Wimbledon, London

The Royal Family have had their own box at the prestigious Wimbledon Championships since 1922. If tennis isn’t your thing, there’s a charming village, an 1140 acres common (with windmill) and classy boutiques to explore nearby.

 

Royal Pavilion, Brigthton

Inspired by lavish Indian, Chinese and Islamic architecture King George IV ordered its construction in 1787. From a royal residence and seaside getaway to a hospital for Indian soldiers – the enchanting Royal Pavilion stands tall to this day.

 

Royal things to do in Wales

Conwy Castle, Conwy

Did you know that Conwy Castle was part of Edward I’s plan to build an ‘iron ring of castles’ around Wales? Its grandiosity is not to be underrated. Venture to the battlements and immerse yourself in the conquest.

 

Anglesey

Pursue some romance on the captivating north coast of Wales where Kate and Prince William found their perfect hideaway residence. An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Anglesey is the perfect place to fall in love.

 

Caerphilly Castle

Wales’ largest castle is a revolutionary masterpiece in its strategic military defence. It’s one of the first castles in Britain to have a concentric design (it has a surrounding wall) and has a rich and thrilling medieval history.

 

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The story of a royal romance

Love is very much in the air in Britain, with Valentine’s Day almost upon us and the upcoming nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

A few chapters ahead in their own love story, next week also marks the royal visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Sweden and Norway. We mark their blossoming relationship with four places in Great Britain to feel the love.

 

St Andrews, Scotland

The University of St Andrews in the quaint coastal town of St Andrews in Fife is where the couple’s story began. William arrived in 2001 to study art history (he eventually switched to geography), where he met Kate who was on the same course. Follow in their footsteps, wandering around the university quads, and admiring the striking architecture.

Nearby, climb the 156 steps to the top of St Rule’s Tower at St Andrew’s Cathedral for panoramic views across Fife. It’s free to visit, and the cathedral ruins hint at the grandeur of what was once Scotland’s largest church, and a meeting point for medieval pilgrims. You can also make your own two-hour ‘pilgrimage’ to Edinburgh by train.

 

Anglesey, Wales

Before their engagement, the couple lived on the island of Anglesey, just off the northwest coast of Wales.

Marking the official start of their life together, Anglesey was a particularly special place to call home and the ideal base for William’s job as a Royal Air Force Search and Rescue pilot.

Get swept away by its wild beauty along the 130-mile Anglesey Coastal Path which circles the island, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. You can also explore on horseback and enjoy views of the Menai Straits and Snowdonia’s mountains.

Anglesey is also known for its ancient sites – there are around 120 megaliths and burial chambers scattered across the island. Add to this, historic lighthouses, medieval castles and pretty harbours and it makes for a picture-perfect break.

 

Norfolk, England

The Queen gifted the secluded Georgian estate of Anmer Hall to the future monarchs, also giving them plenty of privacy to raise their children. It’s also just two miles from the Queen’s own beloved Norfolk residence of Sandringham, where William spent much of his childhood.

The couple have been spotted in local towns including Holt, where the Duchess has been seen browsing independent shops to furnish their countryside retreat.

Check in at the Kings Head Hotel in King’s Lynn for a romantic weekend retreat. It’s rumoured the royal couple dined here. You can also visit Sandringham’s spectacular house and gardens, including the museum’s extraordinary collection of royal vehicles and rare memorabilia. The grounds are free to explore.

 

London, England

In 2017, the couple and their two children (with a third on its way) moved into a 20-room apartment inside Kensington Palace to step up their royal duties, dividing their time between here and Norfolk.

Also the home of newly-engaged Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, visitors can tour public areas of the palace, including the lavish King and Queen’s state apartments.

To re-create your own special proposal, consider dinner and drinks at the west London institution that is Bluebird Chelsea or the unusual dine-in-the-dark Dans Le Noir ? in Clerkenwell, east London, where the pair are reported to have enjoyed pre-wedding dates.

Finish up with Kate and William’s Royal Wedding Tour of London to trace their whirlwind romance. Spots include their favourite Mayfair nightclubs, designer shopping haunts, the jewellers selling that engagement ring, and the hospital where their children were born.

 

Editor’s Note

Sandringham House, Gardens and Museum, and Sandringham Church, are open daily from Saturday 31 March until Sunday 21 October 2018, EXCEPT 23rd to 27th July inclusive. Visitors should check the variable opening times for the museum, house and gardens before travel.