30 June 2016
Welsh beach towns come out on top
Five of Wales’ beautiful beach towns have been picked by Rough Guides as being some of the very best in Britain. The list of Britain’s Best Seaside Towns, published by the leading publisher in travel writing, honours the British tradition of a trip to the seaside. It has the UK’s top examples of the different types of seaside towns, from those boasting golden beaches to those with the greatest amusement arcades. Read on to find out more about which of Wales’ towns made the cut.
Not many seaside towns can claim to having 22 kilometres of railway running between the harbour and a nearby mining town, but Porthmadog, with its Ffestiniog Railway, certainly can. The views outside the carriages are breathtaking, with cascading countryside, mountain-lined horizons and green fields galore. Snowdonia National Park is very close to Porthmadog; from the town, you can see right across the Glaslyn River estuary to the mountains. It’s hard not to be blown away by the natural beauty that surrounds you.
Here’s a university town with a difference. Forget any presumptions of fast food joints and cheap booze - Aberystwyth has retained its charm despite thousands of students now studying there. Georgian houses run along the promenade, a Victorian inspired camera obscure sits atop of a big hill and numerous art galleries and the National Library of Wales provide culture on a plate. One of the coolest things that happens there is the starling invasion. Every winter, 50,000 starlings roost under the pier. From dusk every night, they swoop over the waterfront in flocks to form dramatic black clouds.
One of the things that’s bound to be on most Welsh families’ to-do lists is a trip to Tenby. Even Roald Dahl used to visit! Three Blue Flag beaches are surrounded by the medieval stone walls of the town, which are shouldered by a brightly coloured row of little houses. The Welsh name for Tenby, ‘Dinbych-y-pysgod’, literally translates into ‘little fortress of fish’. It couldn’t be any more of an idyllic seaside town if it tried!
Perhaps most famous for its cultural links, Portmeirion, a semi-fictional town, truly is one of a kind. As a stunning Mediterranean inspired resort in the middle of rural North Wales. it’s a strange but wonderful Italianate village that screams sunshine and endless coastline, regardless of how dank the weather actually is. It was famously the filming location for The Prisoner, and every year it houses the music and art festival, Festival No. 6
Llandudno, Conwy County Borough
The largest seaside resort in Wales is also one of the country’s best. With an award-winning pier, miles of beaches, amusement arcades, funfairs, ice cream parlours, a toboggan run and a mini golf course, it really delivers what you’d hope for at the seaside. The town is said to have inspired Lewis Carroll to write ‘Alice in Wonderland’; fans can go on special Alice tour to see the sights. Next to the town is a prominent limestone headland known as Great Orme. The dramatic mound, from which you can see Snowdonia unfold, can be climbed by cable car or tram.