Beach holidays North Wales

Breezy, cheery North Wales is so close to Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester. So are you in the mood for a nostalgic family holiday, complete with sandcastles, candy floss and Punch and Judy? Or is an active break more your style – sailing and windsurfing one day, hiking the next? Friendly resorts like Llandudno, Abersoch and Barmouth offer loads of options.

Rhyl, Prestatyn and Colwyn Bay

In Rhyl, Prestatyn and Colwyn Bay sunny days beckon you out to enjoy the long, broad, sandy beaches and grey weather ushers you inside for fish and chips, arcade games or feeding time at the SeaQuarium or the Welsh Mountain Zoo. Either way, kids love it.

Llandudno

Llandudno Pier

A family on Llandudno Pier, North Wales

A little further east is Llandudno, the epitome of the elegant Victorian seaside resort. It’s on quite an upswing at the moment, with great places to stay, eat and drink. It’s also a hub of North Wales’ thriving contemporary art and craft scene. There are several galleries in town, with Mostyn 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 in Llandudno, you could ride up the Great Orme on Britain’s only cable hauled tramway

After that, head for the prom to stroll along the pier or take in a good old-fashioned Punch and Judy show. The Codman family have been performing here for over 150 years.

As a bonus, both Llandudno and Colwyn Bay have the magnificent driving, walking and cycling routes of Snowdonia right on their doorstep.

Anglesey

Llanddwyn Island, Anglesey
Llanddwyn Island, Anglesey

Over on the island of Anglesey, life moves at a gentle pace. Anglesey has been connected to the mainland by road and rail since the 1800s, but it still feels different – and most of its coast is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Beaumaris, on the east coast, has charming Georgian architecture, a fine castle and some of the best restaurants in North Wales. 

The port town of Holyhead is currently benefitting from an ambitious regeneration scheme and there’s a spectacular waterfront development on the cards. Nearby, there are lovely, peaceful beaches.

Llŷn Peninsula

Abersoch

Abersoch beach, Llŷn Peninsula, Snowdonia

For another change of atmosphere, try the Llŷn Peninsula. This is a part of Wales that deserves to be far better known. The small towns of Abersoch, Pwllheli and Criccieth are popular with all ages for sailing and windsurfing, as conditions here are challenging but reasonably safe. 

The coastal scenery is truly splendid. Abersoch has a gorgeous sandy beach and access to some lovely sections of the Wales Coast Path.

At the tip of Tremadog Bay, where the Llŷn meets Snowdonia, there’s a totally unique seaside village – Portmeirion. Stemming from the romantic imagination of architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, it’s like 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. You can visit for the day to wander through the gardens and dip your toes in the bay, or stay overnight to immerse yourself in its unusual magic.

Barmouth

Barmouth

Barmouth and the Mawdach Estury, Snowdonia

Barmouth, further south, has 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 from the Midlands 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.

More attractions in North Wales