The first thing most people see when they approach Aberaeron are the charming, colourful houses adorning the town like jewels. Here's a place to come and relax - mooching around the harbour, exploring the independent shops and craft centres and enjoying a homemade cake and cuppa. The town is right on the Wales Coast Path and The Coastal Way. Ceredigion's coast is also well-known for wildlife including the famous Cardigan Bay bottlenose dolphin pods. Here's our short guide to things to see and do in Aberaeron and the surrounding area.
Fresh food overlooking the harbour
Aside from the obvious perk of beautiful views across the harbour in all weathers, The Cellar is one of Aberaeron's best rated restaurants, with a cosy atmosphere and specialities including Carmarthenshire mussels, scallops, cod, shrimp and sea bass. The dog friendly terrace is the setting for tapas during the summer months.
Experts in fresh fish and ice cream
Fresh fish and seafood are sold by the waterside here at The Hive, while squid, crab, pulled pork and steak feature on the restaurant menu. Sweet teeth are catered for in unique style with homemade honey ice cream (including a Turkish Delight version), and you'll be entertained by live music at the weekend.
Llanerchaeron Georgian villa and gardens
There's a lot to take in at the National Trust owned Llanerchaeron. This minor gentry estate is largely unchanged since the 18th century, when John Nash designed its villa and walled kitchen gardens. Meet sheep, pigs and Welsh black cattle on the working organic farm or wander around artefacts left by its last resident 25 years ago.
Glorious farm fresh produce
Crossing 45 acres of wildlife, Blaencamel Organic Farm is an award winning family farm in nearby Ciliau Aeron, renowned for its organic produce, ecological ethos and woodlands. Take a stroll along the River Nant and visit the acre of greenhouses to find out the secrets behind their specialities, then visit the shop to pick, taste and sample for yourself. Check out the Blaencamel Facebook page for more info.
Dolphin spotting in Cardigan Bay
Cardigan Bay is just one of two places along the British coast where bottlenose dolphins can be spotted. Over 300 of them spend part of the year in the area, usually throughout the summer, peaking in numbers during September and October. There are several companies operating trips, mainly from nearby pretty village of New Quay, to watch these wonderful creatures cavorting in their natural habitat.
New Quay Honey Farm: a hive of serenity
Honey wine was an inebriating favourite among Welsh people during Roman times, so this passionately run complex of hives added a tipple making meadery to its tea room and shop, which had been supplying sweet treats since the mid 1980s. An intriguing accompanying exhibition is laid out on the top floor of a chapel. Find out more about New Quay Honey Farm.
Explore further afield
Hafod Estate - a landscape designed to please
From the mid 18th century, Thomas Johnes – perhaps the best known owner of Hafod, a spectacular 200 hectare estate - laid out its paths in a picturesque style to suit picturesque walks. 200 years later, his success means you can plot your path (from easy to strenuous) along bridges, monuments, cascades and valleys. Hafod is around 50mins drive form Aberaeron - there's a choice of routes you can take to explore the gorgeous Ceredigion countryside.
If you love exploring underground mines, head to the Silver Mountain Experience in Ponterwyd, around 50mins drive from Aberaeron. It's been a while since Wales's best-kept silver lead mine rumbled industrially, but the lives of the hard-hatted workers and the folklore of orcs and spirits echoes through these forests and shafts. While the mine's history is interesting, the whole family will love the interactive challenges including gem panning, exploring the mazes in the Woo Hoo Wood, or, if you dare, venture through the underground on an evocative and spooky journey...
Vale of Rheidol Railway
See stunning scenery in style. A short drive down the coast road to Aberystwyth brings you to the Vale of Rheidol Railway, or you can catch the train from Devil's Bridge. Opened to the public in 1902, it's one of the most scenic narrow gauge routes in the world. The last steam railway owned by British Rail before being privatised in 1989, it's now a gentle way to wind through stop-off points from Devil's Bridge to Aberystwyth.
You are spoiled for choice with lovely places to stay in the area. The Georgian influence is strong in the town itself with elegant guest houses, sea view apartments and harbourside hotels to choose from. Further out in the countryside you can camp, glamp in yurts and cosy shepherd's huts or find a large family sized self-catering barn or a sweet, romantic cottage for two.