Here’s our rundown of seven of North Wales' best beaches, including hidden coves, stunning expanses, Victorian seaside towns and pebbled paradises – read on for some serious getaway inspiration.
This sheltered sandy bay, on the Llŷn Peninsula’s northern coast, enjoys calm, crystal clear blue waters that make it ideal for safe swimming and kayaking. For the more intrepid adventurer wild camping is permitted. Included in the parking fee, you can sleep under the stars and catch your supper as the rocks provide a perfect base for fishing, with bass, pollock, plaice and gurnard all on the menu. And four legged friends are very welcome, just be sure to keep them in the car until you've passed through the farm.
Even Bill Bryson, arguably the world’s most popular travel writer, took exceptional delight in describing Llandudno as 'my favourite of all seaside resorts'. A coastal town famous for its North Shore Beach and iconic 19th-century pier, an abundance of arty shops and dizzying amusements line its celebrated seafront. The resort is gracefully framed by two headlands and the twentieth century Great Orme Tramway travels to the headland’s summit.
Southern Snowdonia’s most popular seaside resort, Barmouth lies on the estuary of the River Mawddach and Cardigan Bay. Despite being a haven for visitors in summer, miles of unbroken sands means the resort never feels too crowded. There’s a pretty harbour too, perfectly placed on the mouth of the Mawddach Estuary, where fishing trips depart frequently.
Barmouth is complete with all the seaside amenities you could hope for – specialty shops, cosy cafés, amusements and local cuisine that covers all price points.
Petite and perfectly preserved, the Llŷn Peninsula’s Porthdinllaen is an idyllic coastal village. An outstanding wildlife haven that offers stunning views in every direction, its natural beauty has been in the care of the National Trust since 1994.
Historically a traditional fishing village, its cluster of quaint cottages, a waterside pub and lifeboat station make for a postcard-worthy view brimming with off-the-beaten-track charm (and it is quite literally off the beaten track with vehicle access restricted to residents only). After a busy day crabbing or paddling in the sea, enjoy a drink on the terraces of the Tŷ Coch Inn. The waterfront watering hole found itself in good company on a recent list of the world’s best beach bars, alongside hot spots from Dubai to Montenegro.
This seaside resort of Abersoch, in the community of Llanengan in Gwynedd, boasts a special combination of blue flag beaches, stunning scenery and internationally recognised sailing waters, all set in the heartland of the Welsh language.
If you’re more into sand wedges than sandcastles, Abersoch Golf Club is just a five minute walk away. Crowned 2018’s Welsh Golf Course of the Year by Your Golfer Magazine and described by some visitors as “the friendliest golf club in Wales”, the course offers a challenging mix of 18 holes suitable for golfers of all abilities, all with panoramic coastal views.
Porth Padrig Beach (White Lady Bay), Anglesey
This secluded pebbled cove, near the village of Llanbadrig on Anglesey's north coast, echoes with tales of Celtic legends. The crescent shaped bay is framed by dramatic cliffs, but it’s the inlet’s white quartzite sea stack that most easily identifies Porth Padrig. This "White Lady" is named after Ladi Wen, a ghost known in Welsh folk legend, evoked to warn children against bad behaviour.
The beach itself is named after St. Patrick. At the rear of the nearby churchyard, a stone stile leads to St Patrick's cave, where the saint allegedly sheltered after being shipwrecked on Middle Mouse Island.
Llanddwyn Island, Anglesey
Llanddwyn Island is home to shingle and sand beaches, as well as several beautiful coves, all encircled by majestic views of the Irish Sea. The Tŵr Mawr (that’s 'great tower' in English) lighthouse is the ideal vantage point to spot seals relaxing on the rocks below, dolphins and even the occasional minke whale.
The narrow finger of land is also the perfect picnic spot in fine weather, though equally exhilarating when the winter winds blow, offering epic examples of raw natural beauty in every direction.