Lots of the glossy travel brochures and Instagram campaigns will showcase blue-skied North Wales as the ultimate summer staycation but we’d encourage you to broaden your horizons and consider visiting when the weather takes a turn. During autumn and winter it’s just as beautiful here, but in a different way. Crisp, Welsh autumn days are, in our view, some of the best – particularly if you enjoy peace and quiet. Save for local dog-walkers, our beaches are often empty from late-September onward, allowing you to fully appreciate the seasonal ambience.
When it’s cold or rainy, a cosy pub is a welcoming sight. It provides respite from the elements and gives you time to relax after a long walk. We’ve selected four beaches with great walks and great pubs, all within an hour’s drive of the hotel, that are perfect for immersing yourself in the changing seasons.
Nefyn Beach – Y Bryncynan
Morfa Nefyn is an attractive seaside village with harbour, museum and graceful crescent of sand leading to picturesque Porthdinllaen – exactly the type of beach you’d expect to find on a British postcard.
Recently, the Llŷn Maritime Museum reopened, which is a great draw for this beach. For walkers, the village is an ideal base midway along Llŷn’s north coast path. Nefyn Beach is pretty secluded, but the few who visit do so for its clear blue waters along with views of the distant three peaks of the Rival Mountains (Yr Eifl) to the east. It’s predominantly a sandy beach with a number of picturesque, whitewashed cottages huddled towards the western end of the bay.
The Bryncynan Inn is located at the main crossroads at Morfa Nefyn. It’s a friendly, family-run country pub, much loved by the locals and visitors in equal measure. Here, after a bracing walk, you can settle down close to its roaring log fire. The pub has a great reputation for delicious pub-grub, which is served all day, everyday, and an excellent selection of cask beers and wines. The pub really lends itself to a family visit, too: there is a children’s play area (complete with a pirate ship!) that will keep kids entertained as the grown-ups relax.
Conwy Morfa – The Mulberry
Conwy Morfa beach is a large sandy bay, which at low tide forms part of the extensive sandy beaches and mussel banks of Conwy Bay. It is a wide expanse of marshy sand backed by a layer of shingle and grassy dunes in the foothills of Mynydd y Dref (Conwy Mountain). It’s just a short drive from the picturesque town of Conwy on the southern side of the River Conwy. It’s quiet, and the perfect spot to kick back after a morning exploring the medieval mysteries of Conwy Castle.
With a distinctly nautical feel, the Mulberry occupies a purpose built, light and airy space. Enjoy the warmth of the fire, sit out on the decked terrace or just grab a chair and enjoy the view from inside, there are options aplenty here. The menu has something for everyone, with particular emphasis on seafood, sharing platters and the Mulberry’s famous pizza planks. The drinks range is just as varied, with a rotating range of cask ales alongside world lagers, carefully selected local craft beers, award-winning wines, and hand-picked premium spirits.
Llanbedrog – Aqua Beach Bar
Llanbedrog is a hidden gem near Pwllheli on the way to Abersoch, and is a ward of the National Trust. Many of the beaches on the Llŷn Peninsula are perfect pit stops, but we’d recommend making more time for Llanbedrog, as there is lots to enjoy here.
If you’re seeking a traditional family beach experience, there’s a sandy shore and the water is shallow enough to enjoy a paddle (we know that some of you are even keen to dip your toes as we approach winter!). There are oystercatchers and curlews among the wildlife, and, of course, Llanbedrog’s famous beach huts to snap for the ‘Gram!
When it’s time for a bite to eat, Aqua Beach Bar has perhaps the best location on the list – sitting right on the beach with a sheltered terrace and snug indoor restaurant that’s modern, mellow and a great escape from the elements. Outside there are plenty of patio heaters and blankets, so you’ll be comfortable whatever the weather. The views from the terrace are spectacular so sit out if you can! When hunger strikes, Aqua Beach beach bar provides the perfect continental dining experience with a relaxed vibe and a fantastic selection of drinks to choose from.
Rhos on Sea – Rhos Fynach
Winner of the prestigious Blue Flag award, Rhos-on-Sea beach (or Colwyn Bay beach for the sat nav!) is great for swimming, watersports, fishing, cycling and walking. The expansive, sandy beach starts in Rhos-on-Sea at the harbour wall, where a tranquil scene of bobbing boats and a diminutive shingle beach entice you to explore.
The Rhos Fynach, started life in the twelfth century as a monastery for the monks of Maenan Abbey in the Conwy Valley. Over the years the Fynach played a pivotal role in local events and politics but fell into disrepair in the early twentieth century. Beautifully-restored in the 1990s, the building is one of the most popular pubs in the area – not only does it look the part but it occupies a great spot too.
Of course, the Fynach has the ubiquitous log fire, essential for warming you up after a cold day on the beach. With lots of cosy nooks and crannies to settle down in and a wealth of olde-worlde charm (not to mention a great food and drinks menu) you might not want to go back out in the cold!
There is no shortage of great pubs in North Wales, and there are plenty more of them waterside, but we certainly recommend these four as a great starting point; they’ve got a great atmosphere, great views and great grub. What are you waiting for? Bundle up and get exploring!
Image courtesy: Jeff Buck / Beach Huts on Llanbedrog Beach /