The best family-friendly beaches in North Wales

black_rocksgeograph-2724941-by-John-Jennings
Wherever you are in North Wales, one thing’s for sure, you’re never far from the mountains or the sea. But, as it’s summer, it’s only natural we spend some time lazing on the latter. Here at Royal Victoria, we think there are few places better than a Welsh beach on a glorious summer’s day!

With almost one hundred beaches in North Wales but only six weeks of summer holidays you’ll be hard-pressed to visit them all so, with this in mind, this week’s blog focuses on family-friendly beaches in the region. Why? Well, that’s easy! They offer a great day out for old and young, they tend to be safe with good swimming and, of course, they all have top notch facilities.

1. Porth Dafarch, Anglesey

Stepping out onto the sands of this hidden gem, you could be convinced that the last fifty years hadn’t taken place. It’s a timeless, traditional spot with glittering waters and plenty to explore. The National Trust look after the sheltered sandy beach of Porth Dafarch, which rests on the south coast of Anglesey.

This stunning Blue Flag beach is protected by the surrounding headland and provides safe, clean bathing waters to splash about in, plus fascinating rock pools to explore. Be aware that there is no lifeguard on site, although the beach is quite small so the kids shouldn’t be out of sight.

If you want to explore the local area, you’re in for a treat. Porth Dafarch nestles between the pretty little resort of Trearddur Bay and the RSPB South Stack reserve. There is free parking nearby.

2. Aberdaron, Llyn Peninsula

Steeped in rich, local history and providing sweeping views of the Llyn Peninsula, Aberdaron is a must-visit spot. The most authentically Welsh beach of our line-up, you’ll hear chatter in our native language around the village.

There’s so much to do at Aberdaron and families are really well-catered for here. As well as the ubiquitous sandy shoreline – a sandcastle builder’s dream – families with well-behaved dogs are welcome to enjoy the beach too, just keep left of the slipway.

From Aberdaron you can take a boat trip to Bardsey, the ‘Isle of 20,000 Saints’. Now in the care of the RSPB, this little island has a fascinating history and is a very important spiritual destination for Welsh people. Less than 10 people live on the island which is home to a wonderful array of native flora and fauna.

Prefer your feet on solid ground? You’ll find a good selection of bars, coffee shops and restaurants in Aberdaron village to enjoy a cool drink and watch the boats drift over the water.

3. Hell’s Mouth, Abersoch

Firstly, don’t be put off by the name! Porth Neigwl, as its known in Welsh, is actually a charming place to take the kids and perfect for families in search of a sandy beach with bright blue waters.

The beach earns the nickname from its exposed south-westerly location and its shape, with the bay thought to resemble a gaping maw. In days-gone-by, local fisherman feared being drawn into the ‘jaws’ of the beach and shipwrecked during a storm but the reality is much less dramatic!

This expansive beach is considered to be the best surf beach in Wales. When conditions are right, surfers come from all over the UK to ride the waves. As such, it can get busy but don’t let this put you off. There’s more than enough room on the 3 miles stretch of sand for everyone to enjoy a visit in relative peace.

The strong currents surrounding Hell’s Mouth are great for surfers but extremely dangerous; you must be a strong swimmer to bathe here, ensure little ones are supervised at all times.

If you visit, keep an eye out for harbour porpoises and bottlenose dolphins. Friendly and curious, they are often seen frolicking in the bay – a magical sight!

4. Dinas Dinlle, Caernarfon

Another proud Blue Flag flier, Dinas Dinlle lies on the northern coast of the Llyn Peninsula between Caernarfon and Pontllyfni. This is quite possibly our ultimate family-friendly beach, owing to easy accessibility and good onsite facilities, plus we think it has something to offer everyone.

Beachcombers will enjoy the feel of pebbles crunching underfoot before giving way to soft, golden sand and photographers will appreciate the panoramic views across the Llŷn Peninsula to Anglesey’s romantic Llanddwyn Island.

Nature and history lovers will also find plenty here: a vast array of native bird life inhabits the area which is home to an important Iron Age hillfort.

And, last but not least, the kids! It’s a huge beach, so there’s plenty of room for them to run off their buckets of energy whilst you soak up the sun!

5. Black Rock Sands, Porthmadog

Like Hell’s Mouth, not as dark and sinister as it sounds, but idyllic and golden! Black Rock Sands is a vast, sandy beach at Morfa Bychan, stretching for two miles between the famous seaside resorts of Criccieth and Porthmadog.

Don’t be surprised if you see tyre tracks on the beach as, owing to the solid sand, you are permitted to take your car onto the beach. For families with motorhomes or a packed car, drive right on!

This is also a fantastic beach for families with buggies or people with mobility issues. Naturally adapted for accessibility, wheelchairs and mobility scooters can access the shoreline to take part in the fun.

The water here is ideal for paddling and swimming; it starts very shallow and has a gentle gradient so you won’t accidentally find yourself in deep waters. Black Rock Sands is also well-known beach for watersports, including jet skiing and windsurfing, but they are kept at a safe distance in a designated area.

Image : Black Rock Sands, © Copyright John Jennings and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

What’s coming up in and around Llanberis in July?

Llanberis in JulyThe Llanberis summer season really gets into its stride in July, with a packed schedule of sightseeing, historical events, family days and sports to join in with – here’s some fun-filled dates for your diary describing what to do in Llanberis in July.

GreenWood Forest Park – all month

We know the kids are hard to keep entertained and that’s why Many venues have scheduled events for every day throughout the month/ Family-friendly theme park GreenWood Forest Park, near Caernarfon, is one of these.

Every day there is at least one show in the park’s theatre, making for a welcome undercover break either from the heat of the afternoon sun, or from the rain if the weather is poor.

Hopefully conditions will stay fine though, and if so there are donkey rides on the first three weekends of July, for a small extra charge. Greenwood is just 15 minutes’ drive from Royal Victoria Hotel.

For Freedom and For Empire – National Slate Museum, all month

The National Slate Museum is on the shores of beautiful Llyn Padarn and is within level walking distance of the hotel. This 18-month exhibition marks its one-year anniversary on 20 July 2016, but can be enjoyed by visitors throughout the month of July.

It’s an honest look at the military recruitment campaigns of the early First World War, including the difficulties that were encountered in encouraging the slate-quarrying communities of Wales to sign up.

Entry is free and the exhibition is classed as suitable for all – although younger children may need help understanding the overall theme. Visit the National Slate Museum website to find out more.

Art at Electric Mountain, all month (except 5-6 July)

Visit Electric Mountain at the very start of July and catch the end of Aur Glas, which translates as ‘Blue Gold’ and refers to the valuable local slate – around 50 artworks in different techniques are on show until 4 July.

After a two-day break a new show gets underway on 7 July, with art and photography by Amanda Ward and Sally Ellis, combining images from the local landscape with cities further afield, including Rome. Again, Electric Mountain is within easy, level walking distance of The Royal Victoria Hotel.

Running and Races – 16, 24, 30 July

Three athletic competitions take place in or near Llanberis in July if you want to pit your physique against other runners and riders:

The 16 July is the International Snowdon Race 2016, a 15 km mountain run with a 1 km climb and roughly equal uphill and downhill sections, a true challenge open only to experienced mountain runners.

The 24 July is the Snowdonia Trail Marathon, a massive 26 miles with a 1,685 m climb that circles and then ascends Snowdon itself.

The 30 July is the Legend Half Triathlon, combining a 1.2-mile swim with a 56-mile cycle section and a half marathon run home, and scoring an unsurprising 5/5 on the challenge rating.

Penrhyn Castle – 16, 21, 23-24, 31 July

There are four main dates to visit the National Trust property of Penhryn Castle:

On Saturday 16 July head to Penrhyn for Strawberries in the Park, a tennis-themed event with players from Bangor Tennis Club available to help visitors hone their racquet skills.

Thursday 21 July is the first of three Castle Fun Days (the other two are in August) and a great midweek option if the weekends of your holiday are already looking very busy.

On Saturday 23 July petrolheads can enjoy a display of classic Lotus cars – there’s no additional entry charge for this, just the normal cost of admission to the castle.

And the following day, Sunday 24 July, there’s the first of six weekly Falconry Fun days, with bird of prey displays and a chance to try your hand at archery – there’s another on Sunday 31 July and on Sundays throughout August too.

The castle is just 30 minutes’ drive from the hotel.

Super Hero Week – Llanberis Lake Railway, 24-28 July

This one is for the kids, although there’s nothing to stop mum and dad from dressing up too!

Children who arrive in costume as their favourite superhero, cartoon or Disney character get to travel free of charge throughout the week!

Staff will be in costume too, so look out for superheroes at the stations, and one child each day will be chosen as the ‘best dressed’ to receive an extra prize.

Yes, there are plenty of reasons to visit Llanberis in July and stay at The Royal Victoria Hotel. Why not book your stay with us by clicking here?

Image: © Copyright Betty Longbottom and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.