With all this hot weather it’s beginning to feel more and more likea ‘proper’ summer… and what says summer more than a day at the beach?! The North Wales coast is blessed with a variety of stretches of sand, pebble beaches and coastal areas, all just waiting to be explored.
You’ll find family-friendly play areas, secluded spots for sunbathing, coastal havens of wildlife and sandy places enriched with centuries of history. We’ve taken a fine-tooth (beach)comb and chosen our favourite beaches in North Wales – there really is something for everyone here.
Best for… a traditional day at the seaside
There’s a reason Barmouth is one of the UK’s most popular seaside resorts. Its setting is idyllic, with a backdrop of rugged mountain scenery and a huge stretch of sand that’s perfect for settling in with a bucket, spade and parasol. Because it’s got such a wide beach area, even during peak summer season it doesn’t get too crowded, meaning you’ll be able to find the perfect spot to set up camp.
There’s a selection of shops, cafes and restaurants close by, and you can indulge in a range of traditional seaside activities that transport you back in time; think donkey rides, amusement arcades and retro fairgrounds.
A great destination for the quintessential day at the beach experience; take part in an impromptu volleyball match, dip your toes in the shallows, or simply relax with an ice cream in hand… bliss!
Best for… photographers
For a truly iconic beachside scene, look no further than Llanbedrog. Backed by a thick covering of forest, with clear shallow water and a lovely strip of sand, this beach is most famous for its technicolour row of beach huts, which make for some really eye-catching snaps (the huts can be rented per day or per week).
The beach is also a great jumping off point for exploring the local area’s other photogenic features; try following the footpath up to Mynydd Tir y Cwmwd for some spectacular views out over the beach and beyond to the lovely bay it overlooks.
Other activities here include sailing, fishing and pony treks, while the south-facing location means the water can be warm enough for a paddle in the shallows – return to your lovely colourful beach hut after to dry off!
Best for… watersports
On the west coast of Anglesey you’ll find a mecca for watersports enthusiasts at Rhosneigr. Two stretches of sand – Traeth Llydan and Traeth Crigyll – are intersected by the village, making it the perfect spot for a variety of exhilarating activities. Those experienced at taking to the water will love the stunning locale and waves here, while there’s a great selection of schools, classes and tutorials to suit beginners and those looking for a little encouragement.
If you venture down to the beach and find the pull of the sea irresistible, you’ll also find a selection of specialist retailers who can advise and kit you out with all the gear you need for surfing, kitesurfing, kayaking and windsurfing. Check out Gecko Surf and Funsport for more.
If you’re not an adrenaline junkie, you’ll find plenty to keep you occupied here too; soft sand, the sound of the waves, a short walk to the village for picnic supplies… what more could you want?
Best for… pilgrims
A jewel in the Llyn Heritage Coast, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you’re guaranteed jaw-dropping views at Aberdaron Beach. It’s a good place for a family day out, and there’s excellent sailing to be had off the coast. There are many caves, pools and rocky headlands to explore here, though an unmissable adventure actually uses the beach as a departure point.
Bardsey Island has long been a centre for spirituality, and it’s believed that a monastery was constructed here as early as the 6th century. This has been a pilgrimage site for hundreds of years, and is known as the ‘island of 20,000 saints’. Take a daytrip out to Bardsey Island, which is open to visitors from March to October each year. Visitors generally spend around four hours on the island, so combining this with Aberdaron Beach makes for the perfect day out!
Best for… maritime history
Moelfre’s beach might not be the sandiest (in fact, it’s all pebbles), but this area’s rich history and superb landscapes means this is a fabulous choice for a coastal day out.
One of the biggest attractions here is the Lifeboat Station, which boasts an impressive history; crew members based here have been recognised with 37 medals for bravery. In October 1859 the ship Royal Charter was wrecked off the coast, in a tragedy that claimed over 450 lives. Over a century later, the lifeboat team at Moelfre heroically rescued Hindlea, a ship which weighed over 500 tonnes.
Visitors today can stop at the 19th century lifeboat house, and wander past the row of ancient stone fishermen’s cottages. There’s plenty of lovely architecture to admire as you wander along the coast here, and a visit to St Gallgo’s church, where many of the victims of the Royal Charter wreck are buried, is a moving experience.
Best for… heritage
Rugged, earthy and really characterful, the beach at Lleiniog is well worth discovering. There’s lots of local heritage and fascinating history to explore here. To the east of the beach you’ll notice Trwyn Du Lighthouse (better known as Penmon), which is not only a well-known local landmark but saved countless lives when it was constructed to guard the dangerous waters here in the 1830s.
Among the unmissable sights are Penmon Priory, as well as St Seiriol’s Well, which is believed to be the oldest relic in the area. In addition to the well and monastery, Seiriol also founded a community on an island just half a mile away. Ynys Seiriol is famous as Puffin Island, an island rich in birdlife, and taking a boat trip around the island is well worth it.
Whichever beach you choose to visit, it’s always important to stay safe; click here for the RNLI’s top tips for beach safety.
Images courtesy: Barmouth, Rhosneigr and Puffin by © Crown copyright (2018) Visit Wales, all rights reserved. Moelfre by Peter Barr and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence. Aberdaron beach by By Llywelyn2000, from Wikimedia Commons.