Barmouth is a delightful seaside town, set among some of Snowdonia’s prettiest scenery. Here are ten ideas for things to do and see when you visit Barmouth.
The pretty little harbour town of Barmouth has been a popular holiday destination for many years. Set among the beautiful scenery of the Mawddach Estuary and snuggling into Cardigan Bay, Barmouth is a favourite of families, walkers, couples and adventurers – because as our list will show you, in Barmouth there’s literally something for everyone!
1. Barmouth Harbour
The harbour has to be top of any list of things to in Barmouth, because there’s so much to see and do there. Sunset strolls, fishing, sailing, or simply watching the sea for a glimpse of the Cardigan Bay dolphins… and not forgetting the ‘on the quay‘ attractions of Barmouth Harbour, which brings us nicely on to points 2-5…
2. Ty Gwyn
The oldest of the ‘on the quay’ attractions at Barmouth Harbour, Ty Gwyn was built in 1460 by Gruffydd Fychan, a supporter of the Lancastrian cause during the Wars of the Roses. Jasper Tudor – Earl of Pembroke and uncle of Henry Tudor (the future Henry VII) – lay concealed in Ty Gwyn with his nephew while they plotted against Richard of York. These days, Ty Gwyn houses a fascinating shipwreck museum which includes artefacts from local shipwrecks, recovered by local divers.
3. Sailors’ Institute
The second of Barmouth’s quayside attractions is the Sailors’ Institute, which was built in 1890. The Sailors’ Institute houses a Victorian reading room which is a little like stepping back in time, as it looks much as it would have when it was built. Here you’ll see Victorian pictures, paintings and model ships, and you can still read the daily paper free of charge, like you could when the Institute was founded.
4. Ty Crwn
Ty Crwn – the Round House – is the third quayside attraction at Barmouth. This distinctive round building was built as a lock-up in the 1830s, to keep petty criminals and drunkards off the streets. The two cells – one each for men and women – were last used for their original purpose in 1861; these days you can see displays which give a taste of what life was like as a Victorian prisoner.
5. RNLI Lifeboat Museum
The final ‘on the quay’ attraction at Barmouth is the RNLI Lifeboat Museum. Here you’ll find plenty of information about the work the RNLI does, crew kit and equipment, photographs, and you’ll also be able to inspect the Barmouth lifeboat. There are regular exercises at the Lifeboat Museum, so you’ll have a good opportunity to see the lifeboat being launched.
6. The beach
Barmouth’s beach is huge and sandy. And you don’t have to wait for the summer to visit; all year round it’s a wonderful place to walk and enjoy the glorious scenery of the Mawddach Estuary and Cardigan Bay. A stone’s throw from the beach is some extra fun for younger members of the family: a small funfair, where your little ones can scream themselves hoarse for all the right reasons. Barmouth is the traditional British seaside resort at its best!
7. Fairbourne Steam Railway
Seeing this part of Snowdonia from a steam train is a real must; it’s one of the best ways to appreciate the wonderful scenery without having to worry about keeping your eyes on the road, so leave your car at the hotel for a day and hop on the Fairbourne Steam Railway. When you get to the other end (at Fairbourne, just across the estuary) there’s a gift shop and two licenced cafes, so the fun doesn’t stop when the wheels stop turning!
8. Theatr y Ddraig
Theatr y Ddraig – the Dragon Theatre – is an old chapel that was converted in the post-war years to provide a venue for the local amateur dramatics group to put on shows and concerts for the local community and for visitors. There’s all sorts to see at the theatre; you may find yourself watching a variety show, a concert or a play, or even taking part in a workshop or two.
9. Castell y Bere
There’s not a huge amount of Castell y Bere left these days, but don’t let that stop you visiting; the remaining traces of the mighty medieval castle – once a stronghold of Llywelyn the Great and his descendants – ooze atmosphere and are well worth the trip. You’ll find Castell y Bere between Barmouth and Tywyn. Admission is free, so it’s an inexpensive day out for all the family.
10. Llanfair Slate Caverns
Once you’ve explored the outside of Barmouth, why not try exploring the inside of the nearby countryside? Go underground at Llanfair Slate Caverns and marvel at the vast man-made tunnels and chambers. Dwarfed by the caves, you’ll feel like you’re in Tolkien’s Mines of Moria!