Aberdaron, Abersoch and Pwllheli on the Llŷn Peninsula are loved by visitors to Snowdonia. Here we look at things to do in these three very different but equally lovely locations.
The Llŷn Peninsula is a beautifully rugged stretch of land that juts out of the north-west corner of Wales. The wonderful landscape here is created by mountain ranges formed from chains of long-extinct volcanoes. Boasting some of the most picturesque coastline and countryside in the Snowdonia region, the Llŷn Peninsula is popular with visitors of all sorts – families, adventurers, couples, walkers, birdwatchers and lovers of good food and good living.
Snowdonia’s Land’s End, Aberdaron is a quaint and very historic fishing village right at the end of the peninsula.
In the days when three pilgrimages to Bardsey were equal to one to Rome, Aberdaron was important as the last stop along the pilgrim route to the little island known as the Isle of 20,000 Saints (for that is how many saints are said to be buried there).
Even today you can make a pilgrimage, of sorts; when the weather and conditions are favourable, it’s possible to take a boat trip across the Bardsey Sound (keeping an eye open for dolphins, porpoises and seals as you go) to visit the atmospheric island and see the remains of the ancient religious centre there.
Back in Aberdaron itself, there’s plenty to whet the appetite for history, religious or otherwise. Ffynnon Fair (Mary’s Well) is where pilgrims would take a last drink of water before the crossing. Y Gegin Fawr has been feeding travellers for centuries; the beautiful old church, St Hywyn’s, is fascinating (not least because celebrated poet R S Thomas was vicar there for over a decade); and close by, Plas yn Rhiw is a great visitor attraction for all the family.
The coastline is stunning around these parts; look out for the little ‘porths’ – like Porth Oer, Porth Iago, Porth Colmon and Porth Meudwy – sheltered little coves with sandy beaches that are picture-perfect.
Abersoch has three fantastic beaches that are popular with watersports enthusiasts, but also with families. The water is beautifully clear and the views are stunning. Ice creams on the beach, a spot of sun worshipping (yes, we do have warm, sunny days in Snowdonia, despite what you may have heard!) and a potter around the lovely little independent shops – all very popular ways to spend your time in Abersoch.
This is a village with very broad appeal, it must be said. Young people love the area for the surfing and for the Wakestock festival that takes place every summer. Families love Abersoch for the laid-back olde-worlde seaside charm and oodles of child-friendly activities. Outdoorsy folk visit the village for the watersports, the horse riding, the wildlife watching and the wonderful walks. And few can resist the charms of the shops, bistros and bars that lend this lovely village a cosmopolitan feel all year round.
Whether you love a lazy holiday or crave a bit of action, you’re bound to enjoy Abersoch. For those who want to keep their trip as laid back as possible there’s chilling on the beach, gentle strolls, coffee on the pavement or ice cream in abundance. But for the active type, Abersoch is hard to beat; sailing, surfing, golf, jet-skiing, a hovercraft centre and no fewer than six circular walks should be enough to keep even the most active visitor occupied for a few days!
Pwllheli, a medieval market town that still holds regular markets on its ‘maes’ (town square), is all about family fun. Here all the favourite elements of a traditional British seaside holiday can be found, from beautiful sandy beaches and ice cream parlours to amusement arcades and a funfair (albeit a small one). And there’s a world-class marina, too.
There are some great shops in Pwllheli, too. Yes, you’ll find a couple of larger ‘high street’ names here and there, but there are some fantastic little one-offs, too. From clothes and gifts to buckets and spades, Pwllheli is a shopper’s delight. It’s a great place to shop for food, too; there’s an excellent fishmonger selling freshly caught fish and seafood (the local lobster is especially good); a great delicatessen stocking delicious local produce and luxury foods; and an award-winning branch of Spar. Yes, you did read that correctly; Pwllheli’s Spar is a real champion of local produce and one of the best places to stock up if you’re planning a picnic or barbeque.
Sea fishing and boat trips are popular ways to spend a day in Pwllheli, as is a good old-fashioned spot of sandcastle building on the sandy beach. For an exciting day out, try Glasfryn Parc, which is about a ten-minute drive from Pwllheli on the A499 – here you can tire your young ones out with go-karting, archery and bowling, and give yourself a workout on the wakepark. Glasfryn also has an excellent farm shop, selling produce grown, cooked or reared right there on the premises. Entry and parking are free, so even if you don’t take part in any of the activities you can still pass a pleasant hour exploring the park and the shop.