Tywyn is a seaside town in Snowdonia, popular as a holiday resort and a great base for exploring the southern reaches of the region. Here are ten things to see and do when you visit Tywyn.
It may be a tiny seaside town, but historic Tywyn has a lot to offer. This popular seaside resort on the Snowdonia coast has a great beach, good shopping, and all sorts of interesting events taking place throughout the year.
1. Race the Train
This annual fun race for charity is now in its 32nd year. The race takes place on 15 August 2015 and there are several courses of different lengths, including the “toddlers trot” course for children. The event sees runners racing steam train along the Talyllyn Railway route from Tywyn to Abergynolwyn and back, cheered on by the train’s passengers. Even if you don’t manage to get a ticket for the train (they’re very much in demand!) you’ll still have fun as a spectator along the route, so pop along and enjoy yourself!
2. Ride the train
If you don’t fancy chasing the train up the tracks, or if you’re visiting after Race the Train has finished, take the lazy option and hop on board! The Talyllyn Railway runs through truly spectacular countryside, and you’ll see plenty of beauty around you on the journey including woodlands, mountains and waterfalls. There’s a railway museum at the Tywyn Wharf terminus, as well as a shop and a licenced cafe and tea room.
3. Visit the beach
The Wales Coast Path runs right through the town and onto the beach, which is a Blue Flag Award winner. From the beach, the views are spectacular on a clear day; if visibility is good you can see as far as the Llyn Peninsula, Pwllheli and Bardsey to the north, and Fishguard and Aberystwyth to the south. The south part of the beach, which is about five miles long, has extensive sand dunes, lots of lovely firm sand, and few rocks. Popular with watersports enthusiasts, the open waters of Tywyn are also regularly visited by harbour porpoises and bottlenose dolphins.
4. Magic Lantern Cinema
If it’s not really beach weather, you could always pay a visit to the Magic Lantern Cinema. This Victorian building was originally the town’s assembly rooms, but has been operating as a cinema since 1919. The cinema boasts top-of-the-range audio visual systems, and shows all the latest blockbuster movies. It’s also used for live events including comedy and music.
5. St Cadfan’s Church
Tywyn’s oldest building is the church of St Cadfan, parts of which remain from the 12th century (although records suggest that a church settlement – a ‘clas’ – was founded around 516AD by Cadfan, a monk from Brittany). Other interesting features of the church include the well, which was once said to have healing powers, an effigy of a knight which is said to cry when rain is on the way, and St Cadfan’s Stone, which is inscribed with the earliest known example of the Welsh language.
6. Look for Cantre’r Gwaelod
Legend has it that Cantre’r Gwaelod (the Lowland Hundreds) lies offshore somewhere around Aberdyfi, just down the coast from Tywyn. According to folklore, Cantre’r Gwaelod was deluged and lost forever when a drunken watchman neglected to shut the sluice gates. There’s no evidence for this story being anything more than a legend, but remains of an ancient forest can be seen at low tide, so perhaps the myth has its roots in real history after all.
7. Castell y Bere
Back to real history now, at the ruins of Castell y Bere. There’s something really haunting and atmospheric about this Welsh castle, built by the Princes of Gwynedd in the 13th century. The ruins occupy a wild, remote location and in its day the castle protected the southern border of Gwynedd. If you want to see the ruins at their spooky best, visit at sunset when it’s said that a solitary, shadowy figure can be seen there. As the sun goes down, the figure slowly melts away.
8. Go shopping
Tywyn has a weekly market from May to October, which is held on Mondays, and a car boot sale every Saturday. The town has plenty of shops to explore, too, including gift shops, clothing outlets and the obligatory ice cream parlour (well it is the seaside, after all!)
9. Go for a walk
There’s plenty of walking to be enjoyed in and around Tywyn. You could walk around the town itself, exploring every nook and cranny, or follow the Wales Coast Path either up or down the coast. The countryside is great for walking, especially if you don’t mind going uphill for parts of your stroll (mighty mountain Cadair Idris isn’t far away, if you fancy a real challenge). Or try the Aberdyfi to Tywyn leg of the Cambrian Trailways, which covers all sorts of terrain including country lanes, tracks, open hillsides and farmland.
10. Visit the Tywyn Wurlitzer
One of Tywyn’s quirkier attractions is the Tywyn Wurlitzer, which is housed at Neuadd Pendre community hall. This fascinating instrument has been completely refurbished and is played at tea dances and concerts throughout the year. Take a look at the Tywyn Wurlitzer events page to see if it’ll be played during your visit to Tywyn… if not, perhaps you’ll have to organise a return visit to coincide with a concert – hooray!