North Wales has some of the UK’s most stunning coastline and what’s more, you can even enjoy some of its sandy or shingle beaches by having them all to yourselves. So fancy swapping your own private rear garden for your own private rear beach instead? Yeah… Then North Wales may be calling you.
Whether you are after a romantic getaway with your other half, want to take the kids on an excursion or simply fancy a few days by yourself to connect with the water – the Irish Sea, to be exact, during one of its calmer moments, North Wales has something to suit all tastes.
What stands out about the North Wales coastline is that you can choose to holiday in a popular location, but “turn the corner” quite literally and you can find peace and tranquillity in what feels like a remote getaway. So in other words you can head somewhere relatively dense and populated as far as Wales goes, then find something near untouched on your door step, which is truly spectacular and unique to Wales it appears.
One place along the North Wales coastline that suits the above description is Llandudno. With its Victorian-style promenade and pier, preserved seafront and cable cars, it is a tourist destination nonetheless. It is also home to the Great Orme Country Park. The Great Orme is a massive limestone hill that juts into the Irish Sea. Nicknamed the “Sea Monster” by the Vikings, its landscape changes from sheer sea cliffs, limestone grassland to woodland, and supports a wide variety of plants and wildlife and is home to wild Kashmir goats.
If touristy ain’t your ting, you can quite easily be in Llandudno and by-pass all of that and head for its hidden beauty instead. Llandudno’s West Shore Beach is a quiet, stunning, sandy beach that is more often than not secluded during the day. This long expanse of sandy beach is delightful and unspoilt, and when the sun is blazing you could be anywhere in the world by the coast. But this area is obviously unique to North Wales. Look out at sea from West Shore as you walk along the beach and you will see the Isle of Anglesey ahead. If you don’t get to go as far out west to check out Angelsey and West Shore Beach is the furthest you get along the North Wales coastal route, this is the highlight for sure. Miles of sand dunes which momentarily meet rocks, West Shore Beach is a special area of coast that blesses you with gifts as you take each step along its path.
West Shore Beach obviously caters for those in-the-know about the area, because at most you will see a few locals walking around along the beach. There are a few amenities that cater for this quiet neighbourhood, including the “can’t do without” fish & chip shop, grocery store and a small family-friendly café along the beach (check times as during the winter it is closed). It means that you can pretty much find all you need within the locality without having to venture into the more popular north side of Llandudno, if you desire. At this quiet coastal stretch, the only sign that you are in Llandudno is the rear of the Great Orme, which you will see at the start of West Shore Beach.
West Shore Beach is on a coastal path with walks to the nearby Great Orme, but head in the opposite direction and it will take you into the historic town of Conwy. The coastal walking route boasts spectacular views of the small heritage town and its well-maintained castle, Conwy Castle. The walk from West Shore Beach towards Conwy is over an hour, and the breathtaking views and scenery may be enough for you to get your fix of Conwy. Along the walking path, in the direction of Conwy, is Deganwy with its small harbour. A residential area, Deganwy is a cute little place to park up, soak in the sea vibes or grab a coffee in one of the tiny area’s few shops.
Deganwy is on the Conwy Valley Rail Line. If you only get to do a few stops along this line, it is well worth the short journey just to savour the coast, sea cliffs and quaint Welsh neighbourhoods. As much as the areas of Llandudno and Conwy are considered touristy, it does feel like you are wandering around the “back streets” admiring a side of the area that few may get to take in or cherish even.
Deganwy Station is a small station, much like the kind you would stumble upon in a model train and railway set. Like many stations along the Conwy Valley Rail Line, Deganwy is a “request” stop. North Wales, while it caters for tourists, is still very laidback and while they aim to please, locals do not give up their easy-going lifestyle and existence to cater for those on a different wavelength energetically. For those who live in the moment, Wales is a great place for you to be present as the energy works in harmony with the land. In other words, it assists one to live in the moment and go with the flow of their inner being, and support that existence. If you operate on that level, then you and your loved ones are destined to have some special moments on vacation in Wales courtesy of your intuition.
When it comes to accommodation, the North Wales area offers a multitude of options. Renting a cottage is a good move for those who prefer to have a home-from-home experience in Wales. There are small cottages around West Shore Beach, including Seagull Cottage, which offers affordable and comfortable modern accommodation for a small family. Ideal for anyone wanting be close to West Shore Beach, Seagull Cottage is within walking distance of the beach and its locality will enable you to truly immerse yourself in the local way of life. For families with small children, the North Wales coast, especially along the Rhyl to Prestatyn route, caters for holidaymakers in holiday parks offering stays in luxury static caravan homes. These can provide a good base for exploring the Conwy coastline, especially if you have a car.
That said, getting around the coastal route is easy whether by foot, car or rail. The area of North Wales is well served by trains along from the main Chester hub, in nearby England, to Holyhead in Anglesey. The views are stunning and worth ditching the car to take at least one train journey along this route. North Wales is also well connected by buses, and you can easily “beach hop” via local buses. For instance, Rhos-on-Sea is a 25-minute bus ride from West Shore Beach, and offers a contrasting landscape to West Shore. Although the beach at Rhos-on-Sea is not on a par with the spectacular beauty of West Shore Beach, the area itself has it’s own unique vibe.
Rhos-on-Sea is a quaint village with a small population. Albeit largely a retirement area, the area appeals to all ages which is evident in the small number of cafes, restaurants and local shops where all generations appear to hang out. Rhos-on-Sea also has a small tourist office where you will find friendly assistants willing to ensure you enjoy your trip to Rhos. The area offers a short walking tour, which was curated by a local resident, and has been now documented on leaflets. The walking tour takes in an old chapel that seats only six people. The short tour will appeal to those who enjoy history and while Rhos has little to offer by way of “sights” unlike nearby Llandudno or Conwy, it has its own special vibe which really centres around community and how tight that is, something that is evident and very apparent in Wales.
Rhos-on-Sea is a quiet town which is en route to the more densely populated and busy town of Colwyn Bay, which you can see from Rhos-on-Sea as the coastline curves round to highlight a taste of the larger town. Colwyn Bay is on the train line heading towards Rhyl and Prestatyn, towards the east. If you head that way, it is part of the coastal route which may become somewhere you choose as a base to explore the region from rather than hanging out there. While there are beaches there, it caters for those inclined towards a more commercial seaside experience. Evidently, the hidden gems do lie westside in this case.
Rosalind Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She is a journalist who writes about sustainable life & style, music, entertainments and wellbeing. Rosalind also works as a spiritual life coach and intuitive advisor helping people to become who they truly are and manifest their heart & soul’s desires into their lives: www.rosalindmedea.com