Anglesey is a small island off the north west coast of Wales. It is the Jewel In the north Wales crown when it comes to beauty. Surrounded by the Celtic sea, shadowed by the Snowdonia mountain range and bordered by the Llyn Peninsula. It has some rather beautiful companion areas also.
Anglesey was formerly the breadbasket of Wales producing most of the grain, wheat, barley and rye for the entire region in years gone by. It was also notably the seat of the Welsh throne for many centuries which was based in Aberffraw on the west coast of Anglesey.
Anglesey is a very popular tourist destination. It has some amazing sightseeing, culture and heritage stops. with over 85% of Anglesey covered in green lush pasture. You are never too far away from the old wild ways of the UK. Anglesey is a rather special place because there are so many interesting things to do in such a small area. From all the fishing ports and beautiful sandy beaches to the Snowdonia mountain ranges that consists of 14 Peaks over 1000 metres high. The Snowdonia range is just off the island of Anglesey, a mere 15 miles from the Menai Straits by road.
The culture of Anglesey runs very deep and its past is steeped in folklore and mysticism. From the ancient druids, the alchemy and the study of astronomy, botany and natural sciences, to the Celtic folklore and Welsh Kings that ruled that time. With over 147 stone circles, megaliths and burial Chambers on the island of Anglesey, it has the highest concentration of cultural interest of anywhere else in Europe.
One of the main attractions of Anglesey has to be its variety of water sports As an island it lends itself extremely well to many different types of water sports such as windsurfing, kitesurfing, paddle boarding, sailing, jet skiing, power boating, kayaking, scuba diving, fishing, boating, surfing and many many more It is a fantastic destination to sail around with many deep water non tidal ports and marinas to visit, and you could make a fantastic day trip or coastal trip from Port to Port.
Fishing is one of Anglesey’s highlights and attracts some of the best fishing both for river and sea anywhere in Europe. Anglesey also boasts a coastal path that circumnavigates the island 138 miles long. It can be walked in a number of sections and it covers some of the most beautiful terrain and coastal path walking anywhere in the UK. Walkers will be treated to spectacular views over the likes of South Stack, Cemaes Bay and the Menai Strait as they walk the Anglesey coastal path. There are a number of booklets and brochures available online, giving more information of the walks around the Anglesey coastal path.
In Anglesey we are also blessed with an abundance of nature. Writing this in the Spring I see all the trees in blossom The hedgerows are full of Whitethorn, Blackthorn and Hawthorn soon to be growing the fruits of their Seasons. The island doesn’t disappoint when it comes to nature and it lends itself to many species of birds that migrate here through the seasons, both winter and summer, to take advantage of the maritime climate which is more temperate.. It’s not only the birds that come here to to feast on the abundance, but also the fish. We have many dozens of species of fish that migrate here on an annual basis to feed upon the the bounties our shores provide for them.
The island of Anglesey is dotted with fantastic churches situated in spectacular locations, one of which some visitors call The “church in the sea” or St Gwenfaen church, also Rhoscolyn church, St. Cybi’s Church, Holyhead, and many more some of which go back to the fourth and fifth centuries reportedly. I will do a further article on this in future.
There are also some wonderful areas that surround Anglesey, towns such as Menai Bridge and Biwmaris where you can visit the castle and old jailhouse, lovely beach areas like Benllech, Aberffraw, Rhosneigr, Trearddur Bay, Holy Island, Amlwch, Church Bay and many more. Each have a gorgeous seaside appeal and are visited each year by many many thousands of visitors.Most of the beaches around Anglesey provide a wonderful quiet haven for visitors and there are beaches in all four corners of the island. Most of these beaches are well known throughout the British Isles, beaches such as Newborough, which even in the most busy months are relatively quiet in comparison with most European beaches.These, with turquoise blue waters that hold the Blue Flag award for cleanliness in the UK.
The island is spread across 276 sq. miles and is the largest island in Wales. Tourism is the primary economic activity on the island of Anglesey. Agriculture is the secondary source of income here, with some of the most productive dairies located on the island. Anglesey is a tourist’s delight and features enchanting monuments, ancient burial mounds, a World Heritage-listed castle, two grand bridges connecting Anglesey to mainland Wales, and a stunning coastline. Anglesey is particularly beautiful during the spring season when the cliff tops are full of wildflowers.
Geography of Anglesey
Anglesey is a low-lying island which is separated from the Wales mainland by the Menai Straits. There are low hills over the northern part of the island. Anglesey has many small towns, the most prominent of which include Holyhead, Benllech, Menai Bridge, and Amlwch. Anglesey is less than 300 sq. miles and is endowed with natural beauty. It is home to some of the most pristine beaches in Wales. It has 125-mile long coastline which has mesmerizing collection of sand dunes, coves, and cliffs. The coastline has been designated an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
History of Anglesey
Anglesey is famous for its rich history and heritage. Compared to the mountainous and undulating terrain of North Wales mainland, Anglesey was low lying and fertile. It was a grain growing and stocking centre. Seafaring and fishing were also important commercial activities. Trading links with Ireland were established early and Anglesey was on an important pre-historic sea route which linked the Mediterranean with the northern countries. The island had adopted Celtic language and culture by 100 BC and became a popular Druid centre. It was invaded by the Gnaeus Julius Agricola, the then Roman Governor of Britain and became a part of the Roman Empire in AD 78. It became prominent for copper mining during the Roman occupation. The Romans departed from Britain in the early 5thcentury, after which Anglesey was invaded by Irish pirates who colonized it. The Irish were started to be driven out by Cunedda ap Edern, a Goodwin warlord from Scotland who was continued by his son and grandson before the Irish were completely driven out by 470. Anglesey was then invaded by the Vikings, Saxons, and Normans before falling to Edward I of England in the 13thcentury.
Beaches on Anglesey
Anglesey is the perfect destination for experiencing mesmerizing beaches. It has a coastline extending 125 miles and you can find beaches that suit your taste in Anglesey. It is home to 27 enchanting sandy beaches which also includes 6 blue flag beaches. There are more than 50 beaches in across Wales which have been recognized for their high quality of cleanliness and about 30% of these beaches are in Anglesey, which makes it an ideal location for enjoying your beach holidays. You can explore the long sandy beaches like Red Wharf Bay which is a huge sandy bay between Llanddona Beach and Benllech. You can also enjoy more rugged beaches like Porth Dafarch Holyhead, and Church Bay, further around the coast where you can experience the cliff paths and the rock pools. Most of the sea beaches are in close proximity to utilities like restaurants, ice creams etc. You can enjoy clean and shallow beaches in Anglesey which are just perfect for family outings involving outdoor activities like paddling and rock pooling. The beaches in and around Anglesey are diverse and offer something to meet the needs of everyone.
Bridges on Anglesey
Anglesey is famous for two bridges across the Menai Strait which connect it to the mainland. The Menai Bridge connects the island of Anglesey with mainland Wales. The bridge was designed by Thomas Telford and was completed in 1826. Before the bridge, the only way of connection between Anglesey and mainland was by a ferry crossing the dangerous Menai Straits. The construction of the bridge started in 1819. When completed, the Menai Bridge was 305 meters in length and with a central span of 177 meters.
Britannia Bridge is another popular bridge which connects Anglesey with mainland Wales. It was designed by the prominent railway engineer Robert Stephenson and it was designed to connect Chester and Holyhead’s railway route which enabled trains to run between London and the port of Holyhead. The foundation stone for the bridge was laid in 1846 and it was completed in 1850. The present-day Britannia Bridge has a much different appearance than the original one as it had to be reconstructed after a disastrous fire broke out in 1970. The bridge was rebuilt in stages and was finally completed after rebuilding in 1980 and formally opened by the Prince of Wales.
Lighthouses of Anglesey
Anglesey is home to 5 lighthouses which are functional around its coastline. Trwyn Du lighthouse goes back to 1838 and it helps sailors to navigate between Penmon and Puffin islands. Point Lynas is located on the north eastern tip of Anglesey and helps ships to sail safely through to Liverpool. The Skerries lighthouse is located on the north-western coast of Anglesey. It was under private ownership but was acquired by Trinity House in 1841 and it was automated in 1987. The South Stack is a popular lighthouse with scenic location at the foot of the cliffs. It was built in 1809 and automated in 1984. The Holyhead Breakwater lighthouse is peculiar as it is shaped as a square section instead of the usual circular one.
Walks on Anglesey
Taking a leisurely walk on the Anglesey coastal path that spans 125 miles is one of the best ways to explore and get a feel of Anglesey. You can take a walk on the Cemaes Bay which is a 5-mile circular walk to appreciate the Anglesey coast. You will also observe ancient chapels and stone buildings on this path. The Anglesey section of the Wales coastal path is one of the best walking routes on the island. It starts from Holyhead and you can walk through Church Bay, Cemaes, Amlwch, Moelfre, Belllench, Red Wharf etc. before finally completing the walk at the starting point
Isle of Anglesey Gems to visit on your stay..
The town of Newborough lies on the west region of Anglesey between the towns of Malltraeth and Brynsiencyn. It is quite famous and popular for its long sweeping beachfront on the Irish Sea, that has been part of many music videos, movies and tv drama episodes. Just recently the TV series “The Island 1900s”was filmed here. The long beautiful beach, has the back drop of the Snowdonia mountains extending all the way down to the Llyn peninsular. The beach now boast an impressive board walk and car park facilities right next to the beach.
Beaumaris is a historic and cultural heritage site, based on the shores of the Menai strait at the eastward end on Anglesey. The site of a very handsome Edwardian castle with quite dominant architecture, now in Welsh hands, it symbolises a strong feature for our booming tourism industry.
You can find the majestic Beaumaris castle on the marsh seaside of the Menai Strait, which boast a moat and draw bridge. The other attractions to see here are St Mary’s and St Nicholas’s Church, and Old Courthouse. . The seaside town has a fantastic pier, and some lovely independent shops and some rather lovely hotels like Chateau Rhianfa and the Buckley hotel.
South Stack Light House
You must reach Holy Island to see this iconic lighthouse just beyond Anglesey. It stands aloft on a sea stack in the Celtic sea with a Victorian bridge connecting it to the mainland. This lighthouse is 210-years old and is in great condition, now automated since 1984. Prior to this my family where lighthouse keepers on here for 4 generations in total. Visitors can visit here in the spring and summer seasons. This is a ticketed area. You must visit early in the morning in the peak season, with parking a little limited at times.
Menai bridge is a small pretty town on the Menai strait, on Anglesey, Its iconic symbol is the old suspension bridge aptly named Menai Suspension bridge connecting Anglesey Island to mainland Wales, which is built in the year 1826 by Thomas Telford. It is still in wonderful condition and sits proud overlooking the Menai Strait. You can go for a boat ride with the local company Ribride and cross underneath this iconic bridge at 30 knots if you wish also! The small town of Menai bridge is a lovely stop for the day with more independent shops, great walks along a Belgium promenade and stunning views and walks along the Menai strait.
This is a coastal village with a scenic view of RAF Valley and Holyhead Mountain from the beachfront. It is one of the top places for visitors to hit the beach and get some kitesurfing, surfing and other water sports. It is a very cute little seaside town, served by a couple of fantastic eateries and hotels. Home to two very good water sports shops which cater for surfing, kitesurfing and paddle boarding. It is one of the more preferred beaches in Anglesey, due to its shallow safe bay. If you wish to taste fresh seafood, it is the right place to land in the Isle of Anglesey. Top tip if your going, check out the new Sandy Mount House 5* hotel just opened there.
To visit Treaddur bay you must drive to Holy Island. Trearddur bay is a stunning shallow sand bay which is very popular in summer months with visitors, who come to enjoy some fun water sports and sailing here. Its Sailing club will be celebrating its centenary this year It is a popular recreational place to go for scuba diving, golfing, sea fishing, horse riding, and boat cruising and surfing. It has all modern visitor facilities and amenities and the small town which has a couple of small shops and some excellent bars and restaurants such as the Black Seal, Sea Shanty and the Seacroft.
This is the village of Llanfair-Mathafarn-Eithaf community. It has a stunning shallow safe blue flag bay filled with golden sandy beach. It is very popular part of the island for seaside camps and in a caravan park. It is a famous holiday destination on the island of Anglesey. Benllech boast some stunning views and lovely areas to visit from its eastern point on Anglesey.
Penmon is a historic heritage site in the Isle of Anglesey. It is famous for its coves and promontory. You must visit the 6th century St Seiriol’s Church, The dovecot, and St Seiriol’s Well.Another must is a visit to its remote Penmon lighthouse “Trwyn Ddu”on a tiny island. This lighthouse is accessible for visitors during the daytime and is a very popular place for photography.
Church in the Sea
The church in the sea or Porth Cwyfan, is another interesting site to visit once on Anglesey for a beach day. It stands amidst the rock on the sea, with a causeway leading out to it at low water. A 5thC church (St Beunos church) set in a rather exposed but stunning location, Porth Cwyfan lies near Aberfraw juts 10 minutes south from Rhosneigr by car.
Aberffraw, the seat and court of the former Welsh royalty viz Llys Llewelyn. Once, the Rulers of the kingdom of Gwynedd in the 12C lived here on the banks of the famous river Cefni. Aberffraw has a sweeping long golden beach that is backed by sand dunes. It links in with the coastal path if you’re a keen walker and there is a great section of the Anglesey coastal path that goes through Newborough and onto the Menai strait. The other gem to see at Aberffraw is Porth Cwytan, see above. Sit atop the headland and watch the sun set on the Celtic sea
Aberffraw has many beachside hiking places with rocky terrain, dunes, and marshlands. It is a golden sand beach in Anglesey Island, UK. It is a small village with lovable people.
This little island is where I grew up and honestly its is the most breath taking gem in Wales. Too many people write this off because of unemployment or lack of industry. However, what they fail to see is the beauty that surrounds this magical place, from the high sea cliffs of Gograth and Elen’s Tower,( or Castell Elen an ideal location for viewing the hundreds of sea birds which migrate here and nest on the cliffs). to the magnificent little beaches that surround this 8 mile by 1 mile island tip to tip.. The wonderful South Stack light house, the breakwater country park and break water proper, Penrhos country park, Rhoscolyn, Porth Dafarch are but a few of the amazing places to visit while here. Of course you can also take the ferry over to Ireland from Holyhead.