The Llyn Peninsula

The Llyn is a peninsular in northwest  Wales. It is a stretch of land bordered by the Irish Sea. It is a scenic village and a popular holiday destination.  It is well known for its white sandy beaches, beachside pubs, watersports,  holiday homes, and of course picturesque villages and towns such as Abersoch, Trevor and Pwllheli.

The Llyn  is home to some of the most popular holiday destinations in the Snowdonia and north Wales region. Holidays in this part of the world are steeped in scenery and nature, with a big emphasis on beach life which we love. Blessed with beautiful sea views and a natural tranquil environment that stirs the soul.

The Llyn peninsula hasn’t always been a holiday destination, Traditionally, the area was used as a travel route for pilgrims headed to Bardsey Island. Throughout history the important stops in this area were holy wells. Back in yesteryear crofter’s cottages made up most of the small towns, which were built of rock  sourced from local quarries . The only industrial operation in the Llyn being mining, quarrying and fishing.

One of the things you will notice down the Llyn is that the area has a very remote feel, As with most  peninsulas, they are off the beaten track, and because of this remoteness much of the traditional culture still exists. The Welsh language is very dominant in the  community as their “iaith gyntaf” (first language, or Mother tongue). The various towns in the area all have a welcoming small town atmosphere and are very vibrant during the spring, summer and autumn months.

With the back drop of the snowdonia mountains and the wall to wall coastline surrounding this peninsula, its no accident that it is one of the major gems of Wales. The Llyn is a water sports paradise as there is so much coastline and so many beaches choose from. Sailing, wake boarding, Surfing, Kitesurfing, fishing, kayaking, scuba and spear fishing are just some of the water sports here- it really is a Mecca like Anglesey. We have added a few links of activities below..

If  you are looking for a holiday cottage in Wales then this is the place to be..There are many beautiful  cottages and luxury holiday cottages on the Llyn peninsular, (see our listings on your where to stay page). Some are beach front beauties  and others are quiet bolt holes a little inland. We have listed some links at the bottom of the blog for you to find something to suit your particular accommodation..

As far as culture in concerned you would have to have a month or more here to cover all the ground, so we will save the topic for a complete blog! Nevertheless there is a a lot to cover, from Bardsey Island pilgrim walks to the rich historical past of the mining communities and the Welsh fishing industry gone by.  Further to the east of the Llyn peninsular the famous towns of Porthmadog and Portmeirion are home to the most beautiful architecture. 

There are several towns in the area that attract many people in the summer months due to their natural beauty.. We have created a list which we recommend you visit on your stay…

 

Abersoch

With 1,000 residents, Abersoch is considered to be a large sized town on the Llyn. It is well-known for the beaches that have played an important part in the history of this marvellous place. Since 1869 they have operated a lifeboat station out of the town and that has led to it becoming a lead area for water sports such as surfing, saling and wake boarding and also water based trips It is also a popular place to stay for visits to the nearby Snowdonia National Park. One of the claims to fame for Abersoch is that it was named one of the most popular places to live in Wales in 2017.

If you are traveling to the area, you need to visit Porth Neigwl Beach, or Hells Mouth as it has been nicknamed. It can boast large waves, a long, open beach, and vast expanses of sand at low tide. But what might be the best part is the clean nature with the view of the sea. With beaches this pure the best activities in this town are all centred around the water.

In the season SCYC south Caernarfonshire yacht club hosts and number of saiing events that are very good. They have an excellent and active sailing community which is top of its game for north Wales. We used to go and sail during the Abersoch keelboat week many years ago, from Holyhead Sailing club and often bring home the trophies!

In the summer months the bay is packed with sailing and boating which is a joy to see. I absolutely love the place and its dotted islands such as St Tudwalds lighthouse which is now home to Bear Grylls.

Must see and doHire a SUP (stand up paddleboard) and take a tour of the bay!

abersoch.co.uk
Abersoch front beach, image curtesy of www.Abersoch.co.uk

 

Pwllheli

The name Pwllheli means salt water basin and it is an apt name for the town. It sits on the water’s edge on the Llyn Penisula and is another large town in the area. Pwllheli is well-known for being home to the marina, which houses more the 500 yachts. Along with the marina, the town has developed a pretty waterfront feel with great places to eat and drink. Many of the town’s activities are associated with the water sports quite like Abersoch. At the marina, there is both a Sailing club and a Sailing Academy. Besides the marina, there are also two beaches to the east to  enjoy some time to walk and swim.I have always maintained that to see North Wales, you really have to see it by boat or yacht. It will add another dimension to your view of the coastal locations.Although tidally restricted by access on low water, access to the other regions is easy either side of LW.

Accommodation: Pwllheli has many stunning camping sites that flag the coast, see our camping listings for more. There are beach view hotels and cottages available for visitors to stay and enjoy this long stretch of scenic beach, see our places to stay section here.

Must see and do: Take a days sailing tuition on a yacht or power boat at Pwllheli marina

Pwllheli North Wales
Pwllheli Marina and surrounding beaches. Image courtesy of www.pbo.co.uk

 

Nefyn

Nefyn is another beautiful Welsh town, and the beautiful drive down A497 (that should be in a top gear video)  takes you right up to the centre of the town. Also included in the community of Nefyn is Edern and Morfa Nefyn. Nefyn dates back to 300 BC. Standing above the current location of Nefyn, on top of a hill, can be seen the ruins of the first town in the area.

The  Nefyn and District Golf Club  boasts one of the best views and golf courses in the world in our opinion, and is simply outstanding. It has 27 holes. Golfing in this town course allows you to take in the beauty of the area while enjoying your pastime simultaneously!

Other outdoor activities which are very popular in Nefyn are cycling, hiking, walking, and of course water sports.  There are many foot paths and coastal paths around the area. Water sports are becoming more popular in the area because pf the availability of easy launching for boats and moorings are becoming more prominent here, also that it is a  mere 40 minute boat ride from neighbouring Anglesey.

There are magnificent beache and some of the most beautiful  beach houses I have ever seen dotted on the shore side..

Must see and do: Play a round of golf at the world famous Nefyn golf club

nefyn- trip advisor
Nefyn beach and its delightful cottages. Image courtesy of www.trip advisor.com

 

Trefor

Surrounded by both the sea and mountains you will find Trefor to be a lovely semi-isolated village. A small harbour has been built in the area and  there is a beach located along the coast line. One of the main reasons the village was able to develop this far is that it has  the granite quarry in the area. Activities in Trefor include scuba diving, exploring, swimming, pleasure boating, and surfing. Because of the size of the village, it is not as active as other area listed here, but that of course is parts of its attraction. When neighbouring Abersoch and Pwllheli are extremely busy, Trefor makes a welcome  tranquil break.

Must see and do: Take a walk down to the beautiful pier and beach and have a dip in the water

 

Trefor-simon kitchin
Trefor’s amazing mountain clad harbour. Image courtesy of Simon Kitchin

 

Bardsey Island- Ynys Enlli

You may have seen Bardsey Island mentioned in the introduction to this article. The name plays a big role in the area of the Llyn Peninsula. Many know this island as the “Island of 20,000 saints” but it has a more mystical history too. Legend has it that Merlin was imprisoned in his tower of glass on Bardsey Island. Others have said that Merlin’s cave is located there. Some residents can even point out the specific place that the cave is located. The ancient word “Bard” was a name given to the highest scholars of the druidic society. It is literally translated as “poet”. A bard was one of the highest if not one of  the highest scholarly titles a druid could hold, and was considered to be as high if not even higher than the kings themselves, whom they would counsel and advise. Traditions and cultures where kept alive through poetry and song, and these traditions are still very strong to this day.

It is quite easy to believe that Bardsey Island is the home to anything magical or mystical. Pristine wild hills of green and amazing architecture make this place a must visit. Being only accessible by boat makes the island pretty undeveloped and that means that there is plenty of nature. The Bardsey Apple is a twisted Apple tree that is thought to be that last remaining tree from a monastery orchard. Seeing the tree and knowing that ancient monks once harvested it can be an amazing feeling. Three pilgrimages to Bardsey where equivalent to one to Rome back in the day. There are little coves which the fishing boats used to access to take the pilgrims to Bardsey .The steps that lead down to the water’s edge were hand cut from the bedrock stone, and rather amazing to see. 

Besides exploring Merlin’s cave, there is a wonderful lighthouse on the southern tip of the Island  on which our family were lighthouse keepers from differing  generations. This lighhouse stands as a beacon for ships in the Irish Sea and St. George’s Channel.

Must see and do: Get a boat trip over to the Bardsey and see the magical island..

 

Bardsey isle
Bardsey Island off the Llyn peninsula North wales a magical place.

 

Porthdinllaen

As a small costal village, Porthdinllaen is very beautiful. It has the unique feature of having limited access to vehicles. Only residents may drive in the village. Visitors must walk through the village to get to the beach or any of their other destinations. This makes the experience even more magical. It allows you to enjoy the village much like it was in the past.

Porthdinllaen has been used many times as a filming location. This is due to the beautiful nature and the lack of hustle and bustle . While in the area you should try out the golf course and beach. Both will give you quite an awesome experience.

While connected to the rest of the peninsular, the Llyn  is quite traditional with amazing outdoor area, and most areas are still very natural. For the most fun make sure to prepare for a variety of outdoor activities and make sure you bring all the outdoor toys and all the appropriate clothing.

Must see and do: Visit the Ty Coch Inn and enjoy the views with a drink!

 

 

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The very beautiful Porthdinllaen. Image curtesy of Turtle photography.

 

Top Ten spots to visit on the LLyn

 

Ty Coch

Porthdinllaen has to be on your hit list to relax and enjoy the secluded bay. The famous pub the Ty Coch inn, is amazing for the weekend getaway goers and visitors. Nearby there is a Golf course. The hollow sand bay of Porthdinllaen has a long, white sandy beach. It is perfect for an afternoon’s sunbathing and for a dip in the sea. Its bay is shallow and most favourable for swimming in the summer months. Boating facilities are on the beach, with moorings, but they can be busy in the summer months, but  this need not be a problem as you can just drop anchor there and enjoy the show! This is a scenic beach and a village, which has a mountainous backdrop covered by lush green rolling foothills.

 

Nant Gwrtheyrn

This is a fantastic offbeat village location on Llyn Peninsula. As far a s drives go, I found this by accident on the way to a wedding there. You would think after 30 somehitng years in north wales I would have known every nook and cranny right? Wrong! Nant Gwertherin was a unique find even for me. The winding switch back road that leads you down to this old mining village, is nothing short of magic. Feels like you are driving down a hors category climb in the tour de france! What geets you is a view that is unrivalled in north Wales in my humble opinion. The steep Eifl (Rival) mountains mixed with rocky coves in a fish hook pattern all the way down the Llyn. Simply beautiful. The quarry closed early during WW11 due to a drop in demand for quarried gravel, and subsequently the villagers moved out. A group of local people helped to raise funding to create a Welsh Learning and Heritage Centre which welcomes visitors of all cultures.

  It is an ultimate destination for the city dweller to relax in a remote village isolated from the humdrum of modern day life. This place is famous for the international wedding venue and language centre based in the remote mining village that is set at the foot of the high cliffs.

 

Tre’r Ceiri

This is another historic and remote place to take a group tour. You can find an Iron Age hill fort on the top of Yr Eifl (1,480-ft AMSL). You can see the ruins of many circular huts. It is believed that the Romans stayed here in summer months , to keep watch over visiting ships. You can see the beauty of these mountain ranges and the Celtic Sea from this high up fort. To visit you will have to hike this mountain, which will take a good couple of hours for people of average fitness. The walk heads through up the winding scree slopes and up onto the plateau. Expect to take half a day for it. Take a picnic also and enjoy one of the best alfresco dining views in Wales! This is a preserved area of national interest.               

 

Porth Iago

This is  secluded cove that we used to head for to surf when we were at university at Bangor. It is one of the coves you frequently see on Intagram with the text book “van life” image of feet hanging out of the Volkswagen and the stunning cove with white sands below. Classic picture postcard destination is what springs   to mind. Is very wee though, unlike Hells mouth further to the west.

This location is in-between U-shaped rolling hills and is one of the the best places if you are a campervan user, to relax on the top of the hills in a campsite.

During low tide, you can have fun in this small beach by swimming and fishing. During the high tide, it is worth watching from the top and see the splashing sea waves. It is a cool place to be with the sea breeze, beach and sunbathing. This is a popular hidden beach in north Wales so keep it under your hat.

 

Bardsey Island

It is a remote small island in Wales, which is just 3-km away from Llyn Peninsula. This is the possible resting place of King Arthur and twenty thousand saints. These are preserved burial site in Bardesey Island with historical importance. The heritage places you must visit are St Mary’s Abbey, Bardsey Chapel, and Bardsey Lighthouse. The northern side of this island is with a mount (548-ft AMSL), which is accessible by hiking. You can see the amazing blue colours of the Celtic sea from this top citadel. Only accessible by boat and now governed by many restrictions for visitors, it makes for a fantastic outing from one of the near by villages of Abersoch or Pwllheli.

 

Llanbedrog Beach

This is a beautiful beach area on the south side of the Llyn Peninsulabetween Abersoch and Pwllheli,which is famous for its colourful beach huts. You may have seen them on the front cover of a north Wales magazine or something similar.

Some of the beach huts are for rental in which you can stay, wake up and directly jump to the sand and sea.

A lovely beach which is definitely worth the visit for swimming and sailing during the summer months. With walks along the coastal path, woodlands stretching down to the shoreline and pristine sandy beaches, it’s a lovely pitstop for a day’s activities on the beach 

 

Plas yn Rhiw

This is a 17C Manor House on the Llyn Peninsula. It is in wonderful condition with a beautifully manicured garden around an acre in size. The National Trust have taken great care in bringing it back to its former glory as a stately home.  The house has a past that predates the actual construction of the house proper. Neolithic sites that occupy the same area have been dated back to over 4000 years with Welsh Royalty also living within a couple of kilometres back in the 5thC.

Built around 1634, the manor house is well worth the visit as well as the gardens which  has been well maintained .

You can see the beauty of this house and the local history of the Keating Sisters, who owned this manor in North Wales and who willed the estate to The National Trust.

Llanystumdwy

This is a cultural and heritage area to visit whilst holidaying on the Llyn Peninsula. This is a beautiful village where people live in harmony. The Moriah Methodist Chapel, Ty Newydd, St John’s Church, and Moriah Methodist Chapel are heritage buildings worth tvisiting for their architectural marvel. You can find similar style structures in these village settlements.