10 of the Best Seaside Towns to Visit in Wales
Looking for the Best Seaside Towns to Visit in Wales? Well you don’t have to travel far to find pristine beaches, sunny weather and spectacular surf. Read on to discover the hidden gems on your doorstep.
Wales has over 150 beaches that attract thousands of swimmers, sailors and sandcastle builders. Out of those, 22 beaches and three marinas have a coveted Blue Flag Award. This is only given to beaches with pure water, clean coasts and safe access. Many have also earned a Green Coast Award and Seaside Award for protecting the country’s precious marine environments.
Prefer to keep your feet on dry land? Seaside resorts in Wales also offer a range of exciting onshore activities. There are plenty of restaurants serving tasty fish and chips. In the evening, grab a lip-smacking cocktail at one of the trendy waterfront bars. Best of all, history buffs don’t have to travel far to unearth fascinating archaeological remains.
Interested? Keep reading as we reveal ten of the best Welsh seaside towns to visit for your next holiday.
Best seaside towns in South Wales
Tenby offers the best of both worlds. The town is peppered with ancient stone ruins and charming Victorian houses. Caldey Island beckons from across the water. The rocky outcrop is home to a breath-taking monastery steeped in Celtic tradition and lore.
Fast-forward to modern times, and there’s a wealth of activities for fun-seeking families. Zoom around Tenby Harbour by boat and watch out for coastal birds and playful grey seals. Or treat the little ones to a day of fun at Folly Farm Adventure Park. It’s a top-rated attraction with a zoo, barn and fairground, so perfect for kids!
Avid ramblers can’t visit Tenby without exploring the stunning Pembrokeshire Coast Path. The 186-mile walking route showcases the country’s most iconic scenery and wildlife.
You can join the path from Tenby to Saundersfoot, enjoying varied panoramas along the way. The five-mile stretch passes through Paragon Beach, Castle Beach and St Catherine’s Island. You’ll finish near Tenby Castle and Monkstone Point.
Or, why not experience a comprehensive view of Pembrokeshire’s coastal and rural beauty on this driving tour departing from Tenby. Enjoy stress-free, round-trip transportation through diverse landscapes in a Land Rover. You’ll have opportunities to pause for photo sessions at local attractions like Manorbier Castle and St Govan’s Chapel. The intimate nature of these small-group tours ensures you receive individualized knowledge and attention from your driver-guide.
Close to Tenby sits Saundersfoot – one of the best Welsh seaside towns for a tranquil getaway. Although smaller, there’s still a treasure chest of fantastic things to do for the whole family.
Discover the region’s rich biodiversity with a dolphin and seal safari. Or, challenge your balance with a stand-up paddleboard adventure. If the waters are too rough, Heatherwood World of Activities is only a ten-minute drive away. Here, you can spend adrenaline-fuelled afternoons paintballing, go-karting and clay pigeon shooting. There’s even a soft play area where tireless toddlers can burn some energy!
You can’t visit this seaside town in South Wales without a trip to the famous Saundersfoot Beach. The safe and shallow waters are perfect for open-water swimming and paddling. It’s also a popular canoeing, sailing, windsurfing and fishing destination.
Several restaurants, cafes and bars surround the busy beachfront. We recommend The Stone Crab for a delicious dining experience overlooking the harbour. The menu overflows with bowls of garlic-marinated mussels and tender, sweet lobster.
If you can’t choose between a city break or a seaside town in Wales, Penarth is an excellent compromise. The pretty coastal haven is roughly four miles south of Cardiff. As such, you’re not far from amazing nightlife and cultural attractions. At the same time, the resort is secluded enough to feel a million miles away from everyday stress.
Penarth is jam-packed with charming Victorian influences. During the mid to late 1800s, crowds of people visited from the Midlands and West Country. You can still see remnants of the past mirrored in the infrastructure. The traditional pier, art deco pavilion and town centre feel wonderfully vintage.
Most people know Penarth for its seascapes and parks, many of which have a Green Flag Award. Cosmeston Country Park is the most idyllic, covering over 100 hectares of picturesque countryside.
Inside the park, there are several Sites of Special Scientific Interest. These protect the rare plant and animal species. If you’re lucky, you might hear a booming bittern patrolling the reedbeds. Keep your eyes on the sky to catch the peregrine falcon’s fearless descent.
Best seaside towns in West Wales
Besides the azure blue sea, the first thing you’ll notice on arrival is the colourful houses. Pink, blue and green buildings illuminate the horizon, lending the town an irresistible quirkiness. After a day of absorbing the architecture, feast at a culinary hotspot. There are dozens of quaint tearooms and cafes that dish up cream-laden cakes and scones.
What’s Aberaeron best known for? The famous Cardigan Bay bottlenose dolphins! Aberaeron and the surrounding areas are one of two places along the British coast where you can see these animals. Most tour operators leave from the nearby fishing village of New Quay, including the top-rated SeaMor Boat Trips.
Don’t go home without a trip to Llanerchaeron. This grand Georgian villa has a walled garden and farmyard lake. Wild parklands envelop the historic estate. Explore the undergrowth to see tiny goldcrests, darting swallows and blankets of bluebells.
Aberystwyth, known as “Aber”, is the largest town in Ceredigion. It’s a hub for university students and a melting pot of different cultures and cuisines. Thanks to the younger crowd, this seaside resort in Wales is brilliantly lively. There’s an impressive array of trendy shops, galleries and live entertainment venues.
On a clear day, trek to the top of Constitutional Hill and savour the exquisite sunrise or sunset. Or skip the leg work out and make the ascent on the Aberystwyth Cliff Railway. Down below, perched on the seafront, is Aberystwyth Castle. You could spend countless hours here unravelling the Edwardian fortress’s dramatic history.
If you’re in the mood for romance, Aberystwyth offers a variety of luxurious accommodation. In particular, couples are sure to adore Nanteos. It’s a Grade 1 listed Georgian mansion that oozes country house glamour. The opulent suites have sumptuous king-size beds and cast iron roll-top baths. Peckish? Dine like royalty with a scrumptious afternoon tea.
For something a little less ostentatious, choose the stylish, four-star Castle Hotel. You’ll be right next door to the South Marine Terrace and vibrant town centre.
Barmouth is a small but pretty seaside town in Wales, nestled on the Afon Mawddach and Cardigan Bay estuary. Its mountainside location in Snowdonia National Park is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts.
Barmouth is celebrated for some of the country’s best walking trails. There’s even an annual Barmouth Walking Festival that runs 35 guided walks over ten days. Beginners might enjoy the Barmouth Heritage Trail. You’ll mosey through the meandering streets and discover the town’s top highlights. More strenuous hikes include Mawddach Way and Taith Ardudwy Way.
As for day trips, learn more about the Welsh slate trade at the Llanfair Slate Caverns. There are nine caverns and plenty of winding tunnels to explore, each man-made over 100 years ago.
Best seaside towns in North Wales
Llandudno is home to some of Wales’s finest beaches and coastal entertainment. It’s the largest seaside resort in Wales, drawing in hundreds of thousands of surf-seeking visitors every year!
Why is Llandudno so popular? It boasts two award-winning beaches ideal for water sports and sunbathing. Llandudno North Shore Beach provides hours of entertainment for the whole family thanks to its expansive promenade. Little ones will love the ice cream stalls, donkey rides and live music from the bandstand. Towards the end of the Victorian pier, relish the magical views over Llandudno Bay and the Irish Sea.
If you prefer quieter settings, try West Shore Beach instead. Kite-flyers and kite-surfers regularly take advantage of the favourable winds. There’s also ample opportunity to stretch your legs. After soaking up some much-needed vitamin D, climb The Great Orme – Llandudno’s mini-mountain. Conquering the massive chunk of limestone reveals otherworldly vistas and unseen crags.
With so many things to do in Llandudno, you certainly won’t get bored exploring the area. Besides the area’s fabulous beaches, you can visit the Llandudno Snowsports Centre or take a trip to the Isle of Anglesey.
North Wales seaside towns don’t get much better than Conwy. It’s a walled Welsh market and castle town tucked away in rolling hills and lush countryside.
Conwy Morfa Beach is only a stone’s throw away from the town centre, dazzling sun worshippers with golden, sandy stretches. Avid twitchers should head to the RSPB Conwy Nature Reserve. The diverse wetlands attract warblers, waders and lapwings. Listen closely, and you might hear the latter’s distinctive peewit call.
History lovers will be in their element with a trip to Conway Castle. The imposing and well-preserved fortress proudly watches over the town. Stroll around the battlements or scale the spiral staircases. And don’t forget to investigate the servants’ passages for an insight into medieval life.
You can also Embark on a journey through time, featuring the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Conwy Castle. This tour, guided by a knowledgeable local, will take you through the region’s rich culture and fascinating tales. Ascend the castle tower and follow the trails along the walls, immersing yourself in stories of its past inhabitants. Later, explore the old town’s ancient churchyards, bustling shops, and the smallest house in Britain.
After a long day’s excursion, you’ll want to sit down and refuel with a refreshing beverage. That’s where Conwy Brewery can help. Learn more about the brewery trade on an informative tour. Then, sample several award-winning Welsh beers. Unlike other micropubs, Conwy Brewery prioritises sustainability. As such, they produce natural, flavourful beers using a solar generation system.
9. Colwyn Bay
If you’re looking for a North Wales seaside town with a contemporary twist, you’ll love Colwyn Bay. In 2013, the resort received a multi-million-pound grant for a brand-new waterfront project. The Porth Eirias development vastly improved the promenade. It now has attractive seating, landscaped areas and an award-winning bistro. What’s more, designers used state-of-the-art technology to create a roomy Blue Flag beach.
Culinary connoisseurs should visit the promenade’s bistro for a five-star dining experience. Bryn Williams at Porth Eirias won the AA Restaurant of the year for Wales Award 2019/20. Plus, the restaurant retained its Bib Gourmand by Michelin for the third year running. The outstanding food is reasonably priced. Menus include Welsh rib eye steak, crab claw linguini and freshly caught mussels.
However, Colwyn Bay’s main attraction is the Welsh Mountain Zoo. It houses around 100 species and covers 37 acres of lush green landscape. The passionate team run daily tours for both kids and adults. Over several hours, you’ll learn about habitat preservation, sustainability and more.
Inside, you’ll find plenty of rare and engendered species. Marvel at the snow leopards, Sumatran tigers and red pandas hidden amidst the trees. Then, head to see the cheeky chimpanzees and Californian sea lions.
Beaumaris is a watery getaway and thriving community on the Isle of Anglesey. It features a unique mix of medieval, Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian architecture. Stone strongholds give way to cobbled streets and picturesque cottages. In the distance, you can see the Menai Strait and Snowdonia mountain range.
Drink in the area’s history with a trip to Beaumaris Castle – a United Nations World Heritage Site. Although famously unfinished, the remains of the castle reveal colossal ambition. There are over 300 arrow loops, six great towers and a water-filled moat with a dock.
Beaumaris and the surrounding areas on Anglesey also offer numerous water sports activities. Feeling brave? Dive below the sparkling waters on a scuba diving experience. Or, if you’d prefer to keep your head above water, try mackerel fishing. Starida Puffin Island Cruises and Sea Fishing Trips provide fun trips for anglers.
Explore more popular seaside resorts in Wales
The best seaside towns in Wales offer something for the whole family. You’ll find Blue Flag beaches and magnificent coastal walks. Meanwhile, nature enthusiasts will love the countless nature reserves and cliffside trails.
Seaside resorts in Wales are also never far from exciting, kid-friendly local attractions. Alongside water sports, check out the local farms, zoos and adventure playgrounds.
Struggling to choose between the best Welsh seaside towns? Browse our blog for more information. We’ve curated a library of helpful accommodation, restaurant and destination guides. Flick through our collection to find the perfect spot for you.
Nick, your trusted guide to Wales travel and exploration, shares a deep passion for this enchanting land. With years of exploration, Nick offers expert insights into the best of Wales. Join him on a journey through its captivating history, culture, and hidden gems, as he inspires you to create unforgettable Wales travel experiences.