Heritage, art and architecture – Aberdyfi to Aberdaron
Explore the heritage, art and architecture of the Coastal Way between Aberdyfi in southern Snowdonia and Aberdaron on the Llŷn Peninsula with this three day itinerary.
Day one (about 39 miles/63km)
Fashionable Aberdyfi has a big sandy beach perfect for windsurfing and wildlife watching. Head north on the cliff-hugging coast road to the Mawddach Estuary, where mountains tumble into the sea, taking the historic wooden toll bridge across the water at Penmaenpool.
Barmouth has a special place in Britain’s heritage. A short, steep walk leads to Dinas Oleu, the headland perched dizzily above the town. In 1895, this airy ‘place to breathe’ became the National Trust’s first acquisition.
The medieval ramparts of Harlech Castle, a World Heritage Site, seem to grow organically from the rock – once a sea-cliff – on which it stands. The waves have now retreated to leave dunes that today serve as one of Europe’s finest links golf courses, Royal St David’s.
Day two (about 31 miles/50km)
Portmeirion, the unique Italianate village created in the late 20th century, is a must-visit. You won’t believe your eyes. Dazzled visitors sometimes lose themselves here for days. You won’t have time for that so press on past Porthmadog to Criccieth, a charming Victorian resort with a landmark castle scarred by serious conflict (all is revealed at its new interactive visitor centre).
You’re now on the Llŷn Peninsula, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It’s hard to argue with that description from the grounds of Plas Glyn y Weddw, Llanbedrog. There’s more on which to feast your eyes within this Victorian mansion, a leading gallery dedicated to contemporary Welsh art.
Day three (about 13 miles/21km)
Take a boat trip from Aberdaron across to Bardsey Island, the ‘Isle of 20,000 Saints’ at the stormy ‘land’s end’ of North Wales. On Mynydd Enlli, the island’s highest point, look out for puffins in the skies and seals resting on the rocks below. Back on the mainland, learn more about what makes Llŷn so special at Aberdaron’s Porth y Swnt Visitor Centre.