Beautiful beaches to visit in North Wales
Last updated: 13 July 2023
Previously: 30 July 2021
Many of us are looking to our own shores this year for a weekend break or a week or two away.
There are plenty of resorts and beautiful beaches to enjoy around the North Wales coast. We’ve put together a list of a few coastal towns in our lovely part of the world and will try and give you an indication of how far away they are from Hafannedd (we’ve used Google Maps as a guide). If you’ve never thought of Wales as a possible beach destination perhaps now’s the time to have a rethink.
Prestatyn - there's Gronant Dunes, Barkby Beach and Central Beach
The town is just over an hour from us if you take the A525 via Ruthin. The coastline at Prestatyn runs for 4 miles and there are 3 beaches to explore. The beaches are sandy - visit Gronant Dunes to really appreciate the dune landscape and observe the wildlife. Spend a day on Barkby Beach or the award winning Central Beach to enjoy the surf and wide sandy beaches or walk along the promenade and enjoy an ice cream. There’s crazy golf, donkey rides, play parks and amusement arcades so there’s plenty to keep everyone happy.
Prestatyn itself is a heritage town - with the remains of a Roman fort and bathhouse built almost 2,000 years ago located on the edge of town. Prestatyn has a quaint, pretty high street but also boasts a new retail park.
Prestatyn is the start of Offa’s Dyke Park National Trail so you can opt for a walk inland if you’d prefer to head away from the popular beaches - climb up the hillside and you’ll be pleased you did - there are stunning views of the coastline from here.
Visit Colwyn Bay - just an hour from Corwen
Marine Road Beach, Colwyn Bay
A little over an hour from Hafannedd is the main beach at Colwyn Bay. Take the A525 then follow the A55. There’s a mix of shingle and golden sand. In the holiday season (from 1st May to 30th September), dogs aren’t allowed on the beach between Victoria Pier and the entrance to Eirias Park. However, to the west, there’s an area of beach where our furry friends can frolic all year round.
Also located at Colwyn Bay is the Welsh Mountain Zoo which is open in peak season from 9.30am to 6pm. Sitting on 37 acres, the zoo has beautiful views out over the bay. There’s an array of animals to see - from big cats to primates, bears to penguins. There’s a children’s farm too so little ones can get close to cute and furry animals of the domestic variety.
Colwyn Bay Beach (Rhos-On-Sea Beach)
The stretch of beach here is a mix of sand and shale but is popular with families as well as those who enjoy their watersports and fishing. Situated within the harbour wall of Ros and Colwyn Bay promenade, Colwyn Bay Beach is 3 miles long and is a Blue Flag beach.
Sandy beaches and attractions at Rhyl Beach
Follow a similar route to Prestatyn, heading north along the A525 and you’ll reach Rhyl in about an hour. Between Clwyd Estuary and Splash Point there’s 2 miles of sandy beach and promenade to stroll along and there are plenty of cafes to stop off at for some light refreshment. Little ones will enjoy the Rhyl Miniature Railway - which goes around the Marine lake and there’s a museum to visit after your train trip. Rhyl SeaQuarium is located on the seafront and is worth a visit. With various species of seal on show and aquatic demonstrations, you’ll learn about marine conservation - just remember to book your ticket before you go.
Take your four-legged buddy to Talacre Beach
This dog-friendly beach is popular with locals and visitors and sits just across the River Dee from the Wirral over the English/Welsh border. From Hafannedd it will take you about an hour by car and lies east of Prestatyn. Miles of golden sand are backed by dunes and it’s no wonder it draws people back to it again and again.
Talacre’s most prominent feature is the Point of Ayr lighthouse which dates back to 1776. The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1884 but remains an impressive feature on the beach - rising 18 metres out of the sand. Make sure you’re familiar with tide timings if you decide you’d like to walk to the lighthouse - don’t get caught out!
If you’re a keen nature lover, you’ll be interested to know that the area around the beach and dunes is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) with rare species including a collection of natterjack toads. Nearby, the Dee estuary is a haven for wintering birds - try spotting little terns, skylarks, meadow pipits and warblers as you enjoy your walk.
If you want to get up to date weather reports, tide times or when to fish Talacre Beach you may find the Tideschart website helpful, Tideschart - Talacre Beach.
Go back in time at Llandudno
The seaside resort of Llandudno takes you back to the Victorian age - the pier is the longest in Wales, stretching 700m into the sea and was built in the late 1880s and has been awarded Grade II listed status thanks to its striking appearance and charm. Take a walk along the pier and spend your pennies in one of the two amusement arcades or buy a stick of rock at one of the seaside stalls. There are funfair rides and fishing zones so you can choose how ‘fast’ or ‘slow’ you want your visit to be. Head out from Hafannedd on the A5 and then pick up the A470 - you should be there in just over an hour.
Picture-postcard views at Abersoch Beach, Llŷn Peninsula
Head out to the west on the A494 and drive beyond Porthmadog and Portmeirion to get to your destination. It’s a longer trip than the others we’ve mentioned here but the route alone is worth doing. On the south coast of the Llŷn Peninsula is Abersoch, a village where the Afon Soch river reaches the sea. Enjoyed by dinghy sailors, jet-skiers and windsurfers, the former fishing port is now a focal point for water-based activities. There are two sandy beaches, the main one is recommended for sheltered swimming surrounded by perfect views. Maybe take a boat trip around St Tudwal's Islands to go bird spotting and wildlife watching, or just soak up the sun on Abersoch Beach until the sun goes down.
Ideas for visits along the North Welsh coastline
We hope we’ve given you a few ideas of the coastal trips you can take, using Hafannedd as your base (we’ve tried to keep things local). Please check with relevant websites and visitor centres before embarking on any tours or venues requiring tickets as most sites will require pre-booking at this time.