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Sunday Times rates North Wales beaches among best in UK

Published on 19 Jul 2023 by Amy Greenwood

Last weekend, The Sunday Times released its annual guide to the best beaches in the UK, as nominated by Sunday Times readers. Three of the beaches selected were right here on our doorstep in North Wales, so we thought we should give you a quick rundown of where to find them.

The truth is, that with 250 miles of coastline to explore, beautiful beaches aren’t hard to come by in North Wales. From quiet coves to huge sandy expanses, rocky headlands to secret surf breaks, you’ll find a fantastic variety of diverse beaches here, with something to suit everyone. 

Read on to find out more about the North Wales beaches featured in The Sunday Times ‘best beaches in the UK for 2023’ feature.

Barmouth, beach
  1. Barmouth Beach, Gwynedd

The Sunday Times highlights Barmouth’s stunning views across the Mawddach estuary to Cadair Idris, as well as the views to the peaks of Yr Eifl on Pen Llyn to the west. It notes how the summer sunsets turn the sands into a mirror at low tide… and recommends The Mermaid for what is probably the best fish and chips in the whole of Wales.

We say:

This place is a stunner: Barmouth sits at the mouth of the Mawddach Estuary and is nestled into wooded gorse slopes with a Snowdonia mountain backdrop. One of the most spectacular natural landscapes in Wales, it’s easy to see why the town has attracted devoted holiday visitors since the mid-18th century. The town’s sandy beach stretches for two miles and is perfect for picnics, swimming, paddling and surfing. Head for the Mawddach Trail footpath for easy-to-access walking and cycling, and if you like a little more ‘wild’ on your the nearby Rhinog mountains offer some of the most spectacular walking landscapes in the UK. 

Holiday cottages near Barmouth

  1. Llanbedrog beach, Pen Llŷn (Llŷn Peninsula) 

The Sunday Times is right to highlight the great views east over the Rhinogydd mountains, as well as the potential for spectacular early morning views as the sun comes up behind Harlech Castle (due east of the beach). It rightly points out the relaxed feel to Llanbedrog beach – a contrast to the much busier beach buzz (in high season at least) in nearby Abersoch.

We say: 

Llanbedrog beach is golden, sandy, relatively shallow and sheltered. It is much loved for its colourful beach huts and mountain backdrop. The location is within touching distance of the Wales Coastal Path – follow it up and over the headland to Abersoch, and on your way check out the impressive Tin Man sculpture. The views from the top of the headland are spectacular, taking in Snowdonia’s peaks, Cardigan Bay and St Tudwal’s Islands. At low tide you can walk around the headland to Abersoch – just make sure you check the tide timetable before you set off.

Holiday cottages near Llanbedrog

  1. Traeth Penllech, Pen Llŷn (Llŷn Peninsula) 

One of Wales’s ‘most secret’ beaches, the Sunday Times points out that it isn’t the easiest beach to access – the pathway down from the clifftop is slightly eroded. If you do manage to get there, you’ll be rewarded with an extremely peaceful wide sandy beach and big ocean views.

We say:

If you’re like a bit of solitude on your holidays, you’re probably on a good bet to find it at Traeth Penllech. A beautiful little beach on the north coast of  Pen Llŷn, facing out to the big blue romance of the Irish Sea. The sandy beach stretches for around a mile at low tide, with a backdrop of grass-covered cliffs. There’s a small waterfall halfway down the beach, where the Afon Fawr has cut itself a gorge onto the sands. A note of caution – there are sometimes strong currents at this remote part of the coast, so we would caution against swimming.

Holiday cottages in the area

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