Things to do in AbersochPublished on 15 Aug 2022 by Gwion Llwyd
You’ll find the village of Abersoch on the southeast-facing side of beautiful Pen Llŷn. Originally a small fishing port, it’s at the mouth of the River Soch. Abersoch is now an attractive seaside resort which seems to have something for everyone: cliffs and coves, bars, bistros, surf shops, and very browsable boutiques.
Abersoch has been much-loved by generations of loyal visitors. With its long golden sands, great sweeping views across Cardigan Bay to the mountains of Snowdonia, and laid back surfer lifestyle, it’s not hard to see why. There’s a real buzz in the town throughout the summer season.
Abersoch’s lovely sheltered beach is popular with swimmers, sandcastlers and paddlers. It is also very popular for sailing and watersports – there’s plenty of opportunity to practise your paddleboarding and windsurfing skills here. If surfing’s your thing, head to nearby Porth Neigwl (Hell’s Mouth) for some of the best and most consistent waves in North Wales.
Here’s a selection of our favourite things to do in Abersoch.
A day at the beach
What a gorgeous stretch of golden sand. Abersoch’s beach is relatively sheltered, which makes it ideal for swimming and splashing around. Its easterly aspect provides fantastic views over Cardigan Bay to the mountains of Snowdonia. St Tudwal’s Islands are also visible from the shore. Whilst Abersoch is popular for all sorts of water sports, there is a motor boat exclusion zone in place to keep bathers safe. Enquire at the beach cafés for beach huts, which can be rented by the day or week. This is a Blue Flag Beach, which means that seasonal dog restrictions are in place.
Porth Neigwl / Hell’s Mouth
If you are a surfer – and you’d be in good company in Abersoch – you will probably already know that the beach with the best waves is just outside of town. Porth Neigwl – also known as Hell’s Mouth – is a long stretch of sand and stones, with consistent decent waves thanks to its westerly aspect. Great for surfing. Also great for watching surfing. A short car or bike ride from Abersoch, or a ten mile hike if you prefer to follow the Wales Coast Path around the headland. 2 miles from Abersoch.
Nearby Llanbedrog beach is golden, sandy, relatively shallow and sheltered. It is much loved for its colourful beach huts and mountain views. The location is within touching distance of the Wales Coastal Path – follow it up and over the headland back to Abersoch, and on your way check out the impressive Tin Man sculpture. Also handy for a visit to the Oriel Plas Glyn-y-Weddw, which is a stone’s throw from the beach. 3 miles from Abersoch.
The mainly sandy Aberdaron beach looks out across the waves of the dramatic Irish Sea. It’s a beauty. There are great views to Bardsey Island, which sits around two miles off the shoreline. Around a mile long, the beach is flanked by handsome headlands, which are a handy natural windbreak. There are public toilets close to the beach. 12 miles from Abersoch.
The secret coves of Pen Llŷn
One of the most wonderful things about Pen Llŷn is its wild coastal landscape. There are some fabulous ‘secret’ coves and bays, which are some of the most beautiful beaches we know (and we know a few). Pack a picnic and a map, it’s well worth exploring whilst you’re here. Read more on our blog about the hidden coves of the Llŷn Peninsula, here.
Walk the Wales Coast Path to Llanbedrog
Abersoch sits on the Wales Coast Path, and there are some great coastal walks from the centre of town. One of our favourites is heading east towards Llanbedrog – an eight mile round trip, with some fabulous coastal landscapes along the way. At Llanbedrog, you’ll find the Oriel Plas Glyn-y-Weddw, home to a brilliant art gallery with frequently updated exhibitions, and a fascinating museum. Oh, and perhaps most importantly, a great café for lunch or afternoon tea. Head to the Wales Coast Path website to plot your route.
Take on Yr Eifl – AKA The Rivals
There’s really only one way you’d want to be blown away on top of a mountain, and Yr Eifl – also known as The Rivals – will not disappoint. Expect to be bowled over by the views from the summit. Yr Eifl is essentially a series of three peaks which tower above the sea close to Pen Llŷn’s rugged north coast. Yr Eifl is the highest point at 564m, but arguably it is the Tre’r Ceiri Iron Age hill fort that is the highlight of this walk. On a clear day you can expect to see as far as the Isle of Man, to the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland and over to the Cumbrian peaks of the Lake District. And you’ll get a fantastic view right down the full sweep of the beautiful Cardigan Bay too. It’s stunning. Find out more about walking up Yr Eifl on our blog. 13 miles from Abersoch.
Conquer Yr Wyddfa – Snowdon
It’s a bucket list favourite for anyone visiting North Wales – do you fancy climbing Wales’s highest summit on your next trip here? Pwllheli is a short distance from the start point of one of the best routes up Yr Wyddfa – or Snowdon, the Rhyd Ddu Path (pronounced ‘rheed-thee’). This is one of the quieter ways up the great mountain, and offers some of the best views. Plan ahead by downloading the Snowdon Walks app, which covers the six main routes up, with detailed maps and a live progress tracker. You can read more about how to prepare for a walk up Snowdon, here. 30 miles from Abersoch.
Other local walking ideas
For some more walking inspiration, you might be interested in these websites: Mud and Routes is a great information resource for walking in the area. Simply enter where you would like to walk and it will give you some tried and tested routes. Geocaching is popular in this neck of the woods and if you love a treasure hunt, then this is a great way to while away an afternoon, especially if you’re trying to keep the kids amused too.
Discover Welsh art and culture
The Oriel Plas Glyn-y -Weddw at Llanbedrog is a wonderful showcase for Welsh art, music and theatre. There’s always plenty going on, and it’s well-worth checking out what’s happening whilst you’re on holiday. The gallery’s cafe is a great place for a bite of lunch or afternoon tea, and there are pretty woodlands and gardens to explore. Llanbedrog’s spectacular sandy beach is just a few minutes’ walk away. 3 miles from Abersoch.
Enjoy a drink at the Ty Coch Inn
Sitting on a sheltered sandy bay at Porthdinllaen on the west coast of Pen Llŷn, and with stunning views over Yr Eifl to the Snowdonia mountains, this wonderful North Wales pub is regularly name-checked as being one of the best beach bars in the world. Park at the Nefyn Golf Club car park and follow the well-marked path over the course, it will take you around 15 minutes to get to the pub. With covered outside seating and the sound of waves lapping the shore, it really is the most perfect place for a pint. The Ty Coch Inn has limited opening hours in the low season, so it may be worth checking the pub’s website or social media before you visit. Well behaved dogs are welcome inside the pub, there are usually lots of happy dogs running along the beach outside. 12 miles from Abersoch.
Explore Criccieth Castle
A spectacular coastal fortress which stands proud on its own rocky headland, Criccieth Castle is a landmark historic site which has plenty to tell us about the fortunes of war. Built around 1230 by Llywelyn ap Iowerth (Llywelyn the Great), the castle sits on a high rocky peninsula in the centre of town, with enormous views over Cardigan Bay to the Irish Sea beyond. It is a strategic and quite astonishingly beautiful setting. Seasonal opening times and paid entry, book online. 15 miles from Abersoch.
Head to Porthmadog for a ride on a steam train
This part of the world has no shortage of heritage railways, but two of our favourites – the Ffestiniog Heritage Railway and Welsh Highland Railway – are based in nearby Porthmadog. If ever there were a place to sit back and enjoy the nostalgic pleasure of steam, this is it. Jump on board in the centre of town to enjoy comfortable plush carriages, the nostalgic aroma of coal, and gentle chuff of the engine as it moves through spectacular mountain landscapes. A day out on these railways is one of life’s great pleasures. 20 miles from Abersoch.
Experience the quirky beauty of Portmeirion
Portmeirion Village was designed by Welsh Architect Clough Williams-Ellis in the early 20th century. The architectural equivalent of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, it is an eccentric collection of Riviera-inspired houses, ornamental gardens and colour washed villas. It is also home to the spectacular Gwyllt woodland – ten hectares of trees and ornamental shrubs, with big views over the Dwyryd Estuary towards Harlech. There are plenty of cafés and shops to browse, and fabulous Italian Gelati at Caffi’r Angel. Lunch on the lawn outside the beautiful Art Deco Hotel Portmeirion is the perfect holiday treat. Read more about a day out at Portmeirion here. 22 miles from Abersoch.
LOCAL ACTIVITIES AND ADVENTURES
It probably won’t have escaped you that Abersoch is a bit of a surfer town, and there’s plenty of opportunity to learn how to catch a wave. Head to Abersoch Watersports, Offaxis, or the Hell’s Mouth Surf School on the waterfront to enquire and book. Lessons usually take place on the nearby beach at Porth Neigwl (Hell’s Mouth).
Learn to sail, and other adventures on the water
Hydro Abersoch offers full sailing courses with the RYA from beginners to advanced. A friendly family-run centre, it also offers courses in powerboating, as well as lessons in paddeboarding, kayaking, and jetskiing. Children can check into the Little Pirates club.
Take a High-Speed Boat Trip
Sit back, relax and enjoy an amazing sightseeing trip along Abersoch Bay, taking in St Tudwal’s Islands and Porth Ceiriad, and with a Snowdonia mountains backdrop. You might be lucky and spot some dolphins and porpoises along the way. Abersoch Land & Sea offers RIB boat trips for passengers age 6+.
Play a round of Golf
Award-winning and renowned for its friendly welcome, Abersoch Golf Club is an 18 hole links and parkland course. It opened in 1908, designed by Harry Varden and has been referred to as a ‘jewel on the Welsh Riviera’. Book your tee time here.
The Glasfryn Parc Activity Centre is a short drive from Abersoch. It offers hours – or even days – of family fun including archery, crazy golf, go-karting, wakeboarding, aquapark, kayaking, and stand up paddleboarding. 11 miles from Abersoch.
Take a boat trip to Bardsey Island
Run by a local family who have been lobster fishermen and Bardsey Island farmers for generations, Bardsey Boat Trips will take you across to the historic Bardsey Island – Ynys Enlli – from Porth Meudwy, near Aberdaron. On your way you’ll take in some of the most stunning coastal scenery the UK has to offer. Once upon a time Bardsey Island was known as the Isle of Twenty Thousand Saints and was a destination for Christian pilgrims. Now it’s home to abbey ruins, a bird observatory and a wide variety of flora and fauna. And bundles of peace and tranquillity. 12 miles from Abersoch.
Dragon Raiders Activity Parc
Dragon Raiders Activity Park based in beautiful woodlands in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the family-friendly park offers quad biking, paintballing, and Segway adventure treks. Book in advance. 13 miles from Abersoch.
Dwyfor Ranch Rabbit farm and Animal Park
For over 30 years this lovely farm has welcomed visitors to interact with a wide range of farm animals, including some rare breeds. Children are allowed to handle a selection of different types of animals including rabbits, guinea pigs and puppies, as well as hand-feeding many of the larger animals such as pigmy goats, alpacas, rhea, donkeys, ponies, pigs and lambs. Check the website for opening times. 14 miles from Abersoch.
Zip World Caverns
This underground adventure allows you to speed through the caverns of the abandoned Llechwedd slate mine on zip lines, navigating part of the course with a via ferrata, monkey bars, and a whole variety of challenging obstacles. Zip World Caverns is part of the Zip World portfolio, which also boasts Europe’s largest zip zone at Blaenau, as well as the fastest zip line in the world at Penrhyn Quarry – a site that was once home to the world’s largest slate quarry. 32 miles from Abersoch.
Zip World Caverns (see above) is where you’ll also find Bounce Below – a series of giant underground trampolines, strung across enormous underground chambers, with climbs, slides and various levels to navigate. Bounce Below is another thrilling and completely unique North Wales adventure. From age 7+. 32 miles from Abersoch.Other stand out North Wales adventure attractions include Zip World Titan,Zip World Velocity, Surf Snowdonia & Adventure Parc Snowdonia, Greenwood Forest Park, Rib Ride, The Slate Caverns at Llechwedd, and Go Below.
MOUNTAIN BIKING AND CYCLING
There are plenty of quiet B-roads leading out of Abersoch, which crisscross the rural Llŷn landscapes. It’s a great place to explore on your bike – check out the routes suggested by the walking, biking and wheeling charity Sustrans here. Want to hire some wheels whilst you’re here? Head to Abersoch Watersports on Pen y Bont. The Llŷn Cycle Centre on Ala Road in nearby Pwllheli also does cycle hire.
Set in the stunning slate mountains of Blaenau Ffestiniog, and with far-reaching views towards the Irish Sea, Antur Stiniog offers 14 fantastic gravity fed trails for all shades of rider from novice to world cup racer. The downhill trails are graded from green to black. Antur Stiniog includes a mountain uplift service, and bikes are available to hire from the site. 32 miles from Abersoch.
Coed y Brenin
Coed y Brenin near Dolgellau is the UK’s first and largest dedicated mountain bike trail centre. Hire bikes from the visitor centre (or bring your own) to explore miles of world-class mountain bike trails, with waymarked routes to suit all abilities. There is also a café, plenty of family walking trails, a nice play area and some gorgeous spots for a riverside picnic. 37 miles from Abersoch.
FOOD AND DRINK
There are so many great places to enjoy good food and drink in and around Abersoch, we couldn’t possibly list them all here. Instead, here are some of our personal favourites. Enjoy!
These pubs all offer good food and ale.
The Vaynol, Abersoch
St Tudwals Inn, based in the centre of Abersoch Village.
The Ship Inn, Llanbedrog
The Sun, Llanengan
The Llanbedrog Beach Bar offers a great menu and a stunning location.
The Dining Room is an intimate family run bistro specialising in seafood.
Mañana is fun – great Mexican food and a lively atmosphere.
The Zinc Bar and Grill offers delicious burgers, salads, fish and a great atmosphere.
The Vaynol does a great pizza. Also available as takeaway.
Porth Tocyn Hotel for fine dining, with great à la carte menus for lunch and dinner.
Mickey’s Boat Yard friendly beachside café serving great coffee and food.
Abersoch Beach Café delicious snacks and treats with panoramic views.
Blades homemade deli treats, including wonderful artisan bread.
Petal-a-Pot is a licensed café with a fabulous south-facing terrace.
Fresh bar & grill serves up very decent cocktails and food.
Kin and Co on the high street is a winner for brunch and locally roasted coffee.
The Vaynol for pizza.
Creel Fish and Chips is on the high street.
Head to Two Islands Ice Cream for spectacular ice cream and cakes, including vegan options.
THE PRACTICAL STUFF
For medical help
Dial 999 to call for an ambulance if you require urgent medical attention.
You can find your nearest urgent care health services provider by searching the NHS online directory at https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/other-services/
For non-urgent medical advice dial ‘111’ to speak to an operator at the NHS telephone advice service, or visit www.111.nhs.uk
The welsh alphabet is phonetic so once you know how to say the letters, the theory is that reading the words is straightforward; you say what you see. A little time spent familiarising yourself with the alphabet will help no end when you’re trying to navigate your way around the area…
a short, as in ‘hat’, never as in ‘ball’
b as in ‘bag’. Although is there really any other way?
c always hard as in ‘cat’, never an s as in ‘precise’
ch like the ch in the Scottish word ‘loch’, but with more phlegm
d as in ‘dog’, never as in ‘djinn’
dd a buzzy ‘th’ sound, as in ‘this’. Think angry bees with a lisp
e short, as in pen
f v. This is very, very simple, and when you get really used to it, f will play hafock with your spelling
ff f. Equally, you can ffind yourselff getting too used to ff as well
g always hard as in ‘get’, never a ‘j’ sound as in the last g in garage
ng as in ‘song’, where the g isn’t hard, like in ‘gig’, but a soft glottal stop made in your throat
h as in hat, always sounded and never silent
i as in ‘pin’
j accepted now because of the loan words from English that use it, like ‘garej’
l a ‘luh’ as in ‘lava’, but never an ‘ul’ sound as in ‘milk’
ll not as hard a sound to make as some would have you think. Raise your tongue to the top of your mouth as if you were going to say ‘el’, then make the ‘ell’ sound by blowing air round the sides of your raised tongue, instead of by using your voice. You should sound like an annoyed cat
m as in ‘mithridatize’. Or as in ‘mum’, if you want to be boring
n as in ‘nanobot’
o short as in ‘hot’, not round as in ‘hotel’
p can I have a p please Bob?
ph an English f, or Welsh ff sound, as in ‘phase’
r rolled. Some people just can’t get a rolled ‘r’ – their tongues are unable to vibrate in the right way. It’s a genetic thing, apparently,
similar to being able to roll your tongue into a tube, or turn the end upside down. Honestly, some people can, but my tongue’s not that prehensile. Roll if you can, don’t if you can’t
rh hr. Make a huffy, breathy sound before your rolled ‘r’
s always soft as in ‘sit’, never a ‘z’ sound as in ‘juxtapose’
t as in ‘top’. Can it get any simpler?
th as in ‘think’, softer and less buzzy than dd
u If you had stepped in something disgusting and made a kind of ‘eugh’ noise, the vowel ‘eu’ sound would about approximate
y ok, y breaks the rule that Welsh is phonetic. As a single syllable word, y is like ‘uh’, on the last syllable of a multisyllabic word it’ an‘u’ or ‘ee’, and anywhere else it’s like the unstressed, indeterminate noise of the final e in ‘garden’ or ‘letter’. Ysbyty (hospital) is the perfect example.
How are you? Sut mae / Ti’n iawn
Good morning: Bore da
Good Afternoon: P.nawn da, prynhawn da
Good evening: Noswaith dda
Good night: Nos da
Cheers / Good Health! Iechyd da!
Do you speak welsh? Ydych chi’n siarad Cymraeg?
How do you say…. in welsh? Beth ydy….yn Cymraeg?
Thank you: Diolch
I love you: Dw i’n dy garu di
Happy Birthday: Penblwdd Hapus
and a couple of funny ones….
Microwave: popty ping
‘Might as well’: Man a man a mwnci