Wherever you are in North Wales, one thing's for sure, you're never far from the mountains or the sea. But, as it's summer, it's only natural we spend some time lazing on the latter. Here at Royal Victoria, we think there are few places better than a Welsh beach on a glorious summer's day!
With almost one hundred beaches in North Wales but only six weeks of summer holidays you'll be hard-pressed to visit them all so, with this in mind, this week's blog focuses on family-friendly beaches in the region. Why? Well, that's easy! They offer a great day out for old and young, they tend to be safe with good swimming and, of course, they all have top notch facilities.
We've chosen our five favourite... our summer challenge to you - how many you can visit?
1. Porth Dafarch, Anglesey
Stepping out onto the sands of this hidden gem, you could be convinced that the last fifty years hadn’t taken place. It’s a timeless, traditional spot with glittering waters and plenty to explore. The National Trust look after the sheltered sandy beach of Porth Dafarch, which rests on the south coast of Anglesey. There is parking nearby.
This stunning Blue Flag beach is protected by the surrounding headland and provides safe, clean bathing waters to splash about in, plus fascinating rock pools to explore. Be aware that there is no lifeguard on site, although the beach is quite small so the kids shouldn’t be out of sight.
If you want to explore the local area, you’re in for a treat. Porth Dafarch nestles between the pretty little resort of Trearddur Bay and the RSPB South Stack reserve. There is free parking onsite.
2. Aberdaron, Llyn Peninsula
Steeped in rich, local history and providing sweeping views of the Llyn Peninsula, Aberdaron is a must-visit spot. The most authentically Welsh beach of our line-up, you’ll hear happy chatter in our native language all around the village.
There's so much to do at Aberdaron and families are really well-catered for here. As well as the ubiquitous sandy shoreline - a sandcastle builder's dream - families with well-behaved dogs are welcome to enjoy the beach too, just keep left of the slipway.
From Aberdaron you can take a boat trip to Bardsey, the ‘Isle of 20,000 Saints’. Now in the care of the RSPB, this little island has a fascinating history and is a very important spiritual destination for Welsh people. Less than 10 people live on the island and it is home to a wonderful array of native flora and fauna.
Prefer your feet on solid ground? You'll find a good selection of bars, coffee shops and restaurants in Aberdaron village to enjoy a cool drink and watch the boats drift over the water instead.
3. Hell’s Mouth, Abersoch
Firstly, don’t be put off by the name! Porth Neigwl, as its known in Welsh, is actually a charming place to take the kids and perfect for families in search of a sandy beach with bright blue waters. The beach earns the nickname from its exposed south-westerly location and its shape, with the bay thought to resemble a gaping maw. In days-gone-by, local fishermen feared being drawn into the 'jaws' of the beach and shipwrecked during a storm but the reality is much less dramatic!
This expansive beach is considered to be the best surf beach in Wales. When conditions are right, surfers come from all over the UK to ride the waves. As such, it can get busy but don’t let this put you off. There's more than enough room on the 3 miles stretch of sand for everyone to enjoy a visit in relative peace.
The strong currents surrounding Hell's Mouth are great for surfers but are extremely dangerous; you must be a strong swimmer to bathe here, so ensure little ones are supervised at all times.
If you visit, keep an eye out for the harbour porpoises and bottlenose dolphins that live here. Friendly and curious they are often seen frolicking in the bay - a magical sight!
4. Dinas Dinlle, Caernarfon
Another proud Blue Flag flier, Dinas Dinlle lies on the northern coast of the Llyn Peninsula between Caernarfon and Pontllyfni. This is quite possibly our ultimate family-friendly beach, owing to easy accessibility and good onsite facilities, plus we think it has something to offer everyone.
Beachcombers will enjoy the feel of pebbles crunching underfoot before giving way to soft, golden sand and photographers will appreciate the panoramic views across the Llŷn Peninsula to Anglesey’s romantic Llanddwyn Island.
Nature and history lovers will also find plenty here: a vast array of native bird life inhabits the area which is home to an important Iron Age hillfort.
And, last but not least, the kids! It’s a huge beach, so there’s plenty of room for them to run off their buckets of energy whilst you soak up the sun!
5. Black Rock Sands, Porthmadog
Like Hell's Mouth, not as dark and sinister as it sounds, but idyllic and golden! Black Rock Sands is a vast, sandy beach at Morfa Bychan, stretching for two miles between the famous seaside resorts of Criccieth and Porthmadog.
Don't be surprised if you see tyre tracks on the beach as, owing to the solid sand, you are permitted to take your car onto the beach. For families with motorhomes or a packed car, drive right on!
This is also a fantastic beach for families with buggies or people with mobility issues. Naturally adapted for accessibility, wheelchairs and mobility scooters can access the shoreline to take part in the fun.
The water here is ideal for paddling and swimming; it starts very shallow and has a gentle gradient so you won't accidentally find yourself in deep waters. Black Rock Sands is also well-known for watersports, including jet skiing and windsurfing, but they are kept at a safe distance in a designated area.