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8 great reasons to visit Abersoch in North Wales

I recently had the good fortune of visiting Abersoch for a few days. I’d frequently been to nearby Pwllheli for various sailing events (Plas Heli, the Welsh National Sailing Academy and Events Centre, is there) but never knowingly made it as far as Abersoch, despite hearing a number of great things about the village. Known as Cheshire-by-the-Sea given its popularity with residents of the nearby English county of Cheshire, many of whom have second homes in the area, Abersoch is a village on the southern side of the Llyn Peninsula in the Welsh county of Gwynedd. Also affectionately known as the Welsh Riviera thanks to its unique micro-climate, it is also a place where you can enjoy plenty of Summer sun, sea, sand and a lively nightlife. Here are 8 reasons why you, too, should consider Abersoch on your next trip to Wales. 1. Beaches There are many beaches within easy reach of Abersoch. Porth Niegwl is the longest expanse – a 3-mile wide bay on the south coast of the Llŷn Peninsula, but closer to Abersoch itself is the highly desirable Porth Mawr, a much closer walk from the village centre. This is also home to Wales’ most expensive real estate – a beach hut here can set you back in excess of £150,000. From here you can enjoy views out to two islands – St. Tudwals West (home of TV adventurer Bear Grylls) and Ynys Tudwal Fach. Interesting aside, but Grylls once got in a little bother with the council for a large metal slide that went straight into the sea from his property, for which he hadn’t got permission from the relevant Welsh building authorities – in hindsight, it wasn’t such a good idea for him to share this fact with his thousands of Twitter followers given that it was installed within an officially designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)! The slide has since been taken down. To the south of Abersoch is the National Trust’s Porth Ceiriad and, to the north, the harbour beach where there is another beautiful expanse of sand and yet hardly a soul in sight. 2. Views Abersoch is very picturesque and, catch the light at the right time of day, and you will be in for a treat. On one occasion, we captured a beautiful rainbow finishing at St. Tudwals West (the island on the right in the picture below), but sadly I only had my phone to hand and the resulting picture is a little too grainy to publish here! 3. Food There are many different places to eat in Abersoch – places such as The Hub, The Dining Room, Fresh Café Bar & Grill, Venetia, The Cove and the restaurant at Porth Tocyn Hotel are all well worth a visit. If the weather’s favourable, though, and particularly if you have access to a beach hut, you might like to consider a barbecue on Abersoch’s main beach which is relatively sheltered. Mickey’s Boatyard & Beach Cafe, at the south end of the beach, also does barbecues from time to time, or is a nice place just to relax and take in the view with a coffee or light lunch after walking the length of the beach. 4. Watersports Watersports enthusiasts will love Abersoch with its internationally-recognised sailing waters. There are two clubs to know about. Firstly, Abersoch Sailing Club which is an RYA-affiliated club run from the main beach, and great for both new and experienced dinghy sailors. Secondly, perched high on the cliff at the northern end of the beach, is South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club, which has hosted many prestigious events in the surrounding waters of Cardigan Bay. Our boys were there to compete in the RS Feva national championships and had an amazing time! 5. Golf Aberosch has had its own golf club for over 100 years; Abersoch Golf Club is an 18-hole course located behind a series of ancient sand dunes and with a mixture of both links and parkland. There are some testing holes but, whatever your score, you will hopefully be rewarded with views across Cardigan Bay and out towards Snowdonia. Nearby Pwllheli also has Pwllheli Golf Club on the south-facing coastline of Cardigan Bay, and Llŷn Golf, a 9-hole pay and play golf course and driving range. And a little further afield is Nefyn & District Golf Club on the north side of the Llŷn Peninsula, which has both 9- and 18-hole courses. 6. Walking If you enjoy walking, you will find plenty of walks nearby. The beaches are largely dog friendly but do check the signs are some areas do not allow dogs at certain times of year (for example, just the final northernmost stretch of Porth Mawr does not allow dogs during the main season). Those looking to walk a little further may want to head for the Wales Coast Path which circumnavigates the Llyn Peninsula. You can walk the entire path or just pick up shorter routes at various points and marvel at some stunning stretches of the Welsh coastline. Alternatively, if you want to tackle Snowdon, drive to Beddgelert and take the road to either Rhyd-Ddu or Nant Gwynant for two possible ascents of Wales’ highest peak. 7. Cycling Both road cyclists and mountain bikers will find plenty of routes in and around Abersoch. There are plenty of routes to explore around the Llŷn Peninsula as well as stretches of the Wales Coastal Path that you can ride. There’s also a nice circular route at Aberdaron, 10 miles to the west of Abersoch, that takes you along the north side of the peninsula, past Porth Oer and then down towards Pen Y Groes and back. If you don’t have your own bikes with you, you can hire them at Llŷn Cycle Centre in Pwllheli. 8. Days out Although you could easily spend the week without even leaving Abersoch, there are plenty of places to explore nearby that can easily be done as day trips. Caernarfon is less than an hour’s drive away, for example, and home to Caernarfon Castle, a medieval fortress with impressive defences since this was once the administrative centre for the whole of North Wales. There were in fact 600 castles in Wales, with the closest to Abersoch being Criccieth. Other nearby alternatives to consider include Harlech, Beaumaris on Anglesey, Penrhyn Castle in Bangor and Dolwyddelan in Betws-y-Coed. For something different, heading east out of Abersoch and hugging the Llŷn Peninsula’s southern coastline for about 40 minutes will take you to Portmeirion, a rather unique private tourist village created by Clough Williams-Ellis during the earlier part of the 1900s that has, on occasion, been used as a film location. It’s something of a fantasy world with beautiful buildings and grounds. The botanical gardens are worth a look and home to an important collection of rhododendrons as well as other exotic plants. For those looking for something more active, there are also ziplines, treetop nets and even an underground trampoline experience all within an hour’s drive, and venture just a little further to Dolgarrog in the Conwy valley (about an hour and a half’s drive) and you will find an artificial surf lagoon where they create continuous and perfect waves, so there’s really something for everyone!

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Telegraph.

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  1. As someone who lives both south and east of the Watford Gap I’ve got to admit that not only would I fail to be able to put in a pin in a map to locate Abersoch, I had never actually heard of the place. This piece has been quite an education, a real revelation for me, Abersoch looks both beautiful and a place that I’ve got to visit.

    1. Hi Brian you really have to go to Abersoch it’s a lovely place and it’s good and cheap for caravaning and camping.

  2. Brilliant photos Paul, especially the one of the dog hurdling the fence. A lot of amazing skies too. It’s quite a reminder that there are thousands of great places to see in the U.K. and that you don’t always have to fly or travel to the ends of the earth to see great places.

    1. Thanks, Nick… that’s our dog, George. You wouldn’t think he was nursing a fractured ankle, would you???! He had an op at the back end of last year but is thankfully doing really well…

    2. The photo of the cyclist almost heading into a halo of light has a real ethereal feel to it. If you read the photography text books and check the light readings on your camera it’s the sort of picture you shouldn’t take. It is brilliant in its own funny sort of way.

  3. I am amazed that there are over 600 castles in Wales. That tells a story of a turbulent past when people only felt save when they had built thick walls and pulled up the draw-bridge. I expect that some of them are just ruins but many more must be covered by my National Trust membership. Not sure that I want to do all 600 but I could knock off a dozen on a week’s holiday.

    1. Yes, I think Wales is sometimes referred to as the castle capital of the world. I understand there are only about 100 castles still standing, so that might make your checklist are little more manageable!!

  4. Amazing how many of these coastal towns have legendary cafes like Mickey’s Boatyard and Beach Cafe which are often brilliant at the local specialities. I’m just back from great Crab Salad on the coast on the Isle of Wight and my neighbour is still talking about fish and chips at Seahouses.

    1. Yes, the food there is nothing that special (to be fair, though, I only had the sandwiches at lunchtime) but it’s very inexpensive and the views and setting are amazing, so still well worth a visit.

  5. I’ve never been to Abersoch either, so I’m glad you made the trip there, Paul, it definitely sounds like one to check out. I must admit I knew next to nothing about the place, nor that it’s referred to as ‘Cheshire-by-the-Sea’, so I’ve learned a few new things from this. I had to check it on Google maps as I also hadn’t realised it’s exact place in N.Wales; the only place I’ve been in Wales is Cardiff, so I definitely need to add ‘explore Wales’ to my bucket list! I hope the boys did well & enjoyed the RS Feva national championships! 600 castles in Wales… that’s incredible. And to think I’ve only visited one!

    1. Thank you, Jen… if you’ve only ever made it to Cardiff, you definitely need to explore a little more. There’s so much beauty and variety to be enjoyed, especially in the Welsh countryside. The boys missed the first qualifying day of the event because of a school prize day, which meant they were destined for the silver fleet (and some way down within it) before the event even started for them. They did manage second place in the fleet, though – just didn’t have enough races left at the end to catch the leading boat! :-)

  6. I think I’ll give the zip line experience a miss if that’s OK with you?

    But seriously I didn’t have a clue where Abersoch was. Nor did I have any idea about what the place had to offer. Clearly it has many charms.

    It’s a region of the country that I have never visited, very remiss of me, so I need to head there fairly soon.

  7. Great article. I am lucky to be a permenant resident of Abersoch, although I am English. My family had come here on holiday for many years before we actually made a permenant move. One place that is my favourite and just a short drive away is the Ty Coch pub which is located on the beach at Porthdinllaen, Morfa Nefyn. The walk across the golf course and down to the pub used to be a closely guarded secret, before the Internet. There are many more people visiting there now but I still love to go! I also should mention that Abersoch is a Village and not a Town. It used to be much more ‘quaint’ years ago but as times moved on the antiques shops and souvenir shops turned into Surf shops and it is but a minor gripe of mine. Still, I would not live anywhere else in the whole world. I love it here!

    1. Thank you for the village/town correction, Craig – I shall attend to that within the article now. I’m glad you liked the article also – that’s praise indeed for someone who knows the area much better than I do.

      Finally, thanks for the tip off. I shall look that one up next time we have an event there.

  8. Under the present UK lockdown, this article should not be on Google as feckin idiots are travelling to North Wales on reading such reports like yours. Be responsible to what is going on in the UK

    1. Robert,

      Neither us nor Google are recommending that people visit North Wales at a time of lockdown. This article was written last year, long before the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic began, and is dated accordingly.

      The information we provide on destinations around the world is just that. We are not for one moment suggesting that people ignore government advice, but nor does this mean we should be required to remove this information from our site, or that Google should remove us from their search results.

      Don’t forget that there will come a time when people travel again, and there are people planning for that now. Destinations such as Abersoch – and North Wales as a whole – will, I’m sure, be keen to welcome tourists back to the area then after what will have been a very difficult time for the tourist industry.

      Until that is allowed, we recommend that people follow government advice, stay at home and stay safe for the sake of themselves, their friends and families, and their own communities.


  9. Please don’t refer Abersoch to ‘Cheshire-by-the-sea’. Its really quite offensive to those who live there.. No one other than those that writes these articles actually call it that, either.

    1. Sorry you took offence at that, Josh… it’s certainly not my intention to do that, and hopefully I painted a positive picture of your hometown overall.

      Please understand that I’m not calling it that (note the title of the article and around 20 references to Abersoch in the article), merely mentioning (once) that it is sometimes dubbed by that title because of it’s proximity to, and popularity with, residents of Cheshire and Manchester. I would suggest that that is indisputable, whether it’s liked or not.

    2. I hear it referred to as ‘Cheshire-on-Sea’ or ‘Cheshire-by-the Sea’ quite frequently. But then I am from Cheshire! Is our county really so bad that this is so offensive…?

  10. Great write up review of Abersoch I have never been to Wales but after reading your article l’m going to do a search for accommodation it looks amazing has all the required attractions and beauty we love for a holiday destination thanks

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