4 Days in Anglesey
Join me for a Copper Bottomed Guaranteed Great Beach Break
Anglesey – unspoilt and peaceful. Easy on the eye and gentle on the mind.
20 miles in diameter – small enough that you could contemplate walking all the way around its coast – but large enough to lose yourself in happily for four days.
Here’s how we made the most of our short time on the island.
Day 1 - Across the Menai Bridge to Beaumaris
Anglesey is easily accessible from the mainland via the impressive Menai Bridge. There are no tolls either – simply drive across and start your well earned holiday.
We used the morning to travel and arrived in Beaumaris at lunch time, leaving the afternoon free to explore Beaumaris Castle.
Beaumaris makes a good base for the first leg of a trip to Anglesey. With an eclectic mix of shops and a good selection of pubs offering a variety of locally brewed ales, you can’t really go wrong staying here for a couple of days.
Day 2 - Red Wharf Bay, Benllech Beach, Moelfre
First thing, head over to Red Wharf Bay and have a walk along the bay. There is a free car park and you can enjoy spectacular views en route. If you are feeling energetic, continue walking across the sand all the way over to Benllech Beach. Benllech is one of Anglesey’s most popular beaches with good reason. It has lovely soft golden sand and clear blue sea. It is dog friendly, so you can let your four legged friends run free here, if you have one. There is an ice cream hut too where you can reward yourself for your efforts before continuing back to Red Wharf Bay.
Just a little further up the coast is pretty Moelfre a former fishing village with fabulous beaches surrounded by peaceful countryside.
You can take a variety of walks from Moelfre along the rugged coastline. We opted for the Seven Splendid Beaches Walk (5 1/2 miles). Starting at the Seawatch Moelfre, you can follow the coastal path to Porth Helaeth (the site of the sinking of the Royal Charter in 1859). Continue along the coast to the popular sandy beach of Lligwy and Traeth yr Ora and then on to Traeth Dulas. Take the old smuggler’s path to the Morris Brothers’ Memorial in Brynrefail before returning to the starting point back in Moelfre.
For well earned refreshments after your walk, call in at Ann’s Pantry. If you can, take tea in the cosy Summer House at the end of the garden, overlooking the sea. A perfect finish to the day.
Day 3 - Llanferpwllgwyngyll ..., Plan Newydd House, Newborough Forest
Llanfairpwllgwyng ... - You Know the Rest?!
You can’t really visit Anglesey for 4 days and resist visiting the town with the longest place name in Europe.
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (llan-vire-pooll-gwin-gill-gore-ger-ih-queern-drorb-ooll-llandy-silio-gore-gore-goch) – usually shortened to Llanfair-pwll or Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, is a Welsh word that translates roughly as “St Mary’s Church in the Hollow of the White Hazel near a Rapid Whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio near the Red Cave”.
There is nothing really to see here except the old station, but it feels like a place that has just has to be ticked off your list – right?
Plas Newydd House
I think that National Trust properties are always worth building into a great British break itinerary? Plas Newydd House has a stunning location with lovely views of the Menai Bridge. April is a good time to visit as the Rhododendron Trail is in full bloom. You might also be lucky and catch sight of a red squirrel!
Following the Rhododendron Trail will take you the rest of the morning. In early Spring, your walk will be decorated with swathes of pale yellow primroses, studded with wild garlic and white anemones. Back at the house, you can admire the formal gardens with their neat rows of brightly coloured tulips.
Traeth Llanddwyn – a long sandy beach at the end of (man-made) Newborough Forest – offers lovely views of Snowdonia. Backed by sand dunes and forest, picnic areas abound. This is a lovely place to hang out with the family for the afternoon. There is a large car park giving easy access to the beach.
You can also follow a 7km circular walk through beach/forest at low tide.
Give it a Miss - Rhosneiger
Rhosneiger is reputed to be one of the most expensive places to live in Anglesey, but I struggle to see why I am afraid. The beach is OK, but there is nowhere to park really and little in the way of refreshment facilities. If you are short of time, I would give it a miss.
Day 3 - Almwch, Cemaes Bay, Bull Bay
The hotel is set in lovely location and you can walk out onto the coastline straight from the door.
A 20 minute mostly flat walk into Almwch gets you to the bus stop at Lon Goch Recreation Ground (just by the Co-Op) in the centre of the town. There is a car park just next door if you don’t want to walk. We boarded the 9.42 bus (see Useful Websites below) to Cemaes Bay and arrived a swift 10 minutes later.
Cemaes Bay is a lovely village with a pretty little harbour and two beaches offering all the usual fun beach activities.
The town itself is tiny, but there are plenty of little cafes/shopsoffering tasty local food.
It took us most of the day to get back home! It is an 8 mile (13 kilometre) walk back along the coast, but is the absolute opposite of flat. If you want to burn some calories, this is a great way to spend your day. If you want to really feel alive, do the walk against a strong wind with some rain and sleet thrown in for good measure.
We were pretty glad to reach the Trecastell Hotel at Bull Bay for a spot of lunch. Drying off in there warm and comfortable restaurant with a full pot of steaming tea renewed our energy levels sufficiently to walk the half hour back up the coast to the hotel.
It would have been nicer to do this walk on a warm, sunny day really, but you never can guarantee the weather on a British seaside break – that’s all part of the fun.
Day 5 - The Copper Bottomed Guarantee
I think it is always nice to have a bit of variety on a trip. Walking is great , beaches are fun, discovering local foodie treats is delightful – but a little history and heritage provides the icing on the cake? When you can find all those key ingredients, you have yourself a copper bottomed guarantee of a great British seaside break.
Did you know that the unassuming little town of Almwch was once a “Copper Rush” town, just as unruly as the Wild West gold rush towns? Copper was sent to nearby Swansea (well located with the River Tawe running through it and rich coal seams to feed the smelters) which became known as “Copperopolis”.
Back in the 18th century, Mynydd Parys Mountain was the largest copper mine in the world. It’s rise to fame began on 2 March 1768 when a local miner – Rowland Puw – discovered a rich seam of copper near the surface. He was rewarded with a bottle of whisky and a rent-free cottage for life.
Copper Kingdom and Parys Mountain
Start you last half day in Anglesey with a self-guided walking tour of Parys Mountain. You might find it helpful to pick up a leaflet from the Copper Kingdom Exhibition in Almwch before you go as there is not much in the way of information on the walking trail. The Copper Kingdom Exhibition gives you a good deal of information about the history of copper mining in Almwch and does a great job of bringing history to life, but it doesn’t open until 10.15, so we decided to walk the nearby Parys Mountain first.
We took the long trail which took us an hour and 20 minutes (less than the 2 hours stated on the visitor board).
Marvel at the huge expanse of the open cast mine littered with rugged pathways with a myriad of bright coloured hues.
Visit the old windmill that used to help bring the copper up to the surface. Nowadays, wind turbines can be seen all around the coast – so nothing much changes here really – the strong winds are still bringing much needed power to the people.
The visit to Copper Kingdom brought our last half day in Anglesey to an end and it was time to head for home. I hope that sharing our itinerary with you helps you to plan your own trip here a little more easily.
Before I go though, there are a few more things to tempt you with:
It is always a pleasure to discover new foodie treats and Anglesey has quite a few in store for you. My favourites on this trip were:
- Bara Brith
- Gooseberry Yoghurt
- Aber Falls Gin
- Welsh Lamb and Beef – favourite of Michelin chefs and royalty – need I say more?
Bara Brith is made using dried fruit soaked in tea, mixed spices and self raising flour. It is baked in the oven and normally served sliced and buttered with a good helping of Welsh butter (of course!).
Aberfalls Distillery is technically not in Anglesey – it is just across the other side of the Menai Bridge on the mainland – but it counts as local for me because their lovely products are available in many of Angelsey’s best restaurants.
Tasting Notes: ” burst of fresh citrus flavour, finely balanced with notes of juniper, liquorice, angelica and coriander seeds”
If you like your gin traditional – then do give this a try. I don’t think you will be disappointed. A couple of bottles went straight into my car boot and probably won’t be staying there very long …
Tips for Future Travellers
- Pack some 20p coins – not all the public toilets are free!
- If you are walking the coast, take the bus out and walk back to base. The weather can be unpredictable and a walk with this many ups and downs may take you a lot longer than you think!
Where to Stay?
4 days in Anglesey is plenty to explore the best of what the island has to offer. We based ourselves in Beaumaris for the first 2 days and Almwch for the next 2 days, but it was easy to explore all of the coastline from those two locations. Read on for Accommodation Reviews.
Wish I Had Seen
A red squirrel.
Glad I Packed
Wooly hat, gloves, snood, waterproof coat and lightweight lekki walking poles. It blew a gale on those coastal walk!
Féach leat in Éirinn – See you in Ireland!