Aberystwyth City Guide

Although far from isolated on the scale of many countries and continents, Aberystwyth, situated in the middle of Cardigan Bay, has a definite air of being agreeably cut off from its closest centres of population. They are all over 70 or 80 miles distant, and on roads that do not allow fast travel by car as they snake sinuously around the scenic coastline or climb dramatically up the great impassive hills and green valleys of Wales.

The prevalence of the Welsh language in the area adds to its exotic, distant feel – very much the last stop on the wonderfully scenic Cambrian Railway line (with connections, eventually, to Birmingham) which first brought tourism to the town in the Victorian era.

Get Away from It All

As such, Aberystwyth is the perfect destination to ‘get away from it all’, being popular with families in search of the kind of traditional seaside holiday in vogue when Aberystwyth was dubbed ‘the Biarritz of Wales’ 150 years ago.

More recently having reinvented itself as a centre for outdoor and coastal activities, the attractively old-fashioned town has undergone a revival, alighting on an optimal blend of nostalgic attractions and those catering to the modern demand for tranquil leisure.

Aberystwyth Centre

The seafront promenade naturally forms the focus of any walk around Aber, but there’s also plenty to discover in the network of bustling streets leading up to the front. More than 60 pubs vie for your attention, offering a reminder that Aberystwyth has a large student population during term time; many bars also offer food, along with a cosmopolitan range of cafes, takeaways and restaurants.

The Victorian pier and ruined 12th-century Aberysthwyth Castle are at the southern end of town, both offering traditional stops on any seaside agenda. Aberystwyth Arts Centre boasts a state-of-art theatre and cinema and large concert venue. The hugely impressive National Library of Wales houses millions of books in this stronghold of the Welsh language movement, and features regular exhibitions.

Aberystwyth Cliff Railway

At the northern end of the Prom, Constitution Hill features a wonderful seaside relic in the funicular Cliff Railway, which will hoist you to the top of the cliff in time-honoured Victorian style. A tea shop awaits invitingly at its summit, along with a smashing seagull’s eye view over Aberystwyth and 26 distant mountain peaks – which are redoubled in excitement value by viewing them via the world’s largest camera, Obscura.  

Devil’s Bridge

The Edwardian Vale of Rheidol steam railway runs for 12 miles through gorgeous mid-Wales countryside from Aberystwyth Station to Devils Bridge, the irresistible combination comprising one of mid-Wales’s top historic and scenic attractions. Devils Bridge is a fecund 100-metre-deep gorge with a picturesque waterfall, all traversed by three ancient bridges, each one above the other. Quite how they were originally built, only the Devil knows.

Aberystwyth Activities

Hillwalking is hugely popular in the vicinity of Aberystwyth, your first challenge being Pen Dinas, south of town, which features an Iron Age hill fort and the Wellington Monument visible for miles around. Walk the coastal path toward the neighbouring beaches at surf-friendly Borth.

Or, of course, you could take a boat trip in search of dolphins and seals or go sea angling, sea rowing, windsurfing, landsurfing or kitesurfing.

Guide to Exploring Aberystwyth

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