Although far from isolated on the scale of manycountries and continents, Aberystwyth, situated inthe middle of Cardigan Bay, has a definite air of being agreeably cut off fromits 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 sinuouslyaround the scenic coastline or climb dramatically up the great impassive hillsand green valleys of Wales.
The prevalence of the Welsh language in the area addsto its exotic, distant feel – very much the last stop on the wonderfully scenicCambrian Railway line (with connections, eventually, to Birmingham) which firstbrought tourism to the town in the Victorian era.
Get Away fromIt AllAs such, Aberystwyth isthe perfect destination to ‘get away from it all’, being popular with familiesin search of the kind of traditional seaside holiday in vogue when Aberystwythwas dubbed ‘the Biarritz of Wales’ 150 years ago.
More recently having reinvented itself as a centre foroutdoor and coastal activities, the attractively old-fashioned town hasundergone a revival, alighting on an optimal blend of nostalgic attractions andthose catering to the modern demand for tranquil leisure.
AberystwythCentreThe seafront promenade naturally forms the focus ofany walk around Aber, but there’s also plenty todiscover in the network of bustling streets leading up to the front. More than60 pubs vie for your attention, offering a reminder that Aberystwythhas 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 AberysthwythCastle are at the southern end of town, both offering traditionalstops on any seaside agenda. Aberystwyth ArtsCentre boasts a state-of-art theatre and cinema and large concert venue. Thehugely impressive National Library of Wales houses millions of books in thisstronghold of the Welsh language movement, and features regular exhibitions.
AberystwythCliff RailwayAt the northern end of the Prom, Constitution Hillfeatures a wonderful seaside relic in the funicular Cliff Railway, which willhoist you to the top of the cliff in time-honoured Victorian style. A tea shopawaits invitingly at its summit, along with a smashing seagull’s eye view over Aberystwythand 26 distant mountain peaks – which are redoubled in excitement value byviewing them via the world’s largest camera, Obscura.
Devil’s BridgeThe Edwardian Vale of Rheidolsteam railway runs for 12 miles through gorgeous mid-Wales countryside from AberystwythStation to Devils Bridge, the irresistible combination comprising one ofmid-Wales’s top historic and scenic attractions. Devils Bridge is a fecund100-metre-deep gorge with a picturesque waterfall, all traversed by threeancient bridges, each one above the other. Quite how they were originallybuilt, only the Devil knows.
AberystwythActivitiesHillwalking is hugely popular in the vicinity of Aberystwyth,your first challenge being Pen Dinas, south of town, which features an Iron Agehill fort and the Wellington Monument visible for miles around. Walk thecoastal path toward the neighbouring beaches at surf-friendly Borth.
Or, of course, you could take a boat trip in search ofdolphins and seals or go sea angling, sea rowing, windsurfing, landsurfing orkitesurfing.