Sunny Prestatyn is the archetypal North Wales seaside resort. It sprang into national consciousness in the 19th century when the railways brought its fresh, sea air and restorative sea waters into the reach of holidaymakers from the north of England.
Today the resort continues to offer amusements, beaches, ice cream and family fun but it is also working hard to reinvent itself as a stopping off point for walkers exploring the region.
It’s fair to say that Prestatyn is more than just Pontins and caravan parks: anyone taking their eyes away from the promenade and glancing over the resort at the spectacular backdrop of the Clwydian Range will see just how close beautiful, natural attractions lie. There is so much to do in the surrounding area beyond slot machines, fairground tides and the bucket and spade to interest both families, nature lovers, golfers and walkers.
Prestatyn’s ozone-filled seaside air has long attracted tourists. Long before the Costas in Spain had left their calling card, North Wales was the place for sun, sand and sea. In the 1920s the Public Health Committee got all poetic over the resort’s charms: “If you are ill, don’t take a pill; I’ll tell you something better still. For sunshine and air, weather that’s fair and health giving rest – Prestatyn is best.”
There are still good reasons to visit Prestatyn for families: there are holiday parks, amusements, sandy beaches, waterparks, paddling pools, miniature golf courses, fountains and plenty places to eat and family-friendly places to stay – ranging from static caravans and campsites to hotels and guesthouses. It’s accessible by direct train from London, easy to reach from the North of England and close to airports at Liverpool and Manchester. Nearby there is the delightful Llanberis Lake Railway and the exciting Welsh Mountain Zoo> where panoramic views provide the backdrop for snow leopards, chimpanzees, red pandas and Sumatran tigers.
For the grown-ups nearby Chester Races has been the site for horse racing since the 16th century, and you can time your visit for a quick flutter, or you could pack your golf clubs and take advantage of the championship links course at Prestatyn which is set in 150 acres of superb unspoilt land.
History lovers can take in the medieval fortress of Conwy Castle that is easy to get to if all those seaside shenanigans become too much and the Neolithic mound at Gop and the breathtaking views of the ancient site of the Great Orme take you back to well before the invention of slot machines.
Prestatyn was the first Welsh town to be designated a ‘Walkers are Welcome’ town and it certainly sits at the start (or end) point of some very fine Welsh walks indeed.
The All Wales Coast Path has been named by the Lonely Planet guide as one of the world’s best: it runs east to west along the shoreline. Prestatyn is also part of the 176 mile Offa’s Dyke Path, which is one of Britain’s premier National Trails.
Prestatyn promises more than you might imagine. It’s a great family holiday but there’s a lot more to explore for those prepared to tear themselves away from the beach, pleasure boats and buckets.