Exploring Cardigan Bay

Cardigan bayFrom Strumble Head in Pembrokeshire right up to Bardsey Island in the north, the huge bite-shaped Cardigan Bay is the largest bay in the UK. The bay itself is rich with marine life and seabirds, and onshore, there are pretty towns and villages along the entire length of the bay, and the Wales Coast Path links them all up in one scenic route. In today’s blog post, we take a look at just a few of Cardigan Bay’s highlights, from wildlife hotspots to foodie destinations.

First up on our list of top Cardigan Bay destinations is Cardigan itself. The county town of Ceredigion sits on the River Teifi, and is a charming market town filled with independent shops and foodie hotspots. Don’t miss the old-fashioned sweet shop on the high street or the Guildhall market, and if you have time for a detour just out of town, be sure to visit the Welsh Wildlife Centre, where Asian Water Buffalo graze during the summer months.

Just 20 miles up the coast is our next stop, New Quay. This steeply winding town was once home to Dylan Thomas, and is said to be the inspiration for Thomas’s Under Milk Wood. There is an interesting Dylan Thomas trail through the town, featuring several locations that were part of the poet’s life, and this makes for an enjoyable stroll, taking in the town, and the beach below, from several angles. New Quay is also a firm favourite for another reason – the chance to spot dolphins and porpoises, as well as seals, as all of these are common visitors. You can, of course, take a boat trip into the bay to spot these beautiful beasts, but if you’re patient, and lucky, you stand a good chance of spotting some from the harbour wall.

Continuing north, Aberaeron is our next port of call. The town is rather unusual in that it didn’t really exist before the start of the 19th century. The harbour, and the pretty houses that surround it, were all built from around 1805. Today, the houses are all painted in distinctive colours, making for a picture postcard photo opportunity. Aberaeron is home to possibly one of Wales’s best fish and chip shops, and also to the famous honey ice-cream. Try both – they’re highly recommended!

Moving on up the coast, we come to Aberystwyth. Take a trip up Constitution Hill on the cliff railway, for stunning panoramic views out to sea or stroll along the pier for some good old-fashioned seaside fun. Be sure to stay until dusk, to witness the incredible spectacle of an enormous starling murmuration around the pier.

Barmouth

North of Aberaeron, Cardigan Bay continues to deliver stunning beach after stunning beach. Borth is well worth a visit, to see the ancient submerged forest which is visible at low tide, and Barmouth, on the Mawddach Estuary, has stunning views out to sea and mountains behind. Moving onto the Llyn Peninsula, Criccieth and Pwllheli are much loved holiday destinations for people from across the UK.

Whether you are a wildlife lover, an outdoor enthusiast, or someone who simply likes to sit on the beach and admire the view, Cardigan Bay has plenty to tempt you. Why not take a tour along this amazing coastline on your next Welsh holiday?