Lleyn Peninsula, North Wales

A touring guide to the Lleyn Peninsula in North Wales - Lleyn has history and beauty.

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Lleyn Peninsula

The Lleyn Peninsula has a very different landscape to the rest of North Wales. The mountains on Lleyn fall sheer into the sea, but they are broken by wide bays and rocky coves. There are charming little fishing villages and white-washed farms with small, protected fields. Lleyn is a very beautiful place.

The Lleyn has been populated since early times by man. You will find Iron Age hill forts, Neolithic tombs, ancient trackways and standing stones on Lleyn.

Bardsey Island, off the very tip of the Lleyn peninsula, was once a place of pilgrimage. Legend has it the Merlin, of Arthurian fame, lies buried there in a suspended animation, ready to awake when King Arthur returns to Britain.

In more modern times, Eifionydd was the birthplace of David Lloyd George (at Criccieth) and T E Lawrence (Tremadog).

A gazetteer follows of what to see in Lleyn.

Aberdaron

Almost the end of the Lleyn peninsula, though you can get further west by following the National Trust's two mile track to Uwchmynydd, a superbly wild headland with views to Bardsey Island off Lleyn. In fact Aberdaron was once the port for the pilgrims going to Bardsey, today it is a very pleasant village, with narrow winding streets and a pub worth a stop at for lunch.

Abersoch

Known foremost for sailing, Abersoch's harbour and estuary on the south side of the Lleyn, are choc a bloc with sailing craft of all shapes and sizes. If you do not want to sail, then there are plenty of sandy beaches, or try a spot of mackerel fishing off the St Tudwal Islands - the sea off Lleyn is rich in fish. The St Tudwal Islands themselves are privately owned, but there are regular trips from Abersoch to view the caves and seabirds round the islands.

The next bay, Hells Mouth Bay (Porth Neigwl) occupies the south facing cusp at the end of the Lleyn. It is known for its strong rip tides, that grind the boulders on the beaches.

Criccieth

Guarded by the ruins of a 12th century castle on the cliffs above, Criccieth has been relatively unspoilt by modern developments. The south facing resort on the Lleyn, is very sheltered, and has good sand and shingle bathing beaches.

The local name is David Lloyd George, born and lived just outside Criccieth, he is buried at Llanystumdwy a few miles away, where there is also a Lloyd George museum. Lleyn is a mecca for those researching Lloyd George.

Nefyn

The town has a long history, dating from Saxon times, continuing with a visit by Edward I in 1284. While 4 miles away is the old smuggling port of Porth Dinllaen on the north Lleyn coast. And four miles north of the town there is a magnificent walk up to the Iron Age encampment, the Town of the Giants (Tre'r Ceiri), from where you get panoramic views.

Porthmadog

Porthmadog is your entry point to the Lleyn Peninsula, to the east is Eifionydd.

At the mouth of the River Glaslyn, the twin towns of Porthmadog and Tremadog, were built on reclaimed land by a local MP in the 19th century. Today there is a picturesque harbour and sandy bathing beaches.

Shelly, the poet, was a regular visitor here, and is said to have written "Queen Mab" in the area.

Portmeirion

Portmeirion is close to Porthmadog at the base of the Lleyn, and part of Eifionydd.

Built by the architect Clough Williams-Ellis, Portmeirion is something altogether different. Started in 1926, its design is based on Portofino in Italy. Gardens were planted with exotic plants (which grow well in the mild climate in Lleyn) , an Italian campanile, castle and lighthouse were built. The hotel is today the centre of the village life, and many of the buildings are available for rent.

Film makers have naturally been interested in Portmeirion, particularly the Prisoner, the cult series of the 60's. Noel Coward wrote Blythe Spirit at Portmeirion.

Pwllheli

Pwllheli is the largest resort on the Lleyn Peninsula. The five mile sweep of South Beach has led to the development of a modern seaside resort at Pwllheli. The town's harbour is a good base for sea fishing the seas off Lleyn - mackerel, bass and pollack in particular.

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Lleyn offers you the best of Wales - history and scenery