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Wales - The Cambrian Coast

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Top 100 places to visit in Wales

The Cambrian Coast

1. Harlech and Harlech Castle

The charming seaside town of Harlech is one of the highlights of the Cambrian coast, with fantastic views over Cardigan Bay and some good places to eat and sleep. The picturesque twisting streets and proximity of beaches such as Ardudwy Sands make this a popular destination in high season. The town occupies a ridge behind the famous, weathered Harlech Castle - perched dramatically on its rocky outcrop, and dominating the sand-duned coastline - an exhibition outlines the castle's history.

2. Talyllyn Narrow-Gauge Railway

The Talyllyn Railway is a narrow-gauge steam railway, set in the beautiful Mid-Wales countryside. The line runs from Tywyn to Abergynolwyn, passing the delightful Dolgoch Falls and there are excellent forest walks at Nant Gwernol. Enjoy a journey on the Talyllyn Railway's historic steam locomotives and carriages in the beautiful valley of the Afon Fathew, crossing bridges and mountain streams. There's a railway museum at the station at Tywyn, and facilities include a shop and cafe.

3. Llangrannog Village and Beach

The seaside village of Llangrannog lies on the coast of Ceredigion, in a narrow river valley where the Hawen runs rapidly into Cardigan Bay. The village is spread along the valley; the older settlement, including the church, sited above a waterfall - hidden from view of the sea and threat of attack. Today Llangrannog is well known to thousands of visitors as a tranquil seaside holiday destination. Llangrannog has a sheltered sandy beach with a distinctive large rock 'Carreg Bica' on the shore's edge.

4. Llanerchaeron House and Gardens

Llanerchaeron is an 18th-century Welsh gentry estate – a rare survival designed and built by the architect John Nash. Many unaltered features include a service courtyard with dairy, laundry, brewery and salting house. The estate has a working organic farm and two restored walled gardens.Visitors can see farming activities in progress, such as lambing, shearing and hay-making. Beyond, the wide expanse of parkland offers breathtaking walks through the beautiful Aeron Valley.

5. Museum of the Welsh Woollen Industry

Wool was historically the most important and widespread of Wales's industries, and the picturesque village of Dre-fach Felindre in the beautiful Teifi valley was once the centre of a thriving woollen industry. Visit the sympathetically restored mill buildings and historic machinery. A raised walkway gives a unique view of textiles in production. Families can have fun following the specially designed trail, 'A Woolly Tale', and try their hand at carding, spinning and sewing along the way.

6. Ardudwy Beach

Looking out into the Irish Sea from the west coast of mid-Wales, Ardudwy is widely acknowledged as one of the best beaches in the UK, with eight miles of soft golden sands backed by extensive dunes and grassland. The beach is good for swimming, with clean water and a gently shelving shoreline. There are a number of camping and caravan sites nearby which means it can get quite busy in summer. In colder months, the beach is a great place to go for a long fresh walk.

7. Devil’s Bridge

'Devil's Bridge' is actually three stacked bridges spanning the chasm of the churning River Mynach. The road bridge is the most modern of the three, dating from 1901. Immediately below it, wedged between rock faces, are the stone bridge from 1753, and, at the bottom, the original bridge, dating from the 11th century. For stunning views take the slippery steps down to the Punch Bowl. A path leading west tumbles down into the valley to the crashing Mynach Falls.

8. Centre for Alternative Technology

The Centre for Alternative Technology is one of the world’s most renowned eco-centres. The seven-acre site includes exciting displays demonstrating the incredible power of wind, water and sun and has working examples of environmentally friendly buildings, energy and organic gardening. It's a great place for children too, packed full things to keep little hands and feet busy for hours. On arrival, visitors ascend 180ft via a remarkable cliff railway - powered entirely by water.

9. The Barmouth-Fairbourne Loop

The best lowland walk in the Cambrian Coast region is the Barmouth-Fairbourne Loop, with impressive mountain scenery and coastal views all the way. The route first crosses the estuary rail bridge to Morfa Mawddach station, then follows a lane to the main road, crossing it onto a footpath behind a small wooded hill to Pant Einion Hall, then back to Fairbourne. In Fairbourne, turn north, either walking along the beach to the quay, or catch the Railway to the ferry across the estuary back to Barmouth.

10. Aberystwyth

The university town of Aberystwyth is probably the liveliest seaside resort in Wales and a relaxed and enjoyable place to visit. Take the clanking cliff railway to the top of Constitution Hill, where you can visit the camera obscura. South along the promenade is the Ceredigion Museum, with reconstructed cottages, a dairy and a 19th century pharmacy. There's a fantastic selection of good restaurants, cafes and pubs to choose from, and events such as Welsh folk music and jazz nights.
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