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The best of Anglesey – family holidays in Wales

By Jenny Schippers – 25th February 2021
Anglesey Llanddwyn Island

The Island of Anglesey offers everything for family holidays in Wales. Located off the north-western tip of Wales, it has always been a popular holiday destination for those travelling from Cheshire and the wider North West region. With its excellent transport links by rail and road, you can easily arrive on the island within an hour and a half of leaving home. With a strong staycation focus for 2021 and the ever-growing popularity of this small, yet perfectly formed holiday destination, it is easy to see why so many families will be choosing Anglesey for a short break or longer vacation this year.

Although Anglesey is the largest island off the Welsh coast and the seventh largest in the British Isles, it is still a manageable size to enjoy, whether that be for a few days or a longer stay. Linked to the mainland at Bangor by two impressive and dominating bridges, the Britannia Bridge, accessed by the main A55 link road, and the historic Menai Suspension Bridge, designed by Thomas Telford, that serves locals crossing from the coastal community of the same name.

Crossing the Menai Straits, for many, is an evocative experience; it can often feel like you are coming home, the memories of many a family holiday over the years, and the excitement of time ahead exploring the beautiful island of Anglesey.

Where is the best place to stay on Anglesey?

I am sure if you have been visiting Anglesey for years, you will already have a favourite village/resort/beach on the island that you return to year after year. However, you may be new to the idea of a holiday in Anglesey and are asking the question, ” where is the best place to stay? ”

Thankfully, you cannot really go wrong! The North, South, East, and West coast towns, villages, and resorts of Anglesey all offer incredible scenery, breathtaking beaches, and an array of holiday accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets.

You may be complete beach bums or watersports lovers looking for the ideal resort to spend your days, alternatively, walking or mountain biking may be more your thing and you like the idea of being close to coastal walks and forest trails. Finally, the idea of being away from it all, close to nature, and far from the madding crowd may appeal the most.

Anglesey offers something for everyone, from solo travellers to large family groups and everything in between. Keep reading to hear all about my suggestions of where I  think are the best places to stay in Anglesey for your UK staycation in 2021.

 

**As ever, please follow lockdown restrictions and book any accommodation with a flexible/free cancellation policy**

My insider guide to Anglesey

 

West Coast Anglesey

The first sign you will see following ‘Welcome to Anglesey’ is the left turn off the A55 into the famous Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch or just LlanfairPG for short. It is the longest place name in the UK and the site of many a family argument as to how to correctly pronounce the small village with the big name! I can assure you, after years of trying, if you are not Welsh-speaking you will never perfectly pronounce it.

The South West corner of Anglesey, accessed via LlanfairPG, is arguably the quietest area on the Island, however, it is jam-packed with tourist opportunities and spectacular views across the straits to Caernarfon and the Llyn Peninsular. From experience, aside from the upmarket holiday village of Plas Coch, you will often find the best value for money holiday accommodation whilst still providing great access to amenities and beaches.

Newborough and Llanddwyn Island

The small village of Newborough is conveniently close to Newborough Forest and the most photographed sight on Anglesey, Llanddwyn Island. The pine forest and warren at Newborough are a natural habitat for the endangered red squirrels as well as being ideal for mountain biking and walking. This unique habitat with pine trees, sand dunes, salt marshes, and the beach is a natural nature reserve for many seabirds and has been classified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

The large, wide beach is popular year-round and its exposed westerly position not only allows for uninterrupted views towards Snowdonia but the perfect conditions for kite-surfing and windsurfing. Along with Rhosneiger in the North, the Newborough area is the perfect position to stay for outdoors and adventure enthusiasts. Although the village of the same name is small, and not ‘touristy’ in the traditional sense, it has everything you could need including a small convenience store, fish and chip shop, and pub.

Malltreath and Aberffraw

Along the western coast, continuing through Newborough you will pass the tidal wetlands of Malltreath; a pleasant flat walk for children with much to see including wild ponies and plenty of water birds, before taking a left turn towards the dunes at Aberffraw. Again, this area is often overlooked when considering holiday accommodation, and as such the beaches are unspoiled, very rugged in parts, and much quieter than their eastern counterparts.

The small village of Aberffraw is a fantastic option if stunning coastal views, the opportunity to enjoy the water, and a great beach is a number one priority. The short tidal river of Afon Ffraw dissects the village and originates two miles inland before carving its way through the lower wetlands and dunes before flowing into the sea at Aberffraw.

Whilst respecting the tide times, this river and its bank becomes a playground during low tide for kayaks, small boats, and paddleboards. The combination of freshwater, rock pools, and sea in proximity appeals to families that are looking to spend their holiday enjoying the beach and water. The sunsets here too are spectacular.

Rhosneigr

The most popular resort on Anglesey’s west coast is Rhosneigr, this one-road in/one-road out village has morphed over the years from a quiet retirement area to a thriving tourist resort during the Summer months with many holiday properties and rental homes popping up.

The short main street is dotted with surf shops, cafes, and ice cream parlours and as such becomes busy during the school holidays. Over the years, many have been drawn here thanks to its unspoiled coastline and geography which makes it ideal for water sports notably windsurfing, surfing, and kayaking.

The surfing vibe is infectious and Rhosneigr is arguably the closest resort on Anglesey to mimic the Cornwall vibe. Over the last couple of years, the standard of holiday accommodation in the area has dramatically increased and you can easily marvel at some downright impressive homes available to rent.

The Sandy Mount Hotel on the main street has also opened to cater to those interested in a boutique hotel/bar experience with a relaxed, animal and child-friendly, atmosphere. Think sandy toes on the veranda enjoying a sundowner, unfortunately however it is set back from the beach, but still very pretty, nonetheless.

Holy Island and Trearddur Bay

Further north, and a short ride over Four Mile Bridge (which is not four miles long at all), brings you onto Holy Island, home to the luxurious Silver Bay Holiday Village complete with a private beach and the neighbouring community of Rhoscolyn. The White Eagle at Rhoscolyn is worth a stop for lunch if you are staying in the area and on a sunny day, the lawned beer garden is a real treat. Close by the seaside village of Trearddur Bay has been attracting holidaymakers for decades.

Long established, with its sandy beach and promenade dotted with a couple of notable pubs, The Black Seal and Sea Shanty, Trearddur Bay is small yet perfectly formed. There are countless small bays along the coast ideal for kayaking and swimming. The accommodation options here range from the Trearddur Bay Hotel to small independent cottages and static caravans. Slightly further around the coast will bring you to Holyhead Mountain, the highest point on Anglesey, and the South Stack RSPB Reserve.

South Stack and Holyhead

With sheer sea cliffs, the area is treacherous on a windy day however on clear days you can often see the Irish coast and can enjoy watching the sea ferries making the short crossing between the two. South Stack is famous for its Puffin colony which, if you are lucky, you can spot during the Spring and early Summer months. For any brave souls, you can take the 400 steep steps down to the South Stack Lighthouse located on its own small island and linked to Holy Island by a bridge.

If staying in the area, the large town of Holyhead, is the site of the main train station on the Island, and port to Ireland. Although not an ideal spot to stay for a holiday, Holyhead provides great amenities including supermarkets and shops to service your stay. Close by the Penrhos Coastal Park is a great place to spend the afternoon with countless waymarked walks and trails. As you cross the bridge back onto Anglesey, you will pass through Valley, another village where you can pick up essentials and stop for lunch at Catch 22 Brasserie.

 

North Coast Anglesey

Along Anglesey’s northern coast there are no ‘resorts’ in the traditional sense but a collection of small villages and self-catering accommodation scattered across the countryside. The beaches here are sandy and generally sheltered. The large beach at Porth Tywyn is a popular choice; it is approximately a mile long with rock pools at either end, easy also to access. During low tide it is a very wide firm beach, perfect for families and there is often activity from the nearby caravan parks, including boat launches to watch.

From here you can also look back over to Holyhead port and watch the ferries come and go to Ireland. Slightly further down the coast, Porth Swtan, or Church Bay, is a smaller offering and rocky in parts, perfect for rock pooling. There is an array of self-catering accommodation and camping options surrounding this much-loved cove and along with the Lobster Pot, Church Bay Inn, and Wavecrest café during high season, there are some great eating options locally too.

 

Cemaes Bay and Amlwch

The northeastern tip of the Island, and the furthest point from the main A55 trunk road that transcends the island, includes the pretty hamlet of Cemaes Bay featuring a small beach and quaint shopping street. From here the landscape changes as it rises to Parys Mountain with its network of now-dormant copper mines. It can be incredibly windy in this corner of the island and the abundance of wind turbines certainly proves this point.

Onwards towards the fishing port of Amlwch; Bull Bay offers dramatic seascapes and Point Lynas is a worthy stopping point. With regards to staying in this area, it is remote and certainly rich in history. The landscape is unlike anywhere else on Anglesey and its remoteness may appeal to some looking for an opportunity to completely switch off. The popular eastern beaches of Dulas and Treath Lligwy are a short drive away and accommodation prices rise the closer you get to these.

 

East Coast Anglesey

I think it would be fair to suggest that most holidaymakers to Anglesey flock to the southeast tip, around Beaumaris, and eastern beaches of Moelfre, Benllech, and Red Wharf Bay for their family breaks. Accommodation along this section of the Anglesey coast is at a premium, the closer to these resorts and beaches, the higher these accommodation prices are.  There are countless self-catering options available ranging from holiday parks, B+Bs, rental homes, and luxury properties.

 

Benllech, Moelfre and Red Wharf Bay

Of these resorts, Benllech is your traditional bucket and spade offering; a safe beach complete with ice-cream parlour and café along with fish and chip shops, pubs, and shops making it the number one choice for families. Moelfre is famous for its RNLI Lifeboat station, quaint village centre featuring Ann’s Pantry café, ice cream parlour, and pub overlooking a small rocky beach with impressive coastal views.

Red Wharf Bay is vast and covers almost ten miles of beach at low tide, Pentraeth Forest skirts one side of the bay and Benllech sits to the other. Along the seafront, there is the famous Ship Inn, The Tavern on the Bay, and The  Old Boathouse, all great choices for dining with awe-inspiring views.

 

South Anglesey

The southeast tip, around Pentreath Forest, which is another excellent site for mountain biking and red squirrel spotting, sees the road rise to the pretty hamlet of Llandonna with a steep track down to its beach. From both the top and bottom of this hill, the views are spectacular back towards Red Wharf Bay and mainland Wales. Continuing around the peninsular will allow you the option to turn off towards Penmon.

Penmon

This quiet area is packed with sites including the Penmon Lighthouse and Monastery. Again, the views over the straits are impressive here and the occasional luxury glass-fronted property dotted along the road will attest to that. There are plenty of self-catering options, caravan sites, and B+Bs to choose from along this peaceful point. This area is a popular option for those looking to enjoy the benefits of Beaumaris and the eastern resorts without being in the midst of it.

Beaumaris and Menai Bridge

Beaumaris is considered the jewel in Anglesey’s crown, the sophisticated coastal resort that serves as a popular place for locals to live but also for tourists to gravitate to during the holiday season. The town has a pier, perfect for crabbing and from where you can pick up the seal-spotting boats and rib-rides that run the length of the Menai Straits at breakneck speed. The Victorian architecture is a marvel and complete with a moated castle, albeit ruined, and gaol house, there is easily enough to see here for a weekend.

The Janet Bell Gallery is a rite of passage and the selection of independent stores, pubs and restaurants make for a totally unique holiday experience. During normal times, coach trips descend on Beaumaris so the narrow streets can often get packed during the afternoon. The benefits of staying nearby are that you can avoid these busy periods and enjoy Beaumaris without the bulk of the day-tripping crowds.

Further down the coast, Menai Bridge is a pretty spot, featuring Dylan’s Restaurant and the famous bridge of the same name. Again, a great option for families looking to be close to the main sights without having to drive too far across the island. A walk along the Belgian Promenade is a must and there are plenty of waterfront homes to admire along the route.

 

In summary…

Finally, there are countless beautiful inland spots on Anglesey, and accommodation prices dissipate further from the coast and the main tourist towns you go to. Staying close to the main A55 trunk road will allow for quick and easy access across the island.

You cannot really go wrong on Anglesey; you are rarely more than a one-hour drive from anywhere and the range of landscapes is ever-changing. In summary, for those looking for quieter pockets stick to the southwest and northeastern tips, the eastern and southern resorts are the most popular for good reason and the northwest area on and around Holy Island are perfect for water sports and wildlife enthusiasts.

 

What to do on Anglesey

The Anglesey Coastal Path circumnavigates the whole island and is a great choice to see quieter and secluded bays by foot. Some sections are more family-friendly than others, the section from Porth Tywyn to Porth Swtan on the North Coast is a popular choice, ending with a scone from the Wavecrest café.

Take a read of my article for Family Traveller magazine which again discusses the best family-friendly resorts and activities in Anglesey/North Wales.

For a full list of tourist attractions on Anglesey, click here.

I would personally recommend Foel Farm, Pili Palas, and the RNLI Lifeboat station at Moelfre taking in a section of the coastal path at the same time. Wherever you choose to stay, I am confident you will have the most amazing time on Anglesey and will continue to return year after year.

 

Anglesey self-catering accommodation

Little Fish Escapes (located in Rhoscolyn)

Boltholes & Hideaways

Menai Holidays

 

Fancy reading more?

If you have enjoyed my blog and are considering family holidays in Wales, why not have a read all about my family-friendly stay at Holidays Wales in a  Shepherd’s Hut here.

You can also follow my adventures in Cheshire, Anglesey and further afield on my Instagram page @girlabout.cheshire

 

Enjoy!

Jenny x

RECOMMENDATION

This is a Girl About recommendation. This means that it was not gifted in return for a review but paid in full by our writer and the venue had no idea that I was there. We only recommend places we absolutely love, and places that we know you’ll love too!

 

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