Barmouth, or Abermaw or even Y Bermo as it is known in Welsh, is southern Snowdonia’s most popular seaside resort with breathtaking views of Cardigan Bay and the picturesque harbour. The town’s beach, Abermaw, is west facing with a mixture of sand and some fine shingle and is ideal for bathing and watersports.
The town can get busy, a land train runs along the promenade and there are traditional donkey rides, swing boats and amusement arcades. Barmouth beach is vast with good disabled access to the beach and all leisure amenities, including a full range of shops, cafes and pubs are within a short distance. There are several delightful walks of varying distance which start in Barmouth and follow routes into the hills beyond.
“With a fine sea view in front, the mountains behind, the glorious estuary running eight miles inland, and Cadair Idris within compass of a day’s walk, Barmouth can always hold its own against any rival.” These are the words of William Wordsworth who visited Barmouth in the 19th century, and it would be fair to say that today’s visitors wouldn’t disagree with him. The seaside town, that is one of Wales’ most popular resorts, is gloriously located on the Mawddach estuary and its blue flag beach is like a golden carpet laid out in front of the towering Snowdownian backdrop.
The harbour, the townhouse and the roundhouse are all situated in Barmouth’s picturesque old town that is awash with character and charm. Indeed when J.R.Tolkien visited in the early 20th century he was so smitten with it that he used it as a model for the town of Hobbiton in The Lord of The Rings. Away from the sandy beaches, donkey rides, arcades and promenades there is plenty more to see and do, including the RLNI Lifeboat Museum and the Ty Gwyn Museum, whilst the ferry to Fairbourne comes highly recommended for different view of Barmouth.
Barmouth is also the starting point for the famous 3 Peaks Yacht Race, a gruelling challenge that takes in the highest mountains of Wales, England and Scotland. For those not wishing to travel quite so far the town also serves as an excellent base to explore nearby Harlech Castle, Shell Island, Portmeirion and of course, Cadair Idris.
Barmouth’s location on the west coast of North Wales and lying between a mountain range and the sea on the mouth of the river Mawddach is arguably one of the most beautiful locations in Wales. It rests just within the south west corner of Snowdonia National Park and is steeped in a history rich with connections to the shipping and slate industries.
The old town is well worth a visit with its steep steps and slate-roofed cottages on the side of a mountain. The harbour is beautiful and you can walk across the spectacular Barmouth Bridge spanning the river which can be an ideal activity for an evening stroll.
The beach is large and perfect for sunbathing and games and surfers can often be seen depending on the swells and time of year. Kids love the beach yet its size means those wanting to get away and relax in peace and quiet can do so easily. It also has a large range of shops, pubs, hotels and other accommodation, a funfair from March to October and amusement arcades.
Barmouth is also the home of the Fairbourne & Barmouth Railway track which was originally laid in 1895, by Mr. Arthur McDougall of ‘McDougalls’s Flour’ fame. It was built to transport building materials for the construction of Fairbourne village. Since then his horse-drawn trams have been replaced by steam engines and in 1985 the 15″ gauge track was converted to 12½”. The line is 2 miles long and runs between Fairbourne Station and Penrhyn Point, site of the Pullman Pavilion Restaurant, where passengers can embark on the Ferry to Barmouth.
The Mawddach estuary is an area of immense beauty and offers visitors a range of walks to suit the determined and the casual stroller. It is a haven for bird spotters and those wishing to get away from it all. It also offers great picture taking opportunities, especially at sundown.