Summer vacation in Europe has rolled around and we have found ourselves in Wales again. We arrived at Bangor by train after landing in London and headed back to cousin Claire’s home. Surrounded by fields as far as they eye can see, trees, sheep, cattle and turbines in the distance it always feels as though we are the only people here.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION:
The island of Angelsey is located in the north of Wales and is home to ancient sites and buildings, quaint seaside towns, craggy coastal landscapes and rolling green hills.
WHAT DID WE DO?
Our lovely cousin and amazing tour guide Claire brought us to South Stack lighthouse overlooking the Irish sea. The beautiful stone lighthouse was originally built in the early 1800’s to warn ships of dangerous rocks and cliffs.
The area offers killer views of the cliffs, ancient looking rock walls and hiking trails. You can explore the lighthouse by hiking down a trail. The hundreds of shrieking seagulls swirling in the air above the lighthouse was a bit much for me and my fear of birds. We hiked the hills, enjoyed the view and got a laugh when our cellphone signals started picking up Irish carriers (yes, it’s that close to Ireland). For those who are wondering, there is a North Stack (which we did not visit) that appears to be just as pretty as its south counterpart.
(Hiking trails at South Stack)
(The lighthouse at South Stack)
We also went back to one of our favourite places - the cute and quaint town of Menai Bridge. The town gets it name from the Menai Strait and the Menai Suspension bridge that connects Anglesey to mainland Wales. This place is a great spot to have a wander around. I love the colourful buildings in the town, interesting shops, views of the strait, the little islands in the strait and lush green foliage.
We enjoyed lunch at Dylan’s. We love this restaurant's waterfront location. The food is spectacular and the service second to none. We visit every time we are in the area. If you go, don’t forget to hit the little ice cream shack outside. After lunch, we walked along a path along the strait and across a short causeway to Church Island. We walked aroud the cemetary and visited St Tysilio Church which dates back to the 14th century. The church is teeny tiny and just the cutest thing. Some parts of the building have been restored (obviously), but are replications of the original structure with many components of the original structure preserved and re-used.
Our walking route took us around the permiter of the cemetary up on the hill which again, offered up great views of the ocean and non-stop photo ops. (More text below all of these gorgeous photos!)
Next up; another very cool beach town with that unmistakeable laidback feel that is unique to seaside communities. We had lunch at the Sea Shanty, a quaint place that is popular with the locals. The stretch of beach is behind the restaurant. Every time we’ve been, there are lots of people walking along the length of the sand and if you’re feeling brave, you can enjoy a dip in the icy cold Irish Sea.
Unless you’re staying in one area, travelling by car is the best way to get around as things in Anglesey are pretty spread out.
THE VERDICT: We always have such a great time on Anglesey with and this three day visit was one of the best yet. Getting here by train from England or via ferry from Dublin are both great and fun options. It is always hard to leave Wales, but I take comfort in knowing that it won’t be long until we're back!