The largest town on the Isle of Anglesey, Holyhead is actually on the tiny Holy Island, separated by the narrow Cymyran Strait from Anglesey. Holyhead is served by regular trains via the Stanley Embankment.

Holy Island has been inhabited since prehistoric times, and the remains of ancient burial chambers, and Britain’s highest concentration of menhirs, or standing stones, can be seen across the island. Now, a busy ferry port serving the Irish cities of Dublin and Belfast, it attracts visitors from all over. With its proximity to Bangor’s many attractions, there are lots of things to see and do around Holyhead. 



1. Explore the Stack Cliffs RSPB Reserve

Above the rugged cliffs, looking towards the tiny islet of South Stack, the Stack Cliffs RSPB Reserve has the Anglesey Coastal Path running across its windswept clifftops and is visited by around 180,000 people each year.  Offering habitat diversity, the sea, coastline, cliffs and heathland provide homes for numerous species of flora and fauna. 

The South Stack Reserve plays a vital role in the conservation of many of these species, with several only found on Holy Island. Critical for the preservation of choughs, around ten breeding pairs can be found feeding and nesting in the reserve’s heathland. Along with adders and common lizards, the heath is also an important habitat for the rare silver-studded butterfly, black larks and grey catbirds. 

In order to maintain the health of the heathland, controlled fires encourage new growth and allow sunlight to reach the ground. The black, burned areas look alarming initially but are soon covered in a carpet of green. 

The cliffs are home to countless seabirds, with almost 10,000 nesting on the precarious ledges, including razorbills and guillemots, fulmars and kittiwake, while puffins prefer the lightly grassed clifftops, burrowing through the loose soil to make their nests.

Looking out to sea, you may be lucky enough to spot dolphins and porpoises in between the steeply diving gannets. 

With a network of routes crossing the nature reserve, access to the South Stack Lighthouse, and numerous events throughout the year, the nature reserve is a haven for its inhabitants, and visitors alike. 


A post shared by John (@mozzybear85)


2. Walk Through the Past at Holyhead Mountain Hut Circles

Also known as 'Tŷ Mawr Hut Circles', or the ‘Irishman’s huts’ Holyhead’s Mountain Huts are under the care of CADW. Dating back to the Iron Age - around 500 BCE, it is thought that there were originally upwards of 50 stone huts, but today, around 20 have survived in the form of circular foundations.
Constructed on level terraces, at the southwest end of Holyhead Mountain, the walls would have been more than a foot thick. We do know that the roofs would have been thatched with locally sourced reeds, or turfs, laid across beams forming a conical shape, and a few of the foundations show where internal walls would have made separate rooms, while some even have benches and carved stone sinks still in situ. 

Mesolithic flint tools, neolithic charcoal in a hearth, and a pile of limpet shells dated to 200 BCE have been excavated from the site. Items for the preparation of food have also been discovered including querns used for crushing and grinding grain, cutting tools and even shallow bowls. 

The Mountain Huts are a link to a past, that, here on Holy Island feels very close. 


3. Make Learning Fun at the Holyhead Maritime Museum

The oldest Lifeboat station in Wales, dating back to 1858, is home to the Holyhead Maritime Museum. Telling the story of Holy Island and its relationship with the ocean, the collections are fascinating and impressive. 

The Holyhead at War exhibition is housed in a reconstructed World War II air-raid shelter features memorabilia from the wars, collected from people who experienced the horror first hand, or their surviving family members who remember the stories passed on by relatives. 

Other collections focus on shipwrecks, dangerous storms that hindered midnight rescue missions, swashbucklers, mutineers and pirates - one that could even have been the infamous Jack Sparrow. 

Interactive displays bring Anglesey’s seafaring history to life right in front of your eyes, giving you the chance to experience life on the high seas for yourself. 


A post shared by Elliott Brown (@ellrbrown82)


4. Have fun at Trearddur Bay

Little ones will love exploring the huge sandy beach at Treaddur Bay. There are even parts of the beach that are dog friendly all year round, so no one in the family has to miss out.

Treaddur Bay is a great family beach with cafes and toilet facilities. 


5. Breakwater Country Park

Found just outside of Holyhead, Breakwater Country Park is great starting point for coastal walks. You can walk along the Holyhead Breakwater, the longest in the UK with a length of just under 2 miles. The park has a visitor centre, good parking facilities, and is well served by footpaths. The Anglesey Coastal Path runs through the reserve, following the coastline around Porth Namarch and on to North Stack and the fog signal station. 


Whether you’re after a child-friendly holiday or a long weekend break, Holyhead and the Isle of Anglesey are the perfect places to get away from it all.