Known as ‘Aber’ to the locals, Aberystwyth is a popular seaside resort on the West coast of Wales. Cardigan Bay provides shelter from the Irish Sea and the picturesque River Rheidol flows through the town. Giving the town a diverse cosmopolitan feel, Aberystwyth University has attracted students from around the world since its opening in 1872. It’s served by well-established rail links. Whether you’re looking for a family holiday or a weekend getaway, there’s plenty going on in Aberystwyth and the surrounding area to keep everyone happy.
1. Aberystwyth Cliff Railway
The Aberystwyth Cliff Railway is a great place to start exploring this charming town. Carrying passengers up the steep Constitution Hill at the end of the curving promenade since 1896, it’s Britain’s longest funicular electric cliff railway. From the summit, the panoramic view of the bay and beyond is breathtaking. Through the camera obscura, the largest in the world, the view is even more impressive - covering a vast 1,000 square miles and including more than 26 mountain peaks. The summit is also home to a cafe, children’s play area, gift shop and several historical exhibits, making this a fun way to spend your first day in Aberystwyth.
- Location: Just 15 minutes' walk from Aberystwyth station
- Tickets from just £4
- Aberystwyth Cliff Railway Website
2. Aberystwyth Castle
Constructed in the 13th century, Aberystwyth Castle is a Grade I listed building originally made from wood, followed by a solidly built stone fortress. Subject to a number of sieges and armed attacks, by the start of the 14th century the region was flourishing and a settlement growing up around the castle. This continued until 1637 when King Charles I declared the castle a Royal Mint with the purpose of making coins.
Today, the castle lies in ruins, and the remaining walls, gateways and towers can be seen and explored by the public. With the sea as a backdrop and waves splashing over the walls, you can easily imagine this scene back in the harsh days of the middle ages.
- Location: Under 10 minutes' walk from Aberystwyth station
- Free entry
- Walk around the castle ruins
3. The Vale of Rheidol Railway
Running on a 1 ft 11+3⁄4 in narrow gauge track, the Vale of Rheidol Railway runs between Aberystwyth and Devil’s Bridge, a small village on the River Mynach 11 miles (18 km) away. Opened in 1902, trains have run continuously and still carry passengers and rail enthusiasts in 16 beautifully maintained carriages. It was one of the first railways to be privatised.
The route passes through some of Wales’ most stunning landscapes. Watch out for the buzzards and red kites circling above the valley. With regular events, a gift shop, tea room and plenty of friendly volunteers to answer all your questions, this is a great day out.
- Location: Just 2 minutes from Aberystwyth station
- Look out for buzzards and red kites
- Vale of Rheidol Railway website
4. Aberystwyth Beach
Once you experience a beach holiday at Aberystwyth, you’ll keep coming back for more.
With beautiful golden sands, North Beach is close to the town and located next to the sweeping promenade. Popular with locals and visitors alike, traditional attractions can be enjoyed here, including donkey rides, live music and a bouncy castle. The Victorian pier can be accessed from the promenade. Although still 90 meters long (nearly 300 ft), it used to stretch for over 240 m (787 ft). With fortune tellers, colourful arcades and games, cafes and stalls selling hot doughnuts and candy floss, this really is a pleasure pier.
- Location: Just 3 minutes' walk from Aberystwyth station
- Fun for all the family
- Visit the Victorian pier
5. Ceredigion Museum
Housed in the Coliseum, a former theatre, the Ceredigion Museum is home to a variety of impressive collections from Wales’ rich heritage. These include archaeological treasures, furniture, traditional Welsh costumes and many exhibits of a successful agricultural past. Wales’ military conflicts are also depicted with several collections concerned with Welsh battles. Local artists and crafts feature alongside artefacts from Aberystwyth’s history. There’s also a well-stocked gift shop and cafe serving delicious homemade treats. Ceredigion Museum is well worth a visit.
6. Food and drink in Aberystwyth
Aberystwyth has a variety of restaurants, pubs and cafes where you can sit and enjoy lunch. Some overlook the promenade and beautiful coastline. Independent businesses offer the Welsh take on cuisines from around the world.
7. Shopping in Aberystwyth
As a shopping hub for Mid and West Wales, Aberystwyth offers both well-known retail outlets and local, independent shops. Complete with farmers markets, you can enjoy everything the locals have to offer in the heart of the town.
Whether you prefer a walking holiday, a culture-filled weekend or you’re simply looking for somewhere to unwind, Aberystwyth is the place to go.