Got a trip to Holyhead planned and looking for some fun things to do and see? We’ve picked just a few of the must-see attractions for you below. Find out where Holyhead is situated, learn about its ancient history and see how easy it is to get there by train.
Where is Holyhead?
The largest town on the Isle of Anglesey, Holyhead is actually on the tiny Holy Island, separated by the narrow Cymyran Strait from Anglesey proper. Holyhead Station is served by regular trains via the Stanley Embankment.
Holy Island has been inhabited since prehistoric times. The remains of ancient burial chambers and Britain’s highest concentration of menhirs (or standing stones) can be seen across the island. Today, a busy ferry port connects the town with the Irish cities of Dublin and Belfast.
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 cliff tops. It’s visited by around 180,000 people each year. With a diverse habitat, the sea, coastline, cliffs and heathland, it provides homes for numerous species of flora and fauna.
The South Stack Reserve plays a vital role in the conservation of many bird 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.
The cliffs are home to countless seabirds. Almost 10,000 nest on the ledges including razorbills and guillemots, fulmars and kittiwake. 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 below the 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.
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 and entry is free. Dating back to the Iron Age (around 500 BC), it’s thought there were originally upwards of 50 stone huts. Today, around 20 have survived in the form of circular foundations.
Mesolithic flint tools, neolithic charcoal in a hearth and a pile of limpet shells dated from 200 BC 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 the past that never feels far away on Holy Island.
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. Experience some truly impressive maritime history for just £4.50 for entry.
The Holyhead at War exhibition is housed in a reconstructed World War II air-raid shelter. It features memorabilia from the war, collected from people who experienced it first hand or their surviving family members.
Other collections focus on shipwrecks and dangerous storms that hindered midnight rescue missions, swashbucklers, mutineers and pirates - including one that could 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.
Have fun at Trearddur Bay
Both adults and children will love exploring the huge sandy beach at Trearddur Bay. With large stretches of sand, rock pools and slipways, it’s a perfect way to spend a hot summer's day. You’ll find cafes for refreshments and accessible toilet facilities. Parts of the beach are open to dogs all year round, so no one in the family has to miss out.
Breakwater Country Park
Located just outside Holyhead, Breakwater Country Park is a great starting point for coastal walks. You can walk along the Holyhead Breakwater, the longest in the UK with a length of just under two miles. The park has a visitor centre, parking facilities and is well served by footpaths. The Anglesey Coastal Path runs through the reserve, following the coastline around Porth Namarch on to North Stack and the fog signal station.