Heritage Railways Mid & South Wales North Wales

Beaches to Visit by Train (Cambrian Coast Line Edition)

Here in North Wales we have so many great beaches! Given my fondness for trains here’s a list of beaches you can reach by rail! In this post I specifically discuss ones you can visit along one of the most scenic railway journeys in the world – the Cambrian Coast Line!

Cambrian Coast Line

Ah this line truly is one of the best there is with views of Cardigan Bay and the Cambrian Mountains – no wonder it’s been featured on World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys. The line travels along the coastline and it’s many beaches.

Unfortunately some of the major beaches aren’t directly accessible from the line such as Morfa Bychan but if you can find a taxi to take you there then it is worth the trek.

Here’s just some of the beaches you can access from the Cambrian Coast Line. Some of the beaches have dog friendly areas but it can be very localised times so please do take a look at Cyngor Gwynedd‘s website for further information.

1) Pwllheli

Cardigan Bay as seen from Plas Heli - strip of grass and sand and then the sea. In the distance the Cambrian mountains can be seen
Pwllheli beach near Plas Heli

It’s a fair walk (approx 900m) but Pwllheli beach is a lovely stretch of sandy beach with views out to Cardigan Bay. Despite having worked in Pwllheli for over 20 years, I’ve never visited the beach on a sunny day! The above photo was taken from Plas Heli and gives you an example of the views.

2) Abererch Sands

Approx 150m from Abererch station you’ll find the sandy dunes of Abererch beach. Crossover the dunes to reach the sandy beach of Abererch Sands with views of the Lleyn. I filmed a little video of our visit (around 5 years ago!) if you want to take a look.

3) Criccieth

Pebble beach of Criccieth (near Dylan's Restaurant). Criccieth Castle can be seen in the background
Criccieth and its Castle

Criccieth boasts two beaches – Marine Beach (approx 450m walk) to the West of the castle and the Esplanade (approx 600m walk) to the East of the castle. From both beaches you can see the view of Criccieth Castle. Be sure to pickup an ice cream from one of the many ice cream shops in the town. And also you’ll find Dylan’s Restaurant at the far end of the Esplanade which is lovely.

4) Llandecwyn

Llandecwyn and Bont Briwet as seen from Gwaith Powdwr
Llandecwyn and Bont Briwet as seen from Gwaith Powdwr

Not quite the usual beach scene as Llandecwyn beach is in fact a sandy bank on the tidal river that is Afon Dwyryd. The beach can be found near Bont Briwet and is a lovely place to go paddleboarding I’m told. As an aside, on the other side of Bont Briwet is Gwaith Powdwr Nature Reserve.

5) Harlech

Back to more of the traditional beach scenes here. Approx 1.1km from the station is sandy beach of Harlech. Oddly I have never visited this beach during the day… I’ve only visited at night! The beach is lovely long stretch of sand with quite a lot of sand dunes. In some areas of the beach you can view Harlech Castle (one of the Edward I’s Welsh castles which are designated as a World Heritage Site).

(I’ve not been to Harlech Castle for around 7 years when Dewi the Dragon was there! I’m long overdue a visit)

6) Llandanwg

Llandanwg beach at sunset
Llandanwg beach at sunset – thank you Chris Parry!

A little walk from the station you’ll find the sand and stone beach of Llandanwg. In addition there’s the Grade II listed building of St Tanwg’s Church. It said to be medieval and contains the war grave of a WW1 Royal Welsh Fusilier soldier. If you’re up for a walk then you could continue down the coast to Shell Island.

7) Llanaber

This beach is directly accessible from the train as the platform is pretty much on the beach…. couldn’t get much closer! Very similar to the previous beach at Llandanwg, Llanaber is sandy beach which stretches along the coastline. It also has a 13th century Church which is seeped in history having being built by the great-grandson of Owain Gwynedd (former King of Wales).

8) Barmouth

Barmouth as seen from the air - on the right is the railway bridge

Barmouth is one of the major towns along the line and is served by a lovely sandy beach. Whilst at the beach, keep an eye out for Barmouth’s very own “Easter Island head”…. a Moai replica carved out of wood can be found on the way to Barmouth Pier (where incidentally you can catch a ferry over to the next beach).

9) Fairbourne

Fairbourne beach looking towards Barmouth - on the right is Barmouth Bridge which crosses the Mawddach Estuary
Fairbourne beach looking towards Barmouth

Fairbourne beach is a short walk from the station but you can also catch another train (the Fairbourne Miniature Railway) down to a beach directly opposite Barmouth at the mouth of the Mawddach Estuary. 

10) Tonfanau

Not a beach I have visited but a quick search tells me it’s a small walk from the station. The beach is typical of the Welsh coastline with pebbles and sand. Be sure to keep an eye on the birds as Oyster Catchers can be spotted here. If you also want a bit of a walk then you can walk from the station towards Tonfanau Bridge which crosses over the Afon Dysynni. This is part of the Wales Coastal Path.

11) Tywyn

Tywyn beach with some dog walkers
Tywyn Beach during winter

Tywyn promenade and beach is approx 500m walk from the station. Lovely wide sandy beach and I’m told there’s a paddling pool. If you’re peckish then you can find something to eat at Beach Side Cafe. Also at Tywyn is the wonderful main station for the Talyllyn Railway.

12) Aberdyfi

The beautiful village of Aberdyfi at the mouth of the Afon Dyfi has a lovely sandy beach which stretches along the coast as far as Tywyn. The village is typical picturesque village with views of Cardigan Bay and the Cambrian mountains. I have never visited but it’s going on my bucket list!

13) Borth

Ah Borth! I have spent many a happy Summer down at Borth with it’s sandy beach! We used to stay at one of the caravan parks and my memory of Borth was playing on the beach and buying typical seaside supplies at one of the gift shops.* My Dad recently reminded me about the ancient forest tree stumps that’s now reappeared along the beach.

* As well as winning £42 on the bingo at the caravan site and spending my money on a lime green dress and a beanbag in Aberystwyth! I was only 12 so no judgement please!

14) Aberystwyth

Aberystwyth beach in winter - the Pier can be seen
Aberystwyth beach in winter

Aberystwyth is considered to be the end of the line and being a coastal town, it does have a beach. But not just one beach, but two beaches within walking distance of the station. South Beach has views towards the South Coast with colourful houses and a castle. North Beach has a lovely promenade which has a mix of pebbly and sandy beach. The added bonus is that there are also two other railways to visit once you’re done at the beach – the Aberystwyth Cliff Railway (found at North Beach) and the Vale of Rheidol (found next to the mainline station).

(For more ideas about days out on the railway then check out Wales on Rails‘ website. And also always check what offers are available with regards to train tickets on TfW‘s website)

Which of these beaches is your favourite?

Beaches to Visit by Train (Cambrian Coast Edition)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.