A row of colourful Victorian seafront houses graces Aberystwyth’s sweeping seafront promenade, winding from Constitution Hill, past the ruins of a historic 13th-century castle and on to a small harbour near South Beach.
The Royal Pier and its great funfair opened in 1865, only to be severely damaged by a storm the following year. Today, the pier is half the length it once was. But, with its glass pavilion housing an ice-cream parlour, nightclub, bar, amusement arcades, and snooker hall, it is still worth exploring, even in rain.
In the summer months, live entertainment, food and drink stalls and fairground rides can be found around the newly built bandstand. The structure was restored in 2016 after a storm destroyed the original – built in 1935 – a year earlier.
Despite its attractions, even in the peak summer months, Aberystwyth never feels crowded, and once you reach the coastal path you may find you have it all to yourself.
This spectacular five-mile cliff-path walk starts at the northern end of the town, ascending Constitution Hill to follow the rugged Wales Coast Path to the dramatic sand dunes of Ynyslas.
1. Foot or Funicular
From the north end of the promenade, follow the windy gorse-lined footpath towards the summit of Constitution Hill (131m). Your efforts, after the short, steep climb, will be rewarded with panoramic views of the coast – on a clear day, Snowdonia and surrounding mountain peaks can be seen. The Camera Obscura and visitor centre is worth a visit and, should you fancy it, there’s an indoor bowling alley and café. For those with tired legs, board the Aberystwyth Cliff Railway, a funicular that transports visitors up and down the hill.
2. Wildlife watch
Join the narrow Wales Coast Path towards the seaside resort of Clarach. Keep an eye out for soaring gulls and other seabirds, while in the spring and summer, spot colourful wildflowers, buzzing bees and butterflies. If you’re very lucky, you may even see a pod of bottlenose dolphins breaking the water’s surface out to sea.
3. Beside the beach
Descend the footpath steps towards Clarach and pass through the holiday park to meet the beach. Walk north alongside the bay. The next stretch, as you rejoin the cliff path and follow signposts for Borth, becomes increasingly rugged with several steep climbs.
4. Glacial Ways
Midway between Aberystwyth and Borth, you will pass the remote shingle and sand beach of Wallog. When the tide is out, the causeway of Sarn Cynfelyn, a deposit of glacial moraine, can be seen stretching miles out into the Irish Sea. Pass a lime kiln and a lone house, cross a wooden bridge and then grit your teeth for another steep climb.
5. Sandy Reserve
After conquering the final climb, the path reaches a war memorial. Spectacular views stretch along the coast, and the houses of Borth will be within sight. Descend for a few minutes to reach a quiet road before stepping on to Borth’s long rocky and sandy beach. You will pass through the Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve, a landscape of sand dunes, seashore, marshland and the Dyfi Estuary.
If you have the energy, retrace your steps. Otherwise, catch a bus or train from Borth back to Aberystwyth.