On the edge of Wales

April 1, 2013 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Destination Guide

The Lleyn peninsula lies on the north-west corner of Wales, a dramatically beautiful 24-mile-long finger of land pointing into the Irish Sea dividing Cardigan Bay and Caernarfon Bay. It often plays second fiddle to the more famous Gower peninsula, yet this wild corner has much to offer the visitor.

There is a good selection of Lleyn cottages with Sykes Cottages offering over 40 properties to choose from and English Country Cottages (despite the name) with more than a dozen quality properties.

Around the almost 100 miles of stunning coastline, there are sweeping bays, small coves and rocky cliffs, windswept islands and towering headlands. Being three sides surrounded by the sea, you are never short of a sheltered beach to relax and enjoy the scenery. For the more active the Lleyn coastline provides some magnificent walking as most of it has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a Heritage Coast.

The Lleyn peninsula, an Anglicised spelling of the Llyn, has a very different landscape to the rest of North Wales. The peninsula has its own range of mountains which fall sheer into the sea, is broken by wide bays and rocky coves. There are charming little fishing villages and white-washed farms surrounded by a patchwork of small fields. Lleyn is a very beautiful place.

Being west of the Welsh mountains and in the Gulf Stream, Lleyn enjoys a mild, drier climate than that of the rest of Wales. The snow-capped mountains of Snowdonia provide a beautiful backdrop for many months of the year and there are few, or no, frosts in the winter.

Lleyn is a stronghold of Welsh culture and language with a fascinating religious and mythical heritage. Bardsey Island is a popular destination for those staying at any of our Lleyn peninsula cottages. Lying off the very tip of the Lleyn peninsula, it was once a place of pilgrimage. Legend has it that Merlin, of Arthurian fame, lies buried there, ready to awake when King Arthur returns to Britain.

This windswept peninsula is also home to some spectacular wildlife. In springtime Bardsey Island is the nesting ground for Manx shearwaters, providing a magnet for bird watchers. Many other rare birds can be seen along the Lleyn cliffs including the chough which favours the peninsula’s rocky coastline. Elsewhere you can see razorbill, guillemot and cormorant as well as many other seabirds.

Aberdaron lies at the end of the Lleyn peninsula ‘the last village west’ before Ireland. Once the port for the pilgrims going to Bardsey Island, today it is a very pleasant village with narrow winding streets of lime-washed fishermen’s cottages. The nearby headland commands breathtaking coastal views – on a clear day it’s possible to see Wicklow Mountains in Ireland.

Abersoch is a major centre for watersports. The main beach area is easterly facing and protected from the prevailing winds making it ideal for bathers and watersports lovers alike. The village itself has a good selection of stylish bars, restaurants and shops and hosts many events throughout the year including the Abersoch Jazz Festival and Wakestock, Europe’s largest wakeboarding and music festival held in July.

Nefyn is a small seaside resort with sandy beaches and harbour on the north coast of the Lleyn peninsula. Its sweeping bay has over two miles of sand leading to the picturesque old smuggling port of Porth Dinllaen.

My pick of the Lleyn cottages

Lleyn cottages choice

In an elevated position, 400ft above sea level, this 400-year-old detached cottage enjoys a dramatic backdrop of mountains and spectacular views over Caernarfon Bay. Lovingly restored and gently modernised, it offers not only peace and seclusion, but is also close to the rugged splendour of the Snowdonia National Park, fine sandy beaches, stunning mountain walks and the charming village of Trefor. Click here for more details.