- 0.1 BEST ANGLESEY WALKS
- 0.2 Best North Anglesey Walks
- 0.3 Start Point: Cemaes Bay Harbour 53.413238, -4.449869
- 0.4 Start Point: Church Bay Beach 53.371999, -4.556205
- 1 Start Point: 53.391045, -4.334783
- 1.1 Best Holy Island Anglesey Walks
- 1.2 Start Point: 53.304820, -4.690805
- 1.3 Start Point: 53.245231, -4.590637
- 1.4 Best South-West Anglesey Walks
- 1.5 Start Point: Newborough Beach Car Park – 53.144119, -4.385954
- 1.6 Best Menai Strait Anglesey Walks
- 1.7 Best East Anglesey Walks
- 1.8 Start Point: 53.294461, -4.136022
BEST ANGLESEY WALKS
The Isle of Anglesey in North Wales is beguilingly beautiful, and the best way to discover it is to walk some of it. The coastline alone is 125 miles (201 km) long, and we’ve cherry-picked eight of the best Anglesey walks to help you discover more of this magnificent island.
Seven of our walks follow the gorgeous Anglesey coast, taking in the best Anglesey beaches including the enthralling Llanddwyn Island, once home to the Welsh patron saint of lovers. We also explore the awe-inspiring cliff scenery, culminating in the views of the extraordinary South Stack lighthouse and the far north coast of Wales. We also make one foray inland, to a landscape that’s the nearest thing most of us will ever get to Mars.
Best North Anglesey Walks
Cemaes Bay via Llanbadrig to Bull Bay
Dramatic cliffs, a medieval church, remote bays and a stunning ruined brickworks
Distance: 7 miles (11.3 km)
Difficulty: mostly moderate, with a difficult descent to Porth Wen
Start Point: Cemaes Bay Harbour 53.413238, -4.449869
This awesome walk is one of the highlights of the Anglesey Coast Path, indeed it’s one of the best sections of the entire Wales Coast Path. You have the option of calling it a day at Bull Bay or Amlwch Port – I’ve opted for the former as the stretch into Amlwch isn’t one of the most scenic walks you’ll encounter, the landscape dominated by long-derelict industrial sites.
Cemaes Bay is a pleasant village with a fine beach, and the climb around rocky bays begins almost as son as you leave it. After around two miles (3km) you reach the splendid clifftop church of St Patrick at the hamlet of Llanbadrig. The path then goes into full-on rollercoaster mode until the ruined china and brick works at Porth Llanlleiana, with steep uphill and downhill sections. Last time I walked this stretch the air was the clearest I’ve ever seen – I could clearly see the Isle of Man and the hills of southern Scotland in the distance.
At the top of the hill above Porth Llanlleiana, you reach Llanlleiana Point, the most northerly point on Anglesey and the Wales Coast Path, before proceeding east towards an even more fascinating industrial site, the amazing Porth Wen Brickworks, which are located n the western side of the bay of the same name. A magnificent, difficult to access beach can also be reached at low tide, after something of a scramble down the hill to the Brickworks.
The final stretch to Bull Bay is a little gentler than the preceding few miles, and it’s one of the few places in the area from which you can get around by bus – either onto nearby Amlwch or back to Cemaes Bay.
Church Bay to Cemlyn Bay via Carmel Head
Remote coastline on the north-west corner of Anglesey, taking in two of the island’s best beaches
Distance: 9 Miles (15 km)
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Start Point: Church Bay Beach 53.371999, -4.556205
This superb Anglesey coastal walk takes you around the north-west corner of the island, bookended by two of the best Anglesey beaches. Church Bay – Porth Swtan in Welsh – is exquisite, a small cliff-backed bay with a broad sweep of sand and rockpools galore for kids.
Before heading out, take a look at the restored 18th century thatched cottage which now serves as a small local heritage museum. This walk is one of the most remote on the Isle Of Anglesey coastal path, following the ups and downs of the coastline as you head north towards Carmel Head (Trwyn y Gader). With the outline of Holyhead Mountain on your left and the islets of the Skerries (and the remotest of lighthouses on Anglesey in their midst), it’s a wonderful undulating hike, with just one small beach, the rocky cove at Ynys y Fydlyn, punctuating the line of rugged cliffs.
After Carmel Head, the decommissioned Wylfa nuclear power station comes into view – you won’t be going that far. Instead, you pass several small Anglesey bays and coves, passing Hen Borth and nearby St Rhwydrus Church, before reaching your destination, the shingle bank of Cemlyn Bay.
This remote spot is a favoured nesting site of sandwich terns, common terns and Arctic terns, and very popular with birdwatchers. It’s also blissfully untouched by public transport (as is Church Bay) so you’ll need to arrange transport back or walk a mile to the bus stop on the main A5025 road. From there you’d need to catch the 61 bus to Rhydwyn, from which it’s another mile to Church Bay.
Parys Mountain Circular
An easy circuit of the ‘lunar’ landscape of what was the world’s largest copper mine
Distance: 2 miles / 3 km circuit
Difficulty: Easy to moderate – a short, steep climb, then relatively flat
Start Point: 53.391045, -4.334783
Parys Mountain looks like it’s been dropped in from another planet, and it’s the nearest thing most of us will ever get to one. Park on the side road near the rebuilt Pearl Shaft Engine House, and follow the track uphill to the left. Continue along the track where it bears right, and you soon reach the Parys Mountain Windmill, which played a crucial role in the mine, pumping water away and hauling copper ore and heavy equipment.
From here, there are a network of paths around the summit of Parys Mountain. This is a remarkable Anglesey walk, taking you around one of the most amazing and unusual landscapes in Wales, the soil scoured away centuries ago to reveal vivid, bright bands of rusty-coloured rock, copper and pink.
It makes for an astonishing contrast with the surrounding north Anglesey landscape, a patchwork of green fields stretching the short distance to the sea.
There are some interpretation boards at the site, overlooking the opposite end of the small lake from the Windmill. There is an alternative starting point at this end of the site with a car park just off the B5111 road at 53.388190, -4.351347.
Best Holy Island Anglesey Walks
South Stack and Holyhead Mountain
A lighthouse, ancient village, Roman fort and a raucous cacophony of seabirds in springtime
Distance: 5 miles (8 km) circuit
Difficulty: Moderate, with a few short, more difficult stretches
Start Point: 53.304820, -4.690805
This short circular route is one of the finest walks on Anglesey, taking in the astounding cliff scenery around South Stack Cliffs – a major seabird nesting site – and the iconic South Stack lighthouse, the only Anglesey lighthouse which you can visit. It’s especially beautiful between mid-July and early September when the area is carpeted with pink and purple heather.
This route mainly follows the Wales Coast Path, with a few optional diversions. Starting at the South Stack Car Park, walk back down the road and turn left after around 250 metres. Just off the road, you’ll find the Holyhead Mountain Hut Circles, which date from prehistoric times. Their Welsh name is Cytiau’r Gwyddelod, which means ‘Huts of the Irish’. Return via the car park to the coastline and the prominent white Ellin’s Tower, built as a folly but now the South Stack Cliffs RSPB Visitor Centre, a great source of information on the rich birdlife that makes the cliffs its home. The view of South Stack Lighthouse from this area of the clifftops is superb.
Return to the road, crossing it and continuing along any of a series of paths towards the rocky summit area of Holyhead Mountain. The summit itself is off the official coast path, head for it along paths either side and you’ll reach Caer y Twr, a Roman fort built to guard the entrance to the port of Holyhead below. Descend towards the coast and savour the wild clifftop path to the former foghorn station at North Stack, before returning along the lowest path to South Stack lighthouse. It’s a mere 400 steps down (then back up) if you wish to visit.
Stunning varied coastline around a straggling remote village
Distance: 4 mile (6.2 km) circuit – with the option of more
Start Point: 53.245231, -4.590637
Rhoscolyn – occasionally also called Llanwenfaen – is spread out around the narrow lanes of the southern end of Holy Island (Ynys Gybi) and it’s considerably quieter than Trearddur Bay a few miles north. It’s one of the most varied walks in Anglesey, running through the whole Welsh geological gamut with a couple of great beaches thrown in.
Begin at the Rhoscolyn Beach car park close to Borthwen Beach, a broad sandy cove with a wonderful view south back to the peaks of Snowdonia. Look out for the prehistoric burial chamber next to the beach. Head right – west from the beach, passing close to a couple of much smaller bays before continuing a few hundred metres to the Coastwatch building which offers a great view of the islets and jagged rocks along the coast.
St Gwenfaen’s Well is 300 metres further along the coast path. This local saint reputedly helped cure mental health problems, and the offering of two white pebbles are supposed to procure help from the saint. The path continues the short distance to Porth Saint, an attractive pebble beach with cliffs of several hues including white and pink. Sea kayak trips often start from here. Disregard the path to your right for now – though you’ll be returning to it shortly.
Continue a short distance around the headland until you reach one of the best hidden Anglesey attractions, a stunning brilliant white sea arch (Bwa Gwyn) beneath which kayakers often paddle. It is possible to scramble down to the shoreline, but take care while doing so. Another sea arch, Bwa Du – ‘black arch’) is a short distance further on. At this point, you have a choice – continue in the direction of Trearddur Bay, which has three great sandy beaches, or return to the path at Porth Saint. If you opt for the latter, it’s a five-minute stroll to St Gwenfaen’s Church, then a stroll along the narrow lanes to the White Eagle pub, one of the best Anglesey pubs and food options in the area. It’s very close to the car park from where the walk begins.
Best South-West Anglesey Walks
Newborough to Llanddwyn Island
Along one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe to…one of the most beautiful islands in Europe
Distance: 2.5 miles / 4km each way
Difficulty: Easy, just long
Start Point: Newborough Beach Car Park – 53.144119, -4.385954
The long amble from the Newborough beach to Llanddwyn Island is, for me, the ultimate Anglesey beach walk. The beach – which increasingly often is referred to as Llanddwyn Beach – is a glorious curve of sand backed by dunes and the pine forest of Newborough Warren. As you stroll along the pristine sand, keep looking left, where you’ll see the line of peaks of Snowdonia and the Llyn Peninsula across Caernarfon Bay.
It usually takes me around 30 minutes to reach the beginning of the tidal Llanddwyn Island (Ynys Llanddwyn in Welsh), which is accessible most of the time, but cut off around an hour either side of high tide. The Llanddwyn Island walk continues south-westwards through dunes, passing the ruined chapel dedicated to Santes Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers after whom the island is named.
Llanddwyn is one of the most beautiful islands in Europe, and you’re rewarded at the end of the walk by the sight of two beaches, each with a disused white lighthouse surveying the scene. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, somewhere to go very close to the top of any Wales bucket list.
Best Menai Strait Anglesey Walks
Llanfair PG to Menai Bridge
Find out how the longest place name in the UK got its name
Distance: 3 miles (5 km) including diversions
Start Point: Llanfair PG Main Car Park 53.221161, -4.210699
In the 19th century the humble village of Llanfairpwllgwyngyll got put on the map when its name was extended by 38 letters to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. This elaborate concoction translates as ‘St Mary’s church in the hollow of white hazel trees near the rapid whirlpool by St Tysilio’s church of the red cave’. Because of its name, Llanfair PG is one of the best-known villages in North Wales, but most people only get to see the railway station signs and the shopping centre across the car park and never get to see the places that give it its Welsh name.
This route follows the A5 road with some footpath forays, so it’s not the most challenging Anglesey walking you’ll encounter. Head east from the car park next to the railway station and continue as far as the sign for the Marquess of Anglesey’s Column on your left, commemorating the 1st Marquess of Anglesey’s role at the Battle of Waterloo (which included losing a leg). The Column offers an extraordinary view of the mountains and Menai Strait, but is awaiting restoration. In the meantime, it is worth a brief diversion for a closer look.
The Church of St Mary which gives the village the first part of its name can be reached via a right turn 200 metres further along the A5. The 19th century church is indeed situated in a hollow just above the Menai Strait – a statue of Lord Nelson looks out from the shoreline below. You can either follow the path below the Britannia Bridge and make your way towards the A5 or double back onto the main road – either way you’ll need to pass beneath the road and rail bridge.
Once you’re past the Britannia Bridge the prospect improves immensely. The historic A5 road – built by the Colossus of Roads, Thomas Telford – was the main Holyhead to London route when built in the early 19th century. You soon reach the sublime view of his Menai Suspension Bridge, which was completed in 1826 and nestles scenically beneath the Carneddau mountains of Snowdonia. It’s one of the major landmarks in Wales and one of the most beautiful bridges in Europe.
But I digress – back to Llanfair PG for a moment. The ‘rapid whirlpool’ in the name refers to The Swellies, a stretch of often turbulent water in the middle of the Menai Strait. The Church of St Tysilio can be reached on foot if you continue to Menai Bridge (Porthaethwy), one of the most pleasant Anglesey towns, and follow the Belgian Promenade around to Church Island. And as for the red cave – it’s but a figment of a Victorian romantic’s imagination.
Best East Anglesey Walks
Llanddona to Penmon
Hidden beaches, a holy island, lighthouse, two ancient churches and sumptuous views of Snowdonia
Distance: 4.5 miles (7 km)
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Start Point: 53.294461, -4.136022
This route begins in the village of Llanddona with a gradual descent to the enormous tidal expanse of Red Wharf Bay (Traeth Coch) – the part you’ll visit, next St Dona’s Church, is usually referred to as Llanddona beach. It follows the Anglesey coast part of the way, and is subject to some changes as more and more access to the actual coastline is opened up.
Follow the distinctive Anglesey and Wales Coast Path signs throughout. It currently takes in the table-top Iron Age hillfort of Bwrdd Arthur, which overlooks Red Wharf Bay and the east coast of the island in one direction and the Snowdonia mountains in the other. Don’t miss the tiny 12th century church of Llanfihangel Din Sylwy, which also boasts the great view northwards along the coast.
This north-facing stretch of coast is indented with several tiny Anglesey beaches, some of which can be reached via the Coast Path. The inland sections are wonderful too, passing through peaceful green countryside with coastal views. After passing a large fish farm, you reach Penmon Point lighthouse and the view to Puffin Island, which was once home to the Celtic saint Seiriol. The Pilot House Café is a great spot to refresh for the short final push to Penmon village, home to the 12th century Penmon Priory church and its 15th century dovecote across the road. The 58 bus from Bangor drops you off near the start of the walk and picks you up from Penmon – and it passes through Beaumaris, one of the best Anglesey towns to base yourself in – on the way and back.