Some of the beaches on Anglesey are among the most beautiful beaches in Europe, and for many they’re the main reason to visit Anglesey. This island off the north Wales coast is home to one of the finest castles in North Wales in Beaumaris, and the village with the longest place name in the UK. Rhosneigr is home to some of the best surfing in North Wales, and one of the best things to do on Anglesey is to explore the coast path, which has some of the best sections on the Wales Coast Path.
Inland from the amazing beaches in Anglesey you’ll find a rural landscape of green fields, vast sand dune systems, rocky hilltops and a great many prehistoric burial chambers and standing stones. It’s one of the most evocative landscapes in Wales, somewhere we’ve been drawn back to many times over.
So for the best things to do Anglesey has to offer, read on.
- 1 Best Things to do in Anglesey
- 1.1 1. Beaumaris Castle
- 1.2 2. Menai Suspension Bridge
- 1.3 3. Llanddwyn Island
- 1.4 4. Foel Farm Park
- 1.5 5. Anglesey Sea Zoo
- 1.6 6. Halen Mon – Anglesey Sea Salt
- 1.7 7. Malltraeth Sands
- 1.8 8.Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch
- 1.9 9. Bryn Celli Ddu Burial Chamber
- 1.10 10. Aberffraw Beach and Dunes
- 1.11 11.Anglesey Walks – The North Coast
- 1.12 12. Rhoscolyn Beaches and Coast
- 1.13 13. Church Bay Anglesey
- 1.14 14. Parys Mountain, Amlwch
- 1.15 15. Cemlyn Bay
- 1.16 17. Penmon Priory
- 1.17 18. South Stack Lighthouse
- 1.18 19. Rhosneigr Surfing
- 1.19 20. Porth Wen Brickworks
- 1.20 21. Burial Chambers and Standing Stones of Anglesey, Wales
- 1.21 22. Ship Inn, Red Wharf Bay
- 1.22 23. Traeth Lligwy, Moelfre
- 1.23 24. Oriel Mon, Llangefni
- 1.24 25. Puffin Island
- 1.25 26. Beaumaris Gaol
- 1.26 27. Holyhead Roman Fort
- 1.27 28. Ferry to Ireland
- 1.28 29.Trearddur Bay
Best Things to do in Anglesey
1. Beaumaris Castle
Beaumaris Castle is one of the greatest of all Welsh castles, one of four included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site that also includes Caernarfon, Conwy and Harlech, the Castles of Edward I in Gwynedd.
Beaumaris sits close to the east end of the Menai Strait, looking across to the Snowdonia mountains. It was the last of Edward I’s Iron Ring of castles built to suppress the Welsh, and it was never finished.
Edward was the medieval equivalent of maxed out so this masterpiece of military architecture remains incomplete.
Beaumaris is undoubtedly the best of the Anglesey towns, with a pleasant high street full of independent shops.
It’s one of the best places to stay in Anglesey, with several of the best Anglesey hotels in the town or close by.
2. Menai Suspension Bridge
Thomas Telford’s Menai Suspension Bridge is one of the most beautiful bridges in Europe, an elegant marvel of the industrial age (it was completed in 1826) in a serene location beneath the mountains of Snowdonia.
The modern Britannia Bridge now carries the vast majority of traffic to Anglesey, but the Menai Bridge was the first crossing between mainland Wales and Anglesey island, carrying the A5 road between London and Holyhead.
It’s one of the most recognisable landmarks in Wales, and the best view is from the lay-by on the A5 heading towards Llanfair PG.
3. Llanddwyn Island
Llanddwyn Island has one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, a description that also fits Newborough Beach, which you need to walk along to reach it. It’s possibly the best of all places to visit in Anglesey, a tidal island reached by a half-hour walk along the stunning Newborough Beach.
It’s an isolated spot, hidden behind miles of pine forest, but once you’re out of the trees you’re in a different world, with breathtaking views to the mountains on the Welsh mainland.
The island was once the retreat of Santes Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers, and the ruin of a chapel dedicated to her is one of the first things you’ll see on the island.
4. Foel Farm Park
We took our Little Man to Foel Farm Park during a brief winter visit to Anglesey, and he adored it.
We spent most of the time with the animals inside, especially the little piglets huddled together, which he thought was wonderful.
If we had visited a week later, we would have seen the first lambs of the year. Instead we also went on a tractor tour of the farmyard and surrounding fields.
It’s on the same minor coastal road as Anglesey Sea Zoo and Halen Mon, a mile or so from the villages of Brynsiencyn and Dwyran.
The views across the Menai Strait are worth the trip too, and you can clearly see Caernarfon Castle across the water in most weather conditions.
5. Anglesey Sea Zoo
Our top pick of things to do in Anglesey in the rain is the Anglesey Sea Zoo. It’s a great introduction to British marine life, with many different environments (shipwrecks, piers, rockpools and a kelp forest) re-created in the aquarium.
You’ll find everything from seahorses to snakelock anemones, skates to sharks, flatfish, jellyfish and more.
They also have a great deal whereby you can return for a second visit – ideal with a nature lover like our son – within a week of your first.
6. Halen Mon – Anglesey Sea Salt
Owned and run by the same family as Anglesey Sea Zoo next door, Halen Môn has been harvesting sea salt from the Menai Strait and Anglesey coastline since the 1990s.
The guided tour shows you how it’s all done, and you get to do a full tasting at the end. We haven’t done the tour yet but can vouch for the salt – it’s some of the best we’ve ever tasted.
I once even spotted some at a restaurant in Australia – it’s exported all over the planet, and you’ll find varieties of it in food stores and delis all around the world.
7. Malltraeth Sands
Malltraeth Beach is the northern continuation of Newborough Beach, the main approach to Llanddwyn Island.
It’s bordered by the Newborough Warren pine forest and the Cefni estuary, and is roughly 3 km (2 miles from Malltraeth village.
It’s an easy flat walk along the Cob – causeway – in Malltraeth to the forest and eventually the beach, which you will almost certainly have to yourself.
The local road signs just say ‘Llanfair PG’. It’s one of the more curious villages in North Wales, where most people visit because of its elongated name, or to pop into the local Co-op for a sandwich.
It’s only a mile from the Menai Strait and one of the best views in Wales, to the nearby Menai Suspension Bridge.
The main attractions are the various place name signs, which can be found at the railway station and the adjacent James Pringle Weavers shopping complex.
The village’s name was originally Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, but some locals thought a longer name would attract more visitors and put it on the map.
They made it so long it would fill many maps! It’s meaning in English is ‘St Mary’s Church in the hollow of the white hazel near the rapid whirlpool of the church of St Tysilio of the Red Cave’. It’s the longest place name in Europe and the second longest in the world.
9. Bryn Celli Ddu Burial Chamber
The burial chamber Anglesey is best-known for is Bryn Celli Ddu, whose name translates as Hill of the Black Grove.
It’s free to visit at any time, a five-minute walk from car parking spaces in country lanes 2 miles (3 km) from Llanfair PG – I’d suggest going early or late in the day to appreciate this site at its most atmospheric.
The chambered tomb – dating back to the Neolithic period, up to 5,000 years ago – is covered by a circular grass-covered mound.
Intriguingly, the whole of the central passage is illuminated by sunlight on the morning of the summer solstice, 21st June.
10. Aberffraw Beach and Dunes
Aberffraw village was once a royal capital, from where the ancient princes of Gwynedd once governed much of North Wales.
The only remnant of any age is the stone arched bridge in the village, which spans the Afon Ffraw river before its short run to the sea.
You have to drive through a vast sand dune system to reach the village, then pass another one on the walk to the beach.
The ten-minute walk is rewarded with sublime views of Snowdonia, and it’s one of the best beaches Anglesey has, the crowds kept down by the walk there.
11.Anglesey Walks – The North Coast
There is some superlative Anglesey walking to be discovered, particularly along its 125-mile coast path.
The northern section of the coast is one of the least-visited parts, but some of the best Anglesey coast walks are along this section.
The main attraction here is the landscape, with high, steep cliffs plunging seaward. Start at the picturesque church of Llanbadrig and head east.
This is one of the best sections on the entire island, finishing at the ruined china clay works at Porth Llanlleiana. Continue east to Porth wen Brickworks, and on to Bull Bay or Amlwch to make a full day of it.
12. Rhoscolyn Beaches and Coast
Rhoscolyn has long been one of my favourite places to go in Anglesey. It’s a scattered, strung-out village spread along the lanes of the south of Holy Island (Ynys Cybi), a few miles south of Holyhead.
There are two wide sandy beaches to the south of the village, then the coast completely changes character, with pink, white and black strata of ancient rock and the stunning Bwa Gwyn white arch less than a mile from the village.
There is also a holy well dedicated to the local saint Gwenfaen – another name for the village is Llanwenfaen.
The area is one of the best places to visit in Anglesey, and The White Eagle one of the best Anglesey pubs, with a bistro-style menu.
13. Church Bay Anglesey
Church Bay – Porth Swtan in Welsh – is one of the best beaches in North Wales.
It’s in one of the quietest parts of the island, the remote north-west coast a few miles south of Carmel Head.
It’s a beautiful, picturesque spot, a wide swathe of sand bordered by rocks and rockpools ideal for adventurous kids.
14. Parys Mountain, Amlwch
In the 18th century Parys Mountain was the largest copper mine in the world.
It is an enormous site, two miles inland from the north Anglesey coast and its port of Amlwch. Parys Mountain is one of the most striking and unusual landscapes in Wales, its bright copper, old gold and streaked pink and black surfaces scoured away, in contrast to the rolling green fields surrounding it.
It may be hard to picture now, but Amlwch was once a bustling boomtown with well around 1500 workers employed on the mountain.
It takes around two hours to do the mountain circuit walk, but also try to visit Copper Kingdom on the quay in Amlwch Port for an insight into what life was like for the workers.
15. Cemlyn Bay
Cemlyn Bay is a remote Anglesey beach unlike any other. The beach is a steep bank of shingle, sheltering a lagoon that’s a haven for birdlife.
It’s home to common, Arctic and sandwich terns (some of which also nest on the nearby Skerries islets). Different birds frequent the shingle ridge and lagoon throughout the year, with oystercatchers and ringed plovers breeding on the former.
You may also get to spot an Atlantic grey seal near the shoreline.
16. The Skerries – Anglesey Rib Ride
The Skerries – Ynysoedd y Moelrhoniaid in Welsh – are a series of islands off the north-west coast of Anglesey.
They’re normally visible from the nearby Anglesey coastline, and the lighthouse has been signalling to shipping since 1716 – the present structure was completed in 1759.
It’s a breeding ground for over 2,000 pairs of Arctic terns, and common terns and puffins in season. Anglesey Rib Ride run boat trips there from Holyhead Marina, exploring the remote coastline between Church Bay and Carmel Head on the way – one of the best Anglesey boat trips.
17. Penmon Priory
Penmon Priory is a beautiful old 12th century church hidden away in the north-eastern corner of Anglesey with heart-melting views across the Menai Strait to the mountains of Snowdonia.
The church is dedicated to St Seiriol, an ascetic who lived on nearby Puffin Island.
The simple church is one of the most enchanting Anglesey churches, and you can also visit the medieval Dovecote across the road and St Seiriol’s Well close by.
The 21st century seems a long way away in this idyllic little place.
18. South Stack Lighthouse
This iconic Anglesey lighthouse is just 3 km (5 miles) from busy Holyhead, but the feel of the place couldn’t be more different.
The soaring cliffs of the South Stack RSPB Reserve are a haven for seabirds, including the distinctive orange-beaked chough which lives there year-round, while puffins, guillemots and razorbills nest there in springtime.
South Stack lighthouse was built in 1809 to warn passing shipping away from the treacherous coastline, and it has reopened its doors to visitors in the last few years.
The view from the cliffs, especially at sunset in spring and summer, is unforgettable.
The area around South Stack cliffs is rich in history, with the Holyhead Mountain Hut Circles – the remains of an Iron Age village – across the road from the car park, and walks to the summit of Holyhead mountain starting from there.
19. Rhosneigr Surfing
Rhosneigr is the uncontested Anglesey surfing capital. The village is quite different in feel to most of the rest of the island, rather like Abersoch is to the rest of the Llyn Peninsula, with more upmarket places to stay and eat than you tend to find elsewhere on Anglesey.
There are two beaches in Rhosneigr, very different in character. Traeth Llydan is where you head for the best of the Anglesey surf, and in the right conditions you’ll also see kite surfers and windsurfers out as well.
Traeth Crigyll, just to the east of the town, is more sheltered, and ideal for families with young kids who can paddle and build sandcastles to their hearts’ content.
20. Porth Wen Brickworks
The extensive remains of the 19th century Porth Wen Brickworks dominate the cove of the same name on the north Anglesey coast between Cemaes and Bull Bay.
There are great views over the complex, which was abandoned after World War I, from the Coast Path, and the site can be accessed, albeit with a rather steep scramble down.
There are some magnificent old buildings including circular kilns, and striking scenery including a natural rock arch among the ruins.
A compelling part of Welsh industrial history in a gorgeous setting.
21. Burial Chambers and Standing Stones of Anglesey, Wales
Anglesey is richly endowed with ancient monuments, with examples in all corners of the island.
They range from the standing stones of Penrhosfeilw and Holyhead Mountain Hut Circles on Holy Island to the enormous slabs of the Lligwy Burial Chamber on the east of the island to the remarkable chambered tomb of Barclodiad y Gawres, on a headland above Cable Bay.
There are over a hundred of these monuments around the island.
22. Ship Inn, Red Wharf Bay
Red Wharf Bay is a beautiful part of Anglesey, that is a vast bay with boats at high tide and an immense expanse of sand at low tide.
The Ship Inn has an idyllic location at the end of the minor road, and in summer is a fantastic place to sit outside and enjoy a beer or glass of wine.
I haven’t eaten there for many years, but when I did it was high quality pub food.
23. Traeth Lligwy, Moelfre
Traeth Lligwy is one of the best beaches on Anglesey, occupying a glorious spot on the east coast of the island close to the seaside village of Moelfre.
It’s a gorgeous wide sandy beach, less exposed than the beaches on the west side of the island. At low tide a great many rockpools are revealed, just the place for inquisitive kids to discover some of the local marine life.
The coast path between Moelfre to the east and Traeth yr Ora beach to the north is one of the best walks on Anglesey, taking you to one of the most secluded Anglesey beaches which you’ll have to yourself, even in summer.
24. Oriel Mon, Llangefni
Oriel Môn is the main museum and art gallery in Anglesey, located on the edge of the island’s ‘capital’, Llangefni.
The Museum shows you the history of Anglesey, pulling together all the strands we’ve separated out here.
The art gallery focuses on two very different artists, both of whom lived in Anglesey for many years. Charles Tunnicliffe’s collection of wildlife drawings is captivating, and Sir Kyffin Williams is mainly known for his distinctive landscapes of Snowdonia and Anglesey.
Well worth a couple of hours of your time.
25. Puffin Island
Puffin Island – Ynys Seiriol in Welsh – was the home of the local saint Seiriol in his later years, and he established a monastic cell there. The 12th century remains of a church dedicated to him remain in the island, but the main attraction nowadays is the wildlife.
The island is one of the most popular Anglesey boat trip destinations, with birdwatchers drawn by the nesting great cormorants, kittiwakes, guillemots and more.
The island’s original population of puffins was all but wiped out by brown rats, which have in turn suffered the same fate.
The puffin population is slowly recovering. Puffin Island boat trips depart Beaumaris in the spring and summer.
26. Beaumaris Gaol
There are several things to do in Beaumaris other than visiting the Castle. These include the 19th century Beaumaris Gaol, a small provincial prison that is incredibly well-preserved.
The lot of a Victorian era prisoner was a grim one indeed, although Beaumaris was considered one of the more enlightened and humane establishments of its time.
You can explore the corridors and cells, including the condemned cell where two prisoners were held before their executions.
One of them swore he was innocent, and placed a curse on the church tower clock when his final appeal for clemency was refused. To this day the four faces of the clock do not tell the same time.
27. Holyhead Roman Fort
There aren’t a great many things to do in Holyhead to detain you long.
It’s a busy, workaday port with a great deal of traffic passing through.
The one place of note in Holyhead town centre is the small Caer Gybi Roman fort, which is across the street from the Old Harbour.
The walls are very well-preserved, and the medieval parish church of St Cybi is also housed within.
There are other Roman remains nearby, at Caer Y Twr hillfort on the summit of Holyhead Mountain.
28. Ferry to Ireland
Holyhead’s main earner is the Stena Line ferry to Dublin that departs up to four times a day. I haven’t done it myself, but know several people who have done a day trip to Ireland from Holyhead.
The timings of the ferries are such that you can go there and back in a day, or opt for an overnight stay in Dublin.
We’ve never seemed to have enough time to spend at Trearddur Bay, a fine Blue Flag beach a couple of miles from Holyhead, which is a great pity.
It’s a lovely wide, flat beach, absolutely ideal for families and kids. It’s enormous, so there’s always plenty of space for everyone.
The Trearddur Bay Hotel, which overlooks the beach and sea, is one of the best hotels on Anglesey.
The smaller, wilder Porth Dafarch beach is just up the road towards South Stack.