10 Best things to see and do in Aberystwyth
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10 Wonderful Things To Do In Aberystwyth!

Are you looking for a beautiful place to visit with plenty of exciting things to see and do? If so, then Aberystwyth is the perfect destination. Set on the stunning Cardigan Bay coast, this charming Welsh town offers breathtaking scenery and fabulous attractions that never fail to entertain. Read on to discover some of the best things to do in Aberystwyth and why I believe it’s one of the best places in Wales to take a weekend break!

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Aberystwyth, affectionately known as ‘Aber’ by the locals, is located in the middle of the Ceredigion coastline in mid-Wales. 

This beautiful town is a bustling seaside resort during the summer months, but it’s also a thriving university town, giving it a young cosmopolitan feel. It’s the perfect place to enjoy some seaside fun, explore historic sites, and unwind in the stunning countryside surrounding the town.

Aberystwyth is one of my favourite places in Wales, and I visit regularly to see my brother, who lives there. No matter how many times I visit, I never get bored! Whatever the season, whether basking in the sunshine, enjoying a delicious ice cream on top of Constitution Hill or taking a chilly autumn walk along the coast, the area’s stunning beauty never fails to deliver!

10 Wonderful Things To Do In Aberystwyth:

1. Take A Trip On The Cliff Railway:

One of the most popular things to do in Aberystwyth is to ride to the top of Constitution Hill via the historic Cliff Railway! This unique mode of transport up Constitution Hill dates back to 1896 and is the longest funicular cliff railway in Britain. Originally the railway was operated on a water balance system until electrification in 1921 and offers the most relaxing way to experience the stunning surrounding scenery!

Aberystwyth, the best things to see and do

Once at the top, you can take in the magnificent views across Aberystwyth, Cardigan Bay, and, on a clear day, the 26 mountain peaks spanning much of Wales. You’ll also find a cafe serving meals, snacks, ice cream, and a licensed bar!

Other things to do on Constitution Hill include a ten-pin bowling alley with pool and air hockey tables, which is perfect for the kids! You will also find the Camera Obscura, initially built in 1880 on the castle grounds. It was later transferred to Constitution Hill for a better viewpoint. Unfortunately, it was taken down in the 1920s due to low demand, but it was rebuilt in 1985 as it would have been in its Victorian heyday. The Obscura today holds a massive 14-inch lens, making it one of the world’s largest camera obscura, giving viewers a level of precision and clarity that the Victorians could barely dream of!

2. Explore Aberystwyth Castle:

The remains of Aberystwyth Castle sit proudly along the seafront, next to the war memorial. Although not much of the original structure remains, the area is a lovely place to sit with a coffee and take in some fabulous views!

Completed in 1289, Aberystwyth Castle, along with Flint Castle, Rhuddlan Castle, and Builth Wells Castle, was built by King Edward I to help with his campaign against the Welsh. The castle was finished in 1282; however, the Welsh captured it and burnt it down. It was then recaptured and rebuilt at great expense to the crown!

The castle continued to change hands between the Welsh and the English on many occasions. However, by 1404, peacetime had been declared, and the castle started to fall into disrepair. In 1637, the castle was designated as a royal mint by Charles I, which later became its downfall. It became a target of Oliver Cromwell, who consigned the castle to slighting in 1649.

3. Take The Heritage Steam Railway To Devil’s Bridge:

If you fancy taking a little trip out of town, a trip to Devil’s Bridge on the Vale of Rheidol Railway is a must! This is no ordinary train trip; it’s a fabulous heritage steam railway that takes you through some amazing Welsh scenery before stopping at Devil’s Bridge Falls and then taking you back to Aberystwyth. 

Once at Devil’s Bridge, you will have around an hour to explore the area. You can either relax at the cafe, pick up some tasty treats at the chocolate shop or check out the stunning waterfalls and unique Devil’s Bridge. 

You will have two choices of waterfalls to discover: the short route, which takes about 10 minutes, or the longer, more strenuous route, which takes around 45 minutes. The latter is more stunning. However, it’s not recommended for train passengers as you will be pretty rushed to get around it in time and could run the risk of missing the train back to Aberystwyth. 

I managed to do both waterfalls and still made it back on time for the train; however, I rushed around the route and didn’t have a chance to take it all in.

Be warned, though. Both routes require a certain level of fitness and ability, as there are many steps and uneven pathways, especially on the longer route. 

4. Take A Walk Along The Lovely Promenade:

On a sunny day, walking along the promenade is one of Aberystwyth’s best things to do. Dating back to Victorian times, it stretches from the castle to the cliff railway along the beach. 

Along the prom, you’ll find several bars, restaurants, shops, and hotels and an artificial beach area for those with young children. On a clear day, it’s worth keeping an eye out for some local wildlife. If you’re lucky, you may even spot some playing dolphins.

5. Walk Along The Pier:

Towards the start of the promenade near the castle, you will find one of Aberystwyth’s most famous landmarks, the Royal Pier.

Aberystwyth’s Royal Pier was the first pleasure pier to open in Wales in 1865. It is jam-packed with modern-day amusements and award-winning hospitality. One of the best ways to enjoy the pier is to enjoy a drink or two while watching the sun go down. It’s the perfect spot! Just watch out for all the starlings that gather at the end of the pier in the autumn and winter months.

6. Check Out The Views From Pen Dinas:

Constitution Hill isn’t the only high point in Aberystwyth; Pen Dinas is on the other side of the town. Unlike Constitution Hill, Pen Dinas isn’t full of tourists and locals; it’s much more of a quiet, leisurely walk.

Those of you who make an effort to climb Pen Dinas will not only be met with more beautiful views of Aberystwyth and the surrounding coastline but also find an Iron Age hillfort upon which the Wellington Monument now sits.

7. Visit The National Library Of Wales:

I wouldn’t normally recommend visiting a library while travelling. However, the National Library of Wales is an exception! The building itself is worth a visit, as it looks more like a huge stately home than a library! It is the most extensive library in Wales, holding over 6.5 million books and periodicals and the largest collections of archives, portraits, maps and photographic images in the Country.

The library is free to enter and holds weekly guided tours allowing a tour of the building and see some notable treasures.

8. Take A Walk Along The Ceredigion Coastal Path:

The Ceredigion coastal path runs 60km along the mid-Wales coastline, split into smaller walkable sections. One section runs between Ynyslas and Llanrhystud, with Aberystwyth in the middle. Of course, you don’t have to walk the whole section, but even just a short hourly walk in either direction along the coast will give you wonderful views of the coastline. The path is also rich in wildflowers, seabirds and other wildlife.

10 Best things to see and do in Aberystwyth

A good beginner route is to walk north taking the path along the coast starting at the top of Constitution Hill. This short walk takes you downhill to Clarach Beach. Here you’ll find a leisure park and amusements. If you’re feeling brave, you could also try dipping your toes in the cold Irish Sea.

9. Indulge In Some Retail Therapy:

If retail therapy is your thing, Aberystwyth has no shortage of shops and markets to keep you entertained! You’ll find all the usual shops found in any other city or town across the UK, with the addition of lots of lovely independent shops selling everything from holiday gifts, homeware, local produce, clothing, antiques and books. Some interesting shops to look out for include:

  • Polly Boutique – Ladies’ contemporary fashion and accessories.
  • Coastal Vintage – Home, garden and decorative antiques.
  • Yetwyth Books – Secondhand book store.
  • Siop Y Pethe – Sells a little bit of everything.
  • Driftwood Designs – Cards, gifts and homeware.
  • Cactus – Mensware and homeware.

10. Try Out Some Local Cuisine:

Aberystwyth is a foodie heaven, with many options for all tastes and budgets! Some of my personal favourites include:

  • Medina – Vegans and veggies are well catered for with Mediterranean-style salads and plates created from local produce.
  • Baravin – The best pizza with views in Aberystwyth!
  • Pysgoty – Quality fish and seafood served in a harbour-side cafe-bar
  • Starling Cloud – Quality home-cooked pub grub.

Where To Stay In Aberystwyth:

Although you can enjoy a visit to Aberystwyth in just a day, it’s well worth spending a few days in this lovely town. Not only is Aberystwyth a little isolated, but it’s also surrounded by beautiful countryside that is definitely worth exploring! Spending a few days allows you to see all that Aberystwyth offers and visit some of the surrounding attractions, such as The Silver Mountain Experience or Borth Wild Animal Kingdom. A few great accommodation options include:

  • CWTCH By the Sea – Located 200 yards from Aberystwyth Castle in Aberystwyth, this apartment is on the seafront and features a terrace with outdoor furniture. 
  • Rooms by Maes y mor – Situated in Aberystwyth, Rooms by Maes y mor offers 3-star accommodation with free Wi-Fi and free parking. The beach is a 2-minute walk away, and the bus and train stations are nearby.
  • Bodalwyn Guest House – Situated in Aberystwyth, Bodalwyn Guest House is 3.1 miles from Clarach Bay. Facilities at this property include room service, luggage storage space, and free Wi-Fi. 

For booking accommodation, I recommend using Booking.com. This website offers the best-priced accommodation catering for all budgets and styles. Just pop in your requirements, and it will give you a list of available accommodations. Perfect for picking out the best hostels, B&B or even some luxury escapes.

Final Thoughts

Aberystwyth is a charming town with plenty of things to see and do. If you’re looking for a place to visit in North Wales, add Aberystwyth to your list! There’s something for everyone here, from incredible views and hikes to delicious food and interesting history!

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Happy travels!

10 Best things to do in Aberystwyth
10 Best things to do in Aberystwyth

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