Day trip to Aberystwyth

The gem on the Cambrian Coast that could be your ‘staycation’ destination this year

The phrase ‘staycation’ has become a term used on almost a daily basis in 2021. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has forced many people to look closer to home.

The UK is brimming with thriving seaside towns, and Wales has its fair share. Aberystwyth is one of these, and it is underrated.

Located slap bang in the middle of the west coast, Aberystwyth is a bit of a jewel on the Cambrian coast line.

Taking in the iconic Welsh scenery begins on the journey to the town. The A487 goes down a large stretch of the west coast and connects Aberystwyth to the north and south. Joining the road at Bala and going past Llyn (Lake) Tegid is an impressive sight. The A44 starts in Oxford and takes motorists right through to Aberystwhyth. Rolling fields and quiet villages also line this route, making it picturesque as well as straightforward to follow.

If driving isn’t your thing, then Aberystwyth is pretty easy to get to via train. A service runs from Birmingham International, through Birmingham New Street, Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury, and into Aberystwyth in just over three hours.

Once you’ve arrived in the seaside town, there’s plenty to keep yourself occupied. Wherever you’re staying, you’ll never be far from the sea. At the north side of the promenade, there is a hill which offers stunning views across the town and Cardigan bay as well as up and down the coast.

The hill, which is called Constitution Hill, is also home to one of the oldest cliff railways in the UK. First operating in 1896, it was first powered by electricity in 1921 having previously run on a water balancing system.

An adult return ticket can be bought for £5.50, the journey up gets better with every inch you climb. There is a cafe at the top and also a way onto the Cambrian coastal path. I have ventured onto the path before, on down to the next village along the coast to the south, Borth.

The path hugs the coastline, hence the name, but does have its steep challenges. Ideally, the return journey can be made via train from Borth station. I did it, and it is highly recommended; a return trip is roughly 10 miles.

Back in Aberystwyth you can always relax on one of two beaches in the town. South beach is usually the quieter of the two, but both North and South beaches can be bustling at certain times of year.

There’s plenty of history in Aberystwyth. Ruins of a castle on a hill overlooking the South beach of the town. Dating back to the 13th century. The castle was built in response to the First Welsh War.

It has Grade I listed status. It is possible to walk around a large majority of the castle grounds.

If a pub crawl tickles your fancy, then you can’t go far wrong with Aberystwyth. At one point in time, the town boasted 52 pubs/ bars. That may be less now, but the number of pubs for the size of the place is still mightily impressive.

For a day trip, it is absolutely recommended to visit one or two pubs. If you’re in Aberystwyth on a rainy day, the pub might be the best place for you.

Heritage and miniature railways are popular in mid and north Wales, and Aberystwyth has its own to show off. The Vale of Rheidol railway departs Aberystwyth from just along the road from the national train station. It then takes you on an hour’s journey to Devil’s Bridge, a charming community which has been visited by tourists for over 300 years.

A single adult ticket is £27.50, and a child’s ticket can be bought for £7.50.

Football fans may time their day(s) out in Aberystwyth to line up with when the local team is in action.

Nicknamed the Seasiders, Aberystwyth Town FC play in the Cymru Premier League, the top level of the Welsh football pyramid.

Located on Park Avenue and just minutes walk from both the train station and town centre. It has the look of a classic football ground, and matchday entrance is just £7.

There’s a lot to cram into a single days visit to Aberystwyth, which is why it is advised to book into one of the many hotels and B&B’s across the town.

It is a gem on the Cambrian Coast, and it might just be the best ‘staycation’ of your life.

I am a journalist with an honours degree from Coventry University. Passionate writing about politics, culture, sport, society and more