DAY TWO: SEASIDE AND SALT
Driving southwest from the Menai Bridge and Llanfair PG, cross the most scenic corner of the island, where patchwork fields and groves fall to the shores of the Menai Strait. You’ll soon pass the National Trust’s Plas Newydd, a stately mansion lined with sprawling lawns, and the ramparts of Caernarfon Castle towering over the mainland. Get off at Brynsiencyn and head towards Halen Mon: an artisanal producer of sea salt at the forefront of Anglesey’s new gastronomic renown. Linger for lunch at Tide / Llanw, Halen Mon’s on-site cafe which, when winds allow, features a giant Nordic-style teepee. Cawl (soup) warming the cockles, rare and wood-fired pizzas could be on the menu. From there, you can drive to Llanddwyn in 30 minutes.
Llanddwyn is a vast beach of celestial beauty, having appeared in Hollywood movies, television series and numerous Instagram posts. The beach suddenly appears as the road emerges from Newborough Forest; from the parking lot, walk about a mile north along the sands to reach Llanddwyn Tidal Island itself. Patrolled by wild ponies, the island of Llanddwyn is associated with the legend of St Dwynwen (the Welsh saint of lovers), and pilgrims in love sometimes pay homage to its crumbling church. It’s also a romantic setting, with hidden coves and turquoise waters. Return to the parking lot and walk back through Newborough Forest. The forest has a red squirrel breeding program, so keep an eye out for them.
The seaside village of Rhosneigr is an ideal place for an early evening stroll: stroll through its sandy lanes, watch the sun set among the archipelago of offshore islets, or watch the last windsurfers of the day glide on. the Bay. It also has a few decent places to visit after the sun goes down, including The oyster catcher, where diners can sip craft beers in beach huts amid rolling dunes. But for one of Anglesey’s most memorable meals, retrace your route to Llanfair PG and the Marram grass. Housed in a former hangar, it is normally associated with its pioneering tasting menus. During Covid-19 however, the Marram Grass hosts “ Moch a MÃ´r ” – a pop-up restaurant serving pork dishes from their on-site pig farm.
Walks on the Anglesey Coastal Path
In 2012, Wales became the first country in the world to have a long distance trail crossing its entire coastline, and the Anglesey section is one of the highlights.
1. South Stack and North Stack (5 miles)
Located in the northwest corner of Holy Island, the blazing cliffs around South Stack and North Stack are the last geological bloom before Wales collapsed into the Irish Sea. Park at the South Stack parking lot to join this epic stretch of the coastal path, making a brief detour to approach the 400 steps down to the lighthouse. Then join the trail through windswept moorland towards North Stack Island, looking for razorbills and puffins that fly in early spring and summer. It’s easy to return to where you started, circling the eastern slopes of Holyhead Mountain, with views of ferries from Dublin.
2. Llanfair PG to Brynsiencyn (11 km)
This flat and easy section sees the coastal path following the current of the Menai Strait. Walk on the A4080 southwest of Llanfair PG before turning into rolling fields. You will soon arrive at Bryn Celli Ddu, a 6,000 year old monument which is one of Wales’ most spectacular Neolithic sites, where a narrow passage leads to a shaded tomb. Back in the present, head southeast towards Moel y Don Beach, then follow the wooded and field-backed shoreline towards Brynsiencyn: the mainland seems almost within reach on your left. In Brynsiencyn you can take a bus back to Llanfair PG four or five times a day.
3. Aberffraw to St Cwyfan’s Church (8 km)
Known in English as the ‘Church in the Sea’, St Cwyfan’s is a 12th century church, poetically adrift on a small islet, a short distance west of Aberffraw. Starting from Aberffraw, follow the coastal path along the north shore of the estuary until it reaches the Windy Cliffs. Soon you’ll arrive at Porth Cwyfan itself – the island may or may not be accessible, depending on the tide, and the church is usually locked, opening only for a few services in the summer. All the same, that makes it an odd place to linger as the sun slowly sets in the Irish Sea. After sunset, return east to Aberffraw along country roads. walescoastpath.gov.uk