Posted on 24/01/2018 by David
After the long, dark winter months, there’s nothing quite like going for a walk along the coast in the spring. The warmth is slowly beginning to creep back into the air, the sea winds blow away any lingering winter cobwebs and the salty tang of the sea air is enough to lift your spirits and rejuvenate your soul.
North Wales, with it’s miles of glorious coastline ranging from busy and bustling promenades to secluded and dramatic clifftops is the perfect place for a spring walk.
Dig out those walking boots and a jacket, grab your camera and head out on one of these five family friendly coastal walks. They’re all suitable for families, wheelchairs and pushchairs.
1. Llandudno Promenade and Marine Drive - 3 hours
The promenade along Llandudno’s bustling North Shore is the perfect place to start this walk. At the Pier you can watch an old fashioned Punch & Judy show, visit the 'Musies' (the Golden Goose Amusement Arcade) or just enjoy an ice cream - it's the longest pier in Wales, you know.
If you’re want something a bit more challenging, head onward for an invigorating circuit of the Great Orme. It’s hilly in spots, but there is pavement the whole way around so everyone can access it.
The Marine Drive walk starts just after the entrance to the Pier; don’t worry about the Toll Gate as the charges only apply to motor vehicles. The path starts off quite steeply as it climbs towards the first headland, but drops down before starting gently uphill again.
Keep your camera close as you’re walking - you can often see seals playing in the shallows below, and if you’re especially lucky, you might see a rare Peregrine falcon around the cliffs. The Orme is also home to a herd of around 180 wild Kashmiri goats, who roam the headland freely.
Continue walking and you’ll pass an old, decommissioned lighthouse. It’s now a luxury bed and breakfast, but you can still see the optic if you head up to the Visitor Centre at the Great Orme Summit Complex.
Just past the lighthouse is the Rest & Be Thankful Cafe. It’s perfectly placed for some excellent photos and a cup of tea to warm up. From this point onward, the walk is winds its way down towards the quieter West Shore. Your hard work will be rewarded with some stunning views of Anglesey, the Conwy Estuary and castle and Snowdonia.
2. Rhyl to Pensarn - 2 hours
This walk is entirely flat and along the promenade, so is perfect for families. You start off in the popular seaside town of Rhyl, next to the SeaQuarium. As you walk along the promenade, you can see for miles around.
The mountains of hills of Snowdonia are in front of you, and if you look to your left, you’ll see the rolling hills of the Vale of Clwyd. You’ll walk past the newly restored Sky Tower, which is impressive enough even in the daytime, but particularly pretty at night when it’s lit up in ever-changing colours. Unsurprisingly, it can be seen for miles around.
The walk takes you up to the harbour and across Pont y Ddraig (Dragon Bridge), which is a spectacular and relatively new addition to the town - it means you don’t have to walk along the busy road. Pop into the Harbour Hub Cafe for an excellent cup of coffee and cake, and watch the boats come in and out.
Don’t forget to look out for the Three Icons of Rhyl at the entrance to the bridge - Nobel-winning scientist Sir John Houghton, footballer Don Spendlove and musician, Mike Peters.
Rejoin the coastal path and keep walking as far as your feet can take you - through the popular holiday hotspots and sandy beaches of Kinmel Bay and Towyn, past the funfairs and onto Pensarn Beach.
3. Llandudno, West Shore to Conwy - 1.5 hours
This is a lovely, gentle walk that shouldn’t take you more than a couple of hours, although the out-of-this-world views might distract you and hold you up a little!
You’ll need to follow the coastal path through Deganwy; this stretch of path was recently restored following some severe storm damage a few years ago. Take a breather in the ornate Victorian beach shelter along the way, another casualty of the storm enjoying a new lease of life thanks to passionate locals.
Continue along the coastal path, which runs alongside the Llandudno branch line. It's smooth and gentle the entire way and you'll be in Conwy before you know it. Linger awhile, there are plenty of spots to sit and enjoy the views. It is a popular path for cyclists though, so keep an eye and ear out!
At the end of the path head across the bridge to Conwy, you'll approach the castle head on and it's a pretty spectacular experience. Once across the bridge, turn sharp right and walk down onto the quay. End your walk with a pint at the famous Liverpool Arms Pub or a portion of fish and chips from one of the many chippies in town.
4. Traeth Lafan Trail, Llanfairfechan - 1.5hrs
This short but beautiful walk is perfect for wheelchair users and pushchairs. Start off in the car park on Llanfairfechan Promenade and cross the pretty little bridge over the stream. You’ll find a lovely pond, with ducks, swans and geese, and a large grassy area, perfect for a picnic. There’s also a children’s playground and a little splash pool at the back.
Follow the path along the promenade, which offers views over to Anglesey - peer out and you may just see the distinctive Everton Mint stripey Penmon Lighthouse, between Puffin Island and the mainland.
It’s a flat path most of the way along, with plenty of benches to sit down on and take in the vista. At the end of the surfaced path is a gate which you can go through to continue your walk, but it may not be suitable for manual wheelchair users.
This trail will lead you on to Morfa Madryn and Glan y Môr Elias which are great spots to sit and watch roosting seabirds. On your return to Llanfairfechan, visit the Beach Pavillion cafe for a cuppa.
5. Talacre Circular Walk - 1 hour
This is another short but very sweet walk. It takes in the magnificent (and huge!) sandy beach at Talacre, some fascinating sand dunes and the iconic Point of Ayr lighthouse.
It’s flat and smooth all the way along, and many sections of the path are boardwalks. You can, if you wanted, deviate off the path to explore the dunes but, be warned, they are very hilly! It’s a super place for a walk if you want to see wildlife - look out for the migrating wading birds and resident natterjack toads.
If you park in the beach car park keep an eye on tide times - it has a tendency to flood if there's a very high tide! Head towards the cycle path and follow a circular route until you reach the car park again.
If you feel like you've seen Talacre Beach before, you probably have. Dulux Paints filmed an advert here a few years ago featuring their doggie mascot - yes, it's a dog friendly beach all year round too!
Once you’ve completed your walk, head down to Talacre Village where there are cafes and pubs to grab a drink and a bite to eat, including the quirky Point bar and restaurant.