Anglesey (Wales)

The county of Anglesey, or Ynys Môn in Welsh, covers the namesake island to the north-west of Wales, separated from the mainland by the Menai Strait.

As well as the 276 square mile (715 sq km) island, Anglesey also covers nearby islets, most notably the Holy Island. It is one of the historic counties of Wales; it briefly was part of the county of Gwynedd from 1974, before regaining its county status in 1996.

The county’s population is around 70,000. The chief town on Anglesey is the ferry-port of Holyhead; other towns include Beaumaris, Llangefni and Almwch. The island is low lying, its highest point being the ambitiously-named Holyhead Mountain standing at 720ft (220m).


aberffraw_04052014 (2)Tywyn Aberffraw

This village lies to the south of the island; it is known for Tywyn Aberffraw, an extensive area of sand dunes that sit by the Ffraw Estuary.


beaumaris beach_04052014
Beaumaris Castle

The dominant feature of this town is Beaumaris Castle– built in C13th at the behest of King Edward I. It was later captured by Welsh forces in C14th. In C17th it was briefly held by Royalist forces in the the Civil War, before falling to Parliamentarian Forces; the end of the century the castle had been abandoned, becoming a country park by the C19th.



Borthwen is a public beach set around a bay, next to the village of Rhoscolyn, on the Holy Island islet.

Cemlyn Bay
cemlyn bay_04052014 (4)
Cemlyn Bay

Cemlyn Bay is one of the northernmost bays in Anglesey. The interior of the bay has a shingle beach: This has created a small lagoon, which has become an important site for birdwatching. It has attracted numerous vagrant birds, such as isabelline shrike and Terek sandpiper. Cemlyn is best known for its terns, including sandwich terns and roseate terns.

Llanfair PG

llanfair PG_pronunciation_13092009 (1)The famous station sign at Llainfair PG

The full name for Llanfair PG: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch
… at 58 characters, this makes it the longest place-name in the UK, and the second-longest official place-name in the world. The village’s website uses the name in full, reputedly making it the longest URL in existence, as you can see here

The railway station displays the name in full, with an accompanying pronunciation guide on the row below. In 2015, Channel 4 weatherman Liam Dutton gave an exemplary demonstration of how to pronounce the village during this broadcast

The village was originally known as Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll, but was elongated in the C19th, to attract more visitors after the opening of the railway. In English the town means: “St Mary’s church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the fierce whirlpool and the church of St Tysilio of the red cave”.

Britannia Bridge

llanfairPG_britannia bridge_13092009
ia Bridge at dusk

This one of two bridges connecting Anglesey with mainland Wales. The bridge was originally built in the C19th to carry a railway over to Anglesey– it was given an iron box-girder design by feted engineer Robert Stephenson. This original version of the bridge was gutted by fire in the early 1970s; during its re-construction during that decade, it decide to make it a double-decker crossing. In 1980 the top was opened to traffic as the A55 route, with the railway occupying the bottom.

Menai Strait

beaumaris beach__04052014Menai Strait seen from Beaumaris

Statue of Admiral Nelson overlooking Menai Strait

The Menai Strait is a narrow channel of water, that separates Anglesey from the mainland, it is around 16 miles (25km) long. The channel is narrow and tidal; its often contrasting tides at either end of the strait can cause ferocious whirpools and currents, extremely hazardous to small vessels using the strait.

Newborough Warren

newborough warren_04052014Newborough Warren dunes at dusk

The warren is a large dune and woodland system sitting at the southernmost tip of the island; along with mudflats, saltwater lakes and freshwater pools. About half of the area is coniferous woodland; which has recently seen once-native red squirrels returned to the area, after grey squirrels were eradicated from the island.

Pili Palas

Pilas Palas butterflies

pili palas butterfly house__04052014 (3)
Inside one of the greenhouses

Pili Palas  is a large tropical greenhouse situated near Beaumaris. It is best known for its collection of colourful butterflies, however it also houses a number of exotic birds, snakes and lizzards—plus a four meerkats named after The Beatles.

Porth Swtan

porth swtan__04052014Port Swtain

This is a cove that sits underneath the village of Church Bay, to the north-west of Anglesey. Its beach can be reached from concrete drive down to it.


Puffin Island

puffin island_04052014Puffin Island

This islet lies to the east of Anglesey. It can viewed by a short toll road from the hamlet of Penmon. The islet is uninhabited by humans, and is a roosting site for a variety of sea-birds: Guillemot, kittiwake and gannet all nest there—though puffin numbers have dwindled.

Red Wharf Bay

red wharf bay beach_04052014 (15)red wharf bay beach_04052014 (20)Sandflats over Red Wharf Bay

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Vista of Red Wharf Bay

This is Anglesey’s largest beach, and is situated on the eastern side of the island. When the tide is out, the beach covers around 10 square miles (16 sq km) across the bay and takes its name from reddish tinge of the sand. The beach is known as Traeth Coch in Welsh, and sits between the villages of Pentraeth and Bellech.

South Stack

south stack__04052014 (3)South Stack Lighthouse

south stack__04052014 (6)
South Stack cliffs

This pillar of rock sits beneath Holyhead Mountain, and is topped by a lighthouse accessible by a metal bridge. The cliffs hereabouts have become an RPSB reserve, and they are the nesting site for around 4,000 birds. A visitor centre can be found Elin’s Tower, which sits atop the cliffs. South Stock is called Ynys Lawd in Welsh


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