Anglesey is an island full of character and beauty which is a must-visit if you are traveling to North Wales. For such a tiny island, it teems with history and unique charm which is something my family and I loved about it on past Welsh holidays (check out my other posts on North Wales here!). However, our Anglesey adventures had never quite reached as far as Holyhead; the westerly, coastal region of the island. This May, all that changed when an opportunity arose to piggyback onto a wedding present, gifted to my best friends from uni, Beth and Ollie (Sorry for killing the romance guys!).
As lockdown restrictions in the UK began to ease, several of my uni friends organised a spontaneous staycation at Blackthorn Farm Bed and Breakfast and Campsite. It was the perfect excuse for a small get-together after being starved of each other’s company for almost a year thanks to the Pandemic. So, with multiple dogs, tents, partners, and weather-appropriate attire packed, we headed off for our FIRST weekend staycation of 2021! Now, this trip will forever be special to me as it was the first staycation Corey and I had managed to go on since we met during the height of COVID in November 2020. It was also the first time he would meet the gang (and be put to the infamous suitable boyfriend test!). So, filled with excited, loved up, buzziness, I marched the poor guy off to get vetted by the uni clan (and they are certainly some tough critics!). Thankfully, he gained full friend approval and Holyhead will now always hold fond memories for me as the first of (hopefully!!) many future couple’s trips. Anyway, I’m sure you all appreciated the little back story but onto why you’re all actually here – What are the best things to do in Holyhead?
Now, not all reports of Holyhead have been glowing, and like anywhere, there are good bits and bad bits. Corey did raise an eyebrow when I told him where we were headed, having only experienced the port at Holyhead which he had a less than glowing opinion of. However, you should not let this mar your overall view of this quaint little region, for there’s so much beauty if only you know where to look…
Before you get excited or panicked, I don’t mean in the class A drugs sense. By get high, I mean get climbing. Before this trip, I’d only climbed a handful of times in an indoor setting, but after this trip, I can say that having the opportunity to climb outdoors is a real game changer! It is both challenging and fun, and with the adrenaline of hanging onto a cliff face, it gets your blood pumping in more ways than one! Lucky for us, we had seasoned professionals, Kay and Andy to coach us through our climb, but multiple companies around Holyhead will provide the gear and instruction. This is certainly one to add to the list when visiting this area, but (WARNING: Boring safety message coming up, but I will not be held responsible for people’s stupidity…) please climb responsibly and go with someone experienced who knows what they’re doing and has the right equipment.
Explore one of the Many Hidden Coves
Across the coastline are lots of secluded little bays and coves, some of which are only accessible at low tide. Finding them is part of the fun, as it often requires a bit of a scramble down a cliff veering off from the coastal path making it perfect for the self-proclaimed explorers amongst you. For those who are maybe a little less keen on trailblazing, there are some coves with more established paths, besides, a little bushwacking is worth it to have your very own private beach! These little coves are the perfect romantic hideaway or a great spot for you and a group of friends to set up for the evening with beers and a BBQ.
Take in the View at South Stacks
If you’re a bird fancier, Instagrammer, or photographer this place will delight you. On the cliff face, looking out to the Irish sea sits South Stack lighthouse, a pristine, white, structure painted against the bonny blue of the water. This RSPB protected zone is home to thousands of sea birds nesting on the cliffs giving a delightful liveliness to an otherwise tranquil scene. Head to the South Stack pay and display carpark, grab some lunch from the lovely little café on the brow of the cliff, then meander the short walk to admire the lighthouse. South Stack is one of the main draws to Holyhead and when you visit, it is easy to see why!
Walk The Coastal Path
The coastal path is 130 miles of rugged coastline that spans the length of the Anglesey shoreline. The start of this mammoth route is in Holyhead at St Cybi’s Church, and if you were to do the whole thing, it takes an average of 12 days to complete. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly not that much of a hardcore walker, however, if you want a little taste of what the coastal path has to offer, you can hop on and off it during your visit to Holyhead. You can make your wanderings as long or as short as you like with easy access on and off the trail at multiple points and plenty to see and do along the way. The coastline here is beautiful and wild, full of birdlife, majestic cliff faces, and the sounds of waves crashing against them, it is an absolute pleasure to walk and one not to miss!
Have a Beach Day
If the weather is kind to you, get yourself down to one of the many beaches on the Holyhead coast. Here you can learn to surf, rent a paddleboard, go for a swim (if you have the kahunas to brave the cold Irish sea), or just enjoy feeling the sand between your toes. There are several dog-friendly sections on the beaches to let your pup have its Baywatch moment and even though it’s not Barbados, there’s something utterly great about the good old British seaside!
Where to Stay in Holyhead
Blackthorn Farm B&B and campsite is a great option if you’re looking for a place to stay. It has a cosy, authentic feel to it, and whether you feel like roughing it in a tent or opting for a little bit more luxury, they have you covered, with facilities for caravans, campers, tents, and several cosy rooms in the B&B itself.
Corey and I stayed in the B&B and had a lovely attic room with an en suite and a gorgeous view out to the sea. The room was simple and cosy and had everything you needed for a short stay. Breakfast was in an airy diner with coastal theming and the staff could not have been more helpful. As we visited while COVID restrictions were still easing, a member of staff would come to your table to take your order. There was a great variety of breakfast options, both cooked and continental – we took full advantage of the ability to wolf down a cooked breakfast each morning and it certainly hit the spot! Check out their website here to book.
So, there you have my top things to do in Holyhead! This is definitely one of my more niche posts, but sometimes it’s good to be different! If you’re feeling inspired to plan your own staycation, check out my other posts on exploring the UK here.