Set in western Wales on the Irish Sea, Aberystwyth offers spectacular views of Cardigan Bay and the Cambrian Mountains. The National Library of Wales (Llfyrgell Genedlaethol Cymru) is here, as is world-class Aberystwyth University.
On our Summer Intern’s “Big Welsh Adventure”, we spent a day in Aberystwyth on our way to southwest Wales
First, we walked along the promenade to view the beach, then enjoyed the Aberystwyth Cliff Railway ride to the top of Y Consti (Constitution Hill).
The Aberystwyth Cliff Railway, which opened in 1896, is the longest funicular, electric railway in Great Britain and was originally powered by a water balance system. It’s a spectacular view from the top and so worth the trip! Offering rides both one-way and round-trip, the railway allows you a swift ascent to the top of Constitution Hill, with unparalleled views of Cardigan Bay. The station boasts a sweet little cafe with a full bar, as well as a variety of foods, including some gorgeous baked goods, baked potatoes (called jacket potatoes in the UK), sandwiches, and various platters (the ploughman’s was delightful, in particular)….and some fabulous ice creams.
Other amenities at the summit include 10-pin bowling, a Camera Obscura —with a 14-inch lens said to be the largest camera obscura in the world —-and of course, pokemon stops!
We had purchased a roundtrip ticket, so after lunch in the café and a wander at the top, we rode back down, admiring the views the entire way.
The National Library of Wales (Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru) – a place in which to lose yourself!
The next stop was the National Library of Wales – and I could’ve stayed in there all day! The images in the Welsh legends hall were spectacular and mesmerizing, and the Arthur and Welsh Mythology exhibit is truly absorbing. For example, you can see the 13th century “Book of Aneirin” whose beautifully illustrated pages recap the poetry of native Briton poet, Aneirin, who witnessed and chronicled the loss of his Celtic lands to the Germanic Angles (the “Anglo” in Anglo-Saxon) in 600 A.D.
The library contains a dizzying array of collections: archives, printed materials, manuscripts, pictures, photographs, maps, music, and the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales. It hosts special exhibitions as well (currently, it’s hosting the exhibit on the Arthurian Legend, as well as one detailing the tragic, intertwined histories of two Welsh poets, Hedd Wyn and Edward Thomas.)
Plan your visit ahead of time, if possible, as the library has an astounding amount of materials you won’t want to miss, including a truly astounding and complete set of ancestry records, if you want to search your heritage.
As well, Aberystwyth University works closely with the community on regular events and programs – check their website beforehand to see if there’s something on the calendar during your visit!
As the day drew a close, and as absorbing and mesmerizing as Aberystwyth was, we needed to continue our drive south. All in all, a perfect day trip in Wales!
Aberystwyth is just one of the many places to visit on your own Welsh adventure – whether on your own or with a small group! Book your adventure with DIYP today!