This part of Wales is big on beaches, with some of the planet’s finest right on your doorstep. Consider the crashing surf and towering cliffs of Penbryn or the postage-stamp-sized seclusion of Mwnt with its clifftop walks. Shush now, this is the world’s best-kept secret. Pack your buckets and spades.
Head inland for the red-kite feeding at Bwlch Nant-yr-Arian. Snack up yourself at the restaurant and pass some time on the adventure playground. Next, it’s back to the coast to sunny New Quay for boat trips in the bay to spot bottlenose dolphins and porpoise and to pull up the lobster pots to marvel at the resident marine life.
At Manor Wildlife Park, you can meet the TV stars from Anna Ryder Richardson’s Wild Welsh Zoo – Tommy the Tapir, Rio and Yumusak the Bactrian camel. Watch the Atlantic Grey Seals in the caves below Cardigan Island Farm Park or get hands-on at The Centre for Alternative Technology, Europe’s leading eco centre.
See what life was like BC (Before Consoles) at The Museum of Childhood in Aberystwyth, with its exhibitions of old-fashioned toys and Welsh toyshop. Or take the Vale of Rheidol railway through some of Wales’ loveliest scenery from Devil’s Bridge to Aberystwyth. A blast of the whistle, a hiss of steam and you’re away.
There’s plenty to do, right from the door. See the spectacular 300-foot waterfalls and three bridges that span the woodland gorge at Devil’s Bridge, or head out along the local walking and cycling trails. Ride the Ystwyth Trail from Aberystwyth to Tregaron following the old Great Western Railway, or the remote Nant yr Arian.
Walk to Plynlimon, the highest point of the Cambrian Mountains, or take the remote and challenging trails from Tregaron. Head to Cardigan Bay for water sports that include dinghy sailing, power boating, windsurfing and kayaking, or ride waymarked horseriding routes along quiet country lanes, bridleways and ancient trails.
At New Quay, the bay teems with bottlenose dolphins, seals and porpoise, and you can spot them on a Dolphin Survey Boat Trip. Or watch the hundreds of red kites that gather and swoop for their daily feed at Bwlch Nant yr Arian Forest Visitor Centre.
Step back in time to see a slice of Aberystwyth’s history at the castle, set high on a promontory overlooking the harbour. Take the Dylan Thomas Trail from the New Quay Tourist Office. Or just potter the pretty streets of this lovely town, much like its Cornish namesake without the commercialism or commotion.