Allow me to introduce to you the charming coastal town I call home – Aberystwyth. Nestled on the west coast of Wales, where the Cambrian mountains meet the Irish Sea, lies this picturesque town full of art, culture and history. Home to famous actor Taron Egerton and the location of the award-winning series, Hinterland, Aberystwyth and the surrounding countryside has influenced art and music for centuries.
From poets and painters to music festivals and movie sets, it’s no wonder this town is home to the largest arts centre in Wales. A popular university choice for students, this seaside town attracts people from all walks of life.
The population fluctuates throughout the year with the coming and going of students and holidaymakers. While summer is the most popular time to visit, each season here offers something different for all to do.
The famous show of the starling murmuration is most prominent during winter, hiking conditions are perfect for discovering the natural land during spring, the renowned Aberystwyth sunsets ate best during the Summer, and the stunning show of colour changes in nature throughout autumn.
Whether you’re looking for artistic inspiration, a night on the town, a hiking holiday, or a blissful beach break, Aberystwyth has something for everyone. So pack your bags, bring your walking boots and beach towel, and come on over for an unforgettable trip to this Welsh coastal haven. These are only some of the things to do in Aberystwyth.
- Aberystwyth, Wales
- Top Tours
- 20 Things To Do In Aberystwyth
- 1– Walk The Prom And ‘Kick The Bar’
- 2– Roam About The Ruins Of Aberystwyth Castle
- 3– Walk / Take The Train Up Constitution Hill
- 4– Walk The Coastal Path Cliff Walk To Clarach Bay
- 5– Visit Ceredigion Museum
- 6– Appreciate The Arts At Aberystwyth Arts Centre
- 7– Visit The National Library
- 8– Walk Up Pen Dinas
- 9– Ride The Vale of Rheidol Railway To Devils Bridge
- 10– Red Kites Feeding and Bwlch Nant Yr Arian
- 11– Surf, Kayak And SUP Rentals And Lessons
- 12– Enjoy A Beach Day
- 13– Wander Along Ynys Las (And Perhaps A Round Of Golf)
- 14– Visit Borth Animalarium
- 15– Make The Most Of The Mountains
- 16– Hit The Town And Enjoy The Nightlife
- 17– Stargaze
- 18– Discover Local Produce, Welsh Foods And Crafts
- 19– Amusements And Arcade At The Pier
- 20– Witness The Natural Phenomenon Of The Starling Dance
20 Things To Do In Aberystwyth
1– Walk The Prom And ‘Kick The Bar’
First port of call for most visitors here is the prom!
Familiarise yourself with the seafront of the town by walking the 1.2 mile (2 km) promenade.
Start at the south end (plenty of parking available here) where you’ll see the lighthouse and the marina full of boats.
Head North and witness the bustling prom full of locals, students and holiday makers, walking, rollerblading, tucking into fish and chips, and enjoying the beach of the Cambrian Bay.
The prom conveniently takes you past most of Aberystwyth’s prominent sights and landmarks, ending at the base of Constitution Hill where you can ‘Kick The Bar,’ and read the information post explaining this decades old tradition.
2– Roam About The Ruins Of Aberystwyth Castle
With a complex history of many different owners, renovations, and battles won and lost, Aberystwyth castle is one of the greatest castles ever built in Wales.
Over the centuries, the beating of the sea winds and the development of newer weapons proved too powerful for the structure, and it slowly deteriorated to the ruins we see today.
Check out the cannon and the war memorial, and then walk among the winding ruins overlooking the sea.
Follow the information signposts leading you on a journey through the grounds, and learn about Aberystwyth’s great history.
3– Walk / Take The Train Up Constitution Hill
At the south end of the prom you’ll find yourself at the base of Constitution Hill.
There are a couple of different walks up to the top, as well as a train with disability access.
It’s a 319 ft (97 m) elevation with benches along the way in case you need a break or simply want to admire the view.
Once at the top you’ll have a full view of the entire town and seafront, and as far as the eye can see along the Welsh coast.
On a clear day you can spot 26 mountain peaks spanning the entire length of Wales!
In the visitor centre, you’ll find one of the largest Camera Obscura, offering a birds-eye view of 1000 miles of land and sea.
Grab a bite to eat and a drink in the cafe, let the kids enjoy the play area, and be sure to snap plenty of photos.
From here you can continue on the coastal path to Clarach or head back down into town.
4– Walk The Coastal Path Cliff Walk To Clarach Bay
Over the other side of Constitution Hill lies a small holiday village, Clarach.
It is home to two holiday parks, an amusements arcade, a stretch of beach, and some scenic walks.
This walk is a firm favourite, about three miles (5km) long, and gives you a full view of the sea for the majority of the time.
Once you’ve arrived, treat yourself to a traditional fish and chips or have some fun in the arcade.
If you fancy walking onwards, the coastal path continues onto Borth and Ynys Las.
One of the wonders of the idyllic Welsh coastline is that it’s almost entirely walkable!
5– Visit Ceredigion Museum
The museum of Aberystwyth’s county, Ceredigion, is just a short walk from the seafront.
It boasts a spectacularly preserved Edwardian Coliseum Theatre which was first opened in 1905 and hosted more than 5000 events including musical orchestras, plays, and even political meetings.
It was converted to a cinema in 1932, before eventually becoming the museum we see today.
Spanning three floors, it houses both permanent and temporary displays of Ceredigion’s history, culture and art.
With a coffee shop, gift shop, and tourist information centre in house, it’s a great place to get your bearings and some souvenirs.
There are also workshops for public to attend, from yoga to art class – be sure to check out the website for the dates of your travel to see what’s on.
Ceredigion Museum is on Terrace Road, Aberystwyth, SY23 2AQ.
6– Appreciate The Arts At Aberystwyth Arts Centre
It’s said that Wales has birthed many an artist, all inspired by the natural beauty of the country.
Situated in the university grounds, Aberystwyth Arts Centre is Wales’ largest.
With several exhibition areas, entertainment halls, a cinema, cafe, bars, and shops, there’s plenty to do and see.
Explore the exhibitions, catch a movie, or shop some of the local arts and crafts.
From locally farmed honey, landscape paintings, sea-glass and driftwood ornaments, slate work, and books of poetry – the Arts Centre showcases and sells so many Welsh artist’s creations, inspired by and made from the local land.
The Arts Centre is based on Penglais Campus, SY23 3DE.
7– Visit The National Library
Continue your adventure of the Welsh arts by walking over to the National Library of Wales.
Sitting upon a hill and boasting a spectacular view of the town and sea, it’s no wonder this is a popular wedding venue in the town!
It’s free to enter and has many different exhibitions, archives and events for you to browse and take part in.
Have a bite to eat and a drink in the Pen Dinas cafe, and make use of the free play area for kids.
The National Library is at Penglais Road, SY23 3BU.
8– Walk Up Pen Dinas
Get those walking boots on and head up Pen Dinas to the Iron Age hill fort, thought to have been built around 300BC.
At the base you’ll find a sign post with historical information and an offer of two paths to the summit.
Make use of the benches along the way to catch your breath and overlook the stunning views, as you walk up and around the spiral of the hill.
The summit is 420 ft (128m) and has a 360º view; one of the best spots for a picnic!
If you’re an early bird, I would even suggest taking a coffee and heading up early enough to watch the sunrise.
Allow 40 minutes from the base of the hill to make sure you get there on time.
9– Ride The Vale of Rheidol Railway To Devils Bridge
A fantastic day out, combining two popular attractions in one.
Firstly, ride on the famous Vale of Rheidol Railway, a restored Edwardian steam train.
This 12 mile (19km) journey is a magical way to experience the beauty of Welsh landscape.
You’ll venture past rolling hills, open meadows, ancient woodlands and rugged mountains.
Your destination is Devils Bridge, home of the famous cascading waterfalls.
Here, you have time to explore the mythical beauty of the area, cross the famous bridge, and climb the steep steps alongside the waterfalls if you wish.
Enjoy a bite to eat and a drink at the local cafe, before hopping back on the steam train to return to Aberystwyth.
The Vale Of Rheidol Railway is on Park Avenue, SY23 1PG.
10– Red Kites Feeding and Bwlch Nant Yr Arian
Another nature-packed day out that can be as active or as relaxed as you wish! One of the main attractions is the feeding of the red kites.
Nant Yr Arian became a feeding station in 1999 to help protect and grow the small number of kites in the area at that time.
Every day the staff feed them by throwing meat into the air over the lake, which the kites swoop down and catch mid-flight.
With as many as 150 kites coming to feed, this is not a sight to miss! Feedings are daily and happen at 2pm in the Winter (GMT), and 3pm in the Summer (BST).
Bwlch Nant Yr Arian also has three walking trails, ranging from accessible to moderate, that take 30 minutes, one or two-hours to complete.
The easiest trail is suitable for children, pushchairs and wheelchairs, and has fun animal puzzles along the way.
There are also 5 mountain biking trails, running trails, and a horse riding trail.
It is a BYOB/H (bring your own bike / horse) situation, but if you’re a nature lover, walker, or adventurer, Bwlch Nant Yr Arian is the place to be!
To get there you can either drive nine miles (14 km) along the A44 towards Llangurig, or take the 525 bus from Aberystwyth to Ponterwyd / Llanidloes.
11– Surf, Kayak And SUP Rentals And Lessons
If you’ve had your fill of exploring the wonders of the Welsh land, perhaps you want to make the most of the ocean next.
A few local businesses in Aberystwyth offer surfboard, kayak and paddle board rentals and lessons, suitable for most ages.
Keep an eye on the weather for the duration of your stay and pick the best day to book in for the best experience.
Whether you’re a curious beginner or fancy yourself a bit of a pro, they’ll supply all you need to get you out and enjoying the water.
12– Enjoy A Beach Day
Perhaps you’d quite like to rest your legs and simply enjoy the beach.
Aberystwyth’s stretch of beach is divided into two sections, North beach and South beach.
South beach, between the marina and the castle, has a choice of both sandy and pebble areas.
It has easier parking, a couple of food and drink spots, and nearby toilets with outdoor showers, perfect for camper vans and surfers.
North Beach lies between the pier and Constitution Hill.
Again you have a choice of sandy and pebble areas, plenty of food and drink options, public toilets nearby, and are close to the town centre.
The wooden jetty is here too – a popular spot for diving off during high tide.
If you can stay late enough and if the weather is fair, you’re sure to be blessed by a famous Aberystwyth sunset.
The beach and prom will gather crowds as the sun sets over the sea, often illuminating the sky in rich orange and pink hues.
During the spring and summer, as the sun goes down, the beach fires begin.
Students and locals will often collect driftwood and light fires along the entire stretch of beach, to socialise and stargaze as the darkness draws in.
13– Wander Along Ynys Las (And Perhaps A Round Of Golf)
If you prefer finer sand then Ynys Las is the soft sand haven for you! It’s a 20-minute drive north on the A487, or 30-minute bus ride (bus 512).
Some will fancy the coastal walk instead, which is 8 miles (13 km) and takes about two to three hours.
Wooden walkways will navigate you through the maze of sandy dunes and lead you down to the wide stretch of beach, perfect for walking, relaxing and swimming.
Along the stretch of road between Borth and Ynys Las you’ll notice a golf course.
With the green hills on one side, and the dunes and sea on the other, this well maintained green is a superb spot for a round of golf.
The Golf Club is at 1874 High Street, Borth, SY24 5JS.
14– Visit Borth Animalarium
If you’re heading towards Ynys Las, why not stop off in the village you pass through, Borth.
Here you’ll find an amusements arcade, restaurants, shops, a cinema, and the famous Borth Animalarium.
A family run animal sanctuary, it consists of a petting farm for domestic and farm animals (open seven days a week), as well as a private sanctuary for exotic animals (open on limited VIP days only).
From rabbits to reptiles, it’s a great day for all ages to feed, pet and handle the animals.
The Animalarium is at Ynys Fergi, Borth, SY24 5NA.
15– Make The Most Of The Mountains
It’d be a shame to travel to this striking part of the world without making the most of the mountain ranges.
With three surrounding Aberystwyth, there are summits suitable for various ages and abilities.
The Cambrian mountain range is the closest, situated just inland to the East of Aberystwyth.
A vast rural area with rivers winding through valleys,leading to famous lakes and reservoirs, there are countless walks to choose from.
For an easier day take a grassy hike through the Teifi Pools or a gravel walk alongside the impressive Elan Valley or Nant Y Moch reservoirs.
For a challenge, head on up one of the six mountains of the area, summits ranging from 2040 feet (622m) to 2467 feet (752m).
North of Aberystwyth you have the Snowdonia Mountain range.
Full of paradisal walks, it is most famous for Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales at 3560 feet (1085m).
South East of Aberystwyth lays the Brecon Beacons, an expansive 512 square mile (1344 sq km) mountain range, with a national park, and a vast choice of walks and mountains to discover.
16– Hit The Town And Enjoy The Nightlife
With a whopping 53 pubs, bars and clubs (and counting!) Aberystwyth has plenty of choices for a night out.
Get your glad rags on and head out for dinner in one of the many restaurants around town.
From classic British pub grub to a range of cuisines (Arabic, Caribbean, Italian, and more), ranging from cheap and cheerful to fine dining, you’re sure to find the perfect place for your palate.
Then take your pick from the popular pubs, cocktail bars, sports bars, lively dance venues, or one of the quieter and cosy spots serving craft ales and locally made spirits.
They all lie within walking distance of the town centre or you can easily get a taxi when you’re ready for bed.
One of the wonderful things about this part of Wales is the sheer vastness of rural countryside.
Free from a busy population and light pollution, the outskirts of Aberystwyth are some of the best places in the UK to stargaze.
On a clear night you can see plenty of stars and planets even from Aberystwyth town, but it only takes a short drive inland to be able to see even more.
While the Milky Way can be visible with the naked eye on a clear night, it is brightest between October and April, and is sure to please astronomy lovers and photographers alike.
Location options are endless, you could literally just drive 10 minutes out of town and park up, but if you’re happy to go further, I would highly recommend these locations:
- Bwlch Nant Yr Arian, 9 miles (14km) via A44
- The Arch near Devils Bridge, 14 miles (22km) via A4120
- Nant Y Moch Reservoir, 16 miles (26km) via A487
- Elan Valley Reservoir, 42 miles (67km) via A4120 (This is the only official Dark Sky Park in Wales, granted silver-tier status by the IDA in 2015)
18– Discover Local Produce, Welsh Foods And Crafts
Aberystwyth Farmers Market runs twice a month and hosts around 30 stalls, selling a variety of locally farmed produce such as regional vegetables, rare-breed meats, cheeses, honeys, free-range eggs, artisan breads, home-made cakes and pies.
There are also vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, as well as certified organic produce.
Wander through the market, take in the wonderful aromas and taste some samples.
Perhaps even grab some ingredients to take back home with you if you fancy cooking up some traditional Welsh cuisine after your holiday is over.
The Farmers Market is located on Park Avenue, SY23 1PG.
19– Amusements And Arcade At The Pier
You can’t possibly walk the promenade without noticing the pier, the first of its kind built in Wales in 1865.
This stilted structure contains an amusements arcade, a bar and restaurant, a fish and chip shop, a night time dance venue, and a snooker and pool hall.
Hours of fun can be had by all ages! At the back of the venue you’ll find an outdoor seating area that sits over the water.
This is another popular spot to watch the famous Aberystwyth sunsets.
The Royal Pier is on Marine Terrace, SY23 2AZ.
20– Witness The Natural Phenomenon Of The Starling Dance
Last but certainly not least; the starlings.
From autumn through to spring, Aberystwyth pier is home to thousands of wild starlings.
Each evening at dusk they arrive bit by bit from the surrounding countryside, gathering together to form one large group.
Then they put on a breathtaking spectacle, a synchronised dance in front of the setting sun.
Almost cloud-like, the ebb and flow of the murmuration is truly magical.
This artistic performance gathers quite the crowd and stops unsuspecting passers-by in their tracks.
After performing, the starlings break away from the murmuration, bit by bit, diving dramatically under the pier.
Here, they chatter loudly, until eventually settling down to sleep for the night.
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