West Wales has all the beauty and quaintness of Cornwall but with fewer people and lower prices. The pearl of the area has to be the lovely little village of Llangrannog
Llangrannog is a small coastal village in west Wales, a 50-minute drive south of Aberystwyth. It is stuck in time and your chance to visit the real Wales, with over half of the 300 hundred population speaking Welsh as their first language. It is a perfect place for a cheap long weekend, whether you want romance or a family getaway.
The river Hawen trickles through a cute valley until it cascades into a tingling waterfall. It then flows into a little sandy cove of a village that you can’t help but fall in love with. Bracken and gorse-clad hills rise steeply on both flanks of the village. Llangrannog was founded by a sea-travelling Celtic saint in the 6th century. His name was Crannog and “Llan” means parish in Celtic Welsh. He founded the 'church village', which lies above the waterfall, hidden from the sea and Irish and Viking invaders. After the mid-18th century, the sea became safer and a 'beach village' and small seaport developed.
Llangrannog has always had a fond place in my heart. My memories of being a little boy here - making sandcastles, playing in the rockpools, looking for crabs and splashing in the roaring waves - float back to my mind every now and then and bring a smile to my face.
It is a perfect spot for ramblers, and you can walk along the coastal path and take in how rugged and wild this part of Britain is. As you walk across the sandy coves, you’ll notice a huge rock (150ft tall) called Carreg Bica. According to legend, this large sea-weathered stack of Ordovician rock is the tooth of the giant Bica (or devil), who lived in the area and was forced to spit his tooth on to the beach following a bad toothache!
There is also so much on offer for all the family. Here are some of my favourite activities within an easy drive:
New Quay Honey Farm
Wales's largest working honey farm is set in an 18th-century chapel on a beautiful farm near New Quay, a 20-minute drive from Llangrannog. It makes for a fascinating and informative visit, and you can buy honey and beeswax products produced here.
Dolphin-, porpoise- and seal-spotting
The coastal waters are home to an abundance of fascinating marine life, including one of only two resident populations of bottlenose olphins in the UK. I'd advise you to check out local hero Steve Hartley's trips, which run between New Quay and Llangrannog. You can often see him sporting the latest marine fashion on the harbour wall or in the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre, which he runs. Not only does the centre monitor dolphins, it is also involved with university students studying in the marine environment.
West Wales's only theme park is about an hour and a half away from Llangrannog and fun for kids of all ages.
Steam train trip
The last steam railway owned by British Rail, opened in 1902, is still running about an hour´s drive away from Llangrannog. The unforgettable journey takes you through the spectacular Rheidol Valley to Devils Bridge by narrow gauge steam train.
Where to stay
There's plenty of accommodation in the village, but I'd recommend the Pentre Arms, which is one of the two pubs and an excellent B&B full of local characters. It is the closest Inn to the sea in the whole county.
Where to eat
Food is served up in all shapes and sizes, from ice cream to local delights and fresh fish. My favourite place to eat is the Beach Hut - the owner, Jane, is a fun character full of information about the local area.