12 Top-Rated Things to Do in Barmouth, Wales

Written by Anietra Hamper
Oct 11, 2022

The charming seaside town of Barmouth in northern Wales is a walkable and welcoming place with lots of things to do. Public parking is convenient and accessible. The best way to plan your day is to park in the center of town and walk to most of the tourist attractions and activities.

Town of Barmouth | Photo Copyright: Ian Henderson

Make your way from Barmouth Beach to the streets of Old Town Barmouth, then meander over to the harbor and enjoy a bite to eat at an outdoor café overlooking the water. Keep your eyes open, as you might just catch a bottlenose dolphin swimming through the harbor waters.

You cannot help but feel inspired by Barmouth's special sense of place. It brings the same peace to visitors as it did for famous poets and writers like William Wadsworth and J.R. Tolkien, who are said to have used Barmouth's town and surrounding landscape as their muse and inspiration.

This is a popular resort town, but it is spread out enough between the mountains and cliffs that you never feel crowded. Walk along the winding pathway of the Historical Trail or the Panorama Walk, or hike up the hill to see the historic Dinas Oleu. Pack your walking shoes and review our list of the top things to do in Barmouth.

1. Spend a Day at Barmouth Beach

Barmouth Beach | Photo Copyright: Ian Henderson

The wide sands at Barmouth Beach, also referred to locally as Traeth Abermaw Beach, will likely be one of your first stops in town. The sandy walkways to the beachfront pull at you and draw you in to see what is on the other side of the tall sand dunes that seclude it from street view.

The vantage point from the beach lets you see the village, the ocean, the mountains, and cliffs all at once. It is such a large beach that there is plenty of space to spread out, even on busy summer days. Barmouth Beach is ideal for just sitting in the sand and relaxing. The water is great for swimming and jet skiing.

When the tide is out, the large tidal pools left behind make perfect shallow swimming areas for children. The beach is dog friendly, and there are wide, comfortable spaces to walk between the water and the dunes.

While Barmouth is visually appealing in every direction, your best social media shot at the beach is the large wooden moai statue welcoming visitors from the footpath

The beach extends across the entire town, so you have endless options for parking. The Barmouth promenade runs along the back of the beach and through the village, so you have easy access to food and restrooms.

2. Feed the Toll Troll on Barmouth Bridge

Barmouth Bridge | Photo Copyright: Ian Henderson

The Barmouth Bridge is easy to spot, and it is one of the first landmarks that you see as you drive into Barmouth. The more than 150-year-old bridge spans the Mawddach estuary and has become a favorite experience for pedestrians and cyclists. Just don't forget to pay the toll troll for the privilege of crossing.

The elegant railway viaduct is a wooden single-track bridge that is 820 meters (2,690 feet) long – the longest viaduct in Wales made of wood.

Like many things in the UK that require a fee, the toll is in the form of an honesty box, and for just a few pence, you get great views of the estuary and the wildlife that calls it home, as well as the Barmouth harbor. If you want to spend a full day walking or cycling, you can access the Mawddach Trail on the other side of the bridge and follow it for nine miles to Dolgellau.

3. Walk the Barmouth Heritage Trail

Ty Crwn Round House, Barmouth Heritage Trail | Photo Copyright: Ian Henderson

Walking is one of the best ways to enjoy Barmouth, and you can split up your excursions into different days, like reserving one day just for the Heritage Trail. With a 500-year history, there is plenty to explore, and the designated trail takes you to the best locations, with signage and QR codes that provide more in-depth information.

This is a self-guided trail, so you can start and stop as you like. The trail is designed to offer insight into Barmouth's history as a shipping town and seaside resort. It takes you to spots like the Dinas Oleu hill fort, through the Old Town, past St. John's Church, the Ty Gwyn museum, and the Ty Crwn Round House. Look closely at the details of the attractions, like the Round House.

If you peer inside the bars on the front, you will learn about some of the quirky history of the town and find a few visual surprises that make the heritage trail more of a scavenger hunt.

Official site: https://www.barmouth-wales.co.uk/heritage-trail

4. Soak in the Views at Barmouth Harbour

Barmouth Harbour | Photo Copyright: Anietra Hamper

The Barmouth Harbour is the central gathering place that is always bustling with activity. Here, you will find some of Barmouth's best outdoor eateries located right on the harbor wall with spectacular views.

The harbor still bears remnants of its history in the ship building industry, where it was a major hub in the 18th and 19th centuries. You will also find hints of the town's importance in the fishing and slate trading industries.

Take your time to stroll the pedestrian walkway along the waterfront and look into one of the telescopes located on the harbor wall. See if you can spot the bottlenose dolphins that are known to frequent the harbor waters.

You can take boat trips from the harbor (more information below) that offer sightseeing excursions and wildlife viewing. Stand up paddleboarding is another popular activity in the harbor.

The harbor is a great place to end your busy day in town by sitting on a bench eating some local ice cream while watching the sunset.

5. Discover the Region's Maritime History at the Ty Gwyn Museum

Ty Gwyn Museum | Photo Copyright: Ian Henderson

If you enjoy maritime history, you will want to stop at the Ty Gwyn museum in the center of Barmouth.

The building that houses the museum dates to the 15th century. Inside you will find artifacts and photographs depicting early life in Barmouth and the many stories that exist behind the structure itself.

One of the main attractions of this museum is the bronze bell collection of salvaged artifacts from a shipwreck near Barmouth in 1709. After you finish exploring the museum, stop for lunch downstairs at the Davy Jones Locker Cafe that overlooks the harbor.

Address: The Quay, Barmouth LL42 1ET, UK

6. Explore Old Town Barmouth

Old Town Barmouth | Photo Copyright: Anietra Hamper

When you walk behind the tracks of the railroad station in the center of Barmouth, you will notice a dramatic change in the scenery. Keep walking, as the Old Town reveals itself with magnificent stone churches and Victorian buildings that have been converted into storefronts and cafés.

Follow the winding and sloping streets to get a sense of the more authentic and historic side of town. You will notice tall, narrow buildings and stunning flower displays hanging elegantly over terraces and tucked in between official town structures, quaint cottages, and alleyways.

This section of Old Town Barmouth displays some of the earliest settlements and the people that called it home who relied on the fishing industry out of the port. This is the oldest section of Barmouth, and it's worth taking a self-guided tour. This is an easy activity to work into your Barmouth itinerary at any time to see the many buildings and local traditions preserved and used in new ways.

7. Look for Dolphins on a Sightseeing Boat Trip

Barmouth Harbour | Photo Copyright: Anietra Hamper

There's a reason that Barmouth features a statue of dolphins proudly dancing over the harbor, as these animals are as much residents of the area as the people who live here. One of the best things to do in Barmouth is take a sightseeing boat trip from the harbor.

You can take dolphin-watching trips for the chance to spot marine life, like the popular bottlenose dolphins, seabirds, and seals, or relax on a sunset cruise.

Boat trips generally run one to two hours and offer a great lesson in local history and wildlife as you cruise along the unspoiled coastline with unforgettable views.

8. Take in the Local Scenery on the Panorama Walk

Panorama Walk | Photo Copyright: Anietra Hamper

As you plan your walks around Barmouth, be sure that the Panorama Walk is on your list, and see why it has been a popular scenic walk since the early 1900s. This trip will give you some of the best views of the area from a higher elevation. You can access the Panorama Walk from the Coed Orielton woods.

This is a nice way to see some of the natural scenery around Barmouth as you walk through the zigzag paths through the woods, up sets of steps, and across bridges. As you climb in elevation, enjoy the flowers lining the pathways and waterfalls. Many of the trailheads and footpaths have picnic tables with easy access and parking from the roadway.

The Panorama Walk trail eventually connects with the cliffside above Barmouth, where you can sit and enjoy a picnic looking out over the town and sea.

9. Buy Local Goods at the Barmouth Central Market

Barmouth Central Market | Photo Copyright: Anietra Hamper

If you happen to be in Barmouth on a Thursday or Sunday, the Barmouth Central Market is a must. It operates consistently throughout the year the same way it has for decades. This is the place to visit for local flowers, produce, and baked goods like freshly made scones.

The vendors set up under tents, and it is a central gathering place for locals, which is also why it is fun to enjoy it as a visitor. The Barmouth Market is a great place to buy strawberries, and nibble them as you walk around to shop and people-watch.

After you visit the market, wander down the street to the nearby Dragon Theatre to see what shows are advertised on the outside. The theater is a converted chapel, where you can enjoy some of the local performing arts.

Address: Barmouth LL42 1DL, United Kingdom

10. Climb above Llynnau Cregennen Lakes

Llynnau Cregennen | Photo Copyright: Ian Henderson

The two lakes that make up the Llynnau Cregennen landscape are some of the best lakes in Wales. It is a steep drive back to the lakes, but the views, especially from atop the hills surrounding them, are some of the best you will experience in all of Wales. You will also find some of the best examples of nature, geology, and wildlife in the area.

The silence and serenity that you experience are the highlight of these lakes, which present the ancient landscape with more than 4,000 years of human activity. Keep your eyes open for prehistoric standing stones, cairns, and trackways that are believed to be part of a Bronze Age route that extended from the mountains to the sea.

You can experience the lakes from below by walking around them or by finding a quiet stone to sit waterside, but the experience of walking to the top of one of the surrounding hills is one you will never forget. Take notice of the small wildflowers, sheep grazing on the hills, and the stonewalls and farmland that surround them.

There are several designated walking trails around the lakes, and fishing is allowed.

11. Tap into Your Creative Side at the Corris Craft Centre

Candles at the Corris Craft Centre | Photo Copyright: Anietra Hamper

Take a 20-minute drive from Barmouth to spend a fun day at the Corris Craft Centre making souvenirs to take home.

The center is set up like a small village, with individual artisan shops that feature everything from candle making and jewelry to chocolate, art, and wooden creations. You can talk to the local artisans who are on-site, or take part in a hands-on craft-making project.

The individual craft studios are a great way to experience some of the local arts, with plenty of opportunities to find quality items like slate charcuterie boards and locally produced Welsh honey.

Address: 1 Corris Craft Centre, Upper Corris, Machynlleth, Powys SY20 9RF

Official site: https://www.corriscraftcentre.co.uk

12. Dinas Oleu

Dinas Oleu | Photo Copyright: Anietra Hamper

One of the oldest and most treasured sites in Barmouth and in Wales is Dinas Oleu, or the Citadel of Light. You will find plenty of information about it around town, but for true history buffs, you will want to take a walk to it from one of the pathways up the hill. Plan on several hours for the walk, and rest at the top.

The historic Dinas Oleu was the first property donated to the National Trust by local philanthropist Fanny Talbot in 1895. Now, the National Trust has grown to be the largest conservation charity in Europe.

You can hike up to it from the city center on the winding footpaths as you make your way to the gorse-covered hill for what is probably the best lookout point over Barmouth and Cardigan Bay. There, you will see a stone dedication to the land from its 100th year. Be advised that the path can be steep and slippery, especially after rainfall, so you will want to wear sturdy shoes. Keep your eyes open for wildlife above like buzzards.

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