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Hidden Gems on the Edge of Snowdonia

One of the best kept secrets of the Snowdonia region lies in the form of its idyllic beaches and the towns that accompany them. At the coastal base of not only Snowdon, but also the Moelwynion mountain range, lies Porthmadog town in Gwynedd County, encompassing the coastlines of Borth y Gest and Black Rock Sands. Two pristine beaches connected by hidden coves and bays that can only be accessed when the tide is out. One perfectly named ‘Samson’s Bay’ is watched over by a rock situated halfway down the tree filled cliff face, so large and so out of place that ‘only Samson himself could have put it there’. It is an area so sublime and serene that it is easy to feel as though you have been transported much further afield than North Wales.

Black Rock Sands
Black Rock Sands

The latest addition to Black Rock Sands beach comes in the form of the Black Rock Beach Club, a new restaurant and bar, with an outdoor serving point, situated barely 100m away from the beach and filling a much-needed gap in the immediate vicinity. Within walking distance not only from the beach, but also from numerous camping and caravan sites makes it the perfect – and only – spot for an early evening drink or meal. The interior is beautifully done with a rustic and sandy beach theme providing the perfect backdrop for the area, tastefully playing up to its influence.

Despite the huge influx of customers they are experiencing whilst still in their relative infancy, alongside battling the same staff shortages as most hospitality venues, Black Rock is fueling the return to socialisation post-covid. It has inspired what has always been a gorgeous corner of the world with a new energy and revitalised the space in a manner that can only benefit the community. The bar and outdoor areas are spectacular; offering live music and fantastic vibes, and the food indoors is delicious. Making fantastic use of the local seafood – emphasising its setting barely a stone’s throw from the ocean – and elevating traditional dishes, everything is spectacular. They are managing to do everything and doing it well. It’s a must visit and trying to resist being enticed in by the atmosphere as you walk past is nigh on impossible.

As the gateway to both the nearby beaches, but also the Snowdonia mountains it’s hard to imagine a place that could offer such perfect duality. While the weather might dictate one’s preference slightly, you can be within walking distance from the beach and smaller hikes such as up Moel y Gest or round the bays to Criccieth Castle, while still being only a short drive from some larger mountains; Cnicht or even Snowdon herself.

Whether your preferred mode of transport is in hiking boots or on a paddle board, there are few places like Porthmadog which offer such variety and do it in such a magical setting. To add to its multifaceted nature, it also boasts a raft of independent shops where one would often find a homogenous high street. There is something truly special about being able to sit on the beach and watch the sunset over the mountains surrounding you which is why we’re shining the spotlight on North Wales and its enduring personality.


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