Aberystwyth’s absolutely awesome by Traws Cymru!
Aberystwyth’s amazing and it’s a town bursting with character in the heart of Cardigan Bay, nestled on the blissful west coast of Wales. A famous promenade, gorgeous views across the coast all year round, famous Constitution Hill, two beaches and a castle, right in the middle of the two! Oh and it is an interchange for three fabulous Great Scenic Journeys, which are part of the customer-centric Traws Cymru collection within Transport for Wales. All roads lead to this Great Scenic Journeys crossroads town – a haven for awesome scenic experiences!
Many of the journeys to Aberystwyth are scenic and worthy of a trip out – never mind, the great destination itself (even though it is, of course, incredible). As mentioned, we’ve featured 3 routes, which we think have fab views from the bus window as part of our Great Scenic Journeys collection. Find out more below…
A masterpiece of a mouth
Okay, so the journey is lovely, but now let’s shine a light on this remarkable town of Aberystwyth.
First, though, it’s worth understanding how the town’s name was conceived! The literal meaning of ‘Aberystwyth’ is mouth of the River Ystwyth (this is why you see many Aber‘s around Wales!), although it is the Afon Rheidol that runs through the town.
Castle, Prom and Pier
Start by exploring Aberystwyth Castle, an imposing 13th-century fortress with breathtaking views of the sea. Wander along the Victorian promenade, soaking in the sea air and visiting the iconic Aberystwyth Royal Pier, a hub of entertainment with arcades and stunning sunset vistas. It was the first pleasure pier to open in Wales in 1865.
Off the beaten track!
For nature lovers, the nearby Ceredigion coastline boasts beautiful beaches like Borth and Ynyslas, perfect for leisurely walks or water sports. Take a hike up Constitution Hill on the Cliff Railway, enjoying panoramic views from the top, or explore the scenic Rheidol Valley on the Vale of Rheidol Railway. The route between Llanrhystud and Aberystwyth is a challenging but dramatic and rewarding section of Ceredigion Heritage Coast. The ‘hanging woodlands’ of Penderi Cliffs nature reserve have been stunted by the strong sea winds.
A fun-filled, fascinating funicular for a glorious panorama
For those seeking the comfortable route up the cliff, then, the Cliff Railway, which dates back to 1896 and is the longest electric funicular cliff railway in Britain, can be found at the northern end of the promenade, where Constitution Hill rises dramatically from the sea to give spectacular and uninterrupted views of Aberystwyth, Cardigan Bay and on a clear day, 26 Welsh mountain peaks.
Once there, visitors can experience one of the world’s largest camera obscuras, offering a bird’s eye view of 1,000 square miles of land and seascape. Aside from these two technological masterpieces, there are fascinating historical displays, a kids play area, a gift shop, a cafe selling delicious home-made snacks and plenty of wide open spaces for picnics and walking, dogs are also welcome across the site.
Rummaging around at a Welsh cultural paradise
Delve into Welsh history and culture at the National Library of Wales, housing a vast collection of books and manuscripts, and the Aberystwyth Arts Centre, showcasing diverse performances and exhibitions. Founded in 1907, its primary mission is to collect, preserve, and promote Wales’s rich heritage.
The library, with its majestic grand facade, houses an extraordinary collection of over 6.5 million books, maps, manuscripts, archives, and digital resources, making it a mecca for researchers, scholars, and anyone eager to explore Welsh history. Among its prized possessions are medieval manuscripts such as the Black Book of Carmarthen and the earliest known Welsh manuscript, the Laws of Hywel Dda.
The library isn’t just a repository of the past; it’s a dynamic institution, hosting exhibitions, events, and educational programs that celebrate Welsh culture. From showcasing contemporary art to offering lectures on Welsh history, it bridges the gap between the past and the present, inviting locals and tourists alike to delve into Wales’s rich tapestry of heritage. To find out more, go to National Library of Wales – Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru
Meanwhile, at the incredible Arts Centre, theatre buffs flock to its state-of-the-art performance venues, where a dynamic mix of drama, dance, and music productions grace the stages throughout the year. From thought-provoking plays to mesmerizing dance performances and eclectic music concerts, the programming caters to a wide range of tastes and preferences. Art aficionados revel in the gallery spaces showcasing an impressive array of visual arts, including contemporary exhibitions, traditional crafts, and innovative installations. These galleries serve as platforms for established and emerging artists to showcase their creativity, often sparking conversations and reflections within the community.
Moreover, the Arts Centre offers a platform for learning and engagement through workshops, classes, and educational events catering to all ages. Whether it’s pottery, painting, or drama workshops, there’s something for everyone eager to explore their artistic side. For the full range of goings on at this lively location, check out Home – Aber Arts (aberystwythartscentre.co.uk)
Walsh wins it in adversity for Aber!
If high brow culture is just a bit too much or you fancy some variety and sport, then a trip to watch Aberystwyth Town F.C is a real treat. They won on Friday night with only 10 men for over half the game, beating Colwyn Bay with a Liam Walsh goal just after half-time. Their next home game in the JD Cymru Premier League is against Barry Town United at 17:15 on Saturday 13th January. Oh and you couldn’t find a more convenient bus station for those of you travelling by bus – they are situated in Aberystwyth Bus Station Park Avenue! Happy days all-round! For the latest team news and updates, go onto Aberystwyth Town Football Club – Aberystwyth Town Football Club – Official Website (atfc.org.uk)
No monopoly for football here!
Football isn’t the only competitive ‘sport’ to be big in Aberystwyth. The town boast a peculiar yet charming tradition known as the “Aberystwyth Monopoly“. This unique adaptation of the classic Monopoly board game features the town’s landmarks and locations, replacing the iconic London spots with Aberystwyth’s own sites.
What makes this version intriguing is its local touch. Instead of Park Lane or Mayfair, players can invest in Aberystwyth’s iconic landmarks like the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth Castle, or even local pubs and restaurants that hold significance within the town’s community. The only thing missing is a description of the three fab Traws Cymru Great Scenic Journeys! It’s not just a fun game; it’s a quirky celebration of Aberystwyth’s unique identity and its cherished landmarks, offering both entertainment and a touch of local pride.
Talking of history, Aberystwyth has been either a birthplace or town of residence for celebrities. Malcolm Pryce, a renowned author, known for his “Aberystwyth Noir” series of novels. Although not born in Aberystwyth, Pryce lived there and drew inspiration from the town for his quirky detective novels set in an alternate universe version of Aberystwyth.
Meanwhile, John Rhys-Davies, the acclaimed actor, known for his roles in “Indiana Jones” and “The Lord of the Rings,” spent some of his childhood in Aberystwyth. Mary Lloyd Jones, a distinguished Welsh artist, known for her colourful and expressive paintings inspired by Welsh landscapes, was born here and legendary actor Richard Burton attended Aberystwyth University. Other famous names associated with this great place included Sara Coleridge, daughter of poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. She lived in Aberystwyth, for a period where she wrote her father’s biography. Sir John Williams, who became physician to Queen Victoria and founded the National Library of Wales here, was also born in Aberystwyth.
Aberystwyth’s academic prowess
As if there’s not enough going on here, the hustle and bustle is even more lively and eclectic because of the renowned Aberystwyth University. It has a reputation for academic excellence amidst stunning surroundings. With a history dating back to 1872, the University is a vibrant institution fostering innovation and learning. It offers a diverse range of courses across various disciplines, attracting students from around the globe, within a picturesque campus.
All in all, there’s few better places to visit than Aberystwyth to blow away those January blues and it’s so easy both by train Explore Wales and Save Money | Transport for Wales (tfw.wales) but also by the lovely, customer-driven, integrated Traws Cymru bus network that connects fantastic places to visit across Wales Transport for Wales – medium to long distance bus travel in Wales (traws.cymru)
Here’s a snapshot of the Traws Cymru routes to whet your appetite and make possible a great trip out to Aberystwyth!