I have done a fair bit of travelling in my youth for both work and pleasure but my favourite place by far to visit is non other than my home town of Aberystwyth.
Having moved to the big city many moons ago, I often long for the familiarity of the country. The slower pace. I was just thinking the other day, that unless we go to a farm park, we never see a tractor. You could go for miles following a tractor or two in Aberystwyth! And its funny because as soon as we hit Carmarthen on our journey home, I eagerly await the tractor sightings! Rory thinks I’m crazy!
Another of my best parts about driving home are the views along the Cardigan Coast. They are spectacular and I fully took them for granted growing up in one of the most beautiful, scenic parts of Wales. As soon as we arrive in Aberaeron, the 30 minute countdown begins. Through to Llanon (always looking at the house my parents lived in when they first moved to Wales), then onto Llanrhystyd, Blaenplwyf, Chancery, Llanfarian, looking at the sign to Llanilar and remembering the village fondly, before Penparcau and reaching our final destination on the outskirts of Aberystwyth Town. Home Sweet Home!
Now Aberystwyth may not have the best shopping in the world (yet!) but it has so much more to offer than shops. It is my little safe haven. And I am so glad I am able to share the best of Aberystwyth with my son. My parents have the most wonderful view of The National Library of Wales and Constitution Hill. My son loves going on the electric cliff railway up Consti hill. I’m always a bit scared and would much prefer to walk! Opened in 1896, the cliff railway is one of the longest in Britain and became electrified in the early 1920’s. The views from the top are incredible. We always pop in to the café for a warm drink and a treat before our descent. When I had cancer, I would go up Consti just to breathe. To be grateful for the beauty surrounding me and to blow my painful thoughts away. A very special but cold and windy place!!!
A new place that my Mum took us to at the end of last year was Bluebell Woods at Penglais Nature Park. I don’t know if its because I have been ill that I notice things more or if its because I have a child and want him to appreciate nature, but I couldn’t believe that I have never been to this place before. A stunningly beautiful walk with many trees to climb! You can understand why the woodland is now a protected area. Another of our favourite walks is in Llanilar. Through the old sawmills and down to the wobbly bridge! This was a place I and most of the village children used to come to on hot summer days during our childhood. Swimming in the river and piling onto massive inflatable tyres. Learning how to skim the water with stones. Ahh the memories! Ones I can pass on to my little boy.
Aberystwyth may not have a sandy beach, but it has a lovely beach nonetheless. There is always a variety of pebbles, shells, seaweed, starfish and jellyfish to keep children amused! The bandstand offers entertainment. Ice cream and snacks are just a stones throw away and the paddling pool is a lovely feature on the promenade. I remember playing in it when I was Rory’s age! The Jetty often has daredevils jumping off it into the sea so its a good job the surf lifesavers can be seen training regularly!
The Royal Pier arcade is a great place to go to lose all of your money! It has lots of ride on toys and slot machines but if you are anything like me, I just pretend to play games like the Air Guitar and gun battles!
A little further on past the Pier you arrive at the Castle. I won’t even pretend I have a clue about the history of this remarkable ruin! What I do remember is all of the naughty things I used to get up to amongst these ruins during my teenage years! I love the Castle though. Its a peaceful place, overlooking the sea. Rory loves exploring and playing in the park. During the warmer months we take a picnic and sit on the green. During winter, we take our plastic golf clubs and play on the crazy golf!
An indoor place that we enjoy going to is Aberystwyth Museum. Filled with history and interactive activities, its a great place to spend a rainy hour or two. I am only touching the surface of what Aberystwyth and the surrounding area has to offer. Situated a few miles north of Aberystwyth is the seaside village of Borth where we lived throughout my teens. Miles and miles of golden sandy beach which leads up to the magical Nature Reserve at Ynyslas (see previous blog post). Nant-Yr-Arian, Devils Bridge, Pen Dinas …. They all contribute to the beauty of this amazing town.
I love Aberystwyth!