by Karen Quinn, Sep 23 2019
The Llyn Peninsula in North Wales has one of the most breath-taking coastlines in the whole of the UK making it perfect for a beach staycation with kids. It’s tiny lanes and beachside restaurants reminds me of the Cornwall of my childhood whilst still being unmistakably Welsh, you’ll hear the language spoken everywhere, it’s full of Welsh heritage and the far off view of Snowdonia can’t fail to remind you where you are.
To the rugged North of the Peninsula you’ll find some fantastic beaches for surfing and sailing with crashing waves and sheltered coves, to the South, it’s a little calmer and dare I say it, a little posher!
The Llyn Penisula seems to have it’s very own microclimate, the drive through Snowdonia National Park is often grey and moody but break through the mountains and you’ll mostly be hit with sunshine and a temperature that’s a few degrees higher than the rest of the Country. You’re still in Wales though so whatever time of year, you can’t really rely on the weather! Take some rainclothes and things to snuggle in.
Welsh beaches with dogs
Most beaches in Wales allow dogs making it the perfect family holiday with your furry friend. It was the first time we had bought our Vizsla, Holly with us to North Wales and the first time she ventured into the sea. She had the time of her life and was shattered each day after sniffing new smells, making new friends and covering herself in salt, sand and slobber!
Many beaches restrict access for dogs between April and the end of September but most will have a dog friendly section at least. Remember to take plenty of poo bags, extra water and plenty of tennis balls or big sticks to chase into the sea. We found that a long walk along the sand with plenty of chasing balls meant Holly would relax under the table or on a beach blanket whilst we ate our lunch.
You can download beach maps for the area on the Gwynedd Council website which clearly show the dog friendly areas of each beach.
There are plenty of deserted little coves and beaches to explore on the Llyn Peninsula but if you’re visiting with kids and dogs then facilities and accessibility are key. Here are my favourite beaches on the Llyn Peninsula for dogs and kids.
Pwllheli (pronounced Puu-thel-ee) is the unofficial capital of Llynn with two beaches, South beach which is a shingle beach and my personal favourite, Glan-y-Dor, located behind the sailing club. It’s super soft and sandy and surprisingly quiet most of the time. This is where you’ll see many sailboats heading out to sea for lessons, leaving the 3 mile stretch of sand free to enjoy. Being south facing, this beach gets the sun all day during the summer months which can feel like you’ve flown to some far flung destination rather than a UK staycation!
Facilities at Glan-y-Don, Pwllheli Beach
Being so close to the Marina and Plas Heli, The Welsh National Sailing Academy means you’ll have access to all the facilities you need for your day at the beach. The centre has a lovely café with outdoor seating area, clean toilets and even changing rooms.
Are dogs allowed on Pwhelli Beach?
Year round dogs are welcome on Pwllheli beach to the left of the slipway, once the summer season is over (October onwards) then dogs are free to roam on the whole beach. You’ll find dog bowls of water in the Sailing club café.
How to get to Pwllheli Beach
The beach is easily accessible by road, just head towards the marina and wander down the short beach path through the dunes. If you’re staying in Pwllheli as we were then it should take you no more than 15 mins walk to get to the beach.
Parking for Pwllheli Beach
You can easily park at the marina, along the road on your way or on the road with the Weatherspoons pub (about a 10 minute walk) for free.
This is probably my favourite beach in the area, it has plenty of soft sandy stretches, rocks to climb and rockpools for crabbing. We can easily spend a full day here, letting the kids be kids, finding various creepy crawlies in the shallow pools, exploring the boats anchored and ready for fishing and jumping in the sea.
Facilities at Porthdinllaen Beach
As mentioned for food or drinks there’s the awesome Ty Coch pub with its lovely outdoor seating area or cosy interior if you get caught in the rain. They have a couple of outdoor toilets which they don’t seem to mind beach goers using, but treat yourself to a glass of something cold (or a warming hot chocolate depending on the weather) and I’m sure they’ll appreciate it!
Mr AWTYK is a huge golf fan so enjoyed a game on the spectacular course whilst we spent the day at the beach where he joined us later for lunch. This beach really does have something to keep the whole family happy.
Are dogs allowed on Porthdinllaen Beach?
The side closest to the National Trust car park is mostly quiet so perfect for letting dogs off the lead, chasing balls through the waves or making new friends to play with. Head closer to the Ty Coch and it gets a lot busier – whatever the weather! We saw many well behaved dogs off the lead whilst their owners enjoyed their lunch but preferred to keep Holly close to us to prevent her from stealing someone else’s sandwiches!
How to get to Porthdinllaen Beach
This beach and the wonderful Ty Coch is not particularly easy to reach, you can either walk down the coastal path and along the first beach or across the golf course at Morfa Nefyn. Both routes will take around half an hour to get to the pub and both add to the adventure, just pack lightly for this beach.
If you park in the National Trust carpark and walk (1 mile) across the beach just be aware that it becomes inaccessible when the tide comes in, we got caught out heading back to our car and had to paddle a little to get home. Just ask the friendly National Trust employees in the car park and they’ll be able to advise you when you need to make your return journey. If you do get stuck then you can just walk across the golf course behind the pub and carry on down the road which will add about 15 mins to your walk.
Parking for Porthdinllaen Beach
Only residents are allowed to bring vehicles into the village of Porthdinllaen, everyone else needs to park up and walk. You can park in the National Trust carpark at Morfa Nefyn for the coastal path which is free for members or a small fee if not. There’s also parking at Nefyn Golf Club which will cost you £5 for the day.
Criccieth (pronounced ‘cricky-eth’) has two wonderful blue flag beaches, Marine Beach to the West of the castle which is pretty pebbly and the main beach, Traeth y Promenade to the East of the castle which has a bit more sand and loads of rock pools to explore. If you’re lucky you may even spot some porpoises!
Facilities at Criccieth Beach
It’s easy to walk into the town of Criccieth from both beaches with it’s small independent cafes and shops. While you’re there, make sure you visit the Medieval Criccieth Castle, up high on the headland between the two beaches.
Are dogs allowed on Criccieth Beach?
Dogs are welcome at all times to the right section of the beach from the car park and on Traeth y Promenade to the left of the beach entrance.
How to get to Criccieth Beach
Criccieth is easily found on the A487, the main road through the Llyn Peninsula, you can either follow the signs to the beach or head onto one of the side roads to park up and walk.
Parking for Criccieth Beach
We parked on one of the streets in Criccieth, there were plenty of spaces but the walk up and down the steep streets might be challenging on little legs. Both beaches have paid parking available near to the entrance.
Llanbedrog beach (pronounced ‘Lhan-bed-rog’) is indulgently sandy making it perfect for sandcastle building, or burying your brother. This is one of the calmest beaches on the LLeyn Peninsula making it fantastic for toddlers and little ones who want to have a paddle in the safe, shallow waters.
Little ones will love the kids adventure packs which can be picked up at the National Trust carpark with bug hunts, leaf trails and more!
Facilities at Llanbedrog Beach
There are public toilets opposite the carpark you’ll also find a small shop selling all the usual beach clobber and ice creams and cold drinks. A perfect way to end your day is a visit to the lovely beach restaurant, Aqua which is a wonderful place to watch the sunset over Cardigan Bay.
Are dogs allowed on Llanbedrog Beach?
Dogs are allowed on Llanbedrog beach at all times, it can get pretty crowded so again we lept Holly on a lead until we’d passed most of the toddlers.
How to get to Llanbedrog Beach
Take the A499 to Llanbedrog and take a left at the petrol station. The car park entrance is opposite Plas Glyn y Weddw. It’s just a short walk down a hill with a few steps to the beach.
Parking for Llanbedrog Beach
Parking is located slightly back from the beach and will cost you around £4. The walk is an easy 5 minutes down the narrow lane. This is another National Trust beach so members can park for free.
Abersoch beach is fairly sheltered making it a good choice on a windy day but be warned, this is a very popular town for Welsh family holidays to it can get very busy. This beach is a haven for watersports lovers and you’ll see many waterskiers and wake boarders dodging each other in the water.
Every August Abersoch holds its annual regatta, it’s busy, loud and great fun for the whole family with sand castle building and rock pooling events.
Facilities at Abersoch Beach
There’s a café and shop at the entrance to the beach. You’ll find public toilets next to the parking area and a public telephone just down the road.
Are dogs allowed on Abersoch Beach?
The whole beach is dog friendly out of season (1st October – 31st March) at other times Abersoch beach has a specific section for dogs to the south (the side closest to the golf course).
How to get to Abersoch Beach
You can park right at the entrance to the beach so it is very accessible or simply walk there from town, it’s down hill all the way, just remember you’ll have to walk back up going the other way!
Parking for Abersoch Beach
You’ll find a payable car park right by the beach or you can choose to park in the town of Abersoch itself and walk down. Parking in Abersoch can get pretty crowded in peak holiday times so aim to get there early to secure a spot.
What you need to pack for a day at the beach in Wales
Most of these beaches have rock pools to explore, pebbles and large rocks to climb, waterproof shoes are essential to ensure cut feet don’t force you to end your day early. Make sure you get some sturdy ones like these which have good grip for climbing slippy rocks.
If you’re planning on staying at the beach to watch the sunset then temperatures will drop quite dramatically, I love bringing a couple of snuggly blankets we can all hug up under, yes, even the dog! Piper has been known to use them throughout the day to make dens with our beach chairs.
Don’t forget snacks, water and suncream (yes, even in Wales!), all these beaches have shops nearby but I always feel better when I come prepared.
And what to pack for your dog
I love these portable water bottles for dogs from Amazon, running around on the beach all day even when it quite cool can mean dogs get super thirsty. I always bring this fully filled and then top up whenever we find a tap. Holly’s just about worked out how to drink from it, although a lot still does go on the floor!
A poop scoop means you can go hands free most of the time and this one is small enough to throw in your beach bag.
We always take several tennis balls and our ball launcher which is brilliant for tiring Holly out before lunch or for getting her to run in the right direction if she makes a break for someone’s sandwiches!
Where to stay on the Llyn Peninsula with kids and dogs
If you’re in North wales with dogs and kids then it’s probably best to book a self catering property and give yourself the freedom and space to enjoy your break. We stayed with friends at an amazing large holiday home that accepts dogs in the town of Pwllheli, it was the perfect location from which to explore the rest of the Lynn Peninsula.
You can check out other pet friendly holiday rentals on the Llyn Penisular on Airbnb.
Getting to the Llyn Peninsula
Having a car will definitly help you get to the less discovered parts of the Llyn Peninsula but you can find several train Stations to some of the places mentioned like Pwllheli. Transport for Wales is the best website to use for planning public transport in Wales and the website is super easy to use. Make sure you click the lowest available fare optionto ensure you get the best ticket for your journey..
As you can see, the Llyn Peninsula is home to the best beaches in North Wales and being super dog and kid friendly make this the perfect place for a UK staycation. I hope you enjoy visiting them as much as we do.
Make sure you pin for later.