Llŷn Aonb

View in Llyn AONB, Wales
Llŷn AONB, Wales © http://www.landscapesforlife.org.uk

The Llŷn – Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is located on the Llŷn Peninsula in Gwynedd in North Wales. The area was the first designated AONB back in 1956, one of the first AONBs in Wales, in recognition of the qualities of the area and covers 155 square kilometres. The Llŷn Peninsula is approx 30 miles in length; with a quarter of the area covered under the AONB designation and is well known for the scenic coastline, natural scenery, open spaces, natural environment, tranquillity and range of wildlife habitats and heritage.

The local population live in local villages and towns located across the AONB such as Aberdaron, Nefyn and Llanengan. The area covered under the AONB designation covers an area starting from close to Penygroes in the north to Bardsey Island in the south. The AONB area covers a quarter of the Llŷn Peninsula. The area is of national importance for nature conservation and includes of Sites of Scientific Interest (SSSI), National Nature Reserve (NNR) and Scheduled Ancient Monuments.

The key features and special qualities of Llŷn AONB include the unspoilt coastline, varied landscapes, natural environments including hills, mountains, offshore islands, sand dunes, range of wildlife habitats, cultural heritage and historical sites. The area is important for wildlife and habitats with a number of protected sites including local and national nature reserves. The key features combined with the remoteness, natural beauty and relatively unspoilt nature of the area makes the area special.

The main industries in the AONB include agriculture and tourism. The area provides a popular place for visitors and attracts visitors for day trips, short breaks, holidays and increasingly for a number of recreational activities including water sports. There are a number of scenic historic villages located in the AONB including Abersoch, Nefyn and Llanengan. Main settlements located close by include Portmadog, Blaenau Ffestiniog and Caernarfon.

The area is popular for outdoor activities wildlife watching, wind surfing, water skiing, diving, rock climbing, walking and cycling with a range of routes and trails to explore. The area is a popular area for caravans and camping. Visitors can enjoy the scenic natural beauty and range of impressive landscapes that rank among the finest in Wales.

Quick Facts

Llŷn Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty:

Year of Designation: 1956

Size in square kilometres: 155

Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI): 22

National Nature Reserves (NNR): 1

Scheduled Ancient Monuments: 57

Highest Elevation: Yr Eifl (564 metres)

Main Settlements close by: Portmadog, Blaenau Ffestiniog and Caernarfon.


The Llŷn AONB is located in the principle area of Gwynedd in north west Wales, the AONB is also designated as a Heritage Coast. The area is well know for the its unspoilt natural beauty and landscapes and packs in a wide range of scenery and wildlife in a relatively compact area. The area is known for its narrow lanes, ancient open common and white washed farms.

The location of the Llŷn AONB in North Wales provides visitors with a rural scenic haven away from the traffic and congestion of the towns and cities, visitors can discover some of the finest and most naturally scenic coastline and landscapes in Wales and enjoy nature at its finest.

The AONB is one of 5 designated AONBs in Wales and has a population of around 70% that are Welsh speakers, the area is a popular place for second homes and holiday homes offering a great place to get away from it all. The area is home to steep craggy cliffs found in Aberdaron Bay, headlands, sandy bays and dune systems. The highest peaks include Yr Eifl at over 560 metres, the area has a rich legacy with monuments that date back to Mesolithic times and Iron Aged Hill Forts including Yr Eifl’s Tre’r Ceiri.

The AONB includes a number of small settlements and villages, the AONB area itself does not include any major towns or cities falling within the AONB boundary, local settlements include as Abersoch and Nefyn; visitors can discover a number of charming villages in the area.

The Llŷn AONB has a rich history and includes various scenic landscapes and environments for visitors to explore; the area is of national importance for its landscape, ecology and geology. Local towns located close to the AONB border include Caernarfon to the north, Portmadog and, Blaenau Ffestiniog to the east. The local towns provide convenient places from which visitors can tour the Llŷn AONB and surrounding areas in north Wales.

The Area of Outstanding Beauty area enjoys a similar level of protection given to National Parks meaning commercial development in the AONB area has been limited in order to help protect and maintain the special qualities of the area. The area offers plenty for visitors to see, do and enjoy, the proximity of the Llŷn Peninsula to nearby Snowdonia National Park to the east and the Anglesey AONB to the north means time permitting visitors could explore all three in a trip to the area.

The location in the south of Wales means the AONB is easily assessable from across Wales, the Midlands and north west England. From Newcastle, Durham and much of north east England the area is 5 to 6 hours by car, from Leeds it is 3 o 4 hours by car, from Birmingham and much of the Midlands it is 3 hours to 4 minutes. From Liverpool and Manchester it is approx 2 hours to 2 hour 30 minutes.

From Cambridge and much of the East of England it is 4 hours 30 minutes to 5 hours by car. From Cardiff and South Wales it is 3 hours 30 minutes to 4 hours by car. From London and much of southern England it is 5 hours to 6 hours 30 minutes drive by car.

Tourist Information Centres and information points are located at Pwllheli Information Centre close to the AONB and at Abersoch tourist information in the AONB . The tourist information centres can provide visitors with useful information, help, advice and tips on the AONB area and the surrounding areas.

The tourist information centres have knowledgeable staff with valuable local knowledge with information on local attractions, places of interest, things to see and do, along with local advice and tips. A visit to the tourist information centres provides a good first port of call for visitors helping to better plan and organise trips in and around the local area. At the centres visitors can find out about local events, public transport options and accommodation facilities.

Local Accommodation includes a range of hotels including historic and contemporary, B & B’s, Inns, Guest Houses, Self Catering houses, holiday homes and cottages. Local accommodation is available in Abersoch, Aberdaron and Nefyn. Towns located in the area including Portmadog, Blaenau Ffestiniog and Caernarfon, provide good access to local facilities and accommodation from which to explore the AONB and the surrounding local areas.

The Llŷn AONB provides a place for visitors to enjoy some peace and quiet in a scenic haven whilst enjoying panoramic views where it is possible to get away from it all. There are a number of small settlements in the AONB, many of the villages in the AONB have preserved their proud history, traditions and heritage remaining quintessential Welsh. The villages and surrounding areas include with a number of local attractions and places of interest to discover.

Local Towns and Villages include Abersoch located 7 miles to the south west of Pwllheli in the south of the AONB area. The popular seaside resort attracts a number of visitors having established itself as both a seaside resort and a water sports centre. Visitors an enjoy a number of fine beaches in the area whist water sport enthusiasts have a number of sailing events and water sports based activities to pursue in the area.

Abersoch includes a range of accommodation making it a convenient place for visitors to base themselves from when exploring the area. Local facilities and amenities are available including a number of small shops, restaurants, cafes and bars. Abersoch offers walking enthusiasts a number of circular walks ranging from less than one mile to nine miles; the walks offer a great way to see the local attractions, landscapes and wildlife up close.

Local Markets include the Makers Market Abersoch/Artisan Market Abersoch; the market is held on the first Saturday of each month at the Riverside Marquee in Abersoch. A visit to the market offers something for the whole family, there are a number of local arts an crafts producers along with the areas finest local food and drinks. Visitors can enjoy the live music, entertainment and street food.

Wakestock is a wakeboard music festival that takes place annually in Abersoch; established back in 2000, the festival have grown and attracts in excess of 20,000 people. The festival attracts some big names in music along with emerging local Welsh acts. Competitors in wakeboarding come from around the world to compete for the title of Wakestock Champion. Over the years the festival has expanded to include food and drinks, arts, crafts, comedy and poetry from across Wales.

Llanbedrog is a village located 4 miles to the south west of Pwllheli in the Llŷn Peninsula. The compact seaside village is known for its splendid beach along with its famous beach huts. Local attractions include the historic St Pedrog's Church, a Grade II listed building noted for its design and architecture. Renoboth is a historic chapel located in the village. Plas Glyn-y-Weddw is a historic dower house that dates back to the mid 19th century. Today it is a local arts centre hosting a number of exhibitions and events.

Mynydd Tir y Cwmwd (The Headland) is located to the south of the village, covering an area of 175 acres. The area includes a covering of heather and gorse and offers visitors with some inspiring views towards Pwllheli, Abersoch and Cardigan Bay. There are granite quarries in the area, granite quarrying was once an important part of the local economy during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Nefyn is a coastal town that is located 7 miles north west from Pwllheli in the north of the Llŷn Peninsula. The town is well known for having Welsh as its first language for over 70% of its inhabitants; the coastal location means the local economy has historically been based on fishing. Local facilities include a number of small shops and cafes.

Nefyn includes a choice of accommodation making it a popular place for visitors to base themselves from when exploring the AONB and surrounding areas.

Pwllheli is the main market town on the Llŷn Peninsula. The majority of the population are Welsh speaking; historically the town grew under the granite quarrying, shipbuilding and fishing industries. The historic market town includes a number of local amenities and facilities with a choice of smaller shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants.

The town is well know as a popular water sports and sailing centre and it noted for having one the most contemporary marinas in the UK. Local attractions include a number of art galleries and Neuadd Dwyfor, theatre and cinema. Neuadd Dwyfor offers a range of entertainment options from screening films to opera, drama, ballet and touring company productions.

Pwllheli has two beaches namely the South Beach located to the west and the Glan-y-Don beach locate to the east, both are popular with visitors can local families. The market tow still has regular markets Pwllheli Market takes place on Wednesdays; the large market is among the largest in Wales and offers visitors with a number of goods along with plenty of bargains.

Pwllheli Coastal Cruises are a popular attraction offering visitors the chance to see the local wildlife up close, visitors can spot dolphins, seals and seabirds amongst others on cruises. The coastal cruises offer a relaxed and enjoyable to see the best in the local wildlife and landscapes.

The convenient location, local transport with roads and railway links along with a choice of accommodation available in the town to suit a range of budgets makes Pwllheli a favourite destination for visitors to base themselves from when exploring both the AONB area and surrounding areas in the Llŷn Peninsula.

Bardsey Island is a small island that is located 2 km off the Aberdaron headland, it is part of the Llŷn AONB site. The area is of national and international importance and is recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Historically the island has been famous as a place of worship and spirituality with the preserved ruins of Augustinian Abbey of St Mary's dating back to the 13th century still in evidence today.

The island is known for its rich wildlife and is home to hundreds of rare plant species. Among the wildlife evident are migrating seabirds, marine wildlife, coastal grassland and heathland. Visitors can explore the island via day trips or long stays, Bardsey Island Trust owns and manages the island.

Walking offers visitors one of the most cost effective and environmentally friendly ways to discover the AONB and the surrounding areas, there are a number of popular walks in the area for visitors to try. The Llŷn AONB includes a choice of landscapes and terrain offering shorter and longer walks for walkers of all abilities. The routes pass through some of the most scenic and prettiest villages in the AONB and include a number of routes covering the Llŷn Coastal Path.

The Llŷn Coastal Path is 84 miles (146 km) in length starting from Caernarfon in the north to Uwchmynydd and on to Porthmadog on the southern Llŷn coast. Visitors can enjoy some wonderful coastline views, and countryside along the path; highlights include rugged cliffs, small, compact harbours, small coves and a range of landscapes including wild heath land. The majority of the route is coastal, some is inland and some on higher ground offering visitors stunning panoramic views.

Cycling provides a cost effective and environmentally friendly way to explore the Llŷn AONB. There are a number of quiet country lanes, bridleways, tracks and flat terrain to far more challenging terrain making the area suitable for cyclists of all abilities. The Llŷn Loop Cycle Route is a 26 mile circular route that includes challenging hills and offers some great natural scenery and a number of cafes and pubs along the way.

Visitors to the Llŷn AONB in North Wales can enjoy a quiet, scenic haven away from the crowds; the peninsula is a place where visitors can explore a number of historic Welsh villages and towns in and around the AONB. A visit to the Llŷn AONB offers visitors a scenic getaway showcasing some of the finest landscapes, natural scenery and coastline in Wales.

How to Get There

Llŷn AONB is accessible by both car and public transport.

By Car:

The main market town of Pwllheli is located close to the AONB; providing a convenient located from which to explore the area with a choice of accommodation, facilities and local amenities. Located approx 260 miles from central London. From London take the A4 then take the M4 then at junction 4B exit on to the M25 then at junction 16 of the M25 exit on to the M40. At junction 3A exit on to the M42. At junction 7 of the M42 exit on to the M6. From the M6 exit on to the M54. Then take the A5, B4396, B4391, A4212, A470, A487 and A497 that goes to Pwllheli. The approx journey time is 5 hours to 5 hours 30 minutes
depending on traffic and time of day.

By Train:

From London Euston station there are regular services to Chester train station. The journey time is approx 2 hours depending on service, connections and time of day. From Chester there are train services to Bangor railway station from Arriva Trains Wales. From Bangor there are bus services to Gareg Clwyd, Caernarfon from Arriva Bus Wales and then another bus on to Pwllheli services are provides by Clynnog & Trefor; the total journey time is approx 5 hours 15 minutes to 6 hours, depending on services, connections and time of day. Services from London Euston to Chester are proved by Virgin Trains.

By Bus/Coach:

There are regular coaches available from London Victoria Coach station to Pwllheli. The approx journey time is 10 hours 30 minutes to 11 hours depending on connections, time of day and traffic. Coach services to Pwllheli are provided by National Express

Contact Details

Countryside & Access Section
Gwynedd Council Office
Embankment Road
LL53 5AA

Telephone: +44 (0)1758 704155 / +44(0)1758 704176

Website: Llŷn AONB


For Local Search and Directions see: Llŷn AONB Map

Tips & Other Considerations

The weather and climate can be unpredictable, there can be elements of all four seasons in one day. Ensure you check the weather forecast before you travel and have the correct clothing and footwear including comfortable walking shoes, fleece, raincoat and umbrella.

Follow travel advice and remain alert, vigilant and aware of your belongings at all times especially your wallet/purse and valuables and ensure they are hidden away from public view. If you have a bag try to use a shoulder bag with a good quality, strong strap, that is put across your shoulder not on your shoulder making it more difficult for anyone to take your bag.

If you are travelling by car to the Llŷn AONB in north Wales ensure you are well prepared with maps and Sat Nav to aid your journey, particularly if you are not familiar with the local area and roads. Use the journey planner for door to door directions. Check traffic updates before you travel.

If you are looking for car parking in and around the AONB, ensure you fully understand the rules, regulations & charges for car parks and street parking. The rules & regulations can be complex & confusing if you are unclear, it is wise not to park there.

If you are travelling by public transport, check for service updates prior to beginning your journey for any delays, disruption or cancellations to services that may impact on your journey. Ensure you have the service timetables for the trains, trams, buses and coaches. Remember when the last services are and ensure you make it to the train/bus/coach stops well in time to avoid missing the service.

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