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|Aberaeron 16 miles - Rhayader 31 miles - Machynlleth 18 miles|
Aberystwyth is the principal holiday resort and administrative centre of
the west coast of Wales. It is also home to the University of Wales
Aberystwyth and the National Library.
Aberystwyth is a University town with some seven thousand students, ensuring it a vibrant throughout the year and not just during summertime. Incidentally, there are now ‘only’ fifty pubs left in Aberystwyth!
The seafront hosts Victorian / Edwardian buildings mostly 4/5 stories high. The wide promenade protect the buildings from the revenges of the Irish Sea and offers space to sit, soak up the sun and view the surrounding hills and mountains which in winter are often covered in snow. On a clear day you may see the tallest mountain in Wales, Snowdon.
The harbour was once
one of the busiest in Wales and is fed by the rivers Ystwyth and Rheidol
(which incidentally, is the steepest river in Britain). Geographically,
Aberystwyth may be considered isolated from the rest of Wales. However,
this isolation made it necessary for the local people to look after
themselves and over the years it has acquired more resources than a town
of this size would normally have. It is now the centre of local rural
life and is visited by many to sample the numerous cafes, bars, and
restaurants including, Chinese, Indian, Italian and Mediterranean
Long before the Normans began their castle-building program, Iron Age settlers used the hilltop called Pen Dinas to build a huge fortification, which still dominates the skyline as you approach Aberystwyth from the south and reminds us of the skills of its ancient builders.
The first Norman
castle was a ringwork affair castle, built in the early 12th Century.
Inevitably, the earth and timber defences proved too vulnerable and a
new site was chosen for a castle in Aberystwyth itself. This time it was
the Welsh, led by Llywelyn the Great who built the castle and it changed
hands several times before finally became useless against new weapons.
The last castle built at Aberystwyth once ranked among the greatest in
Wales but today, lies entirely ruined and offering only a faint image of
its once impressive past.
In 1404, Owain Glyndwr seized the crumbling fortress. Within a few years the English regained possession but after 1408, Aberystwyth Castle lost its strategic value to the monarchy, and only minor repairs were attempted. During the Civil War, the castle became a victim of Oliver Cromwell's ruthless policy of slighting because the garrison sided with the king, Charles I. Most of the castle stone was pilfered by locals to build their homes.
Electric Cliff Railway is the longest electric cliff railway in Britain.
It climbs Constitution Hill from the northern end of the town's
promenade with trains running every few minutes during the spring,
summer and early autumn.
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