Magical island beach with wild ponies two hours from Liverpool

The island is home to two lighthouses and a church ruin, along with several beaches
The island is home to two lighthouses and a church ruin, along with several beaches -Credit:NRW

The sun is shining on Merseyside this weekend as temperatures soar to 21 degrees.

And with summer just around the corner, many of us will be planning trips to the seaside with friends and family. Merseyside is not short of beautiful beaches, from Formby to Crosby, Thurstaston and West Kirkby.

But for those looking to go further afield for a day out, North Wales also boasts a number of breathtaking beauty spots. Llanddwyn, on the isle of Anglesey in North Wales, was recently named by Conde Nast in its list of the best beaches in the UK. The magical beach is just over a two hour drive from Liverpool.

Llanddwyna is strip of land that stretches out from Anglesey, curving along one side of the beach. It only becomes an island during the highest of high tides. Standing at the end of this spit of land is the historic lighthouse Tŵr Mawr (which means big tower), built in 1845, the MEN reports.

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There are steps which lead you up to the lighthouse, and, although it’s not accessible, it’s a scenic spot and one of the most iconic landmarks along the North Wales coast.

Wild ponies are used to help with local conservation on the island, where they manage the grass and scrub on the nature reserve’s dunes. Conde Nast praised Anglesey for its “stunningly beautiful beaches” and praised Llanddwyn in particular.

Wild Carneddau ponies help conserve the sand dunes at Newborough Warren national nature reserve
Wild Carneddau ponies help conserve the sand dunes at Newborough Warren national nature reserve -Credit:Chloe Anneva

Referencing the Prince and Princess of Wales’ time on the island as a young married couple, Conde Nast said: “On tiny Llanddwyn Island, the three-mile-long beach is known as the 'Beach of Romance', thanks not to Kate and Wills but to another princess, Dwynwen, who long ago ran away to Llanddwyn after a love affair went awry and became Wales's own St Valentine, patron saint of lovers.”

There’s also a second smaller lighthouse, Tŵr Bach, on the island which was built first and now has a modern lamp fitted. Both of these lighthouses overlook their own tiny beaches.

Wild ponies on the beach
Wild ponies on the beach -Credit:Chloe Anneva

What makes Llanddwyn so special is its associations with St Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers, who retreated there in the 5th century after romantic troubles. According to legend she was granted three wishes, and one was that all lovers’ dreams would be fulfilled.

Dwynwen became the patron saint of lovers and pilgrims would visit her well on the island. A chapel was built in the 16th century on the remains of Dwynwen’s original chapel, funded by the wealth generated by pilgrims during the Tudor era. The ruins of it can still be seen today.

Llanddwyn beach itself is a beautiful sandy three-mile stretch, backed by the pine trees of the Newborough Warren National Nature Reserve. Dotted along the beach are rocky outcrops, which are known as ‘pillow lava rocks’ formed hundreds of thousands of years ago by undersea volcanic eruptions.

Beautiful sunset on the island
Beautiful sunset on the island -Credit:Alun Williams333/Wiki

The views at Llanddwyn are pretty incredible, too, with distant mountains visible on the horizon. The beach has received heaps of praise on Tripadvisor, with reviewers describing it as “idyllic” and “beautiful.”

One user wrote: “The beach itself is just gorgeous - pristine sands with clear waters with the forest backdrop - you can walk all the way around to the tidal island which is well worth exploring too. A visit here is highly recommended for a really good day out.” Another added: “Idyllic surroundings, off the beaten track and absolutely worth the time and effort.”

What you need to know

There are dog restrictions on the beach from May 1 to September 30. There are limited facilities so make sure you bring a picnic with you.

The best parking for Llanddwyn is at the Beach, Airman’s and Cwningar car parks. They use number plate recognition cameras and parking costs £2 for the first two hours, and then 40p for every additional 20 minutes. There is a maximum charge of £7 per day.

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