Basically put, if you don’t visit Llanddwyn Island, Anglesey while in North Wales you are missing out. Big time. We live full time in our DIY converted campervan so we cover a lot of ground. And it is genuinely one of the most beautiful places we’ve been in the UK.
Llanddwyn Island Anglesey
Flanked on both sides by miles of golden sandy beaches, this uninhabited tidal island is backed by an enchanting pine forest. All against a backdrop of the mesmerising mountains of Snowdonia and Llyn Peninsula.
But it’s not just the gorgeous setting that makes this place so alluring. There’s also a deep sense of history and mystery that envelops the island. More on that in a bit.
In this quick guide to Llanddwyn Island, Anglesey you’ll get the rundown on everything you need to know to plan your visit. Including how to get there, where to park, facilities, things to do and wildlife to look out for. Let’s dig in.
Where Is Llanddwyn Island?
Llanddwyn Island is located in the south west corner of Anglesey, a bigger island just off the mainland of North Wales. Technically the small headland is only an island during high tide. And only then does it become cut off from the Isle of Anglesey for a couple of hours.
It’s a very exposed and remote location where the weather can change quickly. So always keep an eye on the weather forecast, especially over winter months. And also, of course, be sure you know what the Llanddwyn Island tides timetable is saying that day.
How To Get There?
Going in your own vehicle is by far the easiest. But get there early, especially on weekends and holidays. Parking fills up quickly and once full most people are there for the day.
An ANPR camera reads your registration number on entry to Llanddwyn Island parking. Then you pay at the exit barrier for the length of time you park. It’s £2 for the first 2 hours, 40p for every additional 20 minutes and £7 maximum charge per day. You can pay by cash or card.
Parking overnight is not permitted. And between 5pm and 9am a height barrier is put in place to prevent vehicles over 2 metres high from entering the car park.
Here’s the address: Newborough Warren & Ynys Llanddwyn, Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, LL61 6SG.
You can also reach the area by bus. The #42 bus from Bangor comes through Menai Bridge town to Newborough beach. You can check the timetable and route here. But you will need to then either walk, cycle or hitch the last 3 miles/5km to the beach.
Llanddwyn Beach Facilities
In Llanddwyn beach car park, or Newborough beach parking, as it is also known, there are toilets, a cafe, picnic tables and barbecue areas.
Please note that while dogs are allowed on the beach, they are not allowed on the island from 1st May to 30th September. This is due to rare wild flowers and nesting seabirds.
Llanddwyn Island Access
Actually getting to Llanddwyn Island requires a bit of a trek. You can either go through Newborough Forest then over the sand dunes and rocky outcrops. Or walk directly along the beach. We took the forest route there and the beach route back.
It’s around a half hour walk to get to the start of the Llanddwyn Island walks, then another 15 or 20 mins or so to get to the tip.
You’re going to want to allow yourself at least a few hours exploration time though as there’s plenty to see. Even better is to take a picnic and hang out a while in one of the secluded beach coves in Llanddwyn Bay as we saw a few families doing.
Llanddwyn Island Walk
There’s two routes around the island. You take the more direct path through the centre. Or you can take the winding coastal path that runs around the circumference with sea views.
As you near the tip, you’ll come to the remains of a medieval stone church, a large Celtic cross and the first Llanddwyn lighthouse, Tŵr Mawr. Following the shoreline will bring you to a row of small whitewashed cottages.
These used to house pilots whose responsibility it was to guide boats into the Menai Strait. And they also manned a lifeboat that was stationed here from 1840 to 1903. During which time it saved 101 lives in 35 separate incidents.
Beyond that you’ll see a second small Llanddwyn Island lighthouse called Tŵr Bach.
History of Saint Dwynwen
The name ‘Llanddwyn’ actually means ‘Church of Dwynwen’. And is so named after the Welsh patron saint of lovers, Saint of Dwynwen, who lived here. The Welsh equivalent of the English Saint Valentine only celebrated 3 weeks earlier on the 25th January and with less materialism.
She is said to be buried on Llanddwyn Island within the church ruins and her story goes like this.
She was one of 24 daughters of the 5th century king Brychan Brycheiniog and following a disaster in love she fled here to live a life of solitude. In a nutshell she fell in love with a prince called Maelon Dafodrill, but was already betrothed to another by her father.
Distraught, she was visited by an angel who gave her a potion that was supposed to make her forget all about her love but instead it turned him ice. So she was then granted three wishes by God.
Her first was for Maelon to be thawed. The second that the hopes and dreams of all lovers were met. And the third that she would never marry. As a thankyou for all three coming true she then devoted the rest of her life to God’s services.
After her death in 465AD, the island became an important pilgrimage site. And it was believed that the faithfulness of a lover could be determined through the movements of some eels that lived in a holy well.
Other Things To Do In Llanddwyn
A designated blue flag beach, Newborough Beach rivals any beach in the United Kingdom, let alone Wales. It’s a huge expanse of sand, stretching from the south-west corner of Anglesey at Abermenai Point, to Llanddwyn Island and beyond.
The beach at the other side of Llanddwyn Island is called Penrhos beach. Or Traeth Penrhos to give it its welsh name and is very quiet owing to its remoteness. Due to their size and the parking limitations it’s impossible for these beaches to get crowded.
The whole area is part of the Newborough Warren National Nature Reserve and as such is teaming with wildlife both above and below the water.
Just off the tip of Llanddwyn Island there’s a small islet called Ynys yr Adar which means Bird Rock. It’s covered in cormorants, shags and oystercatchers. It’s also likely you’ll spot seals bobbing and frolicking in the waves around Llanddwyn Bay.
The dunes, salt marshes and mudflats of Newborough Nature Reserve support a wide range of rare plants and flora.
Geology fans will be fascinated by the pillow lava rock formations at the base of the island. They were formed 500 million years ago when lava erupted from the seabed.
There’s also a widespread but elusive red squirrel population that calls the trees of Newborough Forest home. It’s quite unusual to see one, so if you do you are very lucky. What you might have more of a chance of seeing in the pine forest are the woodpeckers.
Okay, I think that’s everything you need to know in order to be able to plan a wonderfully memorable trip to Llanddwyn Island and Newborough Beach. But as always, if you have any questions, do get in touch in the comments and we’ll do our best to help!
More On Wales
- Conwy Waterfall Wales: Essential Info
- Swallow Falls Wales: A Quick Guide
- 7 Epic Betws y Coed Holiday Cottages