Trying to, definitively, choose our 5 favourite beaches close to our Wild Wellingtons' glamping site when there are more than a dozen nearby to choose from is a challenging decision to make! Our disclaimer is that it's very likely to change depending upon our beachy (that's a word!!) frame of mind and beach wants (quiet and unspoilt; with facilities; eating out; a glass of wine or beer; good kids' choice etc.). But, after much discussion, making lists of pros and cons, arguments and pulling of hair, we've finally come up with our top of the pops tip top 5 beaches.
1. Llangrannog, 11 min drive
One of the most popular beaches in Ceredigion, we chose Llangrannog for its close proximity to Wild Wellingtons, attractiveness, facilities and fun factor for kids, though it can get a little busy at peak times.
Walk up to the statue of Sant Crannog on the hill to take in the beautiful view, carry on along the coastal path for some superb walking, brunch at The Beach Hut, treat yourself to a homemade ice cream at Caffi Patio, enjoy a beer at the Pentre Arms, a few steps from the beach, or enjoy open mic night on Sundays at The Ship Inn when Tafell a Tân award winning pop up wood-fired pizza is also there.
Kids love practising their engineering skills damming up and digging around the stream that runs through the centre of the beach, boogie boarding, spooking each other out in the caves and walking round the bay to Cilborth beach when the tide is out.
There are toilets at the beach, life guards in summer and free parking, if you don't mind a 8 min walk, up hill, on the way back, though there is a shuttle bus in summer. Alternatively there is a pay and display car park near the beach front.
2. New Quay, 23 min drive
Three sandy beaches, including the picturesque harbour beach, lots of cafés and restaurants, dolphin spotting and fishing boat trips, a few shops to browse in, great rock pooling, excellent (in our opinion) fish and chips at The Lime Crab and gelato at Creme Pen Cei, plenty of car parking (though the lower car park can get busy), and good toilet facilities (need 20p to spend a penny!) often makes New Quay our go to beach.
When the weather's good we like to eat outside at The Black Lion, taking in the views, whilst the kids run around the children's play area. Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre often has activities, including rock pooling adventures, for a small donation.
3. Tresaith, 12 min drive
Tresaith is a beautiful, soft, sandy beach with good views and a magical waterfall to discover after a short scramble over the rocks. We enjoy drinks, food and gorgeous views from the patio at the Ship Inn, a short walk up the hill, though waiting times for food can be long. Parking is cheap at the honesty car park but it is a fairly steep walk to the beach (you can drop off at the beach next to the disabled parking).
There's a short coastal walk from Tresaith to lovely Aberporth with panoramic views. Toilets are a short walk away from the beach, as is the little café where you can buy a bacon butty, cup of tea, bucket and spade and an ice cream.
There's catamaran racing most Sundays between April and October by Tresaith Mariners Sailing Club and a regatta and beach party 11th and 12th August with a marquee, live band and bar with real ales and pig roast.
4. Mwnt, 23 min drive
Mwnt is one of the most stunning beaches along the Cardigan Bay coast here. Its walk past the little, white, 13th century chapel, up to the top of blustery Foel y Mwnt has breath taking views for miles. We all love the soft sand, the stream running down the side of the beach and the sheltered feeling of the cove.
There are a series of steep steps from the National Trust car park, past the toilets and the kiosk selling ice creams and snacks (we weren't impressed with the tubs of ice creams - sorry! - but there are other ice lollies/creams to choose from) to the cove, though the sheer beauty of Mwnt makes it worth it. Keep an eye out on Facebook for live music and barbecue evenings at the rustic and quirky The Shed at Mwnt - we had a really enjoyable evening there.
5. Penbryn, 11 min drive
Unspoilt and usually quiet, Penbryn is our beach of choice for walks through the fairy-tale wood down to the beach, beach fires and barbecues, exploring the next cove (when the tide is out) and letting the kids run around on the sand, paddle in the stream, explore the deep, dark cave and generally burn off energy. We walked along the coastal path from Penbryn to Aberporth one sunny day.
The charming Plwmp Tart café is next to the National Trust car park (a 5 min walk down walk to the beach, though you can drop off at the bottom) and is a lovely place to sit outside and relax with a coffee and homemade cake or savoury tart.