There is a delightful harbour in Porthmadog, where once local slate was loaded onto ships and transported worldwide, and a maritime museum celebrating shipbuilding that was of historical importance to the town. Porthmadog is just over 3 miles away from the farmhouse.
Local artist Rob Piercy has his gallery in Porthmadog.
Just across the Dwryrd estuary is the famous Italianate village and gardens of Portmeirion created by Sir Clough Williams Ellis between 1925 and 1975. He incorporated old and new buildings successfully within the natural landscape. The Village is surrounded by exotic sub-tropical gardens and woodland and there are miles of sandy beaches. Made famous by the cult television series ‘The Prisoner’ with Patrick McGoohan in the 1960s, and also featuring in ‘Cold Feet’, Portmeirion has provided inspiration to many, including Noel Coward who wrote ‘Blithe Spirit’ here in 1941. A unique delight not to be missed, especially when the brass band is playing on a summer Sunday afternoon, Portmeirion is a must.
Within walking distance from the town, past the boatyard, and only a few minutes drive from Tyddyn Iolyn is the unchanged seaside village of Borth –y-Gest with delightful sandy coves, and on the outskirts of the town is the fine, sweeping, sandy beach at Black Rock Sands.
Most facilities are available in Criccieth, which is a lovely, small, historic town on the coast of Cardigan bay and the Cambrian railway. Criccieth is approximately 2 miles from the farmhouse.
Facing south and sheltered by the mountains of Snowdonia, Criccieth is warmed by the Gulf Stream, giving us a sunny microclimate. A 'Britain in Bloom' finalist, the high street is relatively un-spoilt and is beautifully decorated with floral displays in season and for the annual Criccieth Festival held in June. A four road crossing point and a significant lawn area known as Y Maes is part of the original common land marking the town centre. The town has two promenades with safe sand and shingle beaches, and was voted amongst 'the best seven little seaside towns where the atmosphere remains authentic' by The Sunday Times. There is a good selection of restaurants, cafes and tearooms. Cadwaladers in Castle Street have produced ice-cream locally since the 1920s, serve coffee, snacks and smoothies in their cafe overlooking the sea, and hosts a popular jazz night on Thursday evenings.
Criccieth castle was built on a rocky promontory jutting out between the two beaches, overlooking Tremadog bay, in the 13th century by Llewelyn the Great. Originally a Welsh stronghold, the castle was later taken and extended by Edward I, endured a long siege by the Welsh, and was finally burned by the rebel Welsh Prince Owain Glyndwr around the start of the fifteenth century. The impressive remains are a landmark and dominate the skyline, offering wonderful views.
Porthmadog is set on the wide Glaslyn estuary, which is a haven for migrating birds. It is a bustling, cosmopolitan town with a good mixture of shops, eating-places and the Glaslyn Leisure Centre with a swimming pool. Porthmadog and nearby Tremadog were created in the early nineteenth century when the local MP at the time, William Maddocks, built a mile long embankment called ‘The Cob’ across the estuary to reclaim land from the mudflats. The terminus of both the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland steam railways are situated at the end of the Cob. Shelley was known to have been a regular visitor and T E Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) was born nearby at Tremadog.
Pwllheli is a busy old market town and resort with a number of antique shops, cafes and a weekly open air market on Y Maes. Pwllheli is now an international sailing centre with a multi-million pound marina and the yachts to go with it, and is the venue for a number of local, national and international sailing and water sports events. Pwllheli has narrow streets and a number of listed buildings including the old workhouse and the 15th century Penlan Fawr house. In past times the harbour was an important centre for shipbuilding and fishing, but the arrival of the railway heralded change and The Cambrian railway with links to the rest of the UK terminates here. The journey along the coastline to Barmouth must be one of the most beautiful in the country.
Abersoch is trendy and very lively in the summer, with a safe sandy beach, boat hire and sailing facilities. There are shops and pubs, cafes and restaurants to suit all tastes. Annual events include the jazz festival, regatta and Wakestock.
The pretty mountain village of Beddgelert is about ten miles from Tyddyn Iolyn through the dramatic and beautiful Aberglaslyn pass, where the River Glaslyn flows to Porthmadog harbour through a narrow gorge. Beddgelert has several pubs and restaurants, a historic church, the legendary tomb of Gelert, Prince Llewelyn's faithful dog, and the Sygun copper mines. The illustrator of the Rupert bear stories, Alfred Bestall, once lived here. Beddgelert is a starting place for many good mountain walks.
Harlech is a charming village with an imposing castle and a wonderful stretch of sandy beach. There are a number of cafes and restaurants. Not to be missed is a cream tea on the terrace at The Plas with a magnificent sea view stretching to the end of the Llyn peninsula.
At Llanbedrog there is a sandy National Trust beach and a stiff climb up to the headland reveals a statue of the ‘Tin Man' and some tremendous sea views. The Galley is a superb beach bistro/cafe with a view of the bay, and the Oriel Plas Glyn-y-Weddw art gallery and cafe is highly recommended.