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A pretty, friendly town, bursting with youthful energy

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If you glance at the map, Aberystwyth might seem like just a small town, tucked away in the middle of nowhere on the west coast of Wales. And while it's true that the settlement is quite a distance away from the country's big cities, it offers a lot more than you might think. This is a pretty, friendly town, bursting with youthful energy.

Photo by Adambro

Aberystwyth Beach
Photo by Daniel Morris
A large part of this is down to Aberystwyth University, which pulls in nearly 9,000 students. Despite its isolation, the university is regularly ranked near the top of various surveys on student satisfaction. The institution has led to the development of several modern amenities in the town, such as the Aberystwyth Arts Centre, which hosts a theatre, a cinema, and an art gallery, as well as several shops and cafes.

Part of Aberystwyth University and Arts Centre
Photo by Vertigogen
The students also enjoy the use of the National Library of Wales, which has over 4 million books, including the first ever book in Welsh, and the first Welsh translation of the Bible. It is one of Britain's few copyright depositories, which means it has the right to receive a copy of every single published work from both the United Kingdom, and Ireland.

National Library of Wales
Photo by Venita
When the students aren't studying, they can often be found at the waterfront. Aberystwyth's coastline features a Victorian promenade, two beaches, and the opportunity to take boat rides, or to participate in watersports. Later on, as night falls, many people migrate to one of Aberystwyth's bars or pubs. Despite the town's small size, there are actually rather a lot of these. There's reportedly a different licensed premises for every week of the year!

The Victorian promenade in Aberystwyth
Photo by travellingred
The shoreline features a pier, which also contains several pubs alongside the usual amusement arcades. One of the most popular is imaginatively called The Inn on the Pier. At weekends, it's open for 38-and-a-half straight hours, from Saturday morning to Sunday night.

Aberystwyth Pier
Photo by Alan M Hughes
The shore is one of the best places to view Aberystwyth's renowned sunset, which reflects beautifully off the seawater. Another great viewing spot is Constitution Hill, which rises to 131 metres above the town. It is accessible via the electric cliff railway, which was originally built by the Victorians in 1896. It is the longest of its kind in Britain. The summit of the hill also offers views down the coastline, and towards Mount Snowdon. A more unusual way to see the surroundings is by using the Camera Obscura, which is the largest in the world. A lens on top of the building sweeps round 360 degrees, and reflects the image onto a central viewing screen.

Constitution Hill and its Cliff Railway
Photo by Hoopoe Girl

Sunset at Constitution Hill
Photo by Hoopoe Girl
If you look back towards the town from Constitution Hill, try spotting the westernmost corner of the land, jutting out to sea. You should be able to catch sight of the Aberystwyth Castle ruins. This was once the greatest castle in Wales, but is now just a hollow shell of its former self. A visit here offers a glimpse of the town's eventful past.

Aberystwyth Castle
Photo by Edricson
With the development of the University, Aberystwyth has since become a much more modern place. However, to their credit, the crowds of new students haven't taken away from the town's traditional atmosphere. There are still plenty of attractive old buildings, and over a third of the town's residents can speak Welsh, which is considerably higher than the national average.

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