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A coastal resort facing Wales' greatest mountain range

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Barmouth is a town in the Welsh north-west. It seems almost like its location was very carefully chosen, to be as close as possible to the country's greatest scenery. The town is a coastal resort, but it also borders the River Mawddach, and its estuary. Looking inland, Barmouth faces onto Wales' greatest mountain range. It lies on the south-western corner of Snowdonia National Park, and these huge peaks offer a majestic backdrop to views of the town.

Barmouth, with the bridge in the foreground and mountains in the distance
Photo by andrewginty
Barmouth has its roots in the shipbuilding industry, and although these businesses have since closed, the town's coastline still offers many of its major attractions. There are around 3 miles of sandy beaches, which are lined with all the usual shops, cafes, and arcades. There's even a funfair in the warmer months.

The beach at Barmouth
Photo by fairlybuoyant
But unlike many seaside resorts, Barmouth also has plenty of interesting sights that can be found away from the shoreline. The old town is particularly worth a look, with its slate-roofed cottages, clinging to the side of a hill. You can explore the area via a series of steep staircases.

Looking up the town of Barmouth
Photo by steve p2008
An even older building can be found at the quay. This is Ty Gwyn tower, which dates from the 15th century. It was once occupied by a man called Henry Tudor, who would go on to become King Henry VII of England. He met here with several of his allies, and together they conspired against the current King, Richard III. Later that century, in the year 1485, Richard was killed in the Battle of Bosworth, and Henry became the first of many Tudor monarchs. Today, the building contains a nautically-themed restaurant, and a museum on the first floor, where you can learn about various shipwrecks that have happened in the local waters.

Ty Gwyn Tower in Barmouth
Photo by Vix B
Any sailors who feel a little uneasy after visiting the museum should head to the beach, to visit the Barmouth Lifeboat Station. The staff here will ease your worries by giving demonstrations of their techniques and equipment. They will also tell tales of the previous rescues that have taken place over the station's 180-year history.
Despite the shipwrecks and accidents of Barmouth's past, the town has long been a popular place for mariners. Many of them can be found at the Sailor's Institute, which has barely changed since its construction in the year 1890. It contains a Victorian reading room, which is full of useful books, photographs, and maps.

Boats moored at Barmouth
Photo by rog
Today, many keen sailors arrive in town to attempt the "Barmouth to Fort William Three Peaks Race". This exhausting challenge involves sailing between the highest peaks in Wales, England, and Scotland, and running up and down each one! For even the quickest teams, the race can take the best part of a week to complete.
If you're a walking or hiking fan who had something a little less strenuous in mind, then Barmouth's surrounding scenery is definitely worth exploring. A great starting point is Dinas Oleu, which is the name of the hillside just above the town. This was the first piece of land to be donated to the National Trust, back in 1895.

Looking towards Dinas Oleu
Photo by fairlybuoyant
Alternatively, if you just want to take a good look at Barmouth town itself, then the best views can be found from the railway bridge, which stretches out across the estuary to the south. If you're planning to make this walk, make sure not to forget your camera.

The views from the railway bridge
Photo by Nik Sibley

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