Pocket Britain

A pair of seaside resorts, next-door to each other on the North Wales coast

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Presthaven Sands at Prestatyn
Photo by havenholidays
Rhyl and Prestatyn are a pair of twin seaside resorts, barely a few kilometres apart on the northern coast of Wales. They became popular during Victorian times, after they were connected to the rail network. Later on they received hundreds of visitors from nearby English cities like Manchester and Liverpool.

Rhyl Seafront
Photo by amyi76
The two towns share nearly 10 kilometres of sand. During the summer, these beaches are a familiar sight. They're filled with people making sandcastles, collecting shells, riding donkeys or sprawling on deckchairs. Just a short distance inland, you'll find all the usual amusement arcades and fish 'n' chip restaurants. Alternatively, you can head out to sea, on a boat tour or fishing trip.

A fairground ride in Rhyl
Photo by BigTallGuy

Building sandcastles on the beach at Rhyl
Photo by clspeace

Rhyl Amusements
Photo by altogetherfool
For a slightly better look at the ocean's population of fish, spend an afternoon at Rhyl's SeaQuarium. You can get a close-up view from within Wales' only underwater walk-through tunnel. They also have a new sealion show, a recreated shipwreck, and a hospital for any fish feeling a bit under the weather. If your visit here makes you feel like swimming around a bit, then you can turn into a fish yourself at the Sun Centre. This indoor water park is always balmy and tropical, even if it's raining outside. It's got all sorts of pools, lagoons and slides, as well as a raised monorail that gives you a bird's eye view of the water.
An even better vantage point is the Rhyl Sky Tower, on the town's main promenade. From the top of this 73-metre-high structure, you can see the mountains, the bay and the wind farms. The observation car spins through 360 degrees, so you can be sure to get a good view in all directions.

Rhyl Sky Tower
Photo by Benkid77
You'll easily be able to spot Prestatyn, just along the coast to the east. If you make the short trip across, you'll find essentially more of the same. There are shops, restaurants and three great beaches. However, Prestatyn is actually a bit older than it's neighbouring town. Prehistoric tools were found in nearby caves, which show that humans have been living here for several millennia. A little later on, the Romans came here and built a fort. You can still see the remains of an old bathhouse which they also built during their time in Britain.

Prestatyn Lighthouse on the beach
Photo by cooljinny
The town is at the northern end of Offa's Dyke Path. This walking route follows an ancient ditch, which was constructed in the 8th century to divide the English lands from the Welsh. It winds its way south, across most of the country. Most of the path still marks out the Anglo-Welsh border.

The fabulous views from Offa's Dyke footpath
Photo by ingo.ronner
Rhyl and Prestatyn are two of the sunniest places in Wales, and their beaches have been popular for years. The real attraction though, isn't just the beaches. It's the sheer amount and variety of things to do.

Photo by nothingatall
Visitor Information
SeaQuarium is open daily from 10am to 5pm (reduced opening during winter). Entry costs around £8 for adults, £7 for children. East Parade, Rhyl, Denbighshire, LL18 3AF. Tel: 01745 344 660
Rhyl Sky Tower is open weekends from April to October, weekdays throughout the summer and school holidays from 10:30am to 5pm (times are weather dependant). Entry costs around £2. East Parade, Rhyl, LL18 3AQ. Tel: 01745 344 433

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