You won’t be short of things to do in Aberystwyth with our activities guide covering the National Library, the Cambrian Mountains and the Rheidol Valley alongside the town’s beach, promenade, Medieval castle and more.
Activities in Aberystwyth
National Library of Wales
With stunning views over Cardigan Bay, the National Library of Wales is an almost-endless treasure-trove of information located near the University and a 10-minute walk from our Aberystwyth hotel. Along with over six million books and newspapers, the library contains 1.5 million maps, over 900,000 photographs, well over seven million feet of film and archive footage along with 60,000 pieces of art. The library is so big and contains so much information we’re not even sure that library is the right word – national encyclopedia? The library is open from Monday to Saturday and also includes access to the exhibitions, reading rooms, the on-site shop, café and large car park.
National Library of Wales
Vale of Rheidol Valley
One of the finest steam engine trips in Wales, the Vale of Rheidol Railway is a 24-mile round trip from Aberystwyth to the Devil’s Bridge, an unusual three bridge structure, through the gorgeous Rheidol Valley. Where once the train carried lead, ore and timber, it’s now purely a tourist attraction with the service largely running from March to the end of October. The journey takes an hour each way with regular stops at Llanbadarn, Glanyrafon, Capel Bangor, Nantyronen, Rheidol Falls and Rhiwfron where you’re free to get off and explore, with dogs, children and even bikes welcome on board.
A 13th century ruined castle overlooking Cardigan Bay, Aberystwyth Castle and its grounds are well worth visiting if only for the views out to see. Built by Edward 1 in 1277, the castle is well-preserved, with the north gate and gatehouse still standing while the interior is marked out with dotted standing stones. The well-maintained castle grounds are the perfect place for a summer picnic and also include a playground, putting green and crazy golf course.
Aberystwyth Cliff Railway
While it’s perfectly acceptable to climb to the top of Constitution Hill using the winding footpath, we’d definitely recommend either a ride up or down in the Aberystwyth Cliff Railway, the longest electronic funicular railway in the UK. The railway has been transporting people up and down since 1896, the views from the top are spectacular with up to 26 mountain peaks on view on a clear day. The train runs every few minutes and travels at a blistering – hold onto your hats here – four miles per hour. Once you’re at the top, you can take in over 1,000 square miles of land and sea plus a kids play area, gift shop and café. And you’ll no doubt be able to spot our Aberystwyth hotel behind you in town.
The Magic of Life Butterfly House
Open daily from February until the end of November, the Magic of Life Butterfly House is home to a stunning range of exotic plants and butterflies. As well as hundreds of butterflies, the centre is also home to some rare and endangered plants, bees, giant caterpillars and some bizarre creepy-crawlies, while nestled in the Rheidol Valley, there are plenty of nearby woodlands and waterfalls to explore.
Amgueddfa Ceredigion Museum
In the heart of town is the Amgueddfa Ceredigion Museum which explores the region’s culture, heritage and art. The free entry museum is open from Monday to Saturday and, as well as the museum and its interactive displays, the converted Edwardian theatre also hosts film screenings, workshops and live performances while the café and gift shop are well worth checking out as well.
Bwlch Nant Yr Arian Forest Visitor Centre
Part of the allure of Aberystwyth is the wilderness that surrounds the seaside town. And when you head along the A44 into deepest, darkest Wales you’ll hit upon the Bwlch Nant Yr Arian Forest Visitor Centre which stands at the top of a picture-perfect valley overlooking the Cambrian Mountains and Cardigan Bay. A well-known wildlife spot, you might see red kites diving and swooping, while the forests and hills around are a haven for mountain bikers, runners and walkers with plenty of well-signposted paths and trails from the visitor centre. And the really adventurous mountain biker can test his acumen on the skills park, with man-made twists and turns and jumps. The main visitor centre has plenty of local advice and history on the region plus a café, two play areas for children and toddlers and a café and shop open daily serving snacks, food and hot and cold drinks.