Rusted lighthouses flash out warnings from this craggy Welsh coastline, which is layered with a network of gorgeous coastal walks. Once a major defence point against Irish invaders, Holyhead now extends the hand of friendship across the Irish Sea and is a major ferry port connecting the two countries. Discover a scenic and spectacular place whatever the weather – whether the sun’s bouncing off the blotched blue sea, or the waves are swelling moodily as rain thrashes down.
Set on the windswept coast of North Wales, South Stack Lighthouse is a stunningly perched, bright white lighthouse, which has been casting its gaze out across the water for more than 200 years. A rugged, picturesque site to explore, you can wander out across the small aluminium bridge to reach the island where it rises. Be warned, there’s a steep climb down 400 steps, and then a spiral of another 100 up once you’re inside, but if you’re up to the physical demands, the views are magnificent from the beacon that has guarded these waters for so long. Ellin's Tower also stands over the crumbling cliffs nearby, and this small, castellated hideout is adorned with binoculars - perfect for getting a closer look at the crowds of nesting seabirds and puffins who cling to the coastline’s stark cliffs.
In Holyhead itself, enthusiastic volunteers will relay the region’s seafaring history to you at the compact Maritime Museum, or you can explore Breakwater Country Park - another coastal hiking spot that sits below the gentle Holyhead Mountain. Enjoy views of the Irish Sea, stretching as far as the Skerries, seven miles out to sea, and as far as Ireland on clear days.