From the Flint on the Dee Estuary to Holyhead on the West of Anglesey, the North Wales coast is a haven for those who love hiking in the sea air. You can choose from sandy beaches, trails with views of Snowdonia, historic sites and at least ten resorts along the coastline. So pack your sandwiches, don your walking boots and head off to coastal North Wales, because we've got some fantastic coastal walks within reach of Avanti West Coast's North Wales stations. We'll move from West to East, with each walk starting (and finishing) at one of the stations we serve.
Walks from Prestatyn
Prestatyn to Rhyl (7km, 1h 30m)
It's possible to walk from Prestatyn to Rhyl in an hour and a half, and that's from station to station. It's a great way to stretch your legs and either continue your train ride along the coast or pick up another train home while taking in all the goings-on along the coast. Head out of the station and down Bastion Road and you'll find yourself on the promenade. Then you just keep going, either on the prom or down on the sand at Ffrith Beach, until you reach Rhyl clock tower on a small roundabout. There's one pedestrianised exit – go along it and you'll see signs for Rhyl station.
Prestatyn to Colwyn Bay (24km, 6 hours)
This is more of an all-dayer, but again you'll be able to start your journey on one Avanti West Coast station and end at another, Colwyn Bay. You'll spend the majority of the walk on the Wales Coastal Path, which is mainly paved and not especially hilly on this stretch, so isn't too strenuous. As the name suggests, the Wales Coast Path runs along the beaches, resorts and craggy outcrops where Wales meets the sea, from Queensferry in North East Wales, round the Llyn Peninsula, around Pembrokeshire and finishing at Chepstow near the Severn Bridge. This 24km walk isn't for a casual stroll, as you'll have guessed from the length, but it takes in the essence of tourist Wales, with views of the North Wales coast to the right and Snowdonia to the left.
Walks from Colwyn Bay
Over Little Ormes Head and round Great Orme (20km, 4 hours)
This section of the North Wales Path is often considered the most scenic and dramatic of coastal walks, and you probably won't disagree. It hugs the Wales coastline for about 80 per cent of the walk, and has two elevated sections – Little Ormes Head at about 100m above sea level, and Great Orme, at about 125m (the peak is just over 200m, but this walk goes around the edge).
You'll get off the train at Colwyn Bay, then make a beeline for the Wales Coastal Path, which you'll pick up on the West Promenade by the beach. It's pretty simple to navigate from then on, as you'll hardly ever be more than a few metres from the coastline. The path does go a little inland as you cut into a small housing estate, but keep right and you'll be led right over "Little Orme", and then back down into more housing before picking up the beach again.
Now comes the really dramatic bit, as you skirt the edge of Llandudno, go past the pier and circumnavigate the Orme on the road around the edge. There's a tiny cafe as you reach the North point, where you can recharge and gaze out to Anglesey on the horizon. After this, you'll stick to the road all the way around until you enter the resort again. You can cross the town and retrace your coastal steps if you want an epic walk, but you might be just about ready to hop on a local train and change at Llandudno Junction to head home.
Walks from Llandudno Junction
The top of Great Orme (16km round trip, 4 hours)
The bustling resort sits under the clifftops of Great Orme, a 200-metre high headland with wonderful views of the sea, the town and Snowdonia beyond it. The station is 4km south of the town, which makes it the perfect starting point for a walk up Great Orme. Head through the town to Pentywyn Road and Conway Road, and when you reach a roundabout next to The Links pub, you can either go straight on for a direct route to the peak or turn right to take the slightly longer beach route.
You can't miss the outcrop itself, so follow your nose and the road will be clear. If you're not feeling quite so energetic, there's a cable car and a tram to the top, where there's a gift shop and cafe. You can also take a few kilometres off either leg by getting the train to or from Llandudno Station.
Conwy and Pensychnant (10km round trip, 2h 30m)
Pensychnant is a conservation centre just outside Conwy, with birds and other wildlife as well as beautiful green scenery to admire. Leave the station and turn left to head over the bridge to Conwy, famous for its 13th-century castle and town walls, which you'll no doubt want to take a look at. There are also plenty of tea rooms and cafes in Conwy if you're ready for refreshments ten minutes into your walk (but maybe wait till you're on your way home). Keep walking West and you'll reach Sychnant Pass Road, a quiet B-road that takes you through lovely countryside right to the conservation centre itself.
Walks from Holyhead
Holyhead to South Stack (11km round trip, 4 hours)
Holyhead is on Holy Island, which is separated from Anglesey by a narrow strait. As the link to the Irish ferries, it's also at sea level. You might want to bear that in mind as you walk the 5.5km to the 100m high cliffs of South Stack, the westernmost point of Anglesey. It's fairly flat for the first 4km as you take South Stack Road across Holy Island, at which point you turn right and climb the road to the top of the cliff.
Now, you've got options. You can simply admire the spectacular views and look at the lighthouse from the cliffs, and pop into the cafe for a drink. Alternatively, you can descend the 400 steps down the side of the cliff, cross the bridge and visit the lighthouse, which is probably the most famous in North Wales. After the initial walk, that could be quite sapping, especially as you'll have to go back up 400 steps after you visit. But at least the walk back to Holyhead is all downhill.
Let Avanti West Coast take you there
These are some of our favourite walks that you can reach from the stations we stop at but don't forget you can always change to local services or pick up buses to see other places. This part of Wales is also home to gems like Talacre, Deganwy, Gronant, Penmaenmawr and miles of sandy beaches. You might even want to abandon the Wales Coast Path altogether and head inland to somewhere like Betws-y-Coed for a real taste of the mountains. But if you're heading to this beautiful part of the world on a day trip, just pick one of the walks that suit your stamina and take in the bracing sea air. It's really easy to reach by train from anywhere in England, as well as from Edinburgh or Glasgow, so start planning your journey.