I’ll admit now that I have a soft spot for Pwllheli. For five years straight, my family stayed at Gwynfryn Farm every summer. So, many of my childhood memories are of running wild on beaches near Pwllheli and wandering the town centre.
Is the town small? Yes. But there are plenty of things to do in Pwllheli, and its location makes it one of the best places to stay in Wales. By staying in Pwllheli, you’ll have access to Snowdonia, seaside towns like Portmeirion, and, of course, a chance to experience rural Welsh living.
Whether you want to venture on a day trip, visit attractions on your doorstep, or just avoid the rain, there is something to do in Pwllheli for you. Here’s my list of ten things to do in Pwllheli, all of which definitely warrant a place on your itinerary.
Laze about on a Pwllheli beach
If you’re visiting Pwllheli in summer, make sure a beach day is a top priority. While the UK has a poor reputation for its weather, I’ve always spent at least a few glorious days on a Welsh beach in summer. So, check the weather forecast and carve out space for a beach day or two!
Pwllheli’s closest beaches are Traeth Marian-y-de and Traeth Glan-y-do. Both beaches are stunning and typically quiet and peaceful despite being close to the town centre. You’ll find cheap and free parking, although the beaches are only fifteen minutes from the Pwllheli centre.
There aren’t too many beach facilities. But it is easy to stop by Pwllheli supermarket to pick up picnic foods! If you bring food and refreshments, you can easily spend a day at Pwllheli’s beaches.
Explore the Pwllheli shops
There’s something about shopping in a town that hits different from big-city retail therapy.
Pwllheli’s shops are easy to explore by foot – perfect for little or older legs. There is also a wonderful community feel, with residents chatting familiarly with staff at the shops and often conversing in Welsh. Shopping in Pwllheli is a cultural experience and a shopping experience.
The Joshua Tree is great for hippy-styled gifts and interesting souvenirs, while Mooch is good for ladies on a mission to enlarge their wardrobe. For surf-related shopping, Rock Surf is a good shop to stop by.
Spend a morning treating yourself to Pwllheli souvenirs, then grab a late Welsh breakfast and coffee at Caffi Sol.
Spend a morning at the Pwllheli Leisure Centre
Rainy day? Or are you conscious that you are slacking on the gym while on holiday in Pwllheli? The Pwllheli Leisure Centre is an ideal addition to your itinerary and one of the best things to do in Pwllheli on a rainy day.
The centre has two indoor pools plus a water slide! So, if it’s too cold or rainy to enjoy the beach, you can still squeeze a swim in. If you feel nervous about swimming in the sea, you could also brush up on your swimming skills with a lesson.
Gym lovers note that the centre has a full Fitness Suite. You should feel right at home amongst the mixture of free weights and machines.
The centre is located right by Traeth Marian-y-de Beach and is only a fifteen-minute walk from Pwllheli centre, so it fits nicely into a leisurely day. Pwllheli Leisure Centre is open from 6:30 am to 9 pm throughout the week, and 8 am to 2 pm on weekends. If you are planning a visit, you can call 01758 613437 to check prices.
Spend a day at Portmeirion
Portmeirion is gorgeous. As in, seriously gorgeous.
The village was designed by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, who took inspiration from the Mediterranean – especially Italy. Because of this, Portmeirion has become known as the ‘Italian village in Wales’ and attracts thousands of visitors with its architectural beauty and Italianate charm.
Grab a coffee al fresco at Battery Square, play giant chess at the Piazza, or book a night at the Hotel Portmeirion and take a dip in its outdoor heated pool. Portmeirion is ideal for spending a slow day snapping pictures, appreciating the aesthetic, and indulging in coffee and good food.
Of course, beauty comes with a price. You’ll have to book entrance tickets to access Portmeirion in advance, as the whole town is considered an attraction. I’ve attached the 2022 rates in the table below.
|Adult||Concession||Children (5-15)||Children (under 5)|
|Winter Season Ticket Prices (£)||8||7||Free||Free|
|Main Season Ticket Prices (£)||15||12||9||Free|
Pwllheli Golf Course
Whether you’re an avid golfer or a bit rusty and want a practise, Pwllheli Golf Course is one of the best things to do in Pwllheli.
The course stretches parallel to Traeth Marian-y-de Beach and is surrounded by rugged, seaside grassland. If you want a game amid beautiful scenery, the Pwllheli Golf Course really pulls out the stops.
Session prices vary per season, and it is best to book your slot online in advance. I’ve compiled the club’s listed 2022 rates into the table below.
|Winter green fee (1st November to 31st March)||20||25|
|Summer green fee (1st April to 31st October)||40||45|
Hike to Llanbedrog’s Tin Man
Only a ten-minute drive from Pwllheli, the Tin Man sits on a cliff overlooking Llanbedrog Beach. For a short hike up the cliff and glorious coastal views, visiting the Tin Man is one of the best things to do near Pwllheli.
To start the walk, park for free on the street in Llanbedrog, then follow Lon Nant-Iago road to reach the beach on foot. Reaching Llanbedrog Beach, you’ll spot two white cottages to your right. The path up to the man is marked beside these cottages.
Hiking up the cliff is a short ten-minute challenge. You’ll weave through woodland following continuous steep, stone steps. However, you’re rewarded with a beautiful view of the coastline and Llanbedrog beach at the top. It might be too windy for a celebratory picnic, but make sure to grab a snack from the Aqua Beach Bar when you get back down.
Take the ferry to Bardsey Island
Fancy an expeditionary adventure? Take the ferry to Bardsey Island.
Enlli Charters runs boat trips right from Pwllheli Harbour, including day trips to Bardsey Island. En-route you may spot dolphins, seals, porpoises, and seabirds. While at Bardsey Island, you can glimpse extreme off-the-grid living and thriving wildlife. Completely separate from the mainland, the island is home to a tiny community – in 2019, recording a population of just four.
Bardsey Island also has great religious significance. Many Christian pilgrims make the journey to Bardsey Island, the resting place of approximately 20,000 Welsh saints.
With an Enlli Charter tour, you’ll have around three hours to explore the island. However, if you want to stay longer, you can arrange an overnight stay. In this case, visit the official Bardsey tourism website.
Spend a day in Snowdonia
You cannot visit Pwllheli without spending at least a day in Snowdonia. In fact, out of all these things to do in Pwllheli, I most strongly recommend taking a day trip to Snowdonia. It is easily one of my favourite national parks in the UK!
You can go bouncing on underground trampolines, ride the world’s fastest zipline, hike the highest Welsh mountain, or explore old copper and slate mines. Snowdonia is a massive region with incredible activities spread across the entire area. Therefore, it’s best to have a game plan before setting off to Snowdonia from Pwllheli. Here are my favourite activities in Snowdonia:
I’d recommend climbing Mount Snowdon, with the Miner’s Track the most family-friendly route and Crib Gogh the most technical. For those with limited mobility or fitness, there’s also a train that helpfully takes visitors to the top! If you’re climbing Mount Snowdon, allow a full day to complete the return hike. It is certainly a challenge worth dedicating a day to.
I’d also recommend the Sygun Copper Mine, which runs tours through disused caverns and tunnels. The mine was abandoned in 1903, but you can still spot traces of precious metals in the walls! A visit costs £10 per adult and £7.50 for children aged 3 to 15 years old. I’d allow a couple of hours for the Sygun Copper Mine, so it is easily combined with another activity in Snowdonia.
Finally, for the world’s fastest zipline, book a ride on Velocity at Zip World. The Velocity zipline passes over Penrhyn Quarry at speeds of up to 125 miles per hour – so it is not an attraction for the faint-hearted. Just try to coincide a visit with a dry day, as the quarry is much more impressive in the sunshine! Again, Velocity is easy to combine with other activities, and you’ll only need to allow around two hours for the experience.
Spend a day at Glasfryn Parc
Wanting a taste of adrenaline and adventure, but a little closer to home? Glasfryn Parc is only a ten-minute drive from Pwllheli.
You could easily spend a whole day at Glasfryn, and its range of activities make it one of the most exciting things to do in Pwllheli. Choose from archery, go-karting, wakeboarding, the aquapark, fishing, kayaking, and many more activities.
There’s a mixture of indoor and outdoor activities, so it is a flexible day out if rain appears halfway through your visit. Of course, you can also warm up and refresh at the Glasfryn Parc Café or Bowling Centre Bar.
When visiting Glasfryn Parc, you pay per activity rather than the overall entrance. I’ve included a table of 2022 rates for popular activities in the table below.
|Clay Pigeon Shooting||Go-Karting||Archery||Fishing||Bowling||Aquapark||Wakeboarding|
|Price per adult||30||15||8||10||7||30||25|
**It’s also worth bearing in mind that there are age restrictions on most activities, so visit their website to check specific restrictions on individual activities. Adults in families might wish to consider taking turns to watch the younger children in the Soft Play Centre and to enjoy non-child-friendly activities. **
Dwyfor Ranch and Rabbit Farm
Just as a quick disclaimer, this farm does breed dogs.
If you visit, be aware there are usually puppies to cuddle, and you’ll have to rely on serious willpower to walk away puppy-less! My Mum made me agree we would not be buying a puppy before visiting (she eventually caved in when I was ten).
Apart from pups, you’ll meet pygmy goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, alpacas, donkeys, ponies, pigs, budgies, and sheep. Adults can handle and hold animals to their hearts’ content, while children can do so under supervision.
Admission only costs £5 per adult and £4.50 per child. It doesn’t get much better for a cheap, animal-filled day out from Pwllheli! Allow at least half a day to visit Dwyfor Ranch and Rabbit Farm and try to coincide a visit with good weather.
What’s the weather like in Pwllheli?
The weather in Pwllheli is breezy and cool.
Winters are long, cold, and wet, while Summers are shorter but mild. Between June and September, the temperatures average at 16 degrees Celsius, reaching up to 20 degrees sporadically.
What’s the best thing to do when it’s raining in Pwllheli?
The best thing to do when it’s raining in Pwllheli is to visit the Pwllheli Leisure Centre.
What are the best things for couples to do in Pwllheli?
The best thing to do for couples in Pwllheli is to picnic on the beach. Alternatively, head to Portmeirion for a romantic, Italianate atmosphere.
What are the best things for families to do in Pwllheli?
The best things for families to do in Pwllheli are Dwyfor Ranch and Rabbit Farm and the Glasfryn Centre.
What are the tide times in Pwllheli?
Check tide times in Pwllheli here.
Pwllheli is definitely a soft spot of mine, but I love the entire surrounding coastline. Consider coinciding a visit to Pwllheli with Portmeirion, Criccieth, Snowdonia, or Bangor. You can also catch the ferry to Northern Ireland from Holyhead, just an hour’s drive North of Pwllheli.
Got any extra recommendations for things to do in Pwllheli? Drop suggestions in the comments below.