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Jul 10 2016

Benllech

Benllech is on the north coast of Anglesey, about an hour and a half drive from our home in Chester. This is a bit embarrassing because it means our holiday home has tourists leaflets for excursions to our actual home!

We’re staying at Tinker’s Patch, a seventies bungalow in an estate just 5 minutes walk from Benllech Sands. It’s a very short drive from the main road with straightforward parking. We can see the sea from the living room window. Benllech is nondescript but has a good selection of mini-supermarkets and a rather good chip shop with a spectacular view over the bay. The Sands are great, at high water they just about disappear and at low tide a great expanse of sand is exposed. There are a smattering a rocky bits and at the top of the beach some nicely stratified limestone cliffs. We made a daily trip to the beach, every afternoon. As usual our intuition about when high and low tides occur turns out to be completely wrong, important at Benllech since at high tide the sea comes up to the sea wall and at low tide there is several hundred metres of beach.

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Day 1 – Saturday

Our first full day of holiday and we visit Anglesey Sea Zoo which overlooks the Menai Straits. It’s not huge but it has plenty to entertain a small child and the cakes in the coffee shop turn out to be pretty much the best of the week.

The mainland across the Menai Straits, south from the Sea Zoo

Day 2 – Sunday

Beaumaris is a rather fine village, with the castle on one edge. It is an odd sort of a thing, it was never finished and has an air of never having been lived in but there are a fair number of walls to walk along and activities for children.

Beaumaris Castle

In town, the Redboat Gelato icecream parlour is rather fine, we had a nice coffee whilst Thomas had a huge icecream. They offer exotic fare such as cinnamon and white pepper and pear and gorgonzola icecreams. We plan to go back one afternoon because Mrs SomeBeans and I did not consider icecream a morning food. The village has a smart nautical feel with the fine Victoria Terrace looking out over the Menai Straits (designed by Joseph Hansom, of cab fame).

Victoria Terrace, Beaumaris

Day 3 – Monday

We saw Plas Newydd as we arrived from the mainland, looking over the Menai Straits. There are forested grounds with a long frontage on the Straits and a house to explore. The house is the summer home of an old family.

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Day 4 – Tuesday

A trip to Copper Mountain and Amlwch, a little north of us on the island. Copper Mountain is a brightly coloured lunar landscape which was once home to much mining activity (and has been for thousands of years). I have never seen such brightly coloured rocks before (and I’ve been to Utah). At the top of the mountain is the shell of a windmill which was used in conjunction with a steam engine towards the end of the mine’s life.

Copper Mountain, Amlwch

Amlwch is just down the road from the Copper Mountain. We saw three museums in the space of 100 yards. The Sail Loft at the harbourside is a cafe downstairs and has a maritime museum upstairs. On the quay is a tiny geological museum. It turns out Anglesey has rocks from pretty much every geological period mashed together. Finally, there is the Copper Mountain Heritage Centre.

Amlwch

Day 5 – Wednesday

To Caernarfon to see the castle today. It’s the most impressive castle I’ve visited, very big with its structure largely intact. There’s a warren of passageways to follow and stairs to climb.

Caernarfon Castle

We didn’t manage to do all of it even in two sessions, broken by a coffee and cake on the Castle Square.

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Day 6 – Thursday

Anglesey Sea Zoo again, it’s rainy and the cloud is low. The ticket from our visit on Saturday gets us in for free. In the afternoon the sun breaks through and we have a last trip to the beach with obligatory icecream.

Mrs SomeBeans recreated the cuttlefish in playdoh:

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