A Visitors Guide to Beaumaris Anglesey Wales
Beauty and History
A Small Town with Huge Character and History
Beaumaris or as the French named it when constructing the Castle “beaux-maraix” translated “beautiful marshes” sits majestically on the eastern entrance of the “tidal waterway” known as “the menai straits”. Originally located in the commote of “Dindaethwy” from its earliest origins Beaumaris was a Viking settlement, with the Town developing in 1295. This was when Edward 1st of England conquered Wales and commissioned the building of the Castle. It is believed to be the most perfect example of a concentric Castle, with the vast majority of it still standing today with only minor erosion here and there on the walls. With such a vast historical connection Beaumaris or in Welsh “Biwmaris” has plenty to offer everybody whatever age.
Visit the Courthouse built in 1614 it has many of its original features still there today, or St Mary’s parish church dating back to the 14th century, and the Tudor Rose 14th century original timber framed building, this being one of the oldest houses still standing in the UK today. Then there is “The Bulls Head Inn” a stunning place for a meal and a drink, or to stay over for a night or two, it was constructed in 1472 and all of its features are still there today. It is said that during the “Siege of Beaumaris” while the second English Civil War was on in 1648 “General Thomas Mytton” made “The Bulls Head Inn” his headquarters, at the time it was considered to be a bad thing. Today though it is an excellent claim to fame as it is easy to date and give the building a genuine age. West of the centre of town there is rolling countryside with one road running up hill, and it is quite steep to, this is called “Red Hill”, named for the blood that was spilled during the Siege of Beaumaris. We Welsh speakers who have lived on Anglesey all our lives had many names for it primarily “Allt y Lein”, “Line Hill” short for Rail Line Hill, as halfway up the hill there is Railway Line running just a single track line, used to carry timber, coal and a variety of goods in the past. You can walk along the line these days and you can go for miles without interruption. The “Gaol” or “The Old Jail” still standing today and everything intact, this building has witnessed many tragedies, and sad memories over its life time. “Most Haunted” the TV programme has been there filming, looking for spirits and ghosts, and throughout my upbringing in primary school we were always lead to believe the “The Gaol” was haunted. The last person to be executed there was in 1862, Richard Williams was executed for the murder of his father in law. He protested his innocence and cursed the clock in the church tower opposite, and up to this day the clock will not keep an accurate time, now that is a haunting thought.
Attractions for Everyone
Beaumaris Pier is another attraction not the biggest granted but well worth a visit, built and completed in 1846 it has a stone jetty built on wooden and concrete pilings. In 1872 a huge storm severely damaged the pier and after extensive consultation the decision was taken to rebuild it from new. Frederick Foster designed the original and he was approached again for the rebuild, but this time the pier was to be extended to an overall length of 170 metres (570 feet). At the far end a large pavilion was constructed for entertainment, including a café and one or two amusements to try and pull in more holiday makers in the day. To the North of Beaumaris sits “Henllys Hall” a fine example of Victorian and Georgian Mansion standing in acres of mature parkland, in a stunning location with far reaching views over the Menai Straits and onto “The Snowdonia” mountain range. Today it boasts an 18 hole 71 par golf course, with all the amenities of a top class club, with natural streams and ponds, and bunkers which make for a testing challenge for all levels of players.
If you are based in Beaumaris for a few days, an excellent place to visit is Penmon, situated about 3 miles to the East of Beaumaris, a Promontory village and an Ecclesiastical Parish, it is believed that a historic monastery stood here alongside a 12th century church. Situated right next to the church is a well where visitors through in coins in the hope their wish will come. The structures that remain, some would say they are the oldest remaining Christian Building in Wales, and maybe even the UK, but all this is open to debate. As this area is known as Penmon (Welsh), English (Anglesey’s Tip), history has it that some sort of Monastic Community lived here dating from the 6th Century AD, with a monastery and township which was founded by St Seiriol. Then the Vikings came and destroyed nearly everything and everyone that stood in their way, still remaining today are the two Crosses and the decorated Font. Over the coming years and centuries these distinguished buildings were either demolished, or suffered heavy damage during various uprisings and conflicts, but they were rebuilt into newer modern versions. In 1538 after the conquest of Wales by King Edward they were dissolved and ownership was transferred to the Bulkeley family of Beaumaris, and ironically they are still used today and open to the public. Furthermore the Bulkeley’s used the majority of the land as a “Deer Park” and positioned in a central location next to the church and well they constructed an elaborate and flamboyant “Dovecot”, this is a stunning building and in fantastic condition.
And a visit to Penmon and its Priory, Church and Well would not be complete unless you visited “Puffin Island” so called for its huge population of Puffins, and in much smaller numbers the Guillemots. Although the vast majority of birds have disappeared by today “Puffin Island” is still a huge attraction to visitors. Standing on top of the island is a 12th century church’s tower, which in later years was converted into a lighthouse, this boasting staggering views all the way across to the “Great Orme” at Landudno.
Browse at Your Leisure Shops,Cafe's & Hotels
When visiting anywhere a good place to eat is a must, Beaumaris and its surrounding areas will not disappoint, there are a variety of places to eat and drink, from tea rooms to ice cream parlours, traditional fish and chips to a la carte fine dining. For a quick bite to eat, Beau’s Tea Rooms situated on the high street next door to the oldest timber framed house in the UK, inside is small with low ceilings full to the brim with character. The food is excellent, with morning teas and coffee, lunches hot and cold and afternoon teas, you will not be disappointed. Sarah’s Delicatessen and Tea Rooms serves all that you would expect with hot and cold food served daily, one bonus here they have an excellent cold food counter, from cold meats and cheeses to fish olives and salads, and everything sourced locally. Moo Baa Oinc is a café and butchery run by a husband and wife team, who are putting their own home-reared organic beef and lamb on the menu, and sell in their butchery. As they specialise in organic all their products are Local Artisan produce and people come from miles around to sample the food, that is some statement. Or go for a “Fish Supper” the good old “Fish and Chips” and this is served at “Neptunes” where they serve excellent fish and chips throughout the whole day for you to eat out or eat in. And inside there is a small piece of wall all original dating back to the 12th century. And if it is a warm, hot day and you have had a few hours window shopping then something cool is required, the place to go “Red Boat”. Created and opened in 2009 it has an abundance of choices from vanilla to raspberry ripple, chocolate to mint and even a gin and tonic sorbet, if that is not enough how about a Lavender ice cream, simply quite sublime. After being in Italy studying at Carpigiani University the ice creams here are Italian style and are staggeringly good, simply the best.
If it is more upmarket you are looking for when choosing somewhere to eat then a good place to start would be “Ye Old Bulls Head Inn”, history character and excellent food what more could anyone want. The “Bulkeley Hotel” a 4star Hotel, central position with huge pillars right on the main street a commanding sight, with parking at the rear. This Hotel has plenty of room and caters for everyone, families with children to couples. It has lounges with leather sofas and chairs for tea or coffee, light lunches to afternoon teas and “a la carte” in the restaurant and rest assured the food is fantastic. “Liverpool Arms” and “Bishopsgate House” both are an excellent choice to eat serving quality locally sourced food at all times, and a stunning choice of beers, draught and bottled. All the above are an excellent choice for spending a few nights or more, with good quality rooms with en suite facilities being spacious and extremely comfortable. And another good sign that they are popular is, you should call to make a reservation even if you are only going for a meal, as they can be fully booked more often than none.
Beaumaris a historic Welsh town in a scenic position on the shore of probably one of the most beautiful rivers or “tidal waterway” in the country, though ferocious at times with cross tides and whirlpools, its beauty simply cannot be mistaken. Come and visit, experience the history for yourself see the beauty that is here, what we all who live here take for granted it deserves to be celebrated, appreciated and maybe applauded even, do not keep away, come and visit in your thousands you are more than welcome.