As you may all be well aware from my Instagram, I spend a LOT of time beachside. Though I call a little part of Cheshire my home at the moment, there will always be an invisible string pulling me back to the little seaside village that I was lucky enough to grow up in, and now that summer is well and truly upon us, I can’t help but come running back home to drink up the salty sea air and top up on the barely-there freckles dusted on my cheeks.
I moved from home for the first time when I went away to Uni in Chester to study English. As that was my first time ever away from home (and I’m a real homebird), there were tears - an embarrassing amount. Safe to say, I got used to city living after a couple of weeks, and though I loved student life, I still found myself packing up my car on Friday nights with a craving for the coast.
Once Uni ended and I was welcomed into the frightening arms of unemployed life, I retreated back home, got myself a retail job whilst I pondered what to do with my life. I spent the last six months of my graduation year in a village where walking barefoot or in sand-drenched sandals is the norm (even when it’s raining), and the shop assistants spend their lunchtimes paddle-boarding before clocking on for their afternoon shift. It was and still is the epitome of easy living, akin to what I’d imagine little pockets of Sydney or Melbourne to be like, where energy levels remain steady and paced. It was my temporary haven.
At the beginning of 2012, I landed my first “real” job that made use of the degree that I had worked so hard for. Two years later, and yes, I still make that two-hour drive on the Welsh coast roads to my real home. It still isn’t a chore, and I love being able to come back to this retreat whenever I want to.
And now that the nostalgic look back is over, I want to share the best bits of my stomping grounds with you all - a top 5 combination of the best places to cram your chops, peruse pretty settings and top up your tan.
1. Ty Coch pub, Morfa Nefyn
This little gem was recently named the 3rd best beach bar…in the WORLD. So, a pub with an accolade of that size has got to be pretty good, right? YOU BET. Meander down past the Morfa Nefyn golf course, and you’ll find the Ty Coch pub nestled in front of a beautiful little beach, and overlooking some pretty awesome views. Grab a gin and tonic, Instagram the hell out of the breath-snatching surroundings, and smirk at the envious replies as you watch the world go by.
2. Porth Tocyn beach, Bwlchtocyn
I love every single strip of sand that I have ever come across on this peninsula, but I keep a handful of my favourites for the ultimate maxin’ and relaxin’ days. Having said that, I keep this one aside for lazy evening jaunts, and I’ve even been known to go for a run or two along this one, as the “groins” add a few jumps to the workout to get your heart pumping even more. If you walk and walk and walk, you’ll end up on Abersoch’s main beach too!
3. The Coconut Kitchen, Abersoch
By far, one of my favourite restaurants of all time. If you just so happen to be around the Welsh village, plump for this Thai eatery, which has a reputation for whipping up some of the best Thai food in the radius. I’m hooked on the Thai green chicken curry served with jasmine rice, and the chocolate and banana pudding to finish it all off. However, if the locally caught jumping seabass is on the specials menu, don’t even hesitate. Deeee-lish.
4. Portmeirion Village, Porthmadog
Venture a little outside of the Peninsula, and you might come across Portmeirion Village, a stunning, Italian-inspired hideaway that’s the stuff of Instagram dreams. I used to love coming here as a child for a summer day out with my grandparents, eating ice-cream after ice-cream, hiding in and amongst the candy-coloured buildings and venturing up towards the lighthouse. It’s also where the newly famous Festival Number 6 calls home, and I’m hoping to see the magical little space come alive when the festival comes around once more in September.
5. Manana restaurant, Abersoch
Any excuse for guacamole is a good excuse in my book. But forget tasteless and overpriced Chiquito’s. The place to chow down on a round of enchiladas and sip the best “Sex On The Beach” you’ve ever had in your life, is Manana. I’ve eaten more of their nachos and re-fried beans than I’d like to admit, and the atmosphere and super-friendly welcome from Chris and Gaz is one of the many reasons people come back again and again. The only gripe? You’ll need to start queuing for your dins from 6pm onwards. But trust me - so worth it.