Tuesday, 27 Feb 2024

UK’s oasis beach with £1 fee to step onto, dazzling dolphins and baby jellyfish

A stunning UK beach almost forgotten in time has been rediscovered by holidaymakers.

Porth Iago, on the north-west side of the Llŷn Peninsula in Gwynedd, Wales, is one of the nation's best-kept secrets and, as well as clued-in tourists, welcomes incredible wildlife including pods of dolphins and baby jellyfish, North Wales Live reports.

The reviews speak for themselves – one tourist called the hotspot their "little utopia" and added: "With no hint of hyperbole, this little sandy cove with crystal clear water is one of the best beaches In the world in my opinion."

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Another chimed in: "I had the experience of the best sunset ever from this location. This camping trip will be in my top 10 favourites ever."

Meanwhile a couple who visited last summer added: "In this bay alone we saw sand eel, wrasse, crabs, baby jellyfish fish and small whiting. The next day we were spoilt by a display of dolphins."

While it may not be the country's best-known beach, Porth Iago's popularity is nothing new – in the 1970s visitors flocked to the beach to stay at its sprawling 30-acre campsite.

Visitors stopped coming almost entirely after the death of a member of the Ty Mawr farming family that owns the surrounding land.

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But its stunning vistas have continued to attract the more dedicated of visitors throughout the years and camping eventually returned, with the site back up and running with eight acres of land.

Now campers come for the jaw-dropping sunsets and a chance to see the Northern Lights, while day visitors can park for just £5 and explore the scenery.

Passing walkers on the Wales Coast Path need only pay £1.

Porth Iago has become so popular the entire 2023 camping season was sold out before the last one even ended.

And it's not just newcomers coming to stay – some regulars have been coming for decades. The oldest, a 94-year-old great-grandmother, first visited with her parents not long after the campsite first opened in 1934.

Now she comes back every year for eight weeks of the summer with three generations of the family in tow.

"Others have been returning here for 50 or 60 years," said site manager Chris. "A lady teacher comes every school holiday and some retired people come for a few days almost every week."

New visitors should be warned beach doesn't have any facilities, but the campsite's toilet and shower block has just been refurbished, while a burger van sells bacon baps, ice cream and even pizza to weary travellers and hikers.

Drivers can access the campsite through a private drive that passes through Ty Mawr farmyard.

The beach is dog-friendly but owners are asked to keep their pooches inside their vehicles when driving through the farmyard.

Porth Iago's new-found popularity has been a pleasant surprise but has also presented its own challenges, according to Chris.

"People have begun coming in coaches but we’re not a big site and there’s no way we can allow that," he said.

"Last summer a coach party from Birmingham called to ask if they could come and we said that, unfortunately, they couldn’t. They came anyway, so we had to turn them back. They drove all the way back to Bimingham."

And despite the site's popularity, Chris has said there are no plans to expand the campsite.

"There are no shops in heaven," he said. "You can’t take your money with you."

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