This section of coastline borders the northern Welsh counties of Conwy, Denbighshire and Flintshire; its western edge is rather close to Bangor, while its eastern extent is near the English cathedral city of Chester. Like much of the Welsh coastline, it is characterised with beautiful scenery, including rugged cliffs and sandy beaches. However, it is also fairly populated, with several popular seaside towns scattered along this coastal stretch.
The coastline from the Gwynedd/Conwy border, through to the River Conwy, is characterised by the steep and craggy hills of Snowdonia National Park, which loom just to the south of the coastline. Where two large hills meet the coastline, large cliff sections overlook the Irish Sea – the west of these is named Penmaenmawr, whereas the eastern one is named Penmaenbach. Penmaenmawr is the largest of these – it is famous for its vast quarry, where large amounts of granite have been mined from the hill since 1830.
A local town, also named Penmaenmawr, sits in between the two hills, and contains a shingle beach which exposes sand flats during periods of low tide. The A55 road divides the beach and the town – unfortunately, the original Edwardian promenade was demolished to construct four lanes of traffic, in order to link North Wales and the Anglesey port of Holyhead with England. The road also winds its way dramatically through each of the two cliff sections in a series of tunnels, before crossing underneath the River Conwy.
The historic town of Conwy sits on the western side of the Conwy River, an estuary that extends inland from the Irish Sea for around 8 km (5 miles). With its Medieval Castle and walled town centre, Conwy is a beautiful and historic Welsh town that no visitor to the area should miss. The castle was built between 1283 and 1287 – with 8 large towers, this is arguably one of the most impressive Medieval castles in Britain . With Plas Mawr, a 16th Century town house, as well as many independent shops and restaurants, the town centre also contains many attractions to visit. Britain’s smallest house – named Quay House – sits on the quayside, with the back of the house leaning against the town wall .
On the east side of the estuary, the coastline moves in a northwards direction for a time, passing golf courses and sandy beaches until it reaches a large headland – Great Orme’s Head. At over 200 metres (650 feet) high, this rugged limestone headland towers above the Irish Sea on its western, northern and eastern sides, and above the seaside town of Llandudno on its southern side. A popular destination with visitors, both a tramway opened in 1902, and a cable car built in 1969, connect Llandudno with the summit of Great Orme’s Head .
The town of Llandudno is one of several popular seaside resort towns that exist along the North Wales coast. With a sandy beach that arches around Ormes Bay, a quaint Victorian promenade, a long pleasure pier, and numerous hotels, restaurants and pubs, Llandudno is a bustling tourist destination . The beach curves around for around 3 km (2 miles), ending at another headland – Little Ormes Head. Although this is markedly smaller than Great Ormes Head, it is a significant landform that towers above the surrounding landscape.
The town of Rhos-on-Sea is the next large seaside resort along the coastline; sitting on another bay, the town is also bordered by a sandy beach that extends outwards during low tide, the banks flanked by a long promenade. The promenade continues to Colwyn Bay, although unfortunately the A55 road borders the coastline, cutting this town, as well as the villages of Old Colwyn and Llanddulas, off from the seaside. At Pensarn, the A55 leaves the coastline, and a degree of tranquillity returns to the coastal landscape.
Between Pensarn and Prestatyn, several coastal resort towns border the seaside, each one of them flanked by large holiday parks and caravan sites that are packed with tourists during the holiday season. They exist mainly due to the close proximity of this region to highly-populated cities within North West England, as well as the abundance of low-lying land and a long line of sandy beaches, that expand from Pensarn through to the Point of Ayr. This stretch of coastline also borders three counties – Conwy to the west, Denbighshire in the centre, and Flintshire to the east. The largest of these towns is Rhyl – with many attractions including a fun fair, many amusement arcades, a skate park and numerous pubs and restaurants along the promenade. An aquarium and a miniature railway are also located in the town .
East of the holiday town of Prestatyn, a row of sand dunes stretches to the east, gradually growing in size towards a small promontory named the Point of Ayr. Marked by a small white lighthouse, The Point of Ayr is not a headland promontory, however, but instead is a 300 metre (1,000 foot) sandy spit that marks the border between the Irish Sea to the west and the River Dee estuary to the south-east.
The coastline between the Point of Ayr and the England/Wales border runs along the south-western side of the Dee estuary. Unlike the rest of the coastline in this article, this stretch of coast consists of extensive sand and mudflats that emerge at low tide, whereas the land bordering the Dee consists of a strip of flat land backed by hills. As well as the small towns of Holywell and Flint, pockets of industry are sprinkled intermittently along the Dee estuary, including the Port of Mostyn, and various warehouses located within light industrial estates. As the estuary nears the England/Wales border, it narrows significantly, with the border lying around 2km (1.5 miles) to the north of the River Dee. The England/Wales border intercepts the coastline in the middle of a remote marshland, situated 15 km (9 miles) to the north-west of the English cathedral city of Chester.