Colwyn Bay – from award-winning gardens to quirky festivals

Situated on the northern coast of Wales, Colwyn Bay is a vibrant and picturesque seaside town with a variety of things to do and see. With a stunning beach, spectacular views, and plenty of activities overlooking the Irish Sea, Colwyn Bay is the perfect destination for a family holiday or a day trip.


Colwyn Bay has a long and fascinating history. Archaeological evidence suggests that the area has been inhabited since the Iron Age – when a fort was built there. In the 1st century, the area was home to several Roman settlements.

The town has been attracting visitors since the Victorian era. The area saw a period of rapid growth at this time – during the 19th century – largely due to the development of the town’s railway network. This allowed for the easy transportation of goods and people to and from the area, which helped fuel the growth of Colwyn Bay; the town was transformed from a small fishing village into a bustling settlement and tourist hotspot.

Discovering Colwyn Bay’s past

The Town Centre Heritage Walk is a great way to explore the fascinating architecture and intriguing monuments of the town, taking around three hours to complete. An easy-to-follow map details the points of historic interest around the town. You will discover little pockets of a bygone era, from hidden gardens to Colwyn Bay’s very first shop. Ornate shop fronts and gabled buildings tell tale of the town’s history. Romania House, built as a retreat for allied soldiers, is worth checking out for its impressive architecture.

Some of the history here cannot be seen, yet it is still very much prevalent. Colwyn Bay Hotel on Marine Road – which is now demolished – was the headquarters of the Ministry of Food’s chocolate section during WW2, playing its part in the war effort.


A big attraction of Colwyn Bay is its three-mile-long promenade, which runs along the coast and is paralleled by a similarly-sized stretch of sand. It is a great place to take a leisurely stroll, and if you’re feeling adventurous, you can follow the path to neighbouring Rhos-on-Sea. The seafront offers plenty of places to eat and a good selection of pubs and bars.

With a long stretch of golden sand, the beach is perfect for a day of sunbathing and swimming. It is also a popular spot for water sports, with many people taking advantage of the excellent conditions to enjoy activities such as surfing, windsurfing and stand-up paddleboarding. For those feeling a little less adventurous, beach games such as volleyball and cricket are also popular. The beach also treats you to stunning views of the Snowdonia National Park.

Porth Eirias – a new addition to the seafront

Porth Eirias is a newer development to Colwyn Bay’s ever-changing seafront. The centre offers a range of facilities, including a heated swimming pool, a spa, a gym, and some wonderful restaurants and cafes. It also has an amphitheatre that hosts regular events throughout the year.

Theatr Colwyn

If the amphitheatre sounds like a treat, Theatr Colwyn is also worth checking out. It is a theatre located in the centre of Colwyn Bay that hosts a range of performances, as well as regular film screenings in its now-modernised cinema. Theatr Colwyn opened in 1885 and is Wales’ oldest working theatre and cinema.

The award-winning parks of Colwyn Bay

Colwyn Bay is home to two of the most beautiful parks in the country.

Queens Gardens is situated in the centre of town and has won multiple prestigious awards, including a Wales in Bloom award for its floral displays and an RHS Gold Award by Britain in Bloom in 2018.

Eirias Park lies on the edge of town, a large 50-acre public park adjacent to Porth Eirias. The park provides an oasis of green in the heart of Colwyn Bay, with a range of activities for visitors of all ages. It boasts a boating lake, bowling green, playground and leisure centre. In addition, Stadiwm Zip World is located in the park and hosts rugby union matches and outdoor concerts. Visitors can picnic on the lush grass using the provided picnic tables, or take a break at one of the cafes in the park.

Walks in and around Colwyn Bay

For those looking to be more active, Colwyn Bay has the backdrop of beautiful countryside decorated with winding footpaths.

Bryn Euryn Walk

Bryn Euryn Walk is a circular walk through the stunning countryside overlooking Colwyn Bay. The walk, inside a nature reserve, offers spectacular views of the Carneddau Mountain range. At the highest point, hikers will be greeted with sweeping views of neighbouring Ireland in the distance, accompanied by sights along Llandudno Bay, as far as Rhyl, Blackpool, and beyond.

With its vast array of flora and fauna, the Bryn Euryn Walk is a must-visit for nature lovers of all ages.

Pwllycrochan Woods

Pwllycrochan Woods is an ancient woodland located on the outskirts of Colwyn Bay.
Four different circular walks allow visitors to explore the deciduous trees amongst more exotic species, such as sweet chestnut. Also a nature reserve, these woods are home to a wide range of flora and fauna, including rare species of birds and wildflowers. There are plenty of opportunities to observe the local wildlife, making it a worthwhile outing for nature lovers.

Welsh Mountain Zoo

Another worthwhile stop-off for wildlife lovers is the Welsh Mountain Zoo. The National Zoo of Wales, this family-run zoo opened its doors in 1963. As a conservation zoo, it teaches visitors the importance of conservation whilst being the home of many rare and endangered species, including snow leopards, red pandas, Sumatran tigers, chimpanzees and Californian sea lions.


In recent years, Colwyn Bay has become a hub for lively festivals and unique events. The popular Stadiwm Zip World has attracted talents as big as Sir Tom Jones and Paloma Faith.

For a more unique experience, try attending the Uke-a-Bay Ukulele event. It is the oldest ukulele festival in the world and attracts keen players from across seas, as far as the Netherlands or even Canada. Erik the (toy) Ring-Tailed Lemur is one of the founders and a mascot of the festival.

The Annual Forties Festival at Colwyn Bay is a much-anticipated event every April, where people flock to experience a unique blast from the past. During the festival, the area becomes immersed in the sights, sounds and atmosphere of the 1940s. Re-enactment groups line the streets in authentic WWII uniforms, vintage military vehicles can be seen and heard, and swing music fills the air. Whether you’re a fan of vintage fashion, history, or music, the Forties Festival offers a unique opportunity to take a step back in time and relive the 1940s.

With so many activities and events to choose from, there’s something for everyone in Colwyn Bay.

Cover image: Rejedef, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons