Beaumaris is a captivating seaside town, with its mix of Mediaeval, Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian architecture. Its name is based on the Norman ‘beau marais’, meaning ‘fair marsh’, a description of the site chosen by Edward I for the last of his ‘iron ring’ of castles, constructed in his bid to control the Welsh. A ‘must’ is to take a walk through the town, starting with a stroll along the seafront, taking in the pier and the views over the Menai Strait and Snowdonia, and then continuing through the charming streets with their picturesque cottages, many painted in soft pastel colours.
Beaumaris Castle is a United Nations World Heritage Site and was constructed during1295 – 1330 to form perfectly symmetrical concentric lines of fortifications. There’s also a moat and a dock for access by supply ships. Nearby, in Church Street, stands the 14th Century Church of St Mary and St Nicholas, which houses the empty coffin of Princess Joan, wife of Prince Llywelyn Fawr and daughter of King John of England.
The location of her body remains a mystery but her effigy is carved into the coffin lid. On the corner of Church Street and Castle Street you will find Red Boat; a most interesting 15th Century building and an excellent place to stop for refreshment. There are two more very well preserved historic buildings – the Court House, constructed in 1614 and the Victorian Gaol in Steeple Street.
Beaumaris has lively cafes, pubs, restaurants and hotels, with good food to suit every taste, and some excellent shopping, marked by quality independent traders. The town also stages a major classical music event – the Beaumaris Festival – in early June.
A popular option is a two-hour cruise around Puffin Island, with a chance to see puffins, seals and other wildlife at close quarters. For a map of Beaumaris, see the link below.