BOOK ANGLESEY HOTELS

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County Town: Llangefni
Population: 70,000
Area: 276 sqm - 714 km
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Anglesey

It's sad that far too many of those crossing the Menai Straits via the Britannia Bridge, or the older Menai Bridge, are dashing through the island to get to Holyhead and the ferries there, missing out on the huge range of attractions Anglesey has to offer.

First and foremost, Anglesey has about 125 miles of coastline, and though there are plenty of rocky areas where the sea is inaccessible, there are some fine beaches too, and plenty of interesting bays and coves like Trearddur, served by the fine Trearddur Bay Hotel. Those using the ferries should think about adding a day to their journey and using the hotel or one of the many B&Bs n the area, like Rhianfa in Bull Bay near Amlwch on the north coast, or perhaps staying in one of the Bodwina Chalets close to Holyhead docks.

But Anglesey is certainly worth far more than a stopover. The island has a wealth of history to explore: Beaumaris Castle is world famous, a massive structure guarding the entrance to the strategically vital Menai Straits. Less well known is the early Norman Aberlleiniog castle, currently being repaired. A rather humbler insight into the island's past can be had at the last thatched crofthouse cottage there, Swtan, and at Llynnon the only working windmill left in Wales, serving the craft bakery beside it, is a remnant of the time when Anglesey was the bread-basket of Wales.

The beaches may be Anglesey's biggest draw, but the interior of the island repays exploration, if only for the peace and quiet, commodities in ready supply at TreYsgawen Hall Country House Hotel built in Capel Coch in 1882. For those wanting self-catering, the National Trust has a lovely Georgian cottage on the north coast, Bryn Llywelyn, just outside the coastal village of Cemaes.

Beaumaris is the best known resort on the island, its streets a mixture of architecture from the middle ages through to Georgian and Victorian. Ye Olde Bulls Head Inn just down from the castle was once a coaching inn, and retains a historic ambience, though mixed with the modern in its excellent courtyard restaurant. From a century or so later The Bishopsgate House Hotel has all the elegance of the Georgian era, and the Bulkeley Hotel across the road from Ye Olde Bulls Head dates from just before Victoria's reign. The Bulkeley is just a step from the pier, where there is the world's best crabbing for kids, and for those with a taste for bigger catches there are several excellent boats for fishing trips in the sheltered Straits and bays along the east and north coasts.

It is hard to travel more than a few miles in Anglesey without finding a historic site or beautiful scenery, especially around the coastline: from South Stack, the imposing historic lighthouse at the extreme western tip of the island all the way round to Beaumaris on the eastern edge with its historic jail and courthouse. And whatever you do, don't forget the fishing tackle, though if you do there is plenty of high quality seafood available in Anglesey's restaurants.

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