What to do in Cardigan
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Things to do in Cardigan
There are some very unique family attractions that particularly stand out in the Cardigan area. The Felinwynt Rainforest Centre presents the amazing atmosphere of a mini rainforest, complete with an Amazonian soundtrack, and is home to exotic plants, tropical butterflies, leafcutter ants, pools with fish and even waterfalls. The Internal Fire Museum is another unusual museum with its collection of early oil engines and gas turbines. The emphasis is on the fascinating growth of diesel power from the 1920s to the 1960s. Engines run seven days a week during summer months. It's very much a journey through history, with the sights, sounds and smells of how it used to be.
The 40 plus miles of Cardigan Bay Heritage Coastline offers not only outstanding beauty, but an environmental quality that is the envy of many sea areas not just in the UK, but throughout the world. Here the visitor will find incredible award-wining beaches and plenty of sandy coves to visit. Whether you want a quiet picnic by the sea, or to engage in one of the many water sports available, you will find the perfect beach or cove.
Just west of New Quay is Cwmtydu, a former smugglers' cove. Although sandy at low tide, it is predominantly shingle, but attracts sailing, surfing, canoeing and windsurfing. It is also unusual in that the four-legged member of the family is welcome throughout the year. You can also do a spot of seal and dolphin spotting.
Named after the River Saith that spectacularly cascades over the cliffs onto the sand - and for which it is alone worth a visit for - Tresaith Beach, 2 miles north of Aberporth, is a small sandy beach with beautiful golden sands offering the perfect visit for families. The waters are safe and there is a lifeguard in attendance during the bathing season.
Mwnt Beach, owned by the National Trust, is unusual for having Green Coast status, where the water quality is acknowledged along with a recognised lack of inappropriate commercial development spoiling the natural beauty and upsetting or destroying the wildlife. Unusually, it also has a 15th Century church and wonderful cliff top walks. However, the downside for visiting this haven is the fairly long steep slope to the beach that includes steps, so if you have a ton of beach equipment with you, this may not be the beach for you.
Some ten miles south of New Quay is Aberporth Beach, complete with Blue Flag Award and exceptionally clean waters. This is a popular beach (there are actually two beaches) for bathers and sailors alike and there is a small and extremely safe stream running onto the beach that is always a delight for the younger members of the family. Also, if you want to leave the car behind for the day and let someone else do the driving, you can catch the Newport to Cardigan bus which stops at the beach.
If it's caves and dramatic cliffs that interest you rather than sunning and swimming, then a trip to the beautiful Ceibwr Bay and Beach south of Newport is a must. It was the hideaway for Wynford Vaughan Thomas, who had a cottage overlooking the beach. Although rather pebbly and rocky, the sheltered beach is covered over at high tide.
Finally, and also worth a mention, is Poppit Sands, near Cardigan. This is an extraordinarily large, gently sloping, sandy beach, complete with sand dunes. Despite its popularity with families of all ages, you'll be hard-pressed to find it crowded, even on the most sunny of days. The tides and currents have to be watched carefully, and during the season there are lifeguards on duty. If you get a moment, do visit the lovely little RNLI shop beside the lifeboat station as a testament to the hard-working volunteer life savers off and in shore around the UK. Part of the beach is open to four-legged members of the family, and even in the heart of winter you'll often find the café there open.
Worth mentioning as a centre committed to the concept of access for all, regardless of their level of experience - residents, visitors, children aged eight and above and people with disability - is the purpose-built Cardigan Bay Watersports centre located in the centre of Cardigan Bay near . The facilities available are second to none, and include sailing dinghies, windsurfing, power boating, yacht cruising and kayaking to mention but some of the facilities available. And it makes no difference whether you are a complete beginner or a competing sportsperson brushing up their skills, there is a range of suitable equipment available as well as all sessions and courses being led by qualified instructors. Full safety cover is provided by qualified individuals for all water-based sessions. The centre is proud that all you need to bring is a towel, T-shirt, suitable water footwear, and of course, yourself.
As you venture inland, the majestic and quite deeply-wooded Teifi Valley is home to all manner of wildlife. The magnificent River Tefi, reckoned to be the best sea trout river in Europe, runs through it to the sea just below Cardigan. It is also famous in its own right for its geology, originating in the Teifi Pools, part of an area called the "Welsh Desert" as well as passing through the Tregaron Bog, one of the great raised mires of the UK. The valley itself has been inhabited since even before the Stone and Iron Ages, as testified to by the burial chambers and standing stones found there. It's also a great place for walking, horse-riding, dog-walking and picnicking.
For those who enjoy walking in the majestic Welsh outdoors, there are numerous walks via footpaths and established trails in the area. The avid walker will have a choice of the wooded valleys, historic trails, coastal paths and of course the beaches we have already mentioned.