dinsdag 11 juli 2017

Postcard from Aberystwyth

While the heatwave continued with warnings of thunderstorms to come, we kept seeking refreshment at the seaside.

On Tuesday, our journey took us 40 miles north to Aberystwyth, which is Ceredigion's biggest town, on what would be our first visit to the town when it wasn't raining.

The popular seaside resort, to which tourists have been flocking since the late 18th century, is locally known as "Aber" and doubles as a cosmopolitan university town. It also has a large Welsh-speaking population.


As parking can be a nightmare, we opted for Park and Ride ... only to find that the service had been suspended: Park and Walk, it was to be then!



I was wearing my blue polka dot King Louie dress, which I accessorized with a red belt, a red flower corsage and white beads. Oh, and my hat, customized with a flowery hair band.

Instead of heading straight for the busy main part of the Promenade, we walked south to the Castle Grounds overlooking the harbour and South beach, where we found a bench in the shade to eat the picnic we'd brought. Aren't we terrible cheapskates?



Along the way, we passed and went into several charity shops, but it wasn't the weather for shopping, and the air inside most of the shops was stifling.

I did buy some comfortable looking red shoes called "Cloudsteppers" from Clarks, who had a 50% sale, which I changed into while sat on our picnic bench.

Aberystwyth's castle was begun in 1277, but by 1561, the building had fallen into ruin.



The grounds now include a magnificent war memorial, commissioned from Italy in 1919.



We now had the whole of Aberystwyth's gracefully sweeping northern seafront in front of us.

Savouring the salty sea air, and fortified by a delightfully cool sea breeze, we started walking the promenade's length unhurriedly, reapplying sun cream along the way.



Soon we passed a curved Victorian seafront shelter, with ornately decorated cast iron pillars, which was perfect for some silly poses!



A seafront landmark, the Old College was originally built as a hotel in the 1864, which unfortunately failed after barely one season, after which it was purchased by the founders of the recently established university college.



Although Aberystwyth University is now mainly based on the hillside Penglais campus, the ornate, Gothic-style, Grade 1 listed building still houses a few university activities.



And what a glorious building it is with its conical spires, castellated towers and gargoyles.



The busiest section of the seafront is Marine Terrace, which is home to the irresistibly tacky Royal Pier.



Constructed in 1864, this soon became a popular attraction. Long since reduced from its original 242 metres in length to barely 90, the pier houses the usual bars and nightclubs, an ice cream parlour and, of course, the obiquitous amusement arcade.

A little further on, there's this appealing seafront shelter, which was restored after being heavily damaged by the storms of 2013. The shelter, which featured in no less than three Hinterland episodes, was empty, so I quickly took a snap. Only seconds after clicking the shutter, some people came and sat down in it.



Not far from here, in a street leading off the Promenade, is the building masquerading as Aberystwyth's police station in Hinterland, but it was obscured by scaffolding, so that I couldn't take a proper photo.

The seafront ends at Constitution Hill, which was our destination. While there's a footpath up the hill, there was no way we are going to take it in this heat, especially as there is the famous Aberystwyth Cliff Railway to be experienced.



It is the longest funicular electric cliff railway in Britain, and has been transporting visitors to the summit since opening in 1896.

While being hauled up at the slow but steady pace of 4 miles an hour, Aberystwyth's Promenade and its landmarks which we'd passed just moments ago, quickly got smaller and smaller, looking like a Lilliput version of itself.



Reaching the summit reveals an amazing panorama which on a clear day extends as far as the Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire to the south, while the whole expanse of Cardigan Bay opens out to the west and to the north the mountains of Snowdonia can also be seen.



There is a cafe at the summit, originally called Y Consti, which also features in an episode of Hinterland, as well as the famous Camera Obscura, a recreation of the Victorian original. We have yet to visit it, as on our first visit, in May 2012, it was closed, while now it turned out to be out of order!

Back on ground level, we retraced our steps to Marine Terrace where, inside the old Coliseum Theatre adjacent to the Tourist Information Office, is one of the most interesting local museums we've ever had the pleasure to visit.



The Ceredigion Museum showcases the history of Aberystwyth and the county of Ceredigion, and the displays chronicle life in the county from prehistoric times to today. There is a wide variety of objects on show, many of which were donated by the public, covering all sorts of topics including home and work life, agriculture and seafaring.

We spent a happy few hours there back in 2012, on a miserable rainy day and, although it is now under refurbishment, we couldn't resist popping in. I was quite taken with an example of the predecessor of our Goblin Teasmade!



After browsing the small but well stocked museum shop, we came away with several books, while in a small pop up charity shop a couple of doors away, I snapped up these vintage Charles Jourdan shoes for £ 5. Although they're my size, I'm not sure I'll ever wear them, but they were too good to resist.

Then it was back to our car and our cottage to wind down from yet another day well spent and make plans for the next one.


27 opmerkingen:

  1. Oh, you must wear those shoes-the charity shops gods sent them, it would be rude not to!

    Living in the US I'm always struck by mention of buildings from the 1200's. I live in a house built in 1968 and it is considered, "Old" by local standards!

    Lovely photographs, and I always learn something interesting from your posts-though I had to look up, "Funicular."

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. Oh, I will wear the shoes, if only for a future outfit post! Well, "funicular" isn't a word one uses every day, is it? xxx

      Verwijderen
  2. gorgeous trip!!
    this town with the complicated name ;-) is a perfect location to discover on a lazy holiday day! cool old buildings, stunning landscape, museums and this fun cliff railroad car.....
    your look is very "sea side" - red blue white and that sweet straw hat - with flowers - no less! glorious! and jos too in his colorful shirt and dapper hat!
    interesting books and the shoes are great - but have a huge granny appeal - they need a very cool dress to go with :-)
    did the red "cloudstepper" shoes well??
    hugses! xxxxxx

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. Thank you, Beate. There are much more complicated Welsh place names: what about Eglwyswrw! I agree on the shoes having a bit of a granny appeal but, you know, Charles Jourdan! Still thinking what to wear them with! xxx

      Verwijderen
  3. It looks lovely. They don't build universities like that anymore - mores the pity!
    I would've taken the railway too, that's a mighty walk if not, and it was such a hot day. The views are amazing. I forget that we really do have some amazing and beautiful places in the UK

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. It's fun taking the cliff railway, which is kind of an adventure in itself. We do have some beautiful places in Belgium too, which I forget as well, but nothing like the UK, believe me! xxx

      Verwijderen
  4. What a splendid view at the top of the funicular railway. (Have you been on the one at Hastings?) The spectacular gothic style University doesn't really look like a hotel does it? I can understand why it failed. The museum looks like a brilliant place to while away an hour...£5 for Charles Jourdan shoes! You must wear them. xx

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. I haven't been to Hastings yet, Fiona *hangs had in shame* but I've been on one other funicular railway, the one between Lynmouth and Lynton in Exmoor. The museum is brilliant indeed, and what's more, it's absolutely free! xxx

      Verwijderen
    2. Oh yes, I went on the L & L one when I was a child...I'd totally forgotten about it.
      Hastings has a bad rep for being slightly run down, but I like it. Old Town is lovely.

      Verwijderen
  5. The Welsh Tourist Board really ought to snap you up, your photos are gorgeous. Several of my friends went to university in Aber but I've never been - I want to now!
    Your King Louis dress looks wonderful with the red accessories. xxxx

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. Thank you Vix! Aber is well worth visiting, but it looked 100% better in the sunshine than it did in the rain. Make sure you pick to right time for your visit! xxx

      Verwijderen
  6. I love the photos in the seafront shelter. It looks like you're having fun and the dress you're wearing is perfect for the occasion.
    Like you I love a good picnic, especially on a glorious day like you had for your trip to Aberystwyth.
    I've only ever driven through and been to the supermarket but your photos have made me realise I've missed a treat.xxx

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. I'm a big picnic fan, we even have car picnics when it rains! You should really drive down to Aberystwyth when you're in Newquay. If you park at the old P&R car park, which is cheap, it's only a 10 minute walk ... xxx

      Verwijderen
  7. I like posts about cities. It's a way to know more about other countries. Aberystwythe looks nice and your blue polkadot dress is very nice!
    We are having high temperatures here too. Enjoy refreshment at the seaside...

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. Thank you Dan! Unfortunately the nice weather didn't last very long. Now that we are back in Belgium, the weather's been hitting the high twenties again ... xxx

      Verwijderen
  8. You have taken marvellous photos Ann and I'm learning a lot about this area of Wales which I know very little about. The shoes are fabulous - do wear them! The books look very interesting too...xx

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. Thank you Veronica! I'm already planning what to wear the shoes with, if only for an outfit post ... I always buy lots of books while on holiday, most of them in the charity shops, of course! xxx

      Verwijderen
  9. Aber was where we'd go from Lampeter if we got stir-crazy out in the country and wanted 'proper' shops and Burger King! It is a lovely town. It's good to see they've repaired things from the storm, the town took a right battering.

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. I can imagine one going stir-crazy in Lampeter, lovely town though it is. Fortunately you were able to escape to lovely Aber now and again! xxx

      Verwijderen
  10. What a shame about the weather.

    Did your new shoes really feel like clouds? If so, I need some!

    bisous
    Suzanne

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. The shoes need some more testing to be 100% sure, Suzanne. I already had a blister from walking the day before, so they did rub a bit in that place ... xxx

      Verwijderen
  11. I enjoyed looking at your sites Ann. I hope you do wear the shoes. I think they will go with many of your goegeous vintage dresses. xx
    www.vanityandmestyle.com

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. Thank you, Laurie. I am planning an outfit post with the shoes very soon ... xxx

      Verwijderen
  12. I love a picnic with big doorstep sandwich made with homemade bread and some sort of lovely filling then wrapped in grease proof paper and wrapped in string. I take an apple and some cheese and a flask of tea. All packed in my wicker basket with a favourite book and off we go.
    You've had such an adventure around Aber and I like how your frock perfectly matched the blue pillars.
    I've got the Jean Shrimpton book. It's one I picked up at the Fashion on the Ration exhibition at the imperial war museum in Manchester earlier this year.
    Lynn xxx

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. You've made me feel quite hungry now with your description of your delicious picnic! How lucky I picked the blue dress to wear, or I would have clashed with the blue pillars ;-) xxx

      Verwijderen
  13. I just love seaside towns and a good pier is always worth a visit, be it tacky or not! That building is absolutely gorgeous! Love those shoes too xxx

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen
    Reacties
    1. I love a good pier too, Melanie. I have a book on British Piers, which I've had for years. We've only got one here in Belgium, but then again, we do not have much of a coastline ... xxx

      Verwijderen