Top ten alternative British boating bases

Look beyond the typical South coast boating bases and there are plenty of welcoming harbours that offer some delightful experiences

Lleyn Peninsula

When we lived in Wales, I enjoyed exploring this little-known corner of Caernarfonshire and Merioneth, where the Snowdonia Mountains make a dramatic backdrop to Cardigan Bay.

The Lleyn Peninsula sticks out like a nose, with holiday beaches along its inner shore and rugged Bardsey Island off its tip.

Pwllheli is a traditional Welsh resort with a comfy marina inside a low promontory which keeps out any weather.

02-Pwllheli-marina-02Hafan Pwllheli is a restful berth and far-flung even by Welsh standards. You can’t help feeling at ease here and the pontoons have an open outlook across the harbour.

The Lleyn encloses glorious Tremadog Bay, perfect for day cruising. South of Pwllheli the coast curves down to St Tudwal’s Roads, a beautiful anchorage off a golden beach inside two small islands.

Eight miles east of Pwllheli is the shallow estuary at Porthmadog. In quiet weather you can enter near HW and follow the buoyed channel up to Greaves Wharf.

02-Pwllheli-coastlineAcross the bay is the extraordinary Italianate village of Portmeirion, designed by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis in the 1920s.

Barmouth is another fair-weather harbour, a dozen miles south of Porthmadog, though you have to avoid a narrow drying spit called St Patrick’s Causeway, which juts ten miles offshore.

Berthing: Hafan Pwllheli

Getting there: Pwllheli is 120 miles west from M6 J20 via M56 and N Wales expressway. The fastest trains take 5-6 hours from London Euston.

Pilot book: Best up-to-date reference is Reeds Nautical Almanac 2016 

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