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

Menai and Conwy Bay

The Menai Strait is the narrow tidal passage between Anglesey and the north-west edge of Wales. The south part is littered with sandbanks and you enter near HW.

Soon you reach Caernarfon on the east side, where Victoria Dock has snug pontoons. The channel narrows past the National Outdoor Centre and then Port Dinorwic Marina.

The most notorious stretch is the Swellies, between the Menai rail and road bridges, where the tide seethes over drying shoals.

03-Menai-Bridge-02You need HW slack here, but then you emerge into a simpler, more open expanse where the fairway hugs the Anglesey shore past Beaumaris, opposite miles of drying sands.

If this all sounds rather dramatic, these are fascinating waters once you know them. The best marina bases are in the Conwy River, seven miles east of the top end of Menai.

Conwy Quays Marina is on the west bank with Deganwy Quays opposite. The attractive river has beaches lining the entrance and an open golf course behind Conwy Quays.

03-Conwy-River-entranceFor cruising, the Isle of Man lies 50nm NNW. Holyhead harbour is 35nm away on the west side of Anglesey and from here it’s 55nm to Dun Laoghaire or Howth on the Irish coast.

Berthing: Port Dinorwic or Conwy Quays and Deganwy Quays Marinas

Getting there: Conwy is 70 miles west from M6 J20, while the train takes 3-4 hrs from Euston or 2-3 hrs from Birmingham.

Pilot book: Cruising Anglesey and Adjoining Waters by Ralph Morris

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