Barmouth, a coastal town in Wales, has undergone a transformation with the emergence of smart hotels and upscale dining options, replacing its traditional attractions like donkey rides and amusement arcades. However, amidst these changes, the town’s greatest draws remain unchanged. The picturesque landscapes, including its expansive beaches, estuary with a remarkable railway bridge, and the majestic mountains in the background, continue to offer abundant opportunities for capturing stunning photographs.
“People in the south of England don’t know about Barmouth,” says Dominic Vacher, who relocated to the Welsh seaside town from Brighton in 2020.
Dominic, who opened a gallery on the High Street selling pictures of this western edge of Snowdonia National Park, told the Telegraph: “The light is ever-changing – it’s an extremely beautiful area.
“And there’s lots happening right now, including new hotels and restaurants opening.”
Barmouth’s transformation into a popular holiday resort began with its foundations in small ship-building and herring-fishing industries, but it truly took off with the introduction of the railway in 1867.
Visitors from the Midlands flock to the town on a picturesque coastal railway line that leads to the town across an impressive 820m-long wooden bridge, which, excitingly, is open to pedestrians and cyclists for a toll of £1.
In the past, another railway line ran alongside the estuary, bringing passengers from Chester.
Today, a delightful cycle-way and footpath along the River Mawddach from Dolgellau traces part of its route.
During the Victorian era, rowdy behavior from early visitors prompted the construction of a lock-up to confine lively drunks.
Even now, crowds descend upon Barmouth during the holiday season, mostly arriving by car and filling the vast car park while thronging the beach.
Traditional attractions such as donkey rides, amusement arcades, and vendors selling fish and chips and other goodies can be found in the picturesque town.
For years, indulging in traditional seaside fare has been a must for any visitor to Barmouth, and the town’s culinary reputation has been associated with uniquely named establishments.
Despite the loss of a letter from the Carousel cafe sign, it remains unchanged, while the Isis pizzeria stood firm against any negative connotations.
However, a sudden change is occurring, with new establishments emerging to offer alternatives to deep-fried carbohydrates and sugary treats.
“People come in and thank me for being here. They’re so happy to find healthy food,” says Ceri Jones, owner of Squeezee, a juice bar selling acai bowls, smoothies and toasted sourdough sandwiches, that opened in May last year.
Antonella Stacchiotti and chef partner Luke Crittenden recently launched their intimate eatery, Foxglove, a few months ago, having departed from their demanding lifestyles in London and the southeastern region.
Their culinary offerings consist of five-course tasting menus that highlight the utilization of foraged elements like pine cones and sea radish.