Mid Wales Town Tour by Rail - Day 5: Friday

Friday - The final day of the tour with more time to enjoy Aberystwyth before heading home.



If you didn’t take the Vale of Rheidol steam train yesterday, there is another opportunity to ride the line on the 10.30 this morning - this train runs on Fridays from 27 March to 30 October 2020. It returns to Aberystwyth at 13.30.

Fancy a walk along the prom? The round trip is about 2.5 miles and we will take in the pier, an historic university building, the castle, harbour and a trip on Aberystwyth’s Cliff Railway!

We will start at the pier - constructed in 1864 it was once 260 yards long; the current truncated version today houses a restaurant, bar and nightclub.

Facing the pier, turn left (south) and the next building was where University College Wales was established in 1872. An eclectic Neo-Gothic fantasy with conical spires, castellated towers, gargoyled parapets, and steep-pitched roofs like a French Renaissance chateau, this was built as a hotel with the coming of the railway. However, the developer went bankrupt and it was sold to a group intent on founding Wales’s first university. Although Aberystwyth University is mainly based now on the Penglais campus, this building still houses a few university activities. Prince Charles studied Welsh and Welsh History here in 1969 before his investiture. The south end wall of the building has a reminder of its origins - a railway locomotive is featured; walk up around the miniature golf course to view the other side of this impressive building. Just up from here is St Michael’s Church which was built in 1890.

A little further on are the remains of Aberystwyth Castle. In 1277, Edward I rebuilt and strengthened this castle after it was destroyed by the Welsh. Owain Glyndwr held the castle between 1404 and 1408 during his great uprising, but was finally forced to surrender it into the hands of Prince Harry (the future King Henry V of England). Parliamentarian troops razed the castle in 1647. In the centre of the ruins stands a bardic circle of stones to mark the National Eisteddfod in the town in 1916.

We continue past the Castle and the war memorial (built 1921-23) alongside South Beach to the harbour which was developed in the 1990s to include a new marina. In 1900, there were 213 ships registered here employing some 900 seamen and boys. Ships from Aberystwyth regularly travelled across the Atlantic or along the Welsh coast and to Cornwall where they traded slate for tin and lime.

We now return back to the pier and continue along the main part of the promenade - home to hotels, houses, student halls and North Beach - mostly shingle and dark sand; the bandstand survived the 2014 storms but a new building has now been constructed. Walk to the far end of the promenade to take a trip on the Aberystwyth Cliff Railway which opens at 10.00. It is traditional to ‘kick the bar’ (the railings at the end of the prom) although no one seems to know why this started many years ago! The entrance to the Cliff Railway is just up from here.

The Cliff Railway is the longest in Britain and has been transporting visitors to the summit of Constitution Hill since opening in 1896; on a clear day it is possible to see 26 mountain peaks spanning much of the length of Wales. Once at the summit you can experience the views afforded by the world’s largest camera obscura, which offers a bird’s eye view of 1000 square miles of land and seascape; there is also a café here.

All aboard for an unforgettable 12 mile journey from Aberystwyth to Devil's Bridge travelling up 700ft through some of Wales’ most spectacular scenery on a historic narrow-gauge steam railway.

Rail Route: Aberystwyth - Devil's Bridge

Park Avenue, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 1PG

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The Aberystwyth Electric Cliff Railway is the longest in Britain and the only one in Wales. Its 778 feet undulating track and tilted carriages are the unique work of Victorian engineer G. Croyden Marks.

Cliff Terrace, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 2DN

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Our itinerary will get you back to Shrewsbury at 17.19; if you need to return earlier, catch the 13.30 train from Aberystwyth station. All arrival times in the itinerary will be approximately two hours earlier.

Otherwise plenty of time for lunch!


A little more time in Aberystwyth, then collect your luggage and head back to the railway station and catch the 15.30 train for Shrewsbury and Birmingham International. There is a ticket office and waiting room on the station. The train will call at Borth at 15.44, Dovey Junction 15.54 and Machynlleth 16.02. We call at Caersws at 16.35, Newtown 16.42, Welshpool 16.56 and arrive at Shrewsbury at 17.20.


Stay on the train for Birmingham and London. We leave Shrewsbury at 17.33 and arrive at Telford 17.53, Wolverhampton 18.11, Birmingham New Street 18.31 and Birmingham International 18.49. Change at New Street for London Euston - arrive 20.55.

For Crewe and Manchester Piccadilly, the train leaves Shrewsbury at 17.53; arrives Crewe 18.28 and Manchester 19.13.

For Cardiff, take the 17.41 Milford Haven train; arrives Hereford 18.38, Abergavenny 19.01, Newport 19.29 and Cardiff 19.45.

We hope you have really enjoyed our Mid Wales Towns Tour and will be back soon for another Tour on either the Cambrian Coast Line or the Heart of Wales Line!



Other Itineraries

> Explore Mid Wales Days Out

> Heritage Railways

> Scenic Railway Day Trips

> Short Breaks by Train

> Short Breaks in Mid Wales

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