I’d had Barmouth recommended to me by a Welshman, though to be honest the dominant accent there is Black Country, with faggots and Eccles cakes being sold by blokes in Wolves shirts to Baggies fans. In the sun, mind.
Away from the funfair, I thought it was a pretty wonderful seaside resort, with just enough character to go with the tat. Quirky shops and independent shops gave it a busy feel as far from St Ives or Southwold as you could wish for. Better fish & chips too.
The views over the estuary from the railway bridge were as good as my brochure (Visit Wales in ’94), but the steep walks up the Old Town to Dinas Oleu were my highlight. Luckily for some of our party the ice cream shop was at the bottom.
Over the bridge in Morfa Mawddach was the most peaceful countryside possible, reminiscent of Arnside and Silverdale. Few day-trippers made it this far, but I can see why you’d pop along the A483 to walk here rather than suffer the M6 to the Lakes.
All Barmouth needed was a good pub, and The Royal appealed even as the train pulled in. I would call it “pleasantly unmodernised”, which you can take as you wish. Another of those very basic hotel-pubs the Welsh do so well, but with some very attractive wood panelling to complement a family holiday feel.
Comparisons with the Kings Arms in Penryn sprang to mind, but this place would have been very much at home in Stockport. Rev James and Purple Moose (NBSS 3) in decent form for a lager pub.
Plenty of other pubs in town, including the intriguing looking (but early-closing) Myrddins, whose extraordinary sounding beer menu apparently comes in bottles.