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I booked a holiday in Borth, without really knowing anything about the place. It looked pretty and we were booked into the Park Resorts site just minutes from the beach.
I'm happy to say that we had a great time there - although the fact that the weather was glorious the whole time, probably helped.
Borth is a small seaside town in Wales, about 15 minutes drive from Aberystwyth. When we first arrived I thought it was a bit of an odd looking town, with a mixture of 19th century fisherman's cottages backed up against 1960s council houses and some once grand Victorian terraces town houses that had clearly seen better days.
It's the kind of place that looks quaintly pretty when the sun shines but would probably look very grim in the rain and on a cold Winter's day.
There are only a handful of shops, most selling typical seaside fancy goods, buckets and spades etc. There is one decent supermarket, which although not huge (don't go expecting a massive Tesco or anything), has a good selection of products at reasonable prices.
The town is centred around the few shops that line the promenade, overlooking Cardigan Bay. Unfortunately, you can't walk the whole length of the promenade without having to walk part of the way single file down the narrow high street pavement, as some of the houses are built backing directly onto the beach, so block access to walkers .
The beach itself is better than I expected. Roughly the first 20 metres of the beach is made up of large stones and shingles, which are quite difficult to cross - but we managed it even with a 4 and 2 year old and a baby.
Once you've crossed the stones the sand is slightly gritty, but excellent for building! Our kids spent hours messing around in the sand and constructing bigger and better castles each day.
The water is beautifully clear and there were people swimming, paddling and even body boarding in the bay.
The tide doesn't go out too far, so even at low tide, you don't have to walk miles out to get to the sea
If you walk or drive slightly further down the beach from the town - about 200 metres or so, you will practically have your own private beach, with just the occasional person strolling past.
There is plenty of parking, both on street and several rough ground car parks - which are free of charge.
One end of the beach has great rock pools at low tide, we found plenty of crabs, fish, shellfish and things like that. Rockpooling kept our eldest kids entertained for hours.
Dogs are not allowed on the beach at Borth, although if you drive to the edge of town you can take them on the beach there.
There are a couple of bars and pubs (nothing wild though - it's just not that kind of town!). We ate out a couple of times at the Railway pub - the food was lovely and I'd thoroughly recommed it.
There are also several tea shops and a great Coffee place called Boulders where you'll get a decent Cappucino and some devilishly wicked cakes.
All the people we met in Borth were very friendly and clearly welcomed the tourist trade.
It's a town that would seriously benefit from an injection of cash - the prom and surrounding area could look beautiful if it was spruced up a bit and the views from Borth over Cardigan Bay are spectacular on a clear day.
We spent 2 weeks in Borth and had a brilliant family holiday. So good in fact, that we're planning to go back there next year.
I have had a few holidays in the seaside (just about) town of Borth, as my Dad used to own a static caravan down there.
The town of Borth is really quite small. There is not a huge amount there, and the beach is not particularly great, however for a short get away, it is pretty good.
The town of Borth basically has one main street, which is where most people park there cars, and if there is a lot of people around it can make it a bit tricky to drive down this road.
To my knowledge there are a couple of chip shops, a few pubs that do food, and a couple of very small shops that sell general items, milk bread etc. Beware though that nearly all of these facilities close at random points during the day and do not have the same opening times as towns and cities. They also have days when they are closed for that whole day, and it's very hard to predict, so I would recommend if you are staying there and planning on going out for food to check the serving and opening times of places, and make sure you have food wherever you are stopping as a back up in case these places aren't open.
They do have a market one day a week, which is on one of the pub car parks, which is ok to have a wander round.
There are a couple of really lovely antique shops in Borth that do sell really nice quality items, so they are worth looking at, but apart from that there aren't many shops, if you are looking to go shopping I would suggest Aberystwyth which is a short drive away.
There is an Animalarium in Borth which you will find leaflets for everywhere, but it's very expensive to get in and is very small, we drove up to it and then drove off as it looked so tiny.
The beach in Borth is a pebble beach, and really isn't that pleasant, but if you drive to the end of the main road then turn down another road towards the Golf Course you can get to Ynys Las (not sure how to spell it), and that is a really nice beach, and I think they do allow dogs on it. This is a sandy beach, and on a sunny day the water gets really warm. I don't know how this works, or why the water is so warm but it's really pleasant, plus the beach is never really packed to the rafters with people, which is great.
If you want to visit a place that is very basic and doesn't have much going on, Borth is it, it is definitely chilled out. The beach is poor but there is an excellent one 5 minutes down the road worth going to. To get away from everything (literally) Borth is good, but there is only so long I could stay there! There are lots of nearby places to visit though, so it's a good place to be situated to explore other areas.