I didn’t get to see them the first time I visited Aberystwyth in Mid Wales. But this time around the lively university town’s true celebrities put on a spectacular show that has stuck with me since. Like a memory better than any souvenir you can buy.
I’m talking about the mesmerizing starling murmurations above the perfect sunset-spotting seafront promenade. An amazing dance in the sky, that ends with a swooosh as thousands of little birds appear to be sucked in under the Royal Pier by a giant hoover, where they settle and nestle for the night.
My partner and I had arrived the same afternoon on a bus from Pembrokeshire, and had settled in and nestled ourselves. Not under the pier, but at the beautiful Maes-y-mor, which is described as a room-only Guest Hourse – found on a quiet street just around the corner from the seafront. An excellent location for experiencing this town, and with great comfort. Our spacious room and the facilities reminded us more of high quality hotel – and with plenty of nice details and lovely features for a romantic seaside-getaway.
We had to keep on travelling north the next morning, so we had to make the most of our getaway to Aberystwyth while we where there, and we started by visiting the colorful Ceredigion Museum, covering the history of this Welsh region. A truly unique museum, set in the historic Coliseum Theatre, which is still functioning as an event venue – connected with the tourist information centre and a lovely first-floor café. The theatre itself is a must-see, and it’s the perfect place to start your visit in Aberystwyth, by learning more about Ceredigion.
The town is also an exciting place for railway-enthusiasts, and during my previous visit I did follow all tracks setting out from here. Like the short Cliff Railway leading up to wonderful views of the town and its promenade, and the Vale of Rheidol Railway, neighbouring the main railway station in the heart of town. A scenic railway route taking you through the lush Vale of Rheidol and up to mythical Devil’s Bridge, which is the perfect daytrip-destination when staying in Aberystwyth.
But this time around we didn’t have time for railway adventures, so instead we went on a sunset-stroll along the promenade, when we noticed the starlings started to form expanding formations in the sky above us – gathering thousands of birds! So we stopped and let them impress us with their performance that looked like syncronized black waves in the air, and more and more people stopped around the pier to take in this spectacle. Once again proving to me that so me of the best experiences when travelling comes absolutely free.
As the last of the birds had settled in for the night, the sun set over the ocean, slowly sinking down behind the tall War Memorial beside the elevated Castle Grounds – turning the angelic figure on top of the stone column into a black silhuette against the burning background. Postcard perfect.
Due to its student population and its attraction to tourists, Aberystwyth offers a wide range of restaurants, nice pubs and cafés in which to dine, but we wanted to make the most of our lovely and very temporary home at Maes-Y-Mor, so we went shopping for a cosy night in, making good use of the self-catering kitchen in the guest house while staying warm indoors.
Aberystwyth is blessed with a nice combination of man-made and natural attractions, and with comfortable and budget-friendly friendly accommodation like Maes-Y-Mor, with options from single to doubles and family rooms (or an entire house for groups), it is a really nice location for a long weekend away. On top of this, its unique location midway between Pembrokeshire’s stunning coast and Snowdonia’s breathtaking mountain-landscapes, makes it an excellent base for exploring both Mid, West and North Wales.
Find Maes-Y-Mor and other accommodation in the area on our map of South Wales and Pembrokeshire.