The town of Beaumaris, Anglesey, North Wales was the ‘beau marais’ (fair marsh) that Edward chose for a castle and garrison town in mediaeval times.
Beaumaris was built around its’ castle, and sits on the shore of the Menai Straits, this guide focusses on the town and its’ seafront. It is a pretty town, with plenty of colour, history and interesting buildings and architecture.
- Beaumaris Castle
- Beaumaris Gaol
- Pier and nearby ‘Blue Peter’ lifeboat shed.
- St Mary and St Nicholas Church
- Court House
- Many 14th Century Historic buildings
- Gallows Point
- Menai Straits Regatta
- Sailing boats, on and off moorings.
- Sightseeing boat trips depart from pier
- Seabirds especially around pier, and swans on Castle Moat
Special Photographic Features or notes
The castle is a world heritage site. Building started in 1295, it was an almost perfect example of a concentrically planned castle, as well as being the last and largest castle of King Edward I Welsh fortifications. The designer was Master James of St George. Building started in 1295, and work continued over the next three years, at a cost of £11,000 but the castle was never completed as the money ran out. Beaumaris became a walled town in the 1400s
Misty castle by Ken Douglas
A Victorian Gaol was built by Hansom in 1829 to replace the old gaol that had been built on the green in 1727. There is a gibbet still fixed to the wall, and the only working tread wheel in Britain can be found at the gaol.
The pier was designed by Frederick Foster, with the original pier constructed of wooden piles and iron girders opening in 1846.The original simple structure served purely as a landing stage. The pier was rebuilt and extended in 1895 to a length of 570ft, and probably this was also the time that the 2.5ft gague baggage line was installed. The small pavilion at the end was a late 19th century addition. Up until 1939 the pier at Beaumaris served the Liverpool and North Wales Steamship company steamers, as well as local ‘across the Straits service to Bangor, and around Puffin Island trips. In the post war years part of the T shaped landing stage was demolished due to being unsafe.
Modern day pleasure and fishing cruises still leave from the pier.
Was built in 1614.
Other Interesting Buildings.
A lot of Beaumaris’ history can be seen in its architecture, with many buildings originating in its’ roots as a garrison town. The Tudor Rose is one of the oldest original timber framed buildings in Britain, having been built in the 14th century. The Bulkley family arrived in Beaumaris in 1440, and built Hen Blas as their family home in 1474. St Mary and St Nicholas’ parish church dates to the fourteenth century, and was originally the garrison church.
The Bull’s Head Inn, built in 1472 was the headquarters of General Thomas Mytton during the Siege of Beaumaris, in the second English Civil War in 1648. The hill leading northwards from Beaumaris was named ‘Red Hill’, as it was red with the blood spilled in that conflict. The school hall of Beaumaris Grammar School (founded in 1603), is located close to the castle. The Liverpool Arms Hotel (founded 1841), was a posting house of some importance. This house was originally the Garrison Commanders house when the town was a garrison on the road to Dublin. The seafront includes the Bulkley Hotel, and the grandly designed Victoria Terrace, built early 1830’s by J Hamsom, who also designed the new gaol.
Is the name for the spit of land about a mile to the west of the town of Beaumaris. It was known as Osmund’s Eye until the town gallows and ‘Dead House’ for the executed criminals, were erected there, since then it has been known as Gallow’s Point. There is a boat storage facility at Gallow’s Point now, along with some workshops.
Beaumaris was a port of registration for all vessels in North Wales, including Anglesey harbours and those from Conwy to Pwllheli. It is home to the Royal Anglesey Yacht Club, and at the beginning of August each year the Menai Straits Regattas are held here.
No special equipment needed.
- Best way to explore the town is on foot.
- Wide angle for seafront images
- Telephoto lens for sailing images
- Tripod for night images
Best time of Day/Year
Most times of the day have their appeal. I particularly like early morning at beaumaris, there is an opportunity for some beautiful sunrise shots, either from the town itself or from Gallow’s Point nearby as the sun rises over the Snowdonia range on the other side of the Menai Straits.
Sunset shots take a little more planning, it is possible to get nice shots along the Menai Straits from Gallow’s Point, looking towards Menai Bridge or images with the castle and/or town with the sun setting behind them.
Beaumaris gets busy during the tourist season. For action sailing shots the Menai Straits Regattas probably provide the best opportunity. The moored boats between Gallows Point and Beaumaris can give lovely reflection images, and then the winter, when all boats have been taken off the water, and all that remains are the occasional buoys, all have their charm. Winter, with the straits and the snow clad mountain range beyond is beautiful.
Exit the A55 onto the A545 and follow the road along to Beaumaris from Menai Bridge. This road, funded by Bulkley in 1805 to link the town with Menai Bridge. The road clings onto the hillside, and winds through Garth woods, beautiful all year round, from the new spring growth, to the brilliant autumn shades. The trees form a tunnel over the road in places.