This is a short guide on the photographic delights of Holyhead, a port town at the end of the A5 and A55 on Holy Island, an island off the Isle of Anglesey. For centuries Holyhead was a vital hub for communication and transport, it still  hosts a ferry port for travel to Ireland, and a main line rail terminal at the port.Holyhead has tended to be somewhere that people pass through on their journeys to somewhere else, rather than being seen as a destination all of its own. We have put this guide together to show just a few of the photo opportunities that Holyhead boasts.

View to Holyhead Town Centre from the Celtic Gateway Bridge

Holyhead Marina

Special Photographic Features or notes

A car is the best feature to have as many of the sites are spread out.
Other than that no special photographic gear is needed.

Photo opportunities
1 – Railway Station and Port
2. Visiting Large ship dock
3. Celtic Gateway Bridge
4. Church and castle
5. Maritime Museum
6. Marina
7. Access to Breakwater and Breakwater Country Park
8. Ucheldre Centre

Special Events to look out for:

Steam Trains – There has normally been a steam train excursion to Holyhead, on Sundays, throughout the summer.
Tall Ships – Occasionally tall ships visit Holyhead, and sometimes even do day trips.
Cruise Ships – Whencruise ships dock at the port of Holyhead, there is normally quite a bit of outside entertainment put on in Holyhead.
Classic Car – races also drive through Anglesey and Holyhead
For an up to date list of what is due visit – What’s On

Holyhead Town Centre.

The main highlights of the town centre, are the following:

The town centre in Holyhead is constructed around St Cybi’s church. The church is built within a three walled Roman Fort. At one time the sea used to come up to the fort, and that formed the fourth wall. Other Roman buildings around Holyhead are a watchtower on Holyhead Mountain inside Mynydd y Twr, a prehistoric hillfort. Settlements in the area date from prehistoric times, circular huts, burial chambers and standing stones featuring in the highest concentration in Britain[1].

St Cybi’s Church

The Celtic Gateway bridge links the town centre and the edge of the inner harbour, crossing over Victoria Road and the West Dock railway lines. The shape was inspired by Celtic designs, and it is constructed from stainless steel tubing.

Night at Holyhead.

The image above was taken by Mike Rees. and can be seen herefor the technical details. One of the best time for capturing the night lights here is at dusk, so there is more colour in the sky and background, rather than just blackness.The Ucheldre Arts and Craft Centre is located in a former convent chapel, and  hosts exhibitions, drama, music, films, arts and crafts and has a restaurant and tea room. To get here, just follow the brown road signs, as it is situated a little way out of the town centre.

Holyhead Marina

The Marina and Breakwater are main attractions in Holyhead, providing numerous photographic opportunities.The marina runs all along the Prince of Wales and Beach road and then leads onto the Breakwater Country Park.
There is a lifeboat staion, boats on morrings in the centre, in dry dock  as well as tied to pontoons. There is also a maritime museum. Just a walk along the road and promenade will bring a host of photo opportunities.

This is a view from the Martime Museum, based in the old Lifeboat house on Newry beach.

This a view of the groin, a slip way running into the marina

During the summer months, small sail boats are in abundnace

Holyhead Breakwater

The construction of the Breakwater was part of the work of developing the ‘New’ harbour at Holyhead. The Admiralty Pier, built in 1821 dealt with the passengers travelling over to Ireland was part of the ‘Old’ harbour. Also erected in 1821 (to commemorate the visit of King George IV) was Admiralty Arch, which marked the end of Telford’s great road, the A5 which enhanced travel between London and Dublin. The Arch was modelled on Marble Arch in London, which was the starting point of the A5. Building commenced on the Holyhead Breakwater in 1845, and the project was declared complete by Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, on 19th August 1873. The breakwater has a distinctive shape, and the square lighthouse stands 70ft above high water mark.

The breakwater can be accessed by parking along the breakwater park road and walking up, (bearing in mind it’s a long walk to the end) or if you feel brave it can be driven up, and in fact many fishermen do park along the breakwater.

Breakwater Country Park.

Just up from the Marina is the Breakwater Country Park. This 106 acre Park is located on the site of a former quarry, from where the 7,000,000 million tonnes of stone for the building of the Holyhead breakwater was quarried. Following the completion of the Breakwater in 1875 the quarry became a brickworks. At the Park it is possible to view the old Brickshed and the Crusher Building where the raw materials were cruched to produce the bricks. There is a series of ponds within the park, and walks which can lead you up to Holyhead Mountain as well as to North Stack.
The area is a carpet of yellow and purple in August as the heather and gorse bloom. The distinctive shape of the breakwater can be seen here. Holyhead mountain offers a great views, dramatic cliffs, chance to see seals, sea bird colonies, falcons and kestrels.

The chimney stack at the Brickworks

The site of the old quarry in Aug

Special Equipment

Getting There

Holyhead itself is very easy to find, just follow the A55 until you cannot go any further.

Locations: The Breakwater Country Park, Marina and Maritime museum are all situated close to each other.From the town centre, make your way towards the Newry Beach, along Beach Road, which overlooks the huge breakwater in Holyhead harbour, by following signs for “South Stack” or “Breakwater Country Park”. Holyhead Maritime Museum is located along Newry Beach, and there is parking available all the way along this promenade. The Marina is located just further along Newry Beach. Opposite the Marina, on the left, is the well signposted road to the Country Park.

There is plenty of free parking at the marina and the Breakwater Country Park.

Google Map


If you wish to see more of the authors photos, they have a flickr stream each here:

Gail’s Anglesey collection

Anglesey Images by Marian

Author Bio

Marian Jones

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