Nestled off the coast of North Wales, Anglesey emerges as a breathtaking canvas for photographers seeking to capture the essence of nature’s beauty and history’s echoes. This enchanting island boasts a mesmerizing blend of coastal gems, inland treasures, and cultural landmarks, inviting both seasoned photographers and amateurs alike to embark on a visual odyssey. In this article, we delve into the heart of Anglesey’s photography locations, where each frame reveals the island’s timeless allure and beckons explorers to unlock the secrets hidden within its landscapes.
Anglesey photography spots
Explore the beauty of the isle of Anglesey through your lens as we unveil a curated collection of its best photography locations. This includes architectural wonders, thriving wildlife and breathtaking Anglesey landscapes.
There are two bridges to reach Anglesey from the mainland, which cross the Menai Straight. Menai Suspension Bridge is an incredible piece of architecture with its cast iron structure and stone archways.
A great viewpoint of the bridge is from Belgian Promenade which is where the photo below is taken. There are also great vantage points from the Bangor side and along the A5 on Anglesey. There is a large layby located here and Google Street View is a great way to check out the bridge view from this location. Snow on the mountains in the background produces the perfect backdrop for shots of the Menai Bridge. There is also ample space to set up a tripod to get long focal-length shots of the bridge leveraging the lens compression for the mountains in the background.
It’s worth checking local news or gov.wales as there are works to replace the bridge hangers that will start in September 2023. This is expected to be finished by August 2025 ready for its 200th anniversary in 2026.
You can reach Beaumaris in just 10-15 minutes after crossing the Menai Bridge. It’s definitely worth visiting. Aside from the incredible views of the mountains of Snowdonia from across the Menai Strait, there is also the iconic Beaumaris castle and also the Pier which are great places for photography. You can obtain a unique viewpoint of the castle with a telephoto lens from Henlleys Lane. The lane travels slightly uphill which allows for the backdrop of the mountains to be captured with the Beaumaris Castle in the foreground.
Between the beginning of April and the end of July Puffins nest on the appropriately named Puffin Island which is located off the headland of Penmon Point. There are a number of operators who run boat trips to the island, it’s not possible to get off, but with a long focal length lens, you’ll able to get close-up shots of the Puffins and also Seals from the boat.
Penmon Point and the Trwyn Du Lighthouse
Penmon Point is reachable by a private road which has a £3.50 toll charge (in 2023) there’s a then a car park (which also costs) with the Pilot House Cafe. In terms of photography, the main subject is Trwyn Du Lighthouse close to Penmon Beach.
At certain times of the year, it’s common to find bioluminescent plankton around this area. Many photographers choose to include the lighthouse as a focal point to add interest to the photo while using a tripod and long exposures to capture the beautiful blues of plankton in waves. It’s easy to see why this is a popular and successful photography technique when reviewing the photos.
Penmon Point is also a popular spot for capturing the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) as it has a great view of the north horizon without too much light pollution.
South Stack Lighthouse
Location & Facilities
South Stack Lighthouse is located on the North-west of Holyhead.
Holyhead is on Holy Island which is separated from Anglesey Island by the narrow Cymyran Strait. In terms of accessibility, the main A55 which runs all the way across Anglesey also runs across the Stanley Embankment to Holy Island, from the A55 there are a few fairly narrow lanes to South Stack.
In terms of parking, there are three main car parks, one which is fairly large at the RSPB Café, shop and toilets and two smaller car parks up the hill close to South Stack Lighthouse. The first is car park is larger than the second which is more of a lay-by than a car park! However, if you can get a spot, it’s possible to see the lighthouse from the car!
Location-specific photography tips
Although this is one of the furthest locations from the mainland, it’s well worth a trip, especially at sunset. This is one of my personal favourite Anglesey photography locations. As the sun sets behind the lighthouse over the Irish Sea. Checking apps such as PhotoPills or Photo Ephemeris will tell you the exact sunset direction relative to your location which is great for planning your spot to set up at sunset.
Sea mist can be fairly common depending on the conditions, this can be hit-and-miss for photography. If it doesn’t clear, then you may see nothing, whereas if it’s more isolated you may get lucky. If the South Stack Lighthouse is covered by fog or mist, head up the hill behind where there are plenty of interesting rocks and a hut which can make for great subjects against the mist over the sea. See the images below.
Extreme weather conditions such as high winds can also create scenes perfect for capturing unique photographs with drama. For example the purple heather, dark clouds, Ellin’s Tower and the white horses in the distance in the shot below.
Some of the best subjects (and the reason for the location of the RSPB visitor centre!) is bird life. There are many different species at South Stack Cliffs, including Guillemot and if you’re lucky, Puffins! You’re likely to require a fairly long focal length lens due to birds mostly being around the cliffs.
This area is well worth a visit if you’re planning to cross over to Holy Island to visit South Stack lighthouse and Porth Dafarch. This is a place, like many others where the Anglesey coastal path is a great place to start to explore the cliffs along the coastline.
Llynon Mill is the last surviving windmill in Wales. It’s open from April to September. As you can imagine the windmill and its inner workings are great subjects for photography.
Bae Dulas (Dulas Bay)
A tidal lagoon can be found at Dulas Bay, it wouldn’t be a great area for photography, however, when the tide is out an old wreck can be found. In the soft evening light, multiple compositions are possible with the wreck, making most of the reflections in the nearby pools. A spot is well worth a visit when the tide is right, remember your wellies and a tripod!
For me, one of the highlights of Anglesey is the views of the Snowdonia and Carneddau mountain ranges from the South-East coast, across the Menai Strait. There are many vantage points from the following locations:
- Llanddwyn Island
- Newborough Beach
- Any point along the coastal road to Foel Farm Park
- Menai Bridge viewpoint on the A5
- Penmon point
Porth Dafarch is situated between Treaddur Bay and Holyhead and is a lovely sandy cove surrounded by rocky headlands. Although the beach itself is normally a popular spot for a family day out, the rocky coastline on either side is a great place for photography. The jagged rocks and blue water can easily be used to create brilliant photo opportunities, especially when combined with a subject such as a person on a SUP or a group coasteering to create a sense of scale.
Walking out to the headland and around the coast Llŷn Peninsula can be seen in the distance and it’s significantly quieter than the main beach. It’s also possible to take a footpath around the cliffs on the other side of Porth Dafarch, below the caravan park seen in the second photo below.
Llanddwyn Island (Ynys Llanddwyn)
This is one of the most well-known Anglesey photography locations. This is a tidal island which means it can only be reached at low tide, so be sure to check tide times before your visit. The iconic Tŵr Mawr lighthouse marks the western entrance to the Menai straight and on a clear day the mountains of Snowdonia can be seen in the distance. If I’m honest, is tough to not find a successful composition, even if the weather conditions are average for photography! Make sure you’re familiar with the tide times to give yourself plenty of time to explore and also to get back before the tide turns. It’s best to have a variety of lenses for this location, or a flexible zoom lens. As there are so many composition options flexibility in terms of focal length is a must-have.
Other Anglesey photography locations to consider
- Trearddur Bay – Large sandy beach
- Rhosneigr Beach (Traeth Crigyll) Beach – Popular for water sports such as kitesurfing
- Big Beach (Traeth Mawr)- With the unique St Patrick Time And Tide Bell
- Newborough Forest – Separated by the large sandy beach by sand dunes, also a red squirrel conservation site.
- + many others! Let me know your favourite locations and share your photos on Instagram
Sunrise and sunset in Anglesey
South Stack lighthouse is an incredible place for sunset, the lighthouse itself is the perfect foreground with the stairs leading down the hillside. Most weather conditions can work well in this location, but heavy cloud cover, or low clouds on the horizon will usually put a stop to any amazing colours in the clouds. Even if the weather conditions are extreme,
For sunrise, the Menai Strait can be a great spot, in particular, Beaumaris with its pier. The sun rises across the Menai Strait and the light over the mountains in Snowdonia and over the water can create stunning conditions for photography if the weather is right.
Spotting Northern Lights in Anglesey
Gazing towards the skies above Anglesey offers a chance to witness the awe-inspiring spectacle of the Northern Lights. To increase your odds of witnessing them, venture to the northern and western coastal areas of the island, where minimal light pollution enhances visibility.
The best time to catch Northern Lights typically falls within the winter months, particularly from October to March, when the nights are longer and darker. Keep a close watch on geomagnetic forecasts and be prepared to stay up into the early hours, as the hours after midnight often offer a higher likelihood of spotting the Northern Lights’ enchanting hues painting the Anglesey night sky.
Remember to set up your camera with a sturdy tripod, wide aperture, and a higher ISO setting to capture the stunning lights and create photographs that will leave a lasting impression.
Camera gear to take with you
As you’re most certainly going to need to travel by car to explore Anglesey this gives you the option to take a fair amount of gear with you. Many locations are close to parking spots, therefore a fairly large bag of gear isn’t an issue. Of course, this depends on the gear you have available.
For these Anglesey photography locations, any camera body can be used. As always, take the camera gear that you already have and that you’re used to, whether it’s a DSLR, Mirrorless, Full frame or crop sensor camera. No specific camera system is needed.
Regarding lens choice, due to the wildlife, in particular birds and distant mountains, a telephoto lens with extended focal lengths can come in handy. There are also opportunities to make use of a wide-angle lens and everything in between. My go-to lens is the 16-300mm from Tamron, this superzoom lens has a very wide range of focal lengths which can come in handy for locations such as Anglesey where there is a wide variety of opportunities for different genres of photography. If you would like to know more about my suggestions for lens choice see my post on the best lenses for the Nikon D7200, this article also includes comparisons to full-frame coverage lenses.
If you’re just starting out and looking for some direction in terms of advice on the wide range of camera gear options out on the market check out this article on camera gear for beginners. This also includes a list of what’s in my camera bag.
Photography trip to Anglesey (an itinerary)
A suggested two-day itinerary is below which includes the Anglesey photography locations covered in this post. If you plan to spend a short time at each location this could be squeezed into one day in summer (longer days). However to really appreciate each location two days or longer are needed. Of course, this itinerary can be customised based on personal preference, which the start and end points based on your base.