Sometimes known locally as ‘Y Bermo’ or ‘Abermaw’ in Welsh (‘Aber’ meaning ‘Mouth’ and ‘Maw’ an abbreviation of Mawddach), the town is one of the prettiest seaside towns in Wales with a population of around 2,250.
Barmouth grew with shipbuilding with many small builders setting up in small inlets along the Mawddach. It gained popularity as a seaside resort with the arrival of the railway in 1867 which brought many Victorians and Edwardians on their holidays from the various industrial towns in the West Midlands including Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Dudley.
The poet William Wordsworth described the town, “With a fine sea view in front, the mountains behind, the glorious estuary running eight miles inland, and Cadair Idris within compass of a day’s walk, Barmouth can always hold its own against any rival.
The town has a good selection of independent shops plus a Co-Op, Iceland and The Original Factory Shop. It also has a nice collection of cafés, pubs and restaurants. There is excellent hill-walking all around and you can see the beckoning slopes of the Cader Idris (Cadair Idris) mountain range from its huge sandy beach and the foothills of the Rhinogs are also within walking distance. Barmouth Walking Festival is held every September, lasting around nine days it takes advantage of the excellent mix of hill and mountain walking.
If you want to take things at a leisurely pace, you can stroll over the half a mile long train/footbridge and onto the Mawddach Trail, where you can walk the old railway line nine-miles inland to the town of Dolgellau, passing the pretty village of Penmaenpool with its toll bridge and George III pub. You can also catch a train on the Cambrian Coast Line to many other beautiful seaside towns including Porthmadog in the North and Aberdyfi/Aberdovey in the South. If you want to test your sea-legs you can catch the Barmouth Ferry which sails to Penrhyn Point, where it connects with the narrow gauge Fairbourne Railway which takes you to the small village of Fairbourne. You can walk back over the bridge or catch the train (full-size version) back.