Seal spotting delights on the Llŷn Peninsula

Grey seal basking on a beach

Approximately 5,000 grey seals live in the water around West Wales and can be seen all year round. Pups can be seen from September to December.

The seal is one of the most charismatic mammals, and populates much of our coastline. They are a joy to watch due to their curious nature, often bobbing up in the water.

Britain is home to two species of seal, grey (Halichoerus grypus) and common (Phoca vitulina). The main difference can be seen in their facial shapes, as common seals have short muzzles and V-shaped nostrils while greys have a longer muzzle and parallel nostrils.

Seal safari

The Llŷn is an important refuge for grey seals. They are larger and far more robust than their relatives, the common seal, an inhabitant of the eastern coasts of the UK.

About half of the world's population of grey seals can be found around British coasts so there is a great chance of spotting this large mammal.

Where to spot seals

Some of the best places to catch a glimpse of grey seals include Porthdinllaen, Enlli and the Coast Path around Porth Meudwy.

Large breeding colonies are located at both the St Tudwals islands and Bardsey Island, with smaller, isolated groups living along the northern coast, such as the small number found near Porthdinllaen.

Look over to Bardsey Island
Braich y Pwll, Uwchmynydd, Llyn Peninsula
Look over to Bardsey Island

Seal-watching tips

Keep your distance from the seals and don't disturb them. Use binoculars to get a great view of cows and their calves during the pupping season.

Seal-watching is quite easy as seals are generally quite cumbersome and slow while on land - just find a good vantage point and sit still.

Underwater athletes

Whilst cumbersome on land, grey seals are athletes when in the water. The seals can swim up to 100 kilometres a day. They can hold their breath for an hour and a half underwater, and can dive to depths of almost 1,500 metres.