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Outdoor activities at Porthor

Sunset view out over the beach at Whistling Sands, Porthor. The tide is out and there are large and small rocks scattered on the sand in the foreground.
The beach at Whistling Sands, Porthor | © National Trust Images/Joe Cornish

Enjoy the spectacular views along this rugged coastline on the northern side of the Llŷn Peninsula. The coastline isn’t just beautiful, it’s fun. Whether surfing, bodyboarding or kayaking, you’ll love getting active in the water at Porthor.

Things to do at Porthor beach

Known for its famous ‘Whistling Sands’, this secluded gem of a beach is one of the most perfect beaches in Wales. You can’t help but be captivated by its beauty. Explore a great family beach and enjoy a great place to relax.

Walk along the Whistling Sands

The English name for Porthor is ’Whistling Sands’, which is derived from the squeak or whistle emitted by the peculiar shaped sand particles being rubbed together when walked on in warm weather. The sound can be made by stamping or sliding your feet on dry sand.

Man pulling a child on an inflatable in the sea at Whistling Sands, Porthor, Gwynedd
Playing in the sea at Whistling Sands, Porthor | © National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

Surfing and bodyboarding at Porthor

The break here can be ideal for surfing and bodyboarding in the right conditions. The largest swells usually occur at Porth Neigwl (or Hells Mouth) but when Porth Neigwl is washed out with onshore winds, Porthor can provide some tantalising, sheltered surf.

Surf’s up

For the lucky few, you’ll find tubular, barrelling waves, great for bodyboarding but care must be taken as there are one or two rocks around under the water.

Two children are crouching down and looking in rockpools at Whistling Sands, Porthor. One child is holding a pink bucket, while the other has a net.
Rockpooling at Whistling Sands, Porthor | © National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

Things to see at Porthor


Discover great wildlife around the beach. Seals are a common sight off the coastline, especially if you’re bodyboarding in the water.

You may even be lucky enough to see dolphins. The area around the beach is a stronghold for birds; look out for Chough, Razorbills, Guillemots, Kittiwakes, Cormorants, Shags and Yellowhammers around the coast.

The port

Porthor used to be a busy port, importing lime and coal and exporting farm produce such as butter, cheese, eggs and poultry. Now, the beach only gets busy in summer when the cries of the gulls are mixed with the sounds of people enjoying themselves.


Work has been carried out on the surrounding fields, restoring a traditional feature called the ‘cloddiau’. These stone-faced earth banks provide a corridor for wildlife to move around the area, without being disturbed by humans.

Don’t miss

  • The squeaking sand as you walk along the beach
  • The lime kiln on the coastal path on the north side of the beach
  • The wildlife adventure pack, available from the cabin during the spring and summer
  • Relaxing on a beautiful, family-friendly beach
  • Great surf in the right conditions
View over Porthor beach in Gwynedd, North Wales

Discover more at Porthor

Find out how to get to Porthor, where to park, the things to see and do and more.

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