Aber (as the locals call her) is a holiday town along the west coast, right in the middle of Wales. It is also a university town and the terminus of the train line from Shrewsbury in England. The beachfront is lined with four-story flats all facing the water, a road, and the sand.
Founded in 1872, the University of Aberystwyth, brings approximately 15,000 students to town to study all sorts of things including Art, Computer Science, European Languages, Geography, History Politics Physics, and Theatre, Film and Television studies. You can also learn the Welsh language. Of note to retired people, there is also a School of Education and Lifelong Learning and an MBA program.
Living in Aber would be fun, interesting, and a great place as a home base to explore the rest of Wales. I considered renting a flat for a time here but thought it would be wise to consider either a home or a private residence with one flat. Student’s are not always the best of neighbors! I did find several flats in the downtown area but the ones that caught my eye were on the outskirts of town in the $800 US month range. Aber has a nice little hospital, is on the train line, and the closest airport of any size is in Cardiff to the south.
Aber is unusual in that it has the Vale of Rheidol narrow gauge railway, a steam operated attraction, which is the best way to see the valley. It opened in 1902 linking the coast to Devil’s Bridge about 12 miles inland. It is now privately owned and can be ridden on the weekend. There are several other excursion railways in the area including the really fine Talyllyn Railway in Tywyn, about 30 miles to the north. The little green engine pulls 5-6 restored wooden cars up the valley to Dolgach and back. On the day I was there, the Royal Air Force was flying through the valley at about 300 feet and it was quite a show!
In the summer, the student’s go home and the town doubles in size with tourists seeking the shore on holiday. The days are long, the fishing is fine, and there is laughter in the air. If you decide to retire in Aberystwyth, Wales, you will find a gem of a little town with great restaurants and shops, ideally located on the mid-coast waiting for you.
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