Aberaeron is also 13 miles from the county's other university town, Lampeter [Llanbedr-pont-Steffan or Llanbed, in Welsh], which lies inland in a south-easterly direction, linked largely by the A482 road along the Aeron Valley [Dyffryn Aeron in Welsh].
Due to Aberaeron's [Aberayron in former times] very central location in Ceredigion, the County Council administrative headquarters are located here, at Penmorfa, on the edge of town.
Aberaeron is one of Wales's very first "planned" towns. The idea of establishing a port at the mouth of the Aeron river was the brainchild of cleric, the Reverend Alban Thomas Jones-Gwynne in the early 19th century.
It took off in 1807, when the Rev Jones-Gwynne obtained a private Act of Parliament to build a harbour.
Employing architect, Edward Haycock, Aberaeron was transformed from a small fishing village to a thriving port.
Haycock had been greatly influenced by the world-renowned architect, John Nash, who had been responsible for designing the fine nearby country house of Llanerchaeron between 1794 and 1796.
John Nash is reputed to have had a hand in planning Aberaeron
John Nash also later designed the fine historic city of Bath, one of the finest cities, architecturally, in the world.
Therefore, Aberaeron's most notable feature is its very fine Georgian and Victorian architecture.
One house in four is listed as being of special architectural or historical interest. The attractive houses are painted in a variety of pastel colours, with their sash windows and porticos highlighted in white. The beautiful coloured houses of Aberaeron are a delight to the eye and make a pleasant change from the drab greyness of some Welsh towns.
The streets surrounding the harbour are particularly pleasing and featured in many a
post-card and holiday brochure of Wales.
Aberaeron was a thriving port in the days of commercial sailing. Unfortunately this era came to an end with the demise of sail and the coming of the railways.
By 1911, it was finished as a commercial port. However, leisure-boat sailing now plays a major part in the commercial life of the town, with its stone-walled harbour sheltering yachts from far and near, for much of the year. The harbour area is an interesting part of the town, with some excellent hotels, pubs and restaurants surrounding it.
The Cardigan Bay Seafood Festival is held around the harbour in July, with stalls selling a variety of sea-foods, much of it local, strung along the harbour-side.
In September 2006, a Mackerel Festival was held here, when a 19 feet long replica of a mackerel was carried through the town by pall bearers and then set fire to, as a final tribute to this wonderful tasty fish.
A very popular, well-established, sailing regatta is also held outside the harbour in Mid-August each year, attracting boats and onlookers from far afield. The late , well-loved,
world-renowned, opera singer, Sir Geraint Evans retired to Aberaeron, where he enjoyed
sailing the changeable seas of Cardigan Bay, and returning to the welcoming embrace and
safety of this little harbour.
Ceredigion's Maritime Heritage Coast, the first marine conservation area of its kind in the UK, is just off-shore, from here, stretching down to Pembrokeshire's most northerly point,Cemaes Head, just below the Teifi Estuary at Cardigan.
This Special Area of Conservation [SAC] designation was awarded due to the presence of important marine life in this part of Cardigan Bay, which requires protection. Cardigan Bay has important colonies of Bottlenose Dolphins, Atlantic Grey Seals and Harbour Porpoises, as well as a variety of sea-birds and rare choughs nesting on the cliff-tops.
One of the best places to view all of these wonderful, wild creatures is Cardigan Island Coastal Farm Park, located on the coast opposite Cardigan Island, at the sea-side resort of Gwbert, near Cardigan, just 20 miles south of Aberaeron, [see www.cardiganisland.com].
Grey seals can be viewed here daily, from the safely-fenced cliff-tops, from the middle of March until the end of October, each year. The dolphins are also seen very regularly, as well, as they feed on Atlantic salmon and sewin [sea trout], near Cardigan Island and the Teifi Estuary. They have expensive tastes.......and excellent palates!!
The Aberaeron Festival of Welsh Ponies and Cobs is a recently- inaugurated, highly popular annual event, held in August, and started in 2002. The magnificent, powerful Welsh Cob has been bred for centuries in this part of Wales and there are several notable studs in the vicinity of Aberaeron.
The proud, high-strutting gait of the Welsh Cob in full flight is a magnificent sight.
Aberaeron is also an important shopping centre for several miles radius in mid-Ceredigion and popular with locals and holidaymakers alike. Clos Pencarreg, an attractive well-designed complex of food and craft shops created from redundant farm buildings, on the edge of town, is especially popular.
Aberaeron is an excellent centre for exploring this wonderful part of Wales. Why not make it your base for a holiday, or even visit for the day, perhaps?
You will always receive a warm Welsh welcome in this strongly Welsh-speaking area of Wales!
This is a good time to visit. Aberaeron has been busy celebrating its bi-centenary during 2007.
Croeso i Aberaeron!! Welcome to Aberaeron!!