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Rhyl (/rɪl/; Welsh: Y Rhyl, pronounced [ə ˈr̥ɨl]) is a long-popular Welsh seaside resort town and community in the county of Denbighshire. It lies within the historic boundaries of Flintshire, on the north-east coast of Wales at the mouth of the River Clwyd (Welsh: Afon Clwyd). To the west is the suburb of Kinmel Bay and the resort of Towyn beyond, to the east Prestatyn, and to the south Rhuddlan. At the 2011 Census, Rhyl had a population of 25,149.[1] The conurbation of Abergele–Rhyl–Prestatyn has a population of over 60,000, with Rhyl-Kinmel Bay having 31,229. Once an elegant Victorian resort, an influx from Liverpool and Manchester after the Second World War changed the face of the town. It had declined dramatically by 1990, but has since been improved by regeneration projects that bring in major investment. Several million pounds of European Union funding secured by the Welsh Government has been spent on developing the seafront.

Rhyl Seafront - - 388762.jpg
Rhyl seafront.
Rhyl is located in Denbighshire
Location within Denbighshire
Population25,149 (2011)
OS grid referenceSJ015815
  • Rhyl
Principal area
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townRHYL
Postcode districtLL18
Dialling code01745
PoliceNorth Wales
FireNorth Wales
EU ParliamentWales
UK Parliament
Welsh Assembly
List of places
53°19′16″N 3°28′48″W / 53.321°N 3.480°W / 53.321; -3.480Coordinates: 53°19′16″N 3°28′48″W / 53.321°N 3.480°W / 53.321; -3.480


The origin of the name "Rhyl" is not fully known. It appears in old documents variously as Hulle (1292), Hul (1296), Ryhull (1301), Hyll (1506), Hull (1508), [Leidiart] yr Hyll (1597), Rhil (1706), Rhûl (1749), Rhul (1773) Rhyll (1830), and Rhyl (1840).[2] The name seems to be a hybrid of the English word "hill" and the Welsh definite article "y". Its exact significance is unclear as there are no hills in the vicinity. It may refer to a mound or raised place in an otherwise marshy region. Some documents refer to a dwelling house, Tŷ'n yr haul, meaning "House in the sun".[2]

Buildings and landmarksEdit

Rhyl clock tower and East Parade
A short video of the beach with Sun centre; 2019

Rhyl has a number of Grade II listed buildings and landmarks. These include the Parish Church of St Thomas in Bath Street, which is listed as II*, a fine example of high Victorian Gothic and a prominent feature on the town landscape.[3] Others are the Midland Bank building, the railway station along with two signal boxes and the public telephone box on the up platform, the Royal Alexandra Hospital, the Sussex Street Baptist Church; the Town Hall; the Swan public house in Russell Road, the war memorial, and the Welsh Presbyterian Church in Clwyd Street.[4]

David Cox, Rhyl Sands (c.1854), depicting the Rhyl seafront

Also notable is the Grade II listed Foryd Harbour Bridge, a blue bridge with distinctive bowstring girders, built in 1932. It links Rhyl with Kinmel Bay.

Another landmark is the Church of St Margaret of Antioch. The Marble Church was built by Lady Margaret in memory of her late husband, Sir Henry Peyto Willoughby de Broke. Within four years the church was completed, and it was consecrated on 23 August 1860, becoming the parish church of a newly formed Parish of Bodelwyddan, covering an area formerly part of the Parish of St Asaph. The church is open daily from 09:30 to 16:30 throughout the year, except between 25 December and 6 January. Access is via a gently-sloping ramp at the west door. St Margaret's is one of Britain's finest Victorian churches, with an interior decorated with a variety of marble.

A previous Rhyl landmark was the Pavilion Theatre, an ornate building with five domes, which was demolished in 1974. Beside it stood the pier which was built in 1872 for the pleasure of the many visitors who flocked to the North Wales coast. It was 2,355 ft (718 m) long and once included a pier railway. The structure was damaged by ships in 1883 and again in 1891. It was also damaged in 1901 when there was a fire at the Pavilion Theatre. Storms were responsible for further damage in 1909 and the pier was closed in 1913 as unsafe. It was reopened with a much-reduced length in 1930 but closed again in 1966, before being demolished in 1972.[5]

Rhyl's top attractions on the West Parade are Rhyl Children's Village theme park, and the 250-foot (76 m) high Sky Tower (formerly the Clydesdale Bank tower, brought to Rhyl from the 1988 Glasgow Garden Festival). The skytower opened in 1989,[6] but was closed to the public in 2010. It was transformed into a light beacon in 2017.[7] [8] [9] A VUE Cinema is also located there.

On the East Parade is the SeaQuarium. Up until 2014, Rhyl Suncentre was also an attraction on the East Parade; an indoor water leisure centre which opened in 1980 at a cost of £4.25m and featured a heated swimming pool, water chutes and slides, and Europe's first indoor surfing pool.[10] The local council closed the centre in early 2014 and it was demolished in 2016. A new Travelodge hotel was built next to the site, which opened in early 2019. [11] The new Pavilion Theatre (which opened in 1991) is also on the East Parade. It has over 1000 seats and is managed by Denbighshire County Council.[12]

Marine LakeEdit

The Marine Lake, an artificial excavation in the west of the town, used to be a tourist destination, with fairground rides and a zoo. The lake is a 12 hectares man-made reservoir and it was officially opened in 1895. Rhyl Miniature Railway is the only original attraction remaining on the site, a narrow gauge railway that travels around the lake and is now based at the new museum and railway centre. There is also a playground and numerous watersports clubs based around the lake.[13]

Former Ocean Beach Funfair site (December 2007)

The Marine Lake Funfair was demolished in the late 1960s, having been replaced by the nearby Ocean Beach Funfair. Ocean Beach finally closed on 2 September 2007 and was demolished to make way for a planned new development initially called Ocean Plaza. This was to include apartments, a hotel and various retail outlets.[14] However, work on Ocean Plaza never went ahead as scheduled and the land lay vacant for several years after the original developers, Modus Properties, went bankrupt in 2009. The site was sold to a new company, Scarborough Development Group (SDG), in 2010, but again no work commenced on the site for several years. In 2014, SDG submitted revised plans to develop the land on a much smaller scale than the original plans.[15] Now called Marina Quay, the plans no longer include the building of new apartments on the land as Natural Resources Wales' flood regulations now prohibit this.[16] The plans were approved by the local authority in November 2014. In August 2015, The Range retail chain signed a 20-year lease and opened a new superstore on the site in March 2018.[17]

Regeneration projectEdit

In an effort to regenerate and boost declining tourism, a number of projects are under way or proposed. Projects include the Drift Park development on the promenade and the reopening of the town's miniature railway around the Marine Lake. The West End of Rhyl is undergoing much reconstruction. There is a major investment of about £4 million at Rhyl College, a satellite site of Llandrillo College.[18][19]


Electoral wards in and surrounding Rhyl (county=pink; town=grey)

For elections to Denbighshire County Council, Rhyl is divided into five electoral wards: Rhyl East, Rhyl South, Rhyl South East, Rhyl South West and Rhyl West. Following the 2017 elections all except two of the eleven councillors represented the Welsh Labour Party.[20] In 2008 Rhyl West was measured as the most deprived ward in Wales, according to the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation.[21]

For election of the twenty two town councillors to Rhyl Town Council, the town is divided into nine community wards: Brynhedydd and Plastirion (in Rhyl East); Cefndy, Derwen, Pendyffryn, Trellewellyn and Tynewydd (Rhyl South, South East and South West); Bodfor and Foryd (in Rhyl West).[22]


Association Football Rhyl F.C., commonly known as the Lilywhites, is a football club which historically played in English non-league football, but has competed since 1992 in the Welsh football pyramid. In the 2003–04 season they won the Welsh Premiership Championship, the Welsh Cup and the Welsh League Cup, and were losing finalists in the FAW Premier Cup. In the 2008–09 season they again won the Welsh Premier League.[23]

On 17 May 2010, it was announced that Rhyl's Welsh Premier licence had been revoked. Their appeal was unsuccessful and they were relegated to the Cymru Alliance,[24] returning to the Welsh Premier League in 2013 after winning the Cymru Alliance title, becoming the first club in the history of the competition to complete the season unbeaten.[23]

Rhyl have played in Europe on a few occasions.

Rugby Union Rhyl and District RFC is the town's rugby union club, but it had never had a playing base in the town until this year, when a new ground and clubhouse was opened.

Hockey Rhyl is home to the oldest hockey club in Wales formed in 1890. The first international game was also played at Rhyl between Ireland and Wales in 1895.


The climate is warm and temperate in Rhyl. The climate here is classified as Cfb by the Köppen climate classification. The average temperature in Rhyl is 9.3 °C. Precipitation averages 794 mm.


Rhyl railway station is on the North Wales Coast Line and is served by through trains provided by Virgin Trains between Holyhead and London Euston, and Transport for Wales services to Cardiff Central via Newport and Crewe, and to Manchester Piccadilly. Other nearby stations include those at Abergele & Pensarn, Prestatyn, Flint, Colwyn Bay and Llandudno Junction.[25] Rhyl has direct Transport for Wales and Virgin Trains services to Holyhead, which give connections by Stena Line or Irish Ferries to Dublin Port.

The A548 road runs through the town, connecting it to the A55 Holyhead to Chester road at Abergele. The A525 road runs southwards from the town to Rhuddlan, St Asaph and Ruthin.[26] Several bus services are run by Arriva Buses Wales along the main coast road between Chester and Holyhead, linking the coastal resorts. Another bus route runs between Rhyl and Denbigh.[27]

Notable peopleEdit

In alphabetical order:


  1. ^ UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Rhyl Parish (1170221471)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  2. ^ a b Owen, Hywel Wyn; Morgan, Richard (2007). Dictionary of the Place-Names of Wales. p. 422. ISBN 978-1-84323-901-7.
  3. ^ "Parish Church of St Thomas, Rhyl". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  4. ^ "Listed Buildings in Rhyl, Wales". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  5. ^ "History of Rhyl Pier". National Piers Society. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  6. ^ Tourism in Peripheral Areas: Case Studies. Channel View Publications Ltd. 2000. p. 31. ISBN 978-1-8731502-3-8.
  7. ^ "Work to turn Rhyl Sky Tower into 'landmark' light beacon begins". Daily Post. 11 March 2017. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  8. ^ "Sky Tower stays shut". Rhyl Journal. 11 April 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  9. ^ "Rhyl Skytower may still have a future but not as a ride". BBC News. 12 September 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  10. ^ "The Sun Centre, Rhyl". BBC: Domesday Reloaded. 1989. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  11. ^ "Rhyl Sun Centre will not re-open as 'wet attraction'". BBC News. 25 March 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  12. ^ "Pavilion Theatre, Rhyl". Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  13. ^ Howe, Marjorie (2000). Old Rhyl: From 1850s – 1910. Gwasg Helygain Ltd. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-9522755-4-1.
  14. ^ "End of an era for Rhyl's funfair". BBC News. 2 September 2007. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  15. ^ "Plans for Ocean Plaza development go on display". News North Wales. 7 February 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  16. ^ Williams, Kelly (6 February 2014). "Rhyl Ocean Plaza: Backlash over downsized plans for derelict funfair". Daily Post. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  17. ^ Hughes, Owen (4 August 2015). "Rhyl funfair site secures The Range as anchor tenant". Daily Post. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  18. ^ "£4m for Rhyl Creates New Opportunities and Jobs". Coleg Llandrillo Rhyl. Archived from the original on 7 January 2008. Retrieved 16 January 2008.
  19. ^ "POLL: Ambitious plans for Rhyl seafront regeneration unveiled". Rhyl, Prestatyn & Abergele Journal. 2 December 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  20. ^ Gareth Joy (5 May 2017) Election 2017: Denbighshire Council results, Point FM. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  21. ^ "MP paints out town's tainted past". BBC News. 10 October 2008. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  22. ^ Councillors, Rhyl Town Council website. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  23. ^ a b "Club history". Rhyl F.C. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  24. ^ "Rhyl FC's Welsh Premier appeal fails FAW test". BBC Sport. 17 May 2010. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  25. ^ "Crewe to Holyhead". North Wales Coast Railway. 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  26. ^ Concise Road Atlas: Britain. AA Publishing. 2015. pp. 47–55. ISBN 978-0-7495-7743-8.
  27. ^ "Discover the towns of Wales". Arriva Wales. Arriva Buses Wales. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  28. ^ Bibliography backing description: Retrieved 7 February 2017.

External linksEdit