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Rhyl Seafront - geograph.org.uk - 388762.jpg
Rhyl is located in Denbighshire
Rhyl shown within Denbighshire
Population 25,149 (2011)
OS grid reference SJ015815
  • Rhyl
Principal area
Ceremonial county
Country Wales
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town RHYL
Postcode district LL18
Dialling code 01745
Police North Wales
Fire North Wales
Ambulance Welsh
EU Parliament Wales
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

Rhyl (/rɪl/; Welsh: Y Rhyl, pronounced [ə ˈr̥ɨl]) is a seaside resort town and community in the county of Denbighshire, and in the historic county of Flintshire. It lies 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, with the resort of Towyn beyond. Prestatyn is to the east and Rhuddlan to the south. 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 people.

Rhyl has long been a popular tourist destination. Once an elegant Victorian resort, there was an influx from Liverpool and Manchester after the Second World War that changed the face of the town. The area had declined dramatically by 1990, but has since been improved by a series of regeneration projects that have brought in major investment. Several millions of European funding, secured by the Welsh Government, has been spent on developing Rhyl's seafront.


The origin of the name "Rhyl" is not fully known. However, the name 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 between the English word "hill" and the Welsh definite article "y". The exact significance of the name is unclear as there are no hills in the vicinity. It is possibly a reference to a mound or slightly 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 landmarks[edit]

Rhyl clock tower and East Parade

Rhyl has a number of Grade II listed buildings; these include the Parish Church of St Thomas in Bath Street, which is listed as II* and is a fine example of high Victorian Gothic, and a prominent feature of the town landscape;[3] the Midland Bank building; the railway station, 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]

A previous Rhyl landmark was the Pavilion Theatre, an ornate building with five domes, which was demolished in 1973. 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]

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

Rhyl's top attractions on the West Parade are now 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] (local newspapers have since quoted a 1993 date, incorrectly) and a few years later, the Children's Village theme park was built, but the tower closed to the public in 2010, although it is still standing.[7][8]

On the East Parade is the SeaQuarium and the Rhyl Suncentre. The Suncentre was an indoor leisure centre which opened in 1980 at a cost of £4.25m and featured a heated swimming pool and Europe's first indoor surfing pool.[9] The local council closed the centre in early 2014. [10] The Pavilion Theatre is also on the East Parade, has over 1000 seats and is managed by Denbighshire County Council.[11]

Marine Lake[edit]

Former Ocean Beach Funfair site (December 2007)

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.[12]

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, Ocean Plaza. This was to include apartments, a hotel and various retail outlets.[13] 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.[14] 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.[15] The plans were approved by the local authority in November 2014. In August 2015, The Range retail chain signed a 20-year lease and plan to open a new superstore on the site.[16]

Regeneration project[edit]

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.[17] In 2015, plans were announced to demolish Rhyl Sun Centre indoor water park and build an exhibition centre in its place. The Sun Centre, which had heated pools, water flumes and a wave machine, opened in 1980 and closed in 2013.[18]



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.[19]

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,[20] 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.[19]

Rhyl have played in Europe on a few occasions.


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.


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 Arriva Trains 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.[21]. Rhyl has direct Arriva Trains 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 A425 road runs southwards from the town to Rhuddlan, St Asaph and Ruthin.[22] Several bus services are run by Arriva Wales along the main coast road between Chester and Holyhead, linking the coastal resorts. Another bus route runs between Rhyl and Denbigh.[23]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "Neighbourhood Statistics Area: Rhyl (Parish)". Retrieved 11 June 2014. 
  2. ^ a b 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. ^ "Sky Tower stays shut". Rhyl Journal. 11 April 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2013. 
  8. ^ "Rhyl Skytower may still have a future but not as a ride". BBC News. 12 September 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2013. 
  9. ^ "The Sun Centre, Rhyl". BBC: Domesday Reloaded. 1989. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  10. ^ "Rhyl Sun Centre will not re-open as 'wet attraction'". BBC News. 25 March 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  11. ^ "Pavilion Theatre, Rhyl". Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  12. ^ Howe, Marjorie (2000). Old Rhyl: From 1850's - 1910. Gwasg Helygain Ltd. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-9522755-4-1. 
  13. ^ "End of an era for Rhyl's funfair". BBC News. 2 September 2007. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  14. ^ "Plans for Ocean Plaza development go on display". News North Wales. 7 February 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  15. ^ Williams, Kelly (6 February 2014). "Rhyl Ocean Plaza: Backlash over downsized plans for derelict funfair". Daily Post. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  16. ^ Hughes, Owen (4 August 2015). "Rhyl funfair site secures The Range as anchor tenant". Daily Post. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  17. ^ "£4m for Rhyl Creates New Opportunities and Jobs". Coleg Llandrillo Rhyl. Archived from the original on 7 January 2008. Retrieved 16 January 2008. 
  18. ^ "POLL: Ambitious plans for Rhyl seafront regeneration unveiled". Rhyl, Prestatyn & Abergele Journal. 2 December 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  19. ^ a b "Club history". Rhyl F.C. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  20. ^ "Rhyl FC's Welsh Premier appeal fails FAW test". BBC Sport. 17 May 2010. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  21. ^ "Crewe to Holyhead". North Wales Coast Railway. 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  22. ^ Concise Road Atlas: Britain. AA Publishing. 2015. pp. 47–55. ISBN 978-0-7495-7743-8. 
  23. ^ "Discover the towns of Wales". Arriva Wales. Arriva Buses Wales. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  24. ^ Bibliography backing description: Retrieved 7 February 2017.

External links[edit]