Prestatyn is a seaside resort in the administrative county of Denbighshire, traditional county of Flintshire, North Wales, lying on the north coast. According to the 2001 UK census, it had a population of 18,496 people.
The town is located at the north end of the Offa's Dyke Path, although not on Offa's Dyke itself. Other attractions include the remains of Roman baths, the Scala cinema (now closed due to structural damage), opened in 1913, and the nearby Neolithic mound The Gop. A train station is located in the town, connecting it to Holyhead to the west and Chester to the east via the North Wales Coast railway line.
Famous people from the town include John Prescott, Mike Peters (The Alarm), Carol Vorderman and author Emyr Humphreys. The town is also mentioned in Philip Larkin's poem Sunny Prestatyn. It hosts the qualifying tournament for many snooker tournaments at the Pontin's Holiday Centre, which was the location for a 1973 movie of the popular British TV series, On The Buses.
The North Hoyle Offshore Wind Farm was opened in 2003. Situated in Liverpool Bay, 7.5km off the coast of Prestatyn it was the UK's first major offshore wind farm. It comprises 30 turbines with a combined maximum capacity of 60 megawatts - enough to power 40,000 homes.
The town is believed to be one of the oldest inhabited places in north Wales. Tools found in the caves of Graig Fawr have revealed the existence of cavemen in the area. The Roman bath house is believed to be part of a camp/military base on the route march from Chester to Caernarfon. However, much of 'Roman Prestatyn' has been destroyed as houses have been built over unexcavated land. An earth mound visible in fields to the south of the railway station (near Nant Hall) mark the site of a wooden mound and bailey castle, destroyed by Owain Gwynedd's men in the ninth century. The town was primarily a fishing village for hundreds of years. The beginning and end of the high street today marks the location or two 'faenols' (or manor houses) called Pendre (translated as "end of" or "top of town") and Penisadre ("lower end of the town"). The town's population remained at less than a thousand until the arrival of the railway and the holiday-maker in the nineteenth and twentieth century. "Sunny Prestatyn" became famous for its beach, clean seas and promenade entertainers, and visiting for a bathe was considered very "healthful" by city-dwelling Victorians. The town's popularity lasted well into the late twentieth century. During the Second World War the holiday camps were used as billets for British soldiers, many of whom were also sent to live with locals. Despite being close to Liverpool, the area was not bombed, and many evacuees came to Denbighshire from the northern cities.
Although Prestatyn remains a tourist destination, the decline of the British holiday means the town is diversifying. The NHS are to open new offices and a new elderly care facility in the town to serve north Denbighshire, and the opening of big name shops and supermarkets look set to increase the town's status as a shopping district.