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Llandudno – A Great British Seaside Town with Welsh Charm
Llandudno is a fantastic example of a traditional British seaside resort. The largest of its kind in Wales and located on the scenic north coast, Llandudno boasts all the elements visitors want from a great seaside break: a stunning promenade, lovely beaches, a pleasure pier and plenty of eateries serving fish and chips and ice cream! In addition, this Welsh town also offers many quaint Victorian-era hotels, guest houses and B&Bs, while the area boasts stunning natural beauty in the form of the Great Orme headland in the northern part of the town.
Getting to Know Llandudno
Llandudno is a great destination for weekend breaks, with plenty to keep the whole family entertained. Those seeking shops and restaurants will want to head to Mostyn Street, the town’s main thoroughfare. There’s a wide choice of high street chains, independent stores, cafés and eateries to choose from, many of which are housed in fine Victorian-era buildings. Hotel accommodation can also be found here while other attractions include two historic churches, Holy Trinity and St. John’s Methodist Church, and Clare’s Department Store, which has been trading for nearly 100 years. Before exploring other parts of Llandudno, it’s a good idea to visit the Tourist Information Office located here and, next to it, the Victoria Centre is great for souvenir shopping and last-minute gifts. At the far end of Mostyn Street, where it joins Mostyn Broadway, Parc Llandudno and Mostyn Champneys retail parks offer larger chain stores while Llandudno station with direct links to Conwy and Manchester is also near here.
The Promenade and North Shore Beach
The Promenade is one of the most popular attractions in Llandudno. It stretches along the pebble and sand North Shore Beach, with two rocky headlands, Little Orme and Great Orme, providing stunning points of reference at each end. Acting as a beautiful backdrop, pastel-coloured, seafront hotels and guest houses featuring rooms with sea views complete the picture-postcard look. Arguably the best kept Victorian promenade in the UK, its thoughtful design affords pedestrians plenty of space to enjoy a relaxing walk at a safe distance from the traffic. A simple pleasure here is to enjoy an ice cream while soaking up the seaside atmosphere, and for an even more authentic experience, iconic red and white striped deck chairs can be hired for a small price. Punch and Judy shows and donkey rides are other traditional pastimes available here, and during the summer, performances are often held on the Bandstand. Venue Cymru is the place to catch a show in the evening.
At the west end of the Promenade is Llandudno Pier. Made of iron, it’s the longest pier in Wales, stretching out to a length of 2,295 feet. The Pier in its current form was opened in 1877 with an extra spur being added in 1884 to provide an entrance from the Promenade as well as one on Happy Valley Road. On the parcel of land between the two entrances, stands the famous Grand Hotel, which has been welcoming visitors to the town for over a century. It’s easy to while away many hours on the Pier; as well as the various stalls selling souvenirs, refreshments and other seaside fare, there are also amusement arcades and fun fair rides to enjoy. At the end of Llandudno Pier are a bar and café serving food and drink and a restricted area where those with a fishing permit can do a spot of angling.
Great Orme Headland
A visit to Llandudno wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the top of Great Orme with its breath-taking views and photo opportunities; on clear days, it’s even possible to see the Isle of Man and Blackpool. The area is renowned for its rich wildlife which even includes wild goats! For those with energy to burn, it’s a 90-minute walk to reach the summit where a shop and café can be found. Alternatively, visitors can opt to catch a cable car from Happy Valley Gardens, a former quarry which also features a putting green and a ski slope. Another option is to take the Great Orme Tramway which leaves from Victoria Station on Church Walks where several hotels can also be found. It’s the only cable-hauled tram on a public road in the UK and has been operating since 1902. Also worth visiting is Great Orme Mines, a copper mine that dates from the Bronze Age.
Other Attractions in Llandudno
For a generally quieter and sandier experience, Llandudno’s other beach, West Beach, is a nice alternative to North Shore Beach. Those interested in local history will want to visit Llandudno Museum on Gloddaeth Street, while nearby on New Street, the Home Front Museum explains how Llandudno coped during the difficult war years. As well as its own attractions, Llandudno also offers close proximity to other great sights in the area; just up the coast, Colwyn Bay is another fun seaside resort which also offers hotel accommodation. A particular highlight here is Colwyn Bay Welsh Mountain Zoo, regarded as one of the best zoos in the UK and features red pandas, snow leopards and chimpanzees among many other animals. Also in the Llandudno area is Conwy, a delightful walled market town which has a wealth of historic attractions. As well as featuring the smallest house in Britain, the town is home to the stunning Conwy Castle, a World Heritage Site.