Nestled between the high peaks of snowdonia and the dark depths of the Irish sea, Llandudno is the ‘queen of welsh resorts.’ This little towns title is well deserved, this place is beautiful and may well be the nicest resort town in Britain. We have visited this little gem of a British sea-side town on occasions too numerous to count, this is our guide. Enjoy.
Llandudno’s spectacular Victorian promenade is the finest in Britain. Stretching for two clear miles it is perfect for a stroll on a warm day. The prom also has some very notable attractions other than the gorgeous views. Boat trips can be taken from from near the pier, they are reasonably priced and there is no need to book. Five generations of the Codman family have been performing the worlds oldest Punch and Judy show here. Running since 1860, the show still contains the original puppets carved from driftwood found on the beach.
Built in 1877 and extending 700meters out into Llandudno bay, this is the longest pier in Wales. Strolling down it should be compulsory when you visit Llandudno. Do beware though, once you have stepped on the wooden walkway, tradition states that you must walk to the end or bad luck may befall you. Shops and stalls line the way to the end where there is a games arcade and a bar.
The Great Orme
The Great Orme is the limestone headland that stands above the town. The Orme is rich in natural and man made history, there are several species unique to this place and people have lived here for thousands of years. There is so much to do here a day is simply not enough to see it all. The walks are amazing, whether you walk up it, around it, over it or a combination thereof, you can not miss the breathtaking views. The less able have options to get to the top too, be it the cable car, the historic tramway or taking your own car. The Summit itself has great views but little else really, the visitor centre here is not really worth a visit. The ancient bronze age mine however is well worth a visit (see our Inside the mines and mountains of Wales article). St Tudno’s church has views of the Irish sea and dates to the 12th century.
Built in 1878 Marine Drive is a 9km route which was engineered to enable carriages to make the tour around the Great Orme. For a small toll, today’s visitors can drive around this route snaking as it does around the Great Orme. Whales and Dolphins can be spotted here on their migratory routes, however we must have been here 100 times and have never seen any. The views are here are amazing enough on there own though. A cafe, the ‘rest and be thankful’ marks the halfway point and the old lighthouse is now an elegant B&B.
The West shore
West Shore beach shows a quieter side to Llandudno. This is a sandy beach, popular with holidaymakers and facing into Conwy Bay where low tide reveals a large expanse of sand, which is great for kite-flyers and kite-surfers alike. It’s also renowned for its spectacular sunsets.
Built in 1920 Llandudno’s Palladium occupies the site of the old market hall. For decades it rocked with the laughter of audiences and was used variously as a kinematograph hall, theatre, music hall, opera house and circus. In 2001 the Palladium was converted into a Wetherspoons pub.
Happy Valley Gardens
Happy Valley is home to wildlife, family walks, a ski slope and the cable car station that takes you to the Orme’s summit. At quiet times of the year, this place is quiet and tranquil, a lovely place for a picnic or a romantic walk. In the summer months, particularly in hot weather, it is less so as it is very popular with families, mainly the ones that do not know how to control their children. The famous Victoria statue sits in front of the modern druid circle and the mad hatters tea party is just up the hill in the woods. The ski slope, is it any good? well, if you are the rare type that likes to take a scrubbing brush to your arse then this may be for you. We are very keen snowboarders and personally, we would rather never ride again than on this plastic pretender. Take the time to drive to Manchester and learn on real snow instead.
Every May Day Bank Holiday weekend, Llandudno plays host to a Victorian Extravaganza featuring a Victorian street fair, old time fair rides, fun stalls, steam engines, people dressed in Victorian costume, street parades at 12 midday each day and street entertainment the whole family will enjoy. This can be a very busy weekend, hotels are fully booked and roads into North Wales totally blocked.
The Alice connection
Llandudno was the place of a holiday home that belonged to Alice Liddel’s father. Lewis Carrol based the Alice character on this little girl and is known to have visited the house on the west shore (now demolished). The town has various sculptures and statues scattered around the town relating to the various characters.
To learn the secrets of Llandudno click here.