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Llandudno

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Llandudno bay from the Great Orme
Llandudno bay from the Great Orme

Llandudno [1] is a Victorian seaside resort and town in North Wales. It lies on the coast between Bangor and Colwyn Bay, and has a population of about 20,000. Llandudno is just off the main rail line between Chester and Holyhead, the latter being the main ferry port for travel to Ireland. Llandudno is served by a branch line from Llandudno Junction.

Contents

[edit] Understand

Llandudno has the distinction of being the largest seaside resort in North Wales. It lies between two notable carboniferous headlands, the Great Orme and the Little Orme with the Irish Sea on one side and the estuary of the River Conwy on the other. It is these headlands and the two waterfronts, the North Shore and the West Shore, that give Llandudno its special appeal.

Although settlements have existed on the Great Orme since the Stone Age and an Iron Age hill fort survives at Pen-y-Dinas, Llandudno was developed as a seaside resort in the Victorian era. As such, it has Victorian charm - large Victorian houses, fine hotels lining the bay, a pier, boat trips round the headland, Punch and Judy on the wide promenade, an excellent lifeboat service, and a fine theatre with ballet, opera, orchestral concerts, ice shows and pantomime in season.

Llandudno from the entrance to the town
Llandudno from the entrance to the town

Llandudno, perhaps more than any other coastal town in North Wales, has a very prominent Welsh speaking community, greatly increased by the frequent visitors from rural communities farther inland whose primary day-to-day language is Welsh.

[edit] Get in

[edit] By train

  • Through Train from London Euston, Mondays to Fridays 11am (3½ hours).
  • Through Trains from Manchester, every hour on weekdays (2½ hours).
  • Trains from Crewe, every hour on weekdays, change at Chester and/or Llandudno Junction.
  • Trains from Cardiff, every two hours on weekdays, change at Llandudno Junction.
  • Trains from Holyhead, every hour on weekdays, change at Llandudno Junction.

[edit] By car

From England: From the M6, take the M56 in the direction of Chester, North Wales. Take the M53 in the direction of A55, North Wales at the end of the M56. This becomes the A55, stay on this for 30 miles or so until you see signs for the A470 turn off. From here follow signs for Llandudno.

[edit] By plane

Nearest airports are Liverpool and Manchester but only Manchester is linked by train (from airport by train to Manchester Piccadily, then change train). By hire car, little to chose between the two - use the above directions.

[edit] By bus

Local buses operate from Rhyl (every ten minutes), Bangor (six per hour), Caernarfon, Llanberis and Llangollen but there are no daily long distance coach services to Llandudno. National Express have a daily service from London calling at Llandudno Junction (three miles away).

[edit] Get around

  • Take the scenic Conwy Valley Train from Llandudno to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
  • Gwynedd Red Rover Tickets cost £5 for unlimited day travel on the Conwy Valley train, on all buses in Snowdonia and on all buses in the Conwy Valley and throughout western Conwy, Gwynedd and Anglesey.

[edit] See

Panorama of the Great Orme, with Llandudno infront
Panorama of the Great Orme, with Llandudno infront
  • Bronze Age Copper Mines, ph: (0)1492 870 447 [2] - Recently discovered bronze age mines on the upper slopes of the Great Orme. Tours start off with a brief talk on the mine and seeing tools found in excavations, before heading down into the mines! Great fun and well worth a visit, although the tours aren't very long.
  • Fossils in the exposed limestone faces of Bishop's Quarry near the summit.
  • The Victorian Pier, the finest in Wales, second longest in Britain and one of a dwindling number of recreational piers in the country.
View of the promenade from the end of the Pier
View of the promenade from the end of the Pier

[edit] Do

  • Ride the traditional tram (built in 1902) to the summit of the Great Orme, enjoy the visitor centre and visit Randolf Turpin's Bar in the Summit Complex.
  • Go for walks over the Great Orme, perhaps visiting Saint Tudno's church.
  • Walk, cycle, drive or ride a coach around the Marine Drive. There is a toll of £2.50 for cars but that includes free parking at the summit car park, which is reached by a side road via Saint Tudno's Church.
  • Take the cable car from the Happy Valley to the summit of the Great Orme.
  • Walk in the Happy Valley and the Haulfre Gardens and enjoy the magnificent views.
  • Visit the Happy Valley artificial ski slope ot take the toboggan run from the top...
  • Ride a donkey or just enjoy the sun on either of Llandudno's two beaches, North Beach and West Shore
The Great Orme from the Pier
The Great Orme from the Pier

[edit] Buy

Llandudno has most of the usual town centre shops that you would expect from any modern shopping district. There is a mix of local gift shops and national chain stores. The newest addition to Llandudno's shopping district is Parc Llandudno (which translates into English as "Llandudno Park" - though it is never referred to as such and its branding is exclusively Welsh) which contains many designer clothing stores. The Mostyn Champneys retail park is almost next door and is home to consumer outlets like DIY stores and supermarkets.

[edit] Eat

Llandudno is home to many food venues catering for all tastes and budgets.

For a traditional ice cream, visit Llandudno's famous Fortes which has been serving freshly made ice cream for the past century.

[edit] Budget

Cheaper venues include:

  • The Palladium (Pub/Bistro of the J. D. Wetherspoon chain. Be aware that there is often a longer than usual wait for food here at peak times, owing to the popularity and sheer size of the venue)
  • The Albert (Pub)
  • Cafe Culture (Bistro)
  • Fortes (Italian & Bistro)
  • Fountains (Trendy bar/bistro with decent selection of good quality sandwiches, pizzas and wraps)
J. D. Wetherspoon's "Palladium"
J. D. Wetherspoon's "Palladium"

[edit] Medium Range

For those seeking a medium priced meal, there are several Italian and other ethnic cuisine restaurants in the town:

  • Romeos (Italian)
  • Casanova (Italian)
  • Candles (Italian)
  • The Bengal Dynasty (Bangladeshi)
  • Taste of India (Indian)
  • Home Cookin' (Bistro)
  • The Fat Cat (Chain bar/bistro that offers more substantial medium-priced meals as part of its offering, alongside slightly cheaper range of sandwiches and lunches.

[edit] Splurge

More up-market venues in the town include:

  • The Empire Hotel
  • Richard's Restaurant
  • Pars

[edit] Drink

Llandudno has experience an advent of European style cafe culture in recent years. Coffee houses have sprung up all over town. These include:

  • Cafe Culture
  • Waterstone's Cafe
  • Upstairs At Clair's
  • Fortes
  • Badgers (which specialises in traditional-British lunches and pastries).

Visit one of the bars in the "top of town" (Upper Mostyn Street). These are

  • Fountains
  • The Lounge
  • The Fat Cat
  • Club 147 (membership required)
  • The Palladium (the flagship Welsh pub of the J.D. Wetherspoon chain set in a former cinema. A very impressive sight.)

Then take a taxi (but be warned, competition is fierce!) to Broadway Boulevard, a nightclub set in a huge ex-theatre for a night of cheesy music and good times.

[edit] Gay Scene

Though Llandudno is traditionally more popular with older travellers, it has developed a younger atmosphere in recent years. A product of this is the advent of Llandudno's small but very active Gay scene. Llandudno is home to one specific 'gay bar' - The Lounge in Upper Mostyn Street. Other gay venues include The Washington on the North Shore Parade which hosts frequent gay-specific nights under the Hellbent title. Bars aimed at a younger market like Club 147, Fountains and The Palladium are all popular with the gay community. The venues most frequented by the gay community in Llandudno are situated on Upper Mostyn Street and the immediate area.

Upper Mostyn Street
Upper Mostyn Street

[edit] Sleep

There are a wide array of Victorian bed & breakfasts in Llandudno. There are also some more upmarket hotels including The Empire and the St. Georges Hotel.

[edit] Stay Safe

Llandudno is considered safe by any standards, though as with any tourist destination, it is easy to fall into a false sense of security about your own safety. Though Llandudno is a tourist center, it is also a fully functioning medium sized town and is therefore subject to the same difficulties as any other town.

There are areas in Llandudno which toursts should avoid, though these areas are not areas where tourists would normally travel to. Most of these areas are safe in the day, but crime is not uncommon at night. These areas include:

  • The area behind and around the ASDA supermarket, opposite Parc Llandudno
  • The council estate behind the Llandudno Rugby Club
  • Parts of West Shore, particularly the council estate and King's Road
  • The area around Llandudno Hospital
  • Much of Llandudno Junction (particularly at night)

[edit] Get out

  • Conwy - fantastic castle and walled town, just 5 miles away from Llandudno.
  • Chester - Roman walled city, 30 miles away.

WikiPedia:Llandudno Dmoz:Europe/United_Kingdom/Wales/Conwy_County_Borough/Llandudno




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