We attended a night-time carol service (in Welsh, English and German languages) in the ruins of the thirteenth century Cistercian Valle Crucis Abbey. There was a small orchestra, readings also in Welsh and English and the proceedings were helped along with mulled wine and mincepies!
This beautiful abbey is open to the public with adult tickets at £2.50 and concessions £2.00. There are parking and disabled facilities.
We attended the carol service at the Abbey at 7pm and it was already very dark and wet so sensible footwear and warm clothing was required!- this is an abbey in ruins so there are no doors and windows - be prepared!
Carols and readings were in Welsh as well as English and some German and the music was provided by the Llangollen Silver Band. The ticket price also included mulled wine and mincepies and a great time was had by all!
Dawel nos, sanctaidd yw'r nos
Cwsg a gerdd waun a rhos,
Eto'n effro mae Joseff a Mair,
Faban annwyl ynghwsg yn y gwair,
Cwst mewn gwynfyd a hedd
Llangollen is most famously known as the home of the international Eisteddfod but its 3,000 year history also includes legends of King Arthur!! - it is extremely popular with tourists, has a busy railway station, some fabulous little quality craft shops and a bridge spanning the River Dee which is beautifully illuminated with Christmas lights at night.
The station here was closed in 1965 to passenger trains but restoration to the line began in 1975 - it has been fully operational for many years and popular with tourists and steam train enthusiasts. Passengers can take the 7.5 mile journey through the Dee Valley all year long and in summer time children and their parents can even take a ride on Thomas the Tank Engine!
Flowing fast and furious from recent heavy winter rain, the River Dee at Llangollen is popular with canoeists and kayakers and competitions are regularly held here - it is possible to rent canoes here but looking at how treacherous this stretch of white water is I suggest you wait for good weather and take someone with you who knows what they are doing - and have some lessons first!
The main reason I came to Wales was to see this aqueduct. The town closest to the aqueduct, is Trevor which is where I have most of my pictures. That page is at the link below. But first we went to Llangollen.
You can get a ride from Llangollen across the aqueduct on one of these narrowboats. This family with the twin redheads was evidently chartering or leasing this boat for the week.
I couldn't afford a week (either the time or the money) and you can't really get from a hire place to the aqueduct in less than a week, so we did our narrowboat cruise over a long weekend down around Droitwich and Worcester.
A lovely 'black and white' house with lovely garden - its a small Elizabethan manor with black and white wooden decoration around it - its lovely wooden interior is off limits to flash photography but you can buy postcards and souvenir book with photos in it from the guardian inside. It was owned and lived in by two single women - they lived together for many years since one ran away from her family in Ireland who were going to make her marry someone she didnt want to marry - so the couple did amazingly well, both able to support themselves financially to live independently and away from the society restraints of the time. They were very close, sharing the same bed for years, many try to say they were early lesbians but its written that those that knew them knew them to be very close friends as sisters - but regardless of particular interest is the notable friends they had receiving many visits of a notable circle for example the Duke of Wellington often came to visit.
They were buried together in the churchyard behind the Hand Hotel.
A lovely 'black and white' house with lovely garden - its a small Elizabethan manor with black and white wooden decoration around it - its lovely wooden interior is off limits to flash photography but you can buy postcards and souvenir book with photos in it from the guardian inside. It was owned and lived in by two single women - they lived together for many years since one ran away from her family in Ireland who were going to make her marry someone she didnt want to marry - so the couple did amazingly well, both able to support themselves financially to live idnependently and away from the society restraints of the time. They were very close, many try to say they were early lesbians but its written that those that knew them knew them to be very close friends as sisters - but regardless they had many friends and visitors of a notable circle for example the Duke of Wellington often came to visit.
They were buried together in the churchyard behind the Hand Hotel.
Plas Newydd is the home of Lady Eleanor Butler and Miss Sarah Ponsonby, "The two most celebrated virgins in Europe" . They dressed in mens clothes and entertained famous social and political figures of the victorian era.
It has attracted visitors since 1780. An exceptional historiacal house, containing many artifacts connected with the Ladies of Llangollen. Set in peaceful grounds, Plas Newydd is well worth a visit. Plas Newydd became the home of the "Ladies of Llangollen" after they left their homes in Ireland in 1780
About 2 miles from the centre of Llangollen heading towards the Horseshoe Pass is the ruined 13th century Cistercian abbey of Valle Crucis. The abbey is actually best viewed from the main road above as you get a great panoramic view but there is no where to park and the verges are not wide. The chapter house is still intact and some of the archetectural features remain notably on the west front.
There is a small charge to enter the site.
If you are camping there is a great camp site that surrounds the abbey.
The photo shows a goods train that was specially organised for the benefit of photographers, for pictures of 'how things used to be'.
Llangollen is the starting point of the Llangollen Railway which is a steam train preservation line and runs to Carrog via Berwyn and Glyndyfrdwy along the river Dee through leafy Welsh countryside.
The stations, too, are restored to how they would have been in the 1930's, and are well worth photographing in their own right. All stations offer light refreshments and Llangollen town has plenty of cafes and restaurants. There is an excellent restaurant / hotel at Berwyn called the 'Chain bridge hotel', but may be a bit expensive.
Carrog is a sleepy unspoilt villiage and the temporary western terminus of the line until the society eventually extend to Corwen.
One place to visit in Llangollen is the Aqueduct. Build by Thomas Telford, it has been used for over one hundred years. It takes the narrow boats across the river and they are at a height of 126 feet...Its a sheer drop over the edge if you are travelling in one of the small canal boats..I would have to have a few glasses of red to cross!!! Its well worth a visit..and you are able to cross over the aqueduct by foot as well.
Hop aboard a stream train, and journey through the picturesque Dee Valley for a beautiful hour long trip..Volunteers have rebuilt this great eight mile journey. This would have to be some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen...
At certain times of the year,you can also treat the kids with a ride on Thomas the tank Engine..We were lucky enough to be there at this time...All the characters are at the train station,ready to have fun with all the children.
This aqueduct was built in 1795 by Thomas Telford, taking ten years to complete.
You can see boats crossing the gorge on the aqueduct and you can even hire one for the day and explore the river system yourself.
Llangollen was for a long time a busy transport hub with the bridge over the River Dee being the only crossing of the river for miles around. The town became more prominent after the building of the canal by Thomas Telford in the early 1800s who was also responsible for the building of London to Holyhead road that runs through the town.
The canal that was to transport Welsh slate over the border for the Ellesmere canal Company and to bring other goods in, but this placid form of transport is now only used for canal trips along the canal and over the near by Pontcysyllte aqueduct.