Life's a beach
The beach - you must take a journey to the beach. It is a long swathe of rock and pebbles with a long promenade but you can still find a fare amount of sand. The beach under Happy Valley is very rocky and a great place for exploring rock pools. During a summers day you will find the place packed with families enjoying the beach life.
Happy Haulfre Gardens
Haulfre Gardens has a pleasant garden for a promenade with good views of the town below. It is promoted for those who find it difficult to walk uphill but you do have to walk uphill to get to the gardens in the first place. There is a nice Tea Room there which sells snacks and great cakes. It used to be run by a delightful Italian gentleman and his wife and recently changed hands, I am pleased to report that the cakes are still of a high standard.
You can always thake the cable car
Cable cars to the top of the Orme as well. I would say very expensive for what they are and much more expensive than similar rides in other countries that I have tried, quicker than the tram and walking though
A tram to the top of Great Orme
A must do activity, the Victorian tramway to the top of the Great Orme. A calm and leisurely ride to the top in graceful open sided carriages. At the top there are plenty of opportunities to walk around with the sheep and wild goats and a small museum about the Orme. There is a small cafe as well and the views are very pleasant out over the Irish Sea and toward Anglesea. You can drive up there as well if you wish.
The only cable tram in Britain
This is the only cable hauled, street tramway in Britain, and one of three in the world. (The other two are located in San Francisco and Lisbon).
Open March to October, 10-6 daily
Instead of walking up the Great Orme, take the tramway which climbs for a mile. Original Victorian carriages to ride in.
- Budget Travel
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Take the footpath near the pier behind the Grand Hotel to go up the Great Orme.
There is an old 'camera obscura' building here - and views of the spectacular coastline.
Some camera obscura have been built as tourist attractions, often taking the form of a large chamber within a high building that can be darkened so that a panorama of the world outside is projected onto a horizontal surface through a rotating lens. few survive, though there is another in Aberystwyth and one in Portmeirion in Wales.
- Road Trip
- Historical Travel
Exhibits give visitors a a show of the evolution of Llandudno.
From Roman, Neolithic, and Bronze ages, along with hands-on displays.
A reproduction of a Welsh kitchen and demonstrations concerning the farming, fishing, and mining industries. Photographs, paintings, and other works of art that give residents and visitors alike a better illustration of the town's rich history are also included.
- School Holidays
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The Tram up the mountain.
This is Llandudno's prime attraction. I have fond memories of the tram from my childhood, so it was wonderful to see my son Arann being equally captivated by the contraption a little before his second birthday, even if he did insist on referring to it as 'Thomas'.
Now for the anorack bit. Many think that the tramway works on an overhead powerline, but this was just for communication. Rather unsually the trams are fixed directly to a moving ropeway that is controlled from a halfway winding house.
The lower section follows some very steep (up to 1 in 4) streets before beginning to ascend the Great Orme. At the halfway point you have to switch trams to continue on the much more wild and windswept upper section to the summit.
It was built as a private enterprise but has beem run by the local council for a good number of years. Despite some heavy investment to bring it up to modern safety standards the same original four tramcars have been operating the route since it opened over 100 years ago.
A truely captivating experience, even if you don't share a boyish love of this sort of thing.
In search of flapping animals
The Great Orme country park covers the area of the Great Orme (surprisingly enough) that looms over Llandudno. It is an excellent place to wander about with many well marked paths and various points of interest.
The wildlife is quite unusual as well. Around the sea cliffs you can find guillemots, kittiwakes and razorbills, it is also possible to spot ravens and little owls.
For the butterfly collector the country park is a veritable haven for a number of species, including the very rare silver studded blue butterfly (sound like a bit of an S & M butterfly to me)
One of the more unsual (but easy to recognise) wildlife sightings is the rather odd sight of Kashmir mountain goats. Queen Victoria presented the town with a pair of Kashmir mountain goats, and things sort of developed from there.
4,000 years of digging.
One of the most over-used sterotypes of the welsh nation is their mining heritage. The wealth of Wales lies beneath it's rather poor soil. Coal from Wales fuelled the industrial revolution, slate roofed many millions of houses and Gold provided rings for the Royal family.
In more recent times the extraction of the precious noodle to make Pot noodles became a major industry (This is a reference to a highly funny T.V advertisment that ran in 2006, and attacted nearly 100 complaints of racism - the complaint was not upheld)
In Llandudno however the mining industry concentrated on the extraction of Copper. Still a valuable metal, it has be gouged out of the Great Orme for over 4,000 years. Although not mined here commerically anymore a vistors and interpretation centre has been built. The five pound entry charge includes a walk down into the depts of the mine. It seems incredible that they were prepared to work in such appauling conditions in pre-historic times to lay their hands on copper. After all, they had only just got around to inventing the wheel, fire and how to sacrifice virgins.
Happy, happy, happy time.
The wonderfully cheesily named 'happy Valley' has been a feature of llandudno since 1890. As with most things in the town it was a gift from the Mostyn family who planned and built the town.
'Happy Valley' is, in essence, LLandudno's main public park and open play area. It nestles just above the pier in the foothills of the Great Orme. It includes a rather nice rock garden, a number of sculptures, a modern Druid's (what the hell is a modern Druid ?, cloaks by Versace ?) stone circle and a Camera Obsura, alng with the usual bits and pieces you would expect in a park.
It also is the starting point for the longest cable car in the U.K. It ascends the great Orme from the gardens.
A very pleasant place for a stroll, and to admire the views of the town from.
I'll go 15 rounds with you, you old bruiser
The 'summit complex' as it is called on the top of the Great Orme was originally built as a telegraph station. It meant that the important communication link between Holyhead and Liverpool was maintained. After a series of owners, including a golf club, an small hotel and a RAF radar station it ended up in the hand of the famous boxer Randolf Turpin.
Although he only held a world title for a couple of months he be did famously knock out Sugar Ray Robinson. He had only been once before in over 130 professional fights.
He is also famous for being britain's First black boxing champion.
'Randy's bar', part of the summit complex, still contains a good deal of items and arefacts associated with the man. The outside porch is a stunning place to have a cool lager on a summer's day (possible about twice a season !)
Keeps the rain off
The most noticable architectural feature of lalndudno is the impressive lengths of ironwork pavement canopies that line the shops and buildings of the main streets.
Often painted in a variety of garish colours, they really show off the craftmanship of the, mainly Scottish, ironworkers.
Some feel that this gives the town a baroque or even an Italianate feel. It certainly gives a high Victorian air to the town, which I liked : that and the fact it keeps off the worst excesses of the Welsh Climate.
Gee up boy, gee up...
You can't get any more traditional than plonking your offspring on the back of a donkey and gently walk along the sands.
The concession in Llandudno was introduced over 125 years ago, and is still operated by the same family. You have a woman by the name of Elizabeth Hughes to thank for this opportunity.
Cute photographs are virtually guaranteed.
I somehow can't help thinking about Eddie Murphy when I look at a donkey...or Tony Adams.
As a Pier it is peerless, peer at it, but no pair!
Some years ago when I was marking an exam script on Sociology, the subject being population.
One hapless dork replied to the question "Give an example of an ageing structure" with "a seaside pier" and the supplementary question "What dangers might this result in ?" with "It may get rusty and hurt people by falling on their heads"
The Pier at llandudno is widely considered to be one of the finest Victorian piers in the country, with a somewhat 'Indian' feel to it. Hence this terribly piece of purpelly prose from a
British Tourist Authority report in 1975 - "It zooms out of the sea all 1,400ft (424m) of it, in a spectacular Indian Gothic style rather like a Maharajah's palace floating on a lake. Cast iron, brackets of iron lacework, an outstandingly pretty balustrade like an enlarged fish net, ogee roofs curling away to the sky, all add up to a totally pleasurable experience"....
It just seems a pity therfore that the pier is nowadays filled with the whiff of dodgy cheap food, the clank of amusement arcades and a motley collection of tatty fairground rides.
It was orginally envisaged that LLandudno would have two piers - but the second one never materialised.
Entry is free, and at over 1,000 feet long it is still a bracing walk.
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