Pocket Britain

The biggest seaside resort in Wales, on the shore of the Irish Sea and known as the Queen of Welsh Resorts

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Llandudno Pier
Photo by Bryn S
Llandudno, on the shore of the Irish Sea, is the biggest seaside resort in Wales. There has been a town here since the Stone Age, but it really took shape in the 19th century, when the Victorians developed the town extensively. It was specifically designed as a holiday destination, which goes some way towards explaining its enduring popularity, right up to the present day.

Llandudno Bay
Photo by Ardent Photography
This Victorian heritage is still evident in Llandudno. In fact, it's everywhere you look! Some of the most impressive examples are on the main promenade, which faces onto the town's star attraction: the beach.

Llandudno Beach and Seafront
Photo by net_efekt
The sand here stretches out for two miles, in a graceful curve. Anything you could reasonably expect from a seaside resort, you can find in Llandudno, from arcades to donkey rides. Of course, there's a pier, too. With a length of 700 metres, it's the biggest in the country. At the very end of the boardwalk is the Pavilion Theatre, which used to host orchestral recitals, variety shows, and even political rallies. Unfortunately, it has been closed for some years, but it's still worth making the walk to the end of the pier, if only for the photograph opportunities back towards the town.

Llandudno Pier
Photo by net_efekt

The view back along Llandudno Pier
Photo by Verity Cridland

On Llandudno Pier
Photo by Purple sea donkey
When you arrive back on solid ground, you may notice a nearby Punch and Judy puppet performance. This just goes to show that, when it comes to providing a traditional British seaside experience, Llandudno leaves no stone unturned. Within the town itself, there's much more to do. If you were disappointed by the closed theatre on the pier, then you'll love Venue Cymru, which stands in the dead centre of the promenade. It has recently undergone drastic renovations, and now hosts a wide range of musicals, plays, and concerts. If you step away from the shoreline, you'll discover that Llandudno is a fully-functioning town, with all the shops and facilities that you'd normally find. However, it also contains many sights that are much less common, such as the unusual architecture of St. John's Church, or the frankly odd Millennium Totem Pole! A walking route known as the "town trail" connects all these points of interest, and is highly recommended.

Llandudno Town Centre
Photo by net_efekt

Riding the Great Orme Tramway out of Llandudno Town Centre
Photo by The Ancient Brit
Llandudno is also known for its two beautiful surrounding headlands, which are named Great and Little Orme. The former is by far the largest, and the most popular among tourists. It is circled by Marine Drive, a winding road that skirts the shoreline, making for one of the best scenic drives in Wales. If you're feeling energetic, you can climb up to the summit, and take in the spectacular views of the town and bay. On the other hand, if you're feeling lazy, then you don't have to miss out! You can ride to the top on the Great Orme Tramway, which has been open for over 100 years. Another alternative is the cabin lift, which was built in the 60s, and is actually the longest in Britain.

Great Orme Head
Photo by alh1

The Great Orme Tramway
Photo by Ingy The Wingy

The Great Orme Cable Car
Photo by net_efekt
The lift's base station is in Happy Valley, a quiet and relaxing garden area at the foot of Great Orme. Elsewhere on the hill's slopes, you can find all sorts of surprises. This is the home of an artificial ski slope, and an 700-metre-long toboggan run! There is also a large network of tunnels that used to be a copper mine, all the way back in the Bronze Age. It was only recently discovered in 1987, but since then it has been open to the public. It is thought to be one of the biggest and oldest prehistoric mines on the entire globe.

Llandudno Artificial Ski Slope
Photo by Verity Cridland
Llandudno is often known as the Queen of Welsh Resorts, but as you can probably tell, in reality it is so much more than that.
Visitor Information
Great Orme Mines are open from late March to October from 10am to 4.30pm. Entry costs around £6 for adults, £4 for children. Great Orme, Llandudno, LL30 2XG. Tel: 01492 870447

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