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Llandudno

Llandudno and Orme

Visit Llandudno! Situated on the coast of North Wales, Llandudno is a location full of promise and mystery. It incorporates both tourist attractions, stunning welsh countryside and wildlife. For this specific visit we decided to stay in a hotel and found a Travelodge. This is the only branded hotel in the town centre with a Premier Inn about 5 minutes out of town however there are so many B+B’s and independent hotels to choose from.

This Travelodge is one of the chains newest hotels and is only a few minute’s walk to the beach. Car parking is available on the roads central reservation or on side streets which could get busy.

Visit Llandudno

After easily finding the hotel and a parking space we decided to check out the beach. Llandudno is a horse shoe shaped bay with large Victorian hotels standing shoulder to shoulder along the seafront. There is a large promenade, suitable for heavy volumes of foot traffic and push chairs, and a shingle beach leading out into the Irish Sea. Llandudno is home to the longest pier in Wales, which houses amusement arcades including one with a ZOLTAR machine. (If you have ever watched the film “BIG” you will either be enthralled or scared of it). You will also find a variety of shops, food stalls (including seafood and cheese as well as donuts and burgers) and kids games to keep all the family happy.

Visit Llandudno Pier – It has been lengthened since its original construction. Originally it started half way up with it’s entrance by what is now the Grand Hotel. An additional section brought it further inland alongside the edge of the bay. The pier is dog friendly, something that is rare to find, and they can enjoy the warm smell of donuts too! Llandudno is what we imagine a typical ‘British’ seaside town to be. Clean, friendly, colourful, charming and happy. Even though many British seaside towns are showing their age and some poverty, this doesn’t seem to have reached Llandudno. It looked fresh and vibrant with an air of Victorian charm.

Llandudno Pier

Mostyn Street is located just behind the promenade and is the main street for shopping here when you visit Llandudno. Well known high street shops can be found here as well as independents covering gifts, antiques and clothing. There is a small retail park just 5 minutes away with more high street names.

There are an abundance of restaurants, coffee shops and take-away’s. From fish and chip shops to full seated restaurants. The town library and small shopping arcade feature tourist information centres.

Llandudno is the birthplace of Punch and Judy. To celebrate this there are shows on the promenade multiple times a day during peak season. A great opportunity to get the kids to sit down for a while! Another treat for the kids is to let them have a go at crabbing. Buckets and reels are available to purchase from several shops.

Alice, Alice? Who the hell is Alice?

Alice in wonderland statue

As you travel through Llandudno you may notice some carved statues that look like the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts and a Cheshire cat to name a few! It turns out that the real Alice, inspiration for the Alice in Wonderland books by Lewis Carol, had a holiday home here in Llandudno. Alice used to visit Llandudno frequently and in homage to her the town has created a guided walk. It’s great to do with a dog, with wonderland themed statues in locations around town! You can buy the maps from the tourist information centre.

We also talk about Alice in our New Forest post!

Hunger Strikes!

There are plenty of places to eat when you visit Llandudno and Harvey’s, a New York bar and grill, hit the spot! It has a lovely atmosphere and is a great place to relax. The food was amazing and the service was first class. There are plenty of cafe’s, restaurants and bars around, almost every side road featuring a food outlet.

Nothing beats being on the pier or the prom with a bag of chips but do be warned… the seagulls will likely mug you for the food, they don’t have manners!

Great Orme

view from Great Orme

Two tourist attractions can take you to the top of the Great Orme. A cable car or a tram. The cable car is weather dependant and doesn’t run in windy conditions. As we had a dog at the time we opted for the Tram ride (dogs travel for free – even the big ones!) Trams were running every 10 minutes but you may have to queue in peak times. It is worth the wait if you like stunning views. The tram stops halfway up the hill where you can get off and explore the copper mines – stick a pin in that… I’ll come back to it.

You could also continue to the next tram and head up to the top of the Orme. Here you will be able to see for miles and miles on a cloudless day, in every direction. There is a nature reserve up here where you can walk around the Orme in peace. Dogs are welcome here  there are lots of sniffs to wear them out. The Captains Table café/restaurant serves food and drinks for when you want to rest or take it easy. For the kids there is a playground and there is also a gift shop by the tram station.

Copper Mines.

The Copper Mine was something that we came back to do a few days later and decided to drive to. It took about 45 minutes to go around the attraction which was full of fascinating information. The Orme Mines are thought to date back 4000 years – 2000 years before the Romans invaded. Over the past 28 years mining engineers, cavers and archaeologists have been slowly uncovering more tunnels and large areas of the surface landscape. This has revealed what is now thought to be the largest prehistoric mine, so far discovered in the world making this site very special.

There are 9 levels that have been uncovered so far and evidence of fires which were used to crack the rocks can also be seen. Unfortunately, not much of the site is open to the public yet but when speaking to a member of staff they said that they may open more in the future.

Excavations can only take place in the winter so that they can open it to the public during the summer season. It is very narrow inside and if you suffer from claustrophobia you may find it a bit much. The mine has been dug out using hand held tools, so the miners wouldn’t dig out more space than they needed to follow the copper veins.

Anglesey

Thursday saw us take the van out for a spin. You can easily spend a week in Llandudno and not needed to take a car out. Everything we needed was available in Llandudno. We drove west to Anglesey and found this to be a beautiful place to visit with a rich wildlife. Lligwy Beach in Moelfre is a wide sandy beach with low sand dunes giving an open airy feel. Dolphins and Puffins can spotted here – Keep your eyes peeled to see the local wildlife.

Thanks to the SATNAV we headed down a tight single track lane to the beach, and had to pass a lorry coming the other way. Minor damage was caused to the van in the shape of bramble scratches but nothing too major. The beach was worth it as there was plenty of space, golden sand and beautiful scenery. There was a little café where we purchased hot chocolates and hot bacon baps for lunch. Sunshine and blue skies accompanied us which I believe are a rarity in Anglesey.

Around Llandudno

Although there are plenty of attractions to keep you occupied when you visit Llandudno, you may wish to visit other local places. Here are a couple of ideas!

Conwy Castle. A stunning castle and part of CADW. We have passes to CADW sites and really recommend them. It’s a good idea to get here early as parking can be troublesome in peak season. The castle is a 13th centuary medieval fortification and was build for Edward 1st.

Colwyn bay, just on the other side of Llandudno. Free parking on the road side and a promenade with coffee shops, ice cream parlours and a Celtic hat shop to name a few!

Llandudno itself has two beaches. The main tourist one on the north face and then a west beach, which is quieter and dog friendly. It does not have the abundance of shops or tourist attractions but instead is a quiet beach, with lots of benches on the path way, for you to enjoy a quiet stroll. Being west facing you may also find the best sunsets on this side of Llandudno with views of the Ormes to treasure for ever.

There are still many parts of Llandudno that we did not get to fully experience in our 4 days here. We definitely want to visit Llandudno again!

Other activities we didn’t get to try include:

Snowshill – Cotswold Lavender Farm

This third generation family have been farming Snowshill lavender since 1999 and have achieved great success. Their success is thanks to the naturally draining limestone located 1000 feet above sea level. They now grow over 40 different varieties of lavender covering 140 miles of rows. They have recently started to grow Chamomile. You can also find wild flowers growing, such as Corn Cockles with their bright blue flowers, poppies, daisies and white cornflowers. Lavender is a herb and comes from the same family as mint!

Cotswold Lavender Barn

For £4 adult and £2 child entry fee (and free parking) you can treat the family to a great trip outdoors. You can walk around the Snowshill lavender fields just before harvesting, when the flowers are in bloom and the aroma of lavender flows through the air. The fields are open from mid June but the best time to see them is early to mid July. Harvesting usually starts around the last week in July through to August. There is a distillery on site where you can learn about the fascinating oil extracting process. Lavender must be harvested and distilled the same day and you may see this being done if you are lucky. You can still learn about the process in the distillery.

The site is dog friendly so feel free to take your 4 legged friends. There is no shade in the fields so use your common sense and judge the temperatures.

Cotswold Lavender, Snowshill.

Facilities

Across the road you will find a barn shop and tea room. Please see their website for up to date information on opening dates and facilities. Here you can purchase bath and body scrubs, cleansers, oils, wheat warmers, muscle rubs and more! It’s a little expensive, however you will find some lovely gifts here. You can even purchase your own lavender plants and help our dwindling bee population! They had several variety of Lavender for sale when we visited.

Rows of Lavender

The tea room has some lovely lavender themed food including lavender shortbread, scones and cakes. Their Lavender and Lemon cake is light and fluffy. A firm favourite of visitors. A marquee stands outside with lots of benches providing shade and comfort while you rest after your walk. A perfect place to look back over your photographs of kids playing in the lavender or your loved one striding through the purple rows.

Lavender has been used throughout history for its medicinal properties, including anxiety and insomnia. Antibacterial, analgesic and anti-depressant properties are also found in Lavender.

After your time here you could always visit Broadway village and Tower for a spot of shopping or see other attractions in the Vale of Evesham!

Access to Snowshill Lavender Farm

Cotswold Lavender
Snowshill Lavender

Access to Snowshill Lavender farm is on a single track B road. It has lots of passing places but can be busy in peak season. Please do not be out off by this as there are beautiful views of the landscape all year round, even when the lavender is not in bloom.

The National Trust’s Snowshill Manor is also close by. Charles Wade owned this house and used it to display his collections from toys to armour. Extensive gardens pitted as outdoor rooms, the garden provides an extension of Wade’s modest living quarters in The Priest’s House and the manor itself.

You are only a few miles from Evesham and Broadway so why not explore other gems the area has to offer!

FUN FACTS

Although most Lavender comes in blue or purple there are some varieties that come in yellow or pink!

Romans used Lavender to ward off insects and the Egyptians used Lavender 2500 years ago during the embalming process of mummification.