Llandudno is a Victorian-era seaside resort situated on the picturesque north coast of Wales. Once a favourite of Queen Victoria, Llandudno still retains an old-world charm that sets it aside from other British seaside resorts. Llandudno is set between the cities of Bangor and Chester and is easily accessible by road and rail.
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 with sunset views of Puffin Island. 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 has a prominent Welsh speaking community, greatly increased by the frequent visitors from rural communities further inland whose primary day-to-day language is Welsh.
As a simple mnemonic for English speakers, in Welsh the double LL is pronounced as (thl). The U is usually pronounced as an I. So Llandudno is pronounced (thlan-did-no)
- Through trains from London Euston, 6 times a day, change at Llandudno Junction
- Through trains from Manchester, every hour on weekdays (2½ hours).
- Through trains from Liverpool (approx. 2-2½ hours), change at Chester or change at Chester and Llandudno Junction (it depends on the timetable how many changes there'll be).
- 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.
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.
Nearest airports are Liverpool John Lennon Airport and Manchester Airport but only Manchester is directly linked by train (from airport by train to Manchester Piccadily, then change train). From Liverpool airport: take a bus to Liverpool Lime Street station, then take a train.
Local buses operate from Rhyl (every 12 minutes), Bangor (four per hour), Caernarfon, Llanberis and Llangollen but there are no daily long distance coach services to Llandudno. National Express has a daily service from London calling at Llandudno Junction (three miles away). There is a weekly National Express service to Newcastle-upon-Tyne on Sundays.
- Take the scenic Conwy Valley Train from Llandudno to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
- Gwynedd Red Rover Tickets cost £5.50 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.
- Bronze Age Copper Mines, Pyllau Road, ☎ +44 1492 870447. 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.
- Bishop's Quarry. Fossils in the exposed limestone faces of Bishop's Quarry near the summit.
- Oriel Mostyn Gallery, 12 Vaughan Street (The Mostyn is 200 meters from Llandudno Train Station), ☎ +44 1492 879201. Contemporary art and design
- Victorian Pier, North Parade, ☎ +44 1492 876258. the finest in Wales, second longest in Britain and one of a dwindling number of recreational piers in the country.
- Great Orme Tramway, Victoria Station, Church Walks, ☎ +44 1492 879306. 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 theSummit Complex.
- Walks over the Great Orme. perhaps visiting Saint Tudno's church.
- Marine Drive. Walk, cycle, drive or ride a coach around. 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. The toll is generally not in place after 7PM.
- Cable car. from the Happy Valley to the summit of the Great Orme.
- Happy Valley. Walk and enjoy the magnificent views.
- Haulfre Gardens. Walk and enjoy the magnificent views.
- Llandudno Ski and Snowboard Centre, Happy Valley, ☎ +44 1492 874707. artificial ski slope and toboggan run
- North Beach. Ride a donkey or just enjoy the sun
- paddling pool, North Shore Beach. Take a dip in the lovely, large pool , on the east end of the promenade.
- West Shore. Ride a donkey or just enjoy the sun
- Bodafon Farm Park, Bodafon Road, ☎ +44 1492 549060. a working farm that includes a bird of prey sanctuary (lots of owls included).
- Rock pools. Take the stairs on the west side of the pier to some rock pools (at low tide only!).
- Llandudno has long been considered North Wales’ 'heavyweight' shopping destination. There are two major modern retail parks behind venue cymru including a bowling alley.
- Amidst the wide boulevards and Victorian awnings of the main shopping street, you’ll find lots of independent shops and family businesses alongside big high street names
- The famous colourful stick of rock with inner layer spelling out Llandudno.
- Portfolio Local Photography, Llandudno Pier. Visit this lovely little gallery at the end of Llandudno Pier. It sells prints of North Wales by local photographer Geoff Steen.
Llandudno is home to many food venues catering for all tastes and budgets.
Cheaper venues include:
- The Palladium, 7 Gloddaeth Street, ☎ +44 1492 860023. Pub/Bistro of the J. D. Wetherspoon chain. Be aware that there is often a very long wait for food here at peak times, owing to the popularity and sheer size of the venue
- Fortes, 69 Mostyn Street, ☎ +44 1492 877910. Italian & Bistro. Llandudno's famous traditional ice cream, which has been serving freshly made ice cream for the past century.
- Fountains, 114 Mostyn Street, ☎ +44 1492 875600. Trendy bar/bistro with decent selection of good quality sandwiches, pizzas and wraps
For those seeking a medium priced meal, there are several Italian and other ethnic cuisine restaurants in the town:
- The Albert, 56 Madoc St, ☎ +44 1492 877188. Self-described on their page as a family friendly food pub.
- Mamma Rosa, 11 Mostyn Avenue (located in Craig-y-don but walking distance from the town along the promenade. Close to Venue Cymru and Boulevards.), ☎ +44 1492 870070. Italian Recommended.
- Romeos, 25 Lloyd Street, ☎ +44 1492 877777. Italian
- Candles, 29 Lloyd Street (On the corner of Madoc Street), ☎ +44 1492 874422. British/Continental Licensed Restaurant
- The Bengal Dynasty, 1 North Parade (On the corner of Upper Mostyn Street and Prince Edward Square), ☎ +44 1492 875928. Bangladeshi
- Home Cookin, 139A Mostyn Street, ☎ +44 1492 876585. Bistro Frankly the best of its kind for miles around! Hence the queues to be served most nights.Good food and friendly service.
- Jasmine House, 39 Mostyn Street (Opposite Trinity Church above KFC), ☎ +44 1492 874201. Chinese
- East, 21 Augusta Street (Opposite the Train Station.), ☎ +44 1492 868555. Chinese with a hint of Japanese
More up-market venues in the town include:
- The Empire Hotel.
- The Seahorse.
- No.1s Bistro.
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.
- Badgers. which specialises in traditional-British lunches and pastries
Though not on a par with the likes of Blackpool, Llandudno does have a vibrant nightlife scene with several popular bars and clubs. Busier in the summer months when tourists swell the ranks of revellers, a decent night out can be found in Llandudno all year round owing to the sizeable local crowd.
Along with the obvious Friday and Saturdar nights, Wednesday can also be busy with certain nightclubs offering popular reduced rates. Llandudno's 'trendier' bars can be found in the area of Upper Mostyn Street (walk down the Promenade towards the Cenotaph, then turn left down Gloddaeth Avenue).
- Venue Cymru. Is a modern building on the promenade that has a large music stage and also a theatre hosting major shows. It often sells out for popular gigs and comedy so its worth checking well ahead of your visit, what's on.
- Fountains. A popular bar offering a varied drinks menu. Quieter atmosphere in the upstairs section, live DJ in the basement.
- The Fat Cat. Good food, well-made cocktails.
- Club 147. Popular on Friday and Saturday nights when '147' as it is commonly known transforms into a fully fledged nightclub. Also shows sports evens (but be warned; during international football or rugby matches, the crowd supports Wales and anybody but England (with tongue firmly in cheek!)
- The Palladium. The flagship Welsh pub of the J.D. Wetherspoon chain set in a former cinema. A very impressive sight. Crowded and often rowdy on weekends. Known locally as Wethers to the extent that some locals would not recognize its official name.
- The Cottage Loaf. A stalwart of Llandudno nightlife for decades, the Loaf is located beside the rear entrance to the Palladium. Local beers, live music, quiz nights and a great atmosphere.
- The King's Head. Situated beside the tram station. Offers a good variety of drinks, live music and quiz nights. Popular with young and mature crowds alike. Hosts outdoor local music evenings during the summer months. (Headstock)
Llandudno has two full sized night clubs, both located about a mile away from the centre of town (down the Promenade towards Craig-Y-Don).
- Broadway Boulevard. Very popular with the local crowd, Broadway is a large nightclub that attracts some well-known DJs. Drinks offers are available during the week (Wednesday night being the most popular). Be on your best behaviour, though; the door staff are strict and local Police pay close attention to revellers.
Llandudno could certainly be seen as a Gay-friendly town when it comes to nightlife. The bars in Upper Mostyn Street attract a decent crowd.
Owing to its origins as a Victorian resort, Llandudno has a vast array of family run B&Bs (service consisting of a basic room with a generic cooked breakfast). Llandudno has a wide variety of hotels, ranging in size and quality.
- The Lansdowne Hotel, 13 Abbey Road, ☎ +44 1492 877370, e-mail: email@example.com. A gorgeous guest house style hotel in central Llandudno providing a friendly atmosphere and a large car park.
- Cae Mor Hotel, 6 Penrhyn Crescent, ☎ +44 1492 878101.
- Elm Tree Hotel, 24 N Parade, ☎ +44 1492 339871. Seafront Hotel with front garden overlooking the Pier.
- The Broadway Hotel. Built in 1865 this Victorian Hotel sits proudly on the edge of the Town Centre and 200 yards from the seafront.
- Llymar Hotel.
- Kensington Hotel Llandudno.
- Bella Vista Hotel.
- Elsinore Hotel.
- Lauriston Court Hotel.
- Heatherdale Guest House, 30 St Davids Road, ☎ +44 1492 877362, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Wi-fi, garden and home made marmalade! £27 - 30 per person.
- Adcote House, Deganwy Avenue (Deganwy Avenue is located just off the town centre, close to all amenities and the railway station), ☎ +44 1492 871100, e-mail: email@example.com. Adcote House is a 4-star bed and breakfast that offers comfortable bedrooms and suites for adults only. A period style has been created to reflect the Victorian home, alongside contemporary facilities and amenities. All rooms are en-suite. Recipient of Green Tourism awards. from £62 per room per night.
- Great Orme Lighthouse. Fortress style built in 1862, now a hotel
- St Tudno Seafront Hotel Llandudno, St Tudno Hotel & Restaurant, North Parade Promenade, LL30 2LP, ☎ +44 1492 874411, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. On the seafront overlooking views of the bay, Victorian Pier and beach. The hotel has 18 bedrooms in a Victorian-style terrace property and also has an on site restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea.
- St Georges Hotel, The Promenade, LL30 2LG, ☎ +44 1492 877544. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. North Wales Premier 4 Star Hotel and Visit Wales Gold Award Winner. Wales.
Llandudno is considered safe by any standards, though as with any other tourist destination, it is easy to fall into a false sense of security about your own safety. Note that Llandudno is also a fully functioning medium sized town and is therefore subject to the same difficulties as any other town.
Trouble associated with nightlife (drunkenness, anti social behaviour) is not uncommon. The Police take a robust response to incidents and maintain a visible presence on busy nights. Door staff can be strict and entry can be refused to pubs, bars and clubs.
Without the risk of overstating it, as with any town, there are areas in Llandudno which tourists should avoid, though these areas are not areas where tourists would normally travel. 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.
The massive annual influx of tourists is something that local people are used to. People from Llandudno are generally friendly, welcoming and appreciative of the economic boost that tourists bring to the town.
One issue that can arise is during international football matches. Hoards of fans wearing England strips and filling out the pubs should remember that the Welsh will rarely share their support for the England team and will often (in the spirit of good fun) cheer on the opposing team... Even if it's Germany! Don't make an issue out of this, it is not meant to offend. Plus, you are in Wales after all!
- Conwy - fantastic castle and walled town, just 5 miles away from Llandudno. Walk the town walls for free, many stairs leading up to them are throughout the town.
- A cycle path now exists between West Shore Llandudno and Conwy, very flat and car free. Also suitable for pedestrians.
- A 'working' riverfront where you can find a riverfront pub for a drink and an ice cream stand that also sells hot drinks along with 'The smallest house in the UK'.
- There's Conwy Butterfly Jungle just outside the town walls (now closed)
- A sightseeing boat that takes a 30 minute ride up and down the Conwy River (runs mainly on school holidays).
- Various independent shops in the town and various independent cafes (including the Tower Coffee House, built into one of the wall turrets, right across from the castle and giving great views of the river).
- If you'd like a free place to relax and maybe a read, Conwy Library also has great views of the river from its upper lounge.
- You can also take a walk from the river front, through the gate and find your way along a riverfront walk, at the bottom of Bodlondeb. The walk takes you around Bodlondeb, where you can make your way to Conwy Marina, where there is an upmarket pub with a large outside dining area overlooking the marina.
- There are many hill walks around Conwy as well (National Trust gift shop under Aberconwy House sells some maps, there's also an independent bookshop in the town).
- Aberconwy House, 14th-century merchant's house run by the National Trust.
- Plas Mawr (The Great Hall), one of the finest surviving town house of the Elizabethan era to be found in Britain, run by Cadw (who also run Conwy Castle, see about a joint ticket for both!).
- Chester - Roman walled city, 50 miles away (one hour by train).