Legendary Llandudno

“Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli 

After spending a great time  exploring Cardiff, we called it a day . We had a train at 5 am and were well aware of the fact that our breakfast and half of our sleep would have to be continued in the train. After bidding goodbye to Cardiff,  we decided to take a quick nap to greet Llandudno with high spirits and enthusiasm. It was a long train journey – almost four hours and I stayed awake only to take some photographs of the sunrise (probably my second sunrise in the UK 😛 ) and a sneak peek of the beautiful Tintern Abbey. Of course, the main Abbey was far from the train station but the fact that I got to see the land on which William Wordsworth composed Tintern Abbey , even from a distance, is an honour in its own way. 

“A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving. “- Lao Tzu 

Unlike the day before, where most of the time was spent travelling , today we reached before 10 am and had the whole day to explore the seaside and the city. Llandudno is a very small city consumed by the beach and the pier. Most of the economy runs by through the hostels, lodges, restaurants and tourist curio shops. It was impossible to roam around with our luggage thus we requested our hostel (Llandudno Hostel) to let us keep the baggage and set out to explore the city on foot. It is best to acquire a map of the city but even if you don’t have one, it would not be very difficult to navigate your way . 

We headed to the beach to soak in the essence of the beautiful day and some sunlight (which is rare). This photograph was taken at the Llandudno Promenade. Most of the buildings in the photograph are hostels and hotels for the tourists. Notice, how they are all painted in pastel shades. It is because by the rule of the Government they are to stick to the pastel shades. Further, the houses are not very tall – at a glance around three storeys.  Again by the Rule of the Government the houses were not to exceed the breadth of the adjoining streets and thus they are not very high. 

This is the Llandudno pier. It hosts many curio shops, restaurants and activity centres for the children. I would highly recommend stopping by to enjoy a nice scoop of flavoured clotted cream ice cream. In fact, you might often find a nice nook and corner saving yourself from the prowling eyes of the seagulls and enjoy the ice cream. Oh yes Seagulls eat ice cream too and they do enjoy it 😛 . 

We had not planned our day at all. After walking for a while we figured out that hourly Hop- On Hop- Off buses leave from the Promenade and so we hopped on one of them. It takes a nominal fee of £7 -£10 and tickets can be purchased on spot. The running commentary on the bus gave various historical information about the place and introduced those customs and stories which are not even found in the hundreds of internet pages. Below, is a photograph of the West Shore of the city.

This structure was the erstwhile tram/train station. After the introduction of the bus in the city, it was closed down. Interestingly, it is assumed that the last tram/train driver became the first bus driver .

This play park and the adjoining residential area hints of Romanian architecture. This is because the, then Queen was close to the Romanian Royal family and thus Llandudno has  glimpses of Romanian architecture in certain parts of the city like this.

Llandudno and its adjoining lands were owned by the elite Mostyn family. This particular grave is the family grave of the Mostyn family.

The great Conwy Castle is a must when in Llandudno. The Hop -on Hop- Off bus has a stop in the Conwy Castle and those who wish to explore it more closely are welcome to get down here and board the next bus to continue  their journey. Apart from the castle itself, one can take some time out and explore the town of Conwy. Let me be honest, the grand architecture of the Conwy Castle was what attracted me  in the first place. Due to non availability of accommodation in Conwy we decided to stay in Llandudno and pay this castle a visit.

This is a skyline shot of the narrowest doorway in the world. I had seen the tallest doorway in Fatehpur Sikhri, India and then I saw the narrowest one in Wales. In fact, just before this doorway approaches, the audio guide mentions safety precautions as it is indeed difficult for the bus  to go through this narrow doorway without making frequent stops .

One must not forget that Llandudno was being developed in a patriarchal society. Thus when the Lady of the Mostyn Family, referred to as Lady Mostyn, decided to build a hotel and maintain it, most men laughed at her. Interestingly, today decades later this hotel (below) is the most luxurious and sought after hotel in Llandudno and the rooms are booked months in advance .

This is a view of the city centre/ market street of the city.

The entire city tour takes around an hour for a full ride. It takes you through the towns of Llandudno, Llandudno Junction, Deganwy Village and Conwy . It was almost noon when we came back to the Promenade and thought of strolling around the pier. If you want , you can settle for a nice live show of the Codeman’s Punch and Judy and spend an hour laughing your heart out. 

While most of us who have read Alice in Wonderland have known that Lewis Carroll composed this famous prose in Oxford, but not many know that the inspiration was taken from this quiet seaside resort of Llandudno. In fact, when you take the tour of the Great Orme the commentary includes the ruins of the house Carroll stayed in and befriended the owners daughter who was the inspiration behind Alice. Throughout the city, you would find sculptures dedicated to Lewis Carroll and Alice in Wonderland including the Mad Hatter, White Rabbit and the Queen of Hearts. You can walk around the city and follow the Alice Trail and uncover many hidden stories about it. This photograph was taken in the Llandudno Station. 

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson 

This is a photograph of the Great Orme from the pier. ‘Orme’ means sea monster and the way the rock juts out of the land and into the sea it has found an apt name for itself; being called a monster which engulfs the sea. On the other side of the city near the West Shore, lies the Little Orme. You can actually opt to trek all the way up to the Great Orme or take a nice tram ride (like we did). Again, tickets can be purchased on  spot for a minimum of £5-£7. This ride takes around an hour and a half with a twenty minutes halt at halfway point for refreshments. 

The Great Orme has some beautiful caves which are open to the public for self exploration (free of cost). It also has a fully functional church . This is the oldest in the area and is made by clearing the rocks from the Orme. 

This photograph  was taken at the Halfway point.  This place has a little restaurant and parking space wherein those driving all the way up can take some rest and click beautiful photographs . We took up most of our time climbing the Great Orme and taking photographs . It is said that a pair of Kashmiri goats were presented to the then British Queen but since she had many goats , she presented them to her friend in Llandudno . Thus in the Great Orme if you spot Kashmiri Goats, do not be shocked. Unfortunately, we didn’t spot any ! 

“It is not down in any map; true places never are. “- Herman Melville 

As we continued our journey forward from the halfway point, the beautiful outline of the Snowdon Mountains emerged in the horizon. According to our commentator, the Snowdonia mountains host many rare species of flora and fauna “and if you are lucky enough you might spot some rare species of Pokemon hiding in there. ” 😛 . 

“Half the fun of travel is the aesthetic of lostness. ” – Ray Bradbury 

After descending from the Great Orme and having a bite we relaxed at the hostel before going out again to explore the promenade. This time, it was nearing sunset and most of the people were getting ready to leave. Many tourists had come for a day trip to the sea and were making their way to the train station. The Promenade guards were vigilant about the tourists clearing the area for Coast Guard practice sessions. We took a walk around the shore and settled for some nice Welsh Orchestra which was being played by the Town band. 

Thereafter we had an early dinner and went out for our customary night walk. This photograph was shot during the walk at the promenade . It was interesting to see how a place which was full of activities had become so quiet. The pier , although lighted was closed and locked . The shoreline was made inaccessible in parts due to the approaching high tides. We wandered around the town for a little longer and saw most of the hotels were having karaoke dinners and dancing in their common rooms. Soon, we called it quits as well and went back to our hostel . We grabbed a movie ‘ Out of Africa’ and went ahead to watch it, thus ending a beautiful day. 

I have a habit of trying to explore the early morning hours whenever I am travelling. Usually, at home, no one sees me wake up before 9 -10 am.  This photograph of the sunrise (below) from the Promenade was taken around 6:30 ish. Not many people were present and those who were there had come to walk their dogs . I spent almost an hour here witnessing the beauty of this place before catching my homeward bound train . Though I was happy to go back home, I was also disheartened that this experience came to a close so soon. 

Taking a vacation for the first time on my own with friends had opened me up and in the true sense made me a traveller. To imbibe the various customs, cultures, traditions that the people of Cardiff and Llandudno had to offer was an experience in itself. And I think it has made me more confident as a person to handle life in a way I want to without being a slave to the dictates of the world. 

“Once you have travelled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey . “- Pat Conroy 

I would leave you with this beautiful quote and sunrise till I come back to share my next adventure. 

 

94 Replies to “Legendary Llandudno”

  1. Beautiful photographs. I especially liked the one taken from Llandudno Promenade. Wales has never really been at the top of my ‘must travel there soonest’ destinations, until about a few weeks ago when I watched a travel insert on it. I was in England in November, but sadly didn’t get the chance to visit Wales, so will have to leave it until next time. I’ll have to stop by Llandudno, especially because I am a literati and adore Alice in Wonderland. 🙂

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    1. Good to know that you love Alice in Wonderland. Im sure you have visited Oxford, Cardiff and Cambridge then if you like literature a lot. These are the treasure house of literature and knowledge.

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    1. well, I would like to define it as a well maintained tourist spot. There are lots of tourists from all over the world who come to soak in the beauty of this place. But it has been maintained well . though I agree it is not as popular as Snowdonia or cardiff but its worth a visit.

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  2. A friend of mine suggested LLandudno while I was planning a trek to Snowdonia, but due to the time constraint I couldnt visit this place. Reading your post I regret not extending my trip in Wales, Llandudno looks so beautiful, loved the night capture of the city. How the castle experience? Is it like a typical English castle?

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    1. Co-incidentally, I could not get proper transport back home from Snowdonia so had to skip it and put llandudno on the charts instead. The castle was beautiful. Every nook and corner has its own story. The architecture is different although the main elements are the same as that of an english castle.

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  3. I can honestly say I never thought I would read a travel blog post about Llandudno! Wales is rarely on people’s travel itinerary. I love castles and Conwy castle looks like a great place to visit. That’s also very interesting about Lewis Carroll and Alice in Wonderland – I had no idea!

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    1. Yes, i did spot that it is still quite friendly for the elder people. In fact on a walk back to our hostel we found a hotel common room full of elderly people merry making and having fun. It is definitely the right place for any age group even after so many years.

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  4. Wow… truly comes as a surprise to me that Seagulls enjoy an ice cream too. And it’s really interesting to know that a government could have control over the shades of colors to be used on a building and that you could spot Kashmiri goats there in Llandudno. I must find out how to pronounce that.

    Great bit of information and looks definitely like a time well spent in this beautiful looking place.

    Pixellicious

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    1. Yes. some of these little intricate information were handed down to us directly from the guides on the Hop on Hop Off Tour and the train ride to the Great Orme. Its important to preserve these facts lest they might just get lost in the pages of history some day.

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  5. This post was really a gem. You made me discover a place I had no idea about. And such a magnificent coastal city. It has an aristocratic air to it, though mixed with a few rural touches and beautiful buildings. The main street and promenade is very pictoresque

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  6. Wow, this seems like my kind of place with the beautiful architecture, history, and those views 😀 And to see Wales on a sunny day, I think, is a little rare 😉 Thanks for sharing your experience of Llandudno

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  7. An ideal cultural and fun experience. Conwy Castle has caught my attention. Seems quite majestic and interesting. I know that I would have ditched the bus for some more time here. Thanks for sharing all the useful tips along the way. Looks like I have to plan another UK trip soon.

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    1. well yes. thats is what the entire place claimed of. though I knew that it was written in Oxford. But writing it and getting the inspiration to write it happened in different places according to stories and beliefs.

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  8. That’s funny, Romanian architecture in Wales, who would have known? I’d definitely have to go and visit, as I am originally from Romania. Actually, Prince Charles owns a few properties in a village in Transylvania and he loves going there to relax. 🙂

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    1. Well there are many sculptures scattered all over the city. Its called the Alice in Wonderland Trail. In fact, apart from alice and this display in the post which are just beside the train station, the others are spotted directly from the Hop on Hop Off bus Service. There the Mad Hatter, White Rabbit, footprint of the rabbit and the Queen of Hearts. On The Great Orme tour you can hear more stories about the inspiration behind this great novel.

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  9. I haven’t been to Llandudno before which is a shame really as I live in the North West of England. I hope I will get time soon as from your post and your photos, it sounds lovely.
    I also experienced the greedy seagulls in Cornwall. They really are like flying rats when it comes to food!

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  10. Thanks for bringing Llandudno in my imagination :)… A great place to explore and wander around, how I wish to be lost somewhere in that place… Amazing photos and I want to see them for real..hoping so,,,

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  11. Such a great trip! I especially love the white buildings against that blue sky and green mountain backdrop. Smallest door hehe. It’s interesting seeing things like that to add to our memories. Smallest, tallest, biggest, longest. ^^

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  12. This looks like a great place to visit! I would be drawn first to that incredible castle as well, but the town of Llandudno is super cute! I love it when governments restrict things like building sizes, because that seems to preserve some of the charm of a place.

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  13. What a wonderful place Subhadrika! Sounds like a dream place. The mention of Alice in wonderland there triggered travel pangs in me and I am impressed with the lady who started the hotel! Commendable!
    Great post and I like how you spiced it up with travel quotes. 🙂

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  14. The sunrise of Tintern Abbey is beautiful and Llandudno Promenade looks postcard pretty and a paradise for a photographer! Conwy Castle looks magnificent! I didn’t know that Lewis Carroll got an inspiration of ‘Alice in wonderland’ from here.How much time did it take you to cover all these attractions?

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    1. well, to be honest i didnt know about the Alice link till I reached the place. Well the city tour comprising Llandudno, Conwy Castle and Deganwy Village takes about an hour (without getting down), the Castle itself would take about an hour, The Great Orme takes around one hour and a half with the tram stopping at half way point for refreshments, and you can spend as much time as you want on the Promenade. So one day would be enough to visit the whole place.

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  15. How can it be not legendary if the place is this beautiful! As soon as you get to the pier, you’ll fall in love. There’s just so many things to see and explore here. I would love to see that castle up close! It’s breathtaking.

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  16. I’ve heard of Cardiff before and it’s on my list, but never heard of Llandudno. After reading your post, I now know two cities/towns in Wales. For how small it is, I’m surprised you can take a four hour train ride in a territory as small as Wales!

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    1. Thank You. 🙂 Glad you liked it . 🙂 Yes, the caves are great. We were short of time so we could not walk up and explore the caves again and unfortunately the tram is not like the Hop On Hop Off buses that you can get down and catch the next one.

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