As very few of you will have even heard of Llandudno before visiting (apart from possibly in the news recently due to us being overrun by our new goat overlords), we thought it might be useful to show you some of the amazing sites that are nearby and help you plan your visit…
In & Around Llandudno
Conwy is home to probably the best castle in Wales. This tiny little walled town sits over the river from Llandudno but is a short drive / train ride away. Learn more about the castle here.
Entrance Fee: £10.40
The Knight Shop:
Situated opposite the castle by the roundabout, this shop does pretty much what you would expect! If you are in town, it is well worth a visit to see their selection of armour, weaponry and mead (a great combination…)
Situated on a hill on the opposite side of the water to Conwy castle, you can still visit the ruins of an older fortress. Deganwy castle was an early stronghold of the Welsh kingdom of Gwynedd and likely to be the seat of their king.
The stone castle was built in the early Middle Ages by the English King Henry III but was destroyed by the famous Welsh resistance leader Llywelyn ap Gruffydd.
Meini Hirion (The Druids Circle):
The Druids circle is situated above the nearby town of Penmaenmawr, up a mountain overlooking the Irish Sea. You can reach the town by car, train or bus and although there is a fair amount of walking and minimal signage, it is well worth the effort to get to the top!
Known as Meini Hirion in Welsh, the Druids Circle is also located in a dramatic location up a mountain overlooking the sea with views across to Llandudno. It is thought that the circle could be around 5000 years old so despite its modern name, the stones most likely will predate the Druids. However, given the name it inherited, the Druids may well have used this site for their religious practices and there is even the ominously named Stone Of Sacrifice which received its name due to its shape with an obvious ledge…
Find details of the walk to the circle here.
Llandudno is lucky enough to be visited every year by a fairly large Seal population! One of the best spots to see the seals is just out of town at Angel Bay behind the little Orme mountain, where after a short walk on a good footpath will take you to overlook a protected bay. It will depend on the season as to how many Seals you will see, but regularly, we have observed 30 plus… You might even find Sean singing to them as well…
Great Orme Copper Mine:
Situated at the top of the Great Orme, near the tram station, the copper mine is one of the most special places to visit. It has been a work in progress for archaeologists who over the last 28 years have slowly been uncovering tunnels which date back over 4000 years. It is now thought to be the largest prehistoric mine discovered in the world. Learn more about this incredible place here.
Admission Price: £8
Witches rocking stone:
Myth has it that witches would be tried on this stone to determine their guilt. If the stone rocked, they were innocent, but if it remained still, they were found guilty and executed. Whilst the stone does occasionally rock, it is really not very often… so the majority of the unfortunates who found themselves on trial were executed.
Given its name by passing Viking ships who legend says thought the mountain looked like a great dragon from the sea, the Orme is the great hill that overlooks the town. From the top, you can see both the sandy west shore and the main beach of Llandudno and on a very clear day, you can see as far as the Isle of Man!
There are several paths to walk up or around the hill and you can drive to the viewpoint at the summit where there is a cafe. If you don’t enjoy walking and have come to Llandudno by train, you can still get up to the top of the Great Orme using the tramway (times and prices available here).
The modern town of Llandudno is very influenced by Victorian architecture so it is probably not a surprise to see a pier at one end of the bay… It is home today to a number of amusement arcades but if you prefer just to see the pier itself, you can still walk down.
Situated in the shadow of the Great Orme, Happy Valley is a lovely area of gardens and greenery on the site of a former quarry. It is a great place to sit and look out to sea as well as to explore. You will also see a stone circle here… but sadly, we cant pretend it is particularly old!!
Alice In Wonderland Trail:
You may wonder why there are so many statues and monuments related to Alice in Wonderland strewn across town… It is because the author was inspired to write the book after visiting friends in the town.
Today, you can follow this route around all of the statues in town.
West Shore Beach:
If you are looking for a place to relax, the beach on the West Shore is the place to go. Miles of flat sand and a beautiful view across the bay to the mountains of Snowdonia… It even gets sunny here sometimes!
The Boathouse Climbing Centre:
Just around the corner from the studio on Lloyd Street, there is a climbing / bouldering wall. Pretty self explanatory but definitely fun! Full details can be found on their website.
Entrance Fee: £10
Ancient Ynys Mon is among the best places to go for Celtic history in all of the UK. Below are just a few of the sites you can visit today:
Bryn Celli Ddu is one of the best examples of a burial mound in the country and is literally translated as the ‘Mound in the Dark Grove’ in English. There is a short walk (5 – 10 minutes) from the car park to reach the site. As the sun rises on the summer solstice (the longest day of the year) shafts of light shine directly down the tomb’s passageway to illuminate the chamber within.
Gwarchod y Gawres (Barclodiad y Gawres) Is located near the town of Rhosneigr and is another excellent example of a burial mound. Although maybe less iconic than Bryn Celli Ddu, the mound is actually bigger and you can see carvings on some of the stones.
If you are visiting in winter, unfortunately, the gate is locked.
Tŷ Newydd burial chamber is a ruined megalithic dolmen set up on a natural outcrop and would originally have been covered with a mount or cairn. Although he capstone is now partially held up by brick supports, Tŷ Newydd still cuts an impressive sight
Excavations in 1936 uncovered remains of pottery and an arrowhead from the later Beaker and Bronze Age periods of history. More recently, prehistoric artwork termed ‘cup marks’ have been detected on the capstone.
Lligwy Burial Chamber is a Neolithic burial chamber on the East coast of Anglesey. It consists of a circle of upright stones, made into a low chamber by a very large roof slab estimated at 25 tonnes, making it one of the largest in all of the UK.
Din Lligwy is an ancient village site near the east coast of Anglesey, close to the village of Moelfre. The late Roman settlement features the remains of two round huts and several rectangular buildings encircled by a stone wall 5ft/15m thick. Discoveries of coins, pottery and glass date the settlement to the late Roman period in the 3rd and 4th centuries, though traces of structures outside the enclosure suggest the site may have been in use since the Iron Age.
Within a 5 minute walk of the village, you will also find a separate burial chamber and a chapel.
Pant-y-Saer is a Neolithic dolmen near the small town of Benllech. This burial chamber is partially collapsed with the massive capstone resting on the ground at one end. The remains of 54 people who were buried here have been found during excavations along with flint arrowhead and pottery.
Melin Llynnon is by far the most famous windmill on Anglesey, as it has been restored to fully working order (the only one in Wales) and is now a tourist attraction. The site was recently expanded with the addition of replicas of two Iron Age roundhouses. These are similar to those that would have been lived in on Anglesey 3000 years ago.
South Stack Lighthouse is situated within an RSPB protected area and offers stunning scenery and several walking routes. If you are visiting in June, you will probably be able to see Puffins here, along with Guillemots, Peregrine Falcons and others alongside some ancient hut circles…
If you enjoy walking and history, you can attempt some (or all) of the Offa’s Dyke path which was built to form the border between the Welsh kingdoms and Mercia. The full path can take 2 weeks to complete but there are sections in North Wales where you can walk shorter distances as well. The best website I have found with details of the walks is here.
The city of Chester is on the train line between Manchester and Llandudno (about half way) and is definitely worth a visit. The city itself is pretty well built on history as it was first an important Roman fort and became home to Saxons and settling Norsemen alike before it became a fortified defensive “Burgh”, built by Æthelflæd, daughter of Alfred the Great. If you have time to visit, I would definitely recommend a walk around the city walls and visiting the cathedral.
Another example of English imperialism that survives in Wales. Canaerfon is one of the most intact castles in Wales and definitely among the most iconic. The castle was also the location where Charles was officially named Prince Of Wales by the Queen. He even learnt Welsh to enable him to make a speech for the occasion! Learn more about the castle here.
Entrance Fee: £10.40
Mount Snowdon is the highest mountain in the country and is situated in the middle of the beautiful Snowdonia national park. There are a number of paths you can take to the top (See all routes), but the most common starts near the town of Llanberis. If walking isn’t your thing, you can still get to the top on the Snowdon Mountain Railway which sets off and returns to Llanberis. It isn’t cheap (£31 return) but it is a beautiful place.
Departure times and prices for the train are available here.
Just off the main road between Anglesey and Llandudno, you can take a stop off for a pretty stunning walk to see Aber Falls. There are quite a few different lengths of walk available depending on how adventurous you are feeling…
Betyws Y Coed:
Betyws Y Coed is a gateway town to Snowdonia and is an excellent stopping off point for walkers and climbers. Alternatively, you can take a peaceful walk up the river or enjoy visiting the towns excellent Fish and Chip shop…
Beaumaris was intended to be the greatest English castle in Wales until the Scottish wars of independence distracted Edward I and drained the royal coffers… Still a beautiful castle to visit and situated in a lovely little town by the coast. You can learn more about the castle and its history here.
Entrance Fee: £7.70
Whilst visiting the town and the castle, you can also take a boat trip out around nearby Puffin Island. Very few people are allowed on the island itself as it is a sight of special scientific interest (SSSI) but from the boat you can see Puffins, Seals and if you are lucky porpoises and dolphins. We would also suggest a visit the nearby Penmon lighthouse if you have time as it is a lovely spot for a walk or picnic.
Prices and ferry times will vary depending on which option you choose, but full details can be found here.
Eating & Drinking
There are a huge number of pubs and restaurants in the town covering most types of cuisine. However, these are the best… in our opinion and all will cater for vegetarians and vegans.
The most important thing to remember when eating in Llandudno is DONT EAT OUTSIDE!!! The seagulls have been known to attack unsuspecting visitors who leave their lunch unguarded…
Probably the best restaurant in town… Romeos offers authentic Italian cuisine and is just around the corner from the studio. Turn right onto Lloyd Street and go up the stairs.
View their full menu on their website here.
In the UK being by the sea usually means you will find good Fish and Chip shops and Llandudno is no exception! Tribells is the best in our opinion and again, it is within 2 minutes of the studio on the crossroads of Lloyd Street and Madoc Street. You can eat in or take away.
The best Indian restaurant and takeaway in Llandudno. At the end of Madoc Street, continue onto Chapel Street until the crossroads. Turn right and you will see the restaurant.
View their full menu on their website here.
Tapps is a small micro pub on the opposite side of Madoc street to the studio (to the right). It hasn’t been open so long but offers a wide variety of real ales and craft beers.
Haven is a small, independently run cafe over the road from the tattoo studio (to the left) which is great for a quick bite to eat, a coffee or a cake. They are lovely people and it is really handy for grabbing a quick lunch during a busy day. If you visit, it is best to pay in cash as the building is a bit of a black spot for WiFi and they have to go to the window to get any signal on their card machine!
The Cottage Loaf:
The Cottage Loaf is a traditional pub within 5 minutes walk of the studio. They offer a range of drinks including traditional Welsh ales and have a separate dining area offering table service. If you choose to sit outside (especially in the back area), they may give you a spray bottle filled with water which is handy for keeping greedy seagulls at bay…
You can see their full menu here.
The Fairy Glen:
Although not in Llandudno, if you visit the Druids circle, we would recommend this local welsh pub for both its food and drink!
One To Avoid:
There is a Wetherspoons (pub chain) in the town but as they have historically treated their staff so appallingly, including trying to withhold furlough pay during the coronavirus quarantine, we are boycotting them and would appreciate if you did the same.
In the town centre, you will find Subway, Starbucks, Neros, Greggs and other chains. There is a McDonalds in the retail park on the outskirts which is around 15 minutes walk from the studio.
Helpful Welsh Phrases
Pretty well everyone in Wales speaks English but you will find most welsh people are very proud of their language and will appreciate you making the effort.
Good Morning – Bore Da
Hello – Helô
Thank you – Diolch
Thank you very much – Diolch yn fawr
Goodnight – Nos Da
Goodbye – Tara
Cheers – Iechyd da!
Chips – Sglodion
Happy Christmas – Nadolig Llawen
Happy Birthday – Penblwydd Hapus
Wales – Cymru
Wales Forever – Cymru am both!