Lying on land between the mainland and the Great Orme peninsula, the North Wales town of Llandudno takes its name from the parish (llan) of St. Tudno, the 6th century saint who brought Christianity to the area. The “Queen of the Welsh Resorts” was modelled as a Victorian seaside town. Now, with a population of around 15,000, it retains many of its Victorian features and is still the largest and most popular seaside resort in Wales. Sheltered between the twin headlands of the Great and Little Orme peninsulas lie two miles of sand and shingle. The Victorian promenade, known as The Parade, follows the beach for most of this distance.

The word “Orme” seems to be derived from either the Norse urm, serpent, because Vikings thought that the larger peninsula looked like the head of a coiled snake, or from the Old English wyrm – also meaning serpent – after the tangled mass of tunnels said to lie under the ground. Today, attractions are to be found on the beach, in the town and up on the limestone headland.


Llandudno Pier was built in 1877. A Grade II listed building, the pier is Wales’ longest at 2,295 feet. From the end, on a clear day, you can see the mountains of Snowdonia behind the town. The pier is frequently used as a filming location for Victorian dramas, including for the Forsyte Saga in 2002.

If you don’t feel like walking, the Great Orme Tramway takes visitors to the top of the headland, 650 feet above sea-level. There is also a cable car, the longest single-stage cabin lift in Britain. The Marine Drive toll road will also take you to the summit (where there is a car park) via the copper mines and St. Tudno’s Church. At the top there is a licensed hotel, a café, visitors centre, tourist shop and a play area for children.

[http://www.llandudnochurches.org.uk/sainttudno.html St. Tudno’s Church] can be found on the north side of the peninsula. The present building dates from the 12th century but is built on the site of the original 6th century church. A surprising number of the church’s medieval fixtures have survived, including a very rare “stigmata” boss. Open-air services are held in the church grounds on Sunday mornings during the summer months (June to September, 11am). Nearby, but difficult to access, is the Ogof Llech, a cave with a spring of clear water that served as Tudno’s cell.

The [http://www.greatorme.freeserve.co.uk/ Great Orme copper mines] were first dug in the Bronze Age, some 4000 years ago. Work seems to have stopped around 600 BC, although the mines were periodically reused, probably by the Romans and later in the Industrial Revolution from the 17th to 19th centuries. Visitors can now see the ancient mine workings for a fee (hard hats and miners’ lamps provided). The [http://www.goes.org.uk Great Orme Exploration Society] is an organisation set up to map and understand the workings of the Bronze Age mines. During the summer the group arranges walks around the area on Thursday evenings.

The [http://www.greatorme.org.uk/greatorme.html Nature Reserve] on Great Orme covers 2 square miles. It has been designated a Special Area of Conservation, Heritage Coast and Site of Special Scientific Interest. One of the more unusual attractions is a large herd of wild Kashmir goats, originally a present from Queen Victoria. Several endangered species of butterfly are also found there and the cliffs are home to colonies of many different types of sea bird.

The huge, imposing Conwy Castle, one of Europe’s most important fortresses, is only 5 miles from Llandudno (follow the A55 west).


Llandudno’s modern shopping arcade has been constructed to blend in with its earlier surroundings. Amongst the older streets from the Victorian and Edwardian eras there are newer shops, including a reasonable number of high-street names, with plenty of coffee shops and cafés around the town if you need to take a break. The [http://www.victoriacentre.net/ Victoria Centre] (Mostyn Street) is the town’s biggest shopping centre.

As a seaside resort, expect to find the usual round of rock, tea-towels and other tourist souvenirs. There are also numerous antique shops. The Stables on Bodhyfryd Road is an indoor market selling a range of goods, including second hand furniture.


Llandudno has plenty of options for entertainment in the evening with many pubs, clubs and restaurants. The [http://www.fatcatcafebars.co.uk/llandudno/index.html Fat Cat] is a relaxed café/bar with a diner, indoor and outdoor seating and frequent live music events. For the more energetic visitor, the Broadway Boulevard (Grand Theatre, a block from the seafront) is a popular venue for clubbing. Washington’s Nights on East Parade Street is all-age friendly with music, food and dancing. Arrive early (opens 7pm) to ensure entry.

Llandudno has several cinemas showing a wide variety of films. The [http://www.venuecymru.co.uk/home.php?/Home North Wales Theatre] (near the centre of Llandudno Bay, on the Promenade) offers music, drama, stand-up comedy and more.

Tourist Information

Llandudno Tourist Information Centre,1-2 Chapel Street,Llandudno,LL30 2YU

  • Tel: +44 (0) 1492 876413
  • Email:llandudnotic@conwy.gov.uk
  • Web: [http://www.llandudno-tourism.co.uk/ www.llandudno-tourism.co.uk/]


[http://manchester-airport-guide.co.uk/ Manchester] and [http://www.liverpool-airport-guide.co.uk/ Liverpool] are Llandudno’s closest airports, both offering easy road access to the town. Take the A533 from Liverpool to join the M56 at junction 12, heading for Chester, then the A550 towards Deeside. From Manchester, join the M56 and follow the same directions after Liverpool.

Manchester Airport serves over 200 destinations worldwide and is a major hub for British Airways. Terminal 3 has flights to domestic destinations, including London airports.

Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport is smaller (though growing fast). Ryanair and easyJet serve many European destinations, amongst others.

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