For the past three years, I’ve made an annual trip to the Welsh seaside town of Llandudno for work. The first year, I made it no further than my hotel and the conference centre. The second year, I wandered along the promenade almost as far as the pier. But this year, I finally made it all the way along the promenade, to the end of the pier and around the town centre. Result!
Llandudno is a Victorian seaside town on the North Wales coast and like many seaside towns around the UK is a little worn and frayed in parts, but it’s still an attractive and appealing place. A long row of Victorian villas, most of which are hotels or B&Bs, line the promenade, looking out over the Irish Sea.
The coastline is beautiful and the town’s long curved beach is book-ended on either side by two enormous rocks, known as the Great Orme and the Little Orme. There are nice little touches along the promenade, too, including a statue of the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland (above) and a compass embedded in the ground.
It was an overcast day when I walked along the seafront this year, unlike the previous year when I basked in glorious sunshine, and my aim was to make it to the end of the town’s pier. The blue and white pier, which sits in the shadow of the Great Orme, is a splendid piece of Victorian architecture. At 2,295ft-long, the pier was built between 1876 and 1878, and is still in excellent condition (if in need of a lick of paint).
As I made my way along the pier, I passed numerous shops selling souvenirs, buckets and spades, books and music, as well as fairground rides and amusement arcades. There were also lots of stalls selling food and drink, including seaside staples such as candyfloss, doughnuts and ice cream.
The pier is much longer than it looks and it took a good 10 minutes to walk its length. By the time I made it down the pier, it had started to rain and was getting to be quite windy, so I didn’t spend too long admiring the views. But I did stop to take in the fantastic views of the seafront, as well as the Great Orme (above), and to watch a man fishing from a little platform attached to the end of the pier.
I always stay in the same bed and breakfast when I go to Llandudno, a lovely little place called the St Hilary Guest House on the seafront. It’s run by a friendly couple Howard and Anne-Marie, and is full of nice little touches – the beds are comfy; the rooms spotless, peaceful and tastefully decorated; the shower’s good; there’s a very well-stocked tea and coffee tray in the room with water, biscuits and chocolate; there’s information about the locally-sourced products they use; and I’ve never had any problems with the WiFi.
They also provide a mean breakfast – you can choose from a range of cooked breakfast options, as well as cereals, fruit juices and fresh fruit. I usually have a bowl of fresh fruit and yoghurt, followed by smoked salmon and poached egg on a muffin. Highly recommended.
Llandudno is home to a couple of great Italian restaurants, including Carlo’s and Romeo’s. I ate at Romeo’s this trip and had a fantastic plate of linguine with mussels in a tomato and garlic sauce. They were really generous with the mussels, which were piled on top of the pasta, and the sauce tasted really fresh, too.
I also ate at a new restaurant, Dylan’s, which only opened a couple of months ago. It’s situated inside the recently refurbished Washington, a fabulous 1920s building on the seafront. The new owners have retained many of its original features including a beautiful wooden revolving door and a grand wood-panelled entrance way. Dylan’s is part of a small chain of restaurants in North Wales offering modern cuisine and fresh seafood. I opted for the sea bass tacos, which were very messy (luckily, they came with a finger bowl), but delicious.
Open 9am-6pm (until 11pm during the summer), daily
St Hilary Guest House
16 Craig-y-don Parade, Llandudno LL30 1BG
Romeo Ristorante Italiano & Pizzeria
25 Lloyd Street, Llandudno LL30 2UU
Open daily, 5.30pm-late
East Parade, Llandudno LL30 1BE