Llandudno - a gem on the North Coast
Published: Friday 5th Dec 2014
Written by: Ginnie James
My maternal grandparents both have family who hail from the coastal area of North East Wales and I spent plenty of time there as a young girl, following a long family tradition of days out to Prestatyn, Rhyl and along to Llandudno.
The family photo album is full of pictures reflecting this custom and one of my favourites is of my Great Nan surrounded by her young family on Rhyl Beach in September 1953. It may seem like a strange time to be writing about trips to the beach but the North Welsh coast but this area has been known to enjoy unusually warm weather when the rest of the UK is shivering in the depths of wintry frost. In the December of 1953 the people of Llandudno benefited from the “foehn effect” when the combination of the direction of warm winds and rain fall over the mountains allow for warm dry air to descend on the coast. There have only been 8 times in the last 100 years that the temperature of anywhere in the UK has been recorded as over 17c in January and each time this has been in North Wales. With the average temperatures on the rise this year maybe the time is right again for the foehn wind to make a visit!
Apart from an often unexpected balmy climate Llandudno is well known as the largest seaside resort in Wales and for the Great Orme, a prominent headland that towers over the town. A wealth of history is contained on this limestone peninsula from Neolithic copper mines (now a visitor attraction) to a C6th church and not forgetting the wild herds of Kashmiri goats descended from a few of the animals that were a gift from Queen Victoria to Lord Mostyn. Take a picnic or build up your appetite with a wander around the country park and then treat yourself in the café on the summit.
My Nan & Grandad used to love a trip to Llandudno, and even when their years began to catch up with them they could still enjoy a stroll along the flat promenade, take in the atmosphere of the traditional pier or indulge in a trip up the Orme on the funicular tramway in one of the four original passenger cars from 1902 which are still in service today. I think I would prefer to take the cable car to the top and enjoy the fantastic, uninterrupted views!
Tourism has been the major focus of Llandudno for most of its recent history and a young Alice Liddell and her family had a house here where they spent many holidays. Lewis Carroll, a family friend, first came up with the idea behind the classic Alice in Wonderland stories to entertain the little girl and this literary link has been celebrated in a new app where the characters guide visitors around the town. Hear the stories behind local landmarks related by the Cheshire Cat or even take a picture of yourself next to the Mad Hatter.
With good road and rail links it is easy to reach Llandudno and the North East Wales coast whether you are already in our beautiful country or travelling from over the border and I’m looking forward to making new memories there with my little girl. What are your fond memories of Llandudno or one of the many other towns and beaches along this stretch of coast? Do let me know!