Llangollen Cottages

A small town in north-east Wales situated on the River Dee on the edge of the Berwyn Mountains. It has a population of 3,400 and takes its name from Saint Collen, a 6th century monk who founded a church beside the river.

Overlooking Llangollen are the remains of Dinas Bran Castle, probably built sometime in the 1260s. Valle Crucis Abbey (Valley of the Cross) is a Cistercian abbey located nearby in Llantysilio; built in 1201, it was dissolved in 1537 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The building is now a ruin, though large parts of the original structure still survive. On the outskirts of the town is Plas Newydd where the 'Ladies of Llangollen' once lived.

Lady Eleanor Butler and Miss Sarah Ponsonby ran away together from Regency society. They received a stream of visitors such as Wordsworth, Sir Walter Scott and the Duke of Wellington to the unpretentious little cottage which they transformed into a Gothic fantasy of stained glass and elaborately carved oak. The route of the Llangollen Canal, twisting through the beautiful Welsh hills and across the Dee Valley on the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, a World Heritage site, has made it one of the most famous in Britain.

A marina, built at the end of the navigable section, allows more summer visitors to moor overnight in the town. The Llangollen Railway is a restored section of the former Ruthin to Barmouth Great Western Railway line that closed to passengers in 1965; standard gauge, it is probably the busiest Heritage Railway in Wales operating an extensive array of services and special events. Every summer since 1947 Llangollen has staged one of the world's most inspirational cultural festivals.

Each year over 4,000 performers from across the globe head to the town to take part in a unique event combining competition, performance, and international peace and friendship. Around 25 different competitions celebrate song, music and dance, climaxing with the prestigious 'Choir of the World' where winning choirs compete for the Pavarotti Trophy.

The dates for 2015 are Tuesday 7 to Sunday 12 July. To the east of Llangollen, Chirk Castle was completed in 1310 and is the last Welsh castle from the reign of Edward I still lived in today. Features from its 700 years include the medieval tower and dungeon, C17th Long Gallery, grand C18th state apartments, servants' hall and historic laundry.

The award-winning gardens contain clipped yews, herbaceous borders, shrub and rock gardens. The A542 road from Llangollen to Llandegla travels via the Horseshoe Pass, reaching a maximum height of 1,368 ft.



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