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A traveller's guide to Llandudno, North Wales

Stroll along the pier, take a tram up a mountain and search for dolphins on a weekend break in Llandudno, the 'Queen of Welsh resorts'.

By Jo Fletcher Cross
Published 3 Apr 2019, 10:00 BST, Updated 15 Jul 2021, 13:26 BST
Seagulls on Llandudno beach.

Llandudno became a popular holiday spot in the Victorian era.

Photograph by Alamy

Why go

For a 'proper' British seaside escape, Llandudno fits the bill. It's clear to see why the 'Queen of Welsh resorts' became a popular holiday spot in the Victorian era: a sweeping crescent of a bay, with beautiful headlands at each end, a wide promenade, the longest pier in Wales and Punch and Judy. And it's this good old-fashioned seaside nostalgia coupled with abundant nature, history and outdoor activities on the doorstep that make it a perfect choice for a decidedly British beach break. 

Don't miss

The medieval town of Conwy, a short bus ride away, or a scenic hike along the Wales Coast Path. The town is mostly surrounded by the walls of the 13th-century castle, which was one of the key fortresses in Edward I's 'iron ring' of castles built to contain the Welsh. After a wander around the castle, try the amazing chocolates from Baravelli's: flavours include mango and black onion seed, and bee pollen and honey ganache. 

We like

The Second World War Home Front Experience is a small, fascinating living history museum that's perfect for whiling away a rainy hour or so. The themed collections are set up as 1940s living rooms and shops,  and there's also an air raid shelter to visit. 

What to do

Jump on board the Great Orme Tramway, Britain's only cable-hauled public road tramway, that climbs a mile high up to Great Orme Country Park for views as far as the Isle of Man on a clear day. 

Where to stay

St George's Hotel seems for all the world like an old-fashioned seaside hotel, with traditional decor and a piano tinkling away in the lounge. However, book one of the Rooftop Rooms and you'd be forgiven for thinking you were in the coolest of boutique establishments. The spacious, stylish bedrooms make the most of the views; or take five on the balcony and use the binoculars provided to spot seals and dolphins. 

Where to eat

The Cottage Loaf is the kind of pub one dreams about having as a local, with its open fires, wooden beams and friendly service. It's tucked away on a back street in the centre of Llandudno, but feels like the perfect country pub. Food is made with local ingredients, including meat from the butchers next door, and don't miss the guest ales.

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Featured in the November 2018 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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