Llandudno town highlights
Llandudno is a Victorian seaside resort on the North Wales coast. Its historic character is protected as a conservation area.
The busy town centre offers individual boutique shops and high street names. There is a Tourist Information Office in the shopping precinct. FIT visitors should start on the wide seafront promenade, along the curving bay of the North Shore, with views of the Victorian town and the limestone headlands of both the Great Orme and the Little Orme. Walk along the Victorian Llandudno pier, built in 1878 and at 700 metres (2,295 ft) long, the longest in Wales.
The Oriel Mostyn Gallery offers a rotating exhibition of contemporary art, as well as a lively shop and café. Nearby, the family-run Llandudno Chocolate Experience takes visitors through the history of chocolate. There are samples and the handmade chocolates are sold at Maisie’s Chocolate Shop across the road.
Llandudno Museum and Gallery offers the chance to learn about the town’s development, while the Home Front Museum provides an insight into civilian life during the war years. Alice in Wonderland Town Trails takes a self-guided trail around Llandudno, pointing out features of the town and explaining the connection to Lewis Carroll and Alice in Wonderland.
The water from a reservoir on the Great Orme is used to produce whisky at Penderyn Llandudno Lloyd St Distillery. Discover the history of Penderyn, the building and how the whisky is made on the 1hr tour, followed by a sampling in the tasting bar. Masterclasses are also available.
The Great Orme local nature reserve
The limestone headland of the Great Orme is 1.6 miles (2.5 km) northwest of Llandudno town centre and is managed as a local nature reserve by Conwy County Borough Council. The sheep farm is owned by the National Trust.
Explore the Great Orme by walking, driving or taking a ride on the Vintage Marine Drive Tour with Alpine Travel, a 4 mile (6.5 km) scenic route around the circumference. Alternatively take the Great Orme Tramway or the Llandudno cable car to the The Summit Complex at the highest point of the headland. The Summit Complex offers a café and bar, while the Great Orme Country Park Visitor Centre has interpretation boards and interactive displays. There is a pay and display car park beside the Summit Complex.
The Great Orme Mines
The Great Orme Bronze Age Copper Mines are 1.4 miles (2 km) northwest of the town centre.
Visitors can visit the opencast mining and underground tunnels of this Bronze Age copper mine. The world’s largest copper mine 4,000 years ago, Great Orme copper has been found in pre-historic artefacts as far away as Scandinavia. Visitor car park on-site.
Conwy birds, castles and history
A nature reserve in the morning, followed by a medieval castle and historic walled town in the afternoon, can be followed by eating at a waterside bar/restaurant. There is a lot to explore within a short distance and this tour involves driving just 10 miles (16 km), with time to explore Llandudno on foot.
Drive from Llandudno to RSPB Conwy Nature Reserve, a 121 acre (49 hectare) nature reserve with a network of boardwalks and level trails through reedbeds and grassy scrub. Three hides overlook the freshwater lagoons, where visitors can sit and watch the birds at close quarters. Take two hours to follow the full circuit of the reserve, returning to the visitor centre along the estuary track, beside the River Conwy. There are site maps and binoculars available for hire from the visitor centre and shop. The coffee shop offers light snacks and views over the lagoon. The site offers free car parking. There is an entrance fee to the reserve.
It’s a short drive of 1.5 miles (2.5 km) to the centre of Conwy, with several pay and display public car parks. Keen walkers may prefer to follow the path beside the river into Conwy, but the reserve car park closes at 5pm.
Conwy is a medieval walled town, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After lunch in one of the many cafes and tearooms, visit the impressive 13th century Conwy Castle. It was built on the orders of King Edward I in just four years. Explore the royal residential rooms and climb the towers. Walk around the substantial town walls and explore the historic quayside, including the Smallest House in Britain. Visit North Wales’ finest Elizabethan townhouse Plas Mawr to see what life was like for the wealthy Wynn family. Take time to wander the cobbled streets, visit boutique shops or join a guided walk. There is also a Conwy Town Trail available to download.
Return to Llandudno via Deganwy 2 miles (3.2 km), where a visit to the Quay Hotel & Spa offers the perfect setting for a drink or evening meal. Enjoy the sun setting against historic Conwy and the Carneddau mountains.
Conwy Valley highlights
Spend the day visiting a range of diverse locations, including formal gardens, a market town, a fortified home, a forest park and a country house art gallery. All are in the beautiful, glaciated valley of the Conwy River, making a circular tour of around 40 miles (64 km) from Llandudno.
From Llandudno, head 8 miles (13 km) south down the A470 to the National Trust Bodnant Garden. Formal and natural planting is set out on a dramatic hillside setting. Visitors will find five national plant collections and the largest collection of UK Champion trees in Wales. A stroll through the famous Laburnam Arch in May/June is a must. Tea rooms and kiosks offer refreshment.
Visitors can head 8 miles (12 km) further south down the Conwy Valley to the market town of Llanrwst. From the clock tower in the market square, visitors can explore the narrow streets, with small shops offering a mix of antiques, Welsh language books and local produce. The stone sarcophagus of 13th century Welsh Prince Llywelyn ap Iorwerth is in St Grwst’s Church. The historic stone bridge over the River Conwy leads to the 15th century tearoom Tu Hwnt i’r Bont, or the House beyond the bridge, where traditional Welsh rarebit or bara brith is served.
Nearby 0.5 miles (0.8 km) Gwydir Castle is, a fine Tudor building, once the ancestral home of the powerful Wynn family. An entrance fee per adult is required. Your clients can take the trails through the Gwydir Forest Park and enjoy the clean fresh air and wildlife.
Alternatively, visit Oriel Ffin y Parc Gallery, just 1.5 miles (2 km) further south of Llanrwst. This country house is home to rotating exhibitions by Welsh artists, with all artworks for sale. A coffee shop provides light refreshments. Free entry.
Return to Llandudno taking the A470 northbound for 1.5 miles (2 km) before joining the B5106 northwards to Conwy on the west side of the Conwy Valley passing Adventure Parc Snowdonia at Dolgarrog, home to the longest artificial surf wave in the world. Visit Venue Cymru for an evening of entertainment.
Betws-y-Coed and a taste of Eryri (Snowdonia)
This is a 58 mile (93 km) circular tour visiting the bustling town of Betws-y-Coed, taking a scenic drive through the mountains of Eryri (Snowdonia) before returning to Llandudno along the North Wales coast. Enjoy some hiking in the mountain foothills or an adrenaline-packed adventure at Zip World.
Betws-y-Coed is just 20 miles (32 km) south of Llandudno down the Conwy Valley and is the gateway for exploring Eryri National Park (Snowdonia National Park). The 14th century St Michael’s Church is the oldest building in the town and open to the public, with services held on St Michael’s Day in September and at Christmas. Betws-y-Coed was an important artists’ colony in the 19th century and numerous art galleries remain, there is a wide range of stores stocking outdoor clothing and equipment. The Conwy Valley Railway Museum houses memorabilia to please train enthusiasts and offers a miniature steam railway ride. There are separate fees for entry to the museum and a ride on the train. The stone Pont y Pair Bridge crosses the picturesque River Llugwy and a footpath runs alongside the river.
Visitors can enjoy lunch in one of the many cafes or drive 5 miles (8 km) west along the A5 to the Moel Siabod Café, with its hearty portions.
Continue westwards along the A5 to Capel Curig and in good weather take a short 1 mile (1.6 km) detour to the lay-by at Llynnau Mymbir, the Capel Curig Lakes, to see the mountain peaks of the Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) Horseshoe. Returning to the A5, follow the valley deeper into Eryri as the landscape becomes increasingly dramatic and rugged. The Ogwen Centre offers a refreshment kiosk, toilet facilities and an interpretation centre about the mountains, including Cwm Idwal. There are superb photo opportunities and trails for experienced hikers, including a three hour return walk to stunning Cwm Idwal. Return northwards down Nant Ffrancon towards the coast, to admire the scenery of this spectacular U-shaped glacial valley.
Reaching Bethesda after 4 miles (6 km), the ultimate adrenaline is at Zip World Penrhyn Quarry. Velocity 2 is the fastest zipline in the world, flying over Penrhyn Slate Quarry at speeds of up to 125 mph (201 kmph). Combine the visit with Quarry Karts, the UK’s only mountain cart experience, Aero Explorer, a high speed journey gliding across the quarry, and the Quarry Tour, a truck ride around the site. For those not brave enough to take on the fastest zipline, there is an option to try ziplining on the gentler Quarry Flyer. A range of ticket options are on offer.
Head back eastwards to Llandudno, along the A55 Expressway to Aber Falls Distillery. It sits at the foot of Aber Falls waterfall, near the picturesque village of Abergwyngregyn. There are guided tours which run daily and are around one hour long, with whisky tasting and gin tasting. Visit the website for the latest tour prices.
Return to Llandudno and for stargazing head up to the Summit Complex car park on the Great Orme.