Llangollen is a small town situated in North East Wales, 25 miles (40 km) from Chester by the River Dee and the Llangollen Canal. The 14th century Llangollen Bridge links the town’s many shops, cafes, bars and attractions. Llangollen has many annual events, including its Food Festival, the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod and the Llangollen Fringe Festival.
The Llangollen Museum in the town centre is run by the locals, housing 1500 artefacts and 7000 documents. The Museum has a significant genealogy resource.
Llangollen Wharf is on the canal above the town. Horse Drawn Boat Trips and narrow boat trips to the nearby World Heritage Site, Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, operate from here. Alternatively, there is a 45min boat trip across the Aqueduct with Anglo Welsh Waterways Holidays. Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located 4 miles (7km) from Llangollen and along the Llangollen Canal.
Llangollen Railway operates a service between Llangollen and Carrog using steam and diesel heritage trains on a full gauge track. A return journey takes approximately 1hr 30min.
A short 1 mile (1.6km) walk from the town centre is Plas Newydd, home of the Ladies of Llangollen. They were two 18th century celebrities, who created gardens and a gothic-styled house. Talks and tea rooms are available on-site.
The Royal International Pavilion, just north of the town, is the home of the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod. The celebrated cultural event was founded in 1947 to support peace and friendship following WWII. Held each July, it attracts performers from around the world in singing and dancing competitions.
Llangollen is overlooked by the ruins of 13th Century Castell Dinas Brân and legend states the location of the holy grail. A strenuous walk climbs almost 300 metres (1,000 ft) to the site. Walkers should allow a half day and wear suitable walking equipment. The views of the River Dee and surrounding hills are worth the climb.
Ruthin and Corwen
Head north from Llangollen and take the Horsehoe Pass to Ruthin. The Horseshoe Pass is 416 metres (1367 ft) above sea level, with views of limestone formations creating a mini Grand Canyon. Descend into the Nant y Garth Pass and continue on to the historic market town of Ruthin. It has a choice of places to eat, has a selection of independent shops and a contemporary art gallery, Ruthin Craft Centre. Other highlights include the Ruthin Gao, a museum of crime and punishment and Nantclwyd y Dre, Wales’ oldest surviving timber-framed medieval town house.
From Ruthin take the A494, signposted for Bala, and arrive at the 16th Century Rug Chapel. It is full of rare wooden carvings of biblical creatures. Carry on to Rhug Estate one of the UK’s leading organic farms. There is a Rhug Farm Walk, a drive-through bison burger bar and a farm shop.
The town of Corwen is great for vintage shopping and Welsh crafts and gifts. There is a statue to Owain Glyndŵr, the last Prince of Wales.
Valleys, lakes and waterfalls
Head west from Llangollen along the A5 and continue to Bala for a scenic drive through the mountains. Your clients can walk on the shores of Llyn Tegid, the largest natural lake in Wales or take a 1hr journey on the Bala Lake Railway, alongside the lake.
Continue to Pistyll Rhaeadr which is the tallest single-drop waterfall in Britain at 73 metres (240 ft) and one of the seven wonders of the world. It is a short walk from the car park.
Head north to Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog where The Hand at Llanarmon and the The West Arms are located. Short walks around Chirk and the Ceiriog Valley are available. Alternatively, head south to Lake Vyrnwy. Bike hire is available and there are a number of walking trails around the lake. The Rhiwargor waterfall is located at the northern end of the lake accessible from the Rhiwargor Waterfall car park. Your clients can spot wildlife at the RSPB Nature Reserve, a designated Site of Scientific Interest.
Return to Llangollen via the scenic Ceiriog Valley.
City of Wrexham and National Trust properties
Chirk Castle is a National Trust property and family home to the Myddelton family, with over 700 years of history. Your clients can visit the rooms, the tower and the dungeon with a collection of treasures to discover. It also has award-winning gardens and walking trails within the 480 acre parkland. There is a café and shop on-site.
Just a 20min drive from Chirk Castle is Erddig, a stately home now also in the care of the National Trust. It reflects the owners’ wealth and the care of their servants, set in gardens.
Your clients may want to fit in some retail therapy at Plassey Retail Village, with over 20 independent retail outlets, licenced restaurants, golf course and cycling and walking trails.
Alternatively, they can visit Wrexham which received city status in honour of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022. American actors, Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenny, have become ambassadors for Wrexham since acquiring Wrexham AFC. Tŷ Pawb, once an indoor market, is now a lively community space and was one of the finalists for the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2022. It incorporates an art gallery, a market showcasing local businesses and a food hall. There are more interesting shops and galleries in the Independent Quarter and the Eagles Meadow shopping centre for high street brands. See more information in our shopping highlights fact sheet.
The St Giles' Parish Church is the largest medieval church in Wales, and its bell tower dominates the skyline of Wrexham, another of the seven wonders of Wales. Your clients can climb up to the church roof. Advance booking is essential.
Wrexham County Borough Museum is a good place to discover the history of the area which is housed in one of Wrexham’s landmark buildings, built as a barracks for the Royal Denbighshire Militia and also home to the Denbighshire Constabulary and local courts. There is a coffee bar and bistro on-site.
Adventure Day Out
Llangollen is a great base for world-beating adventure experiences. Oneplanet Adventure located in Coed Llandegla Forest is 12 miles (20 km) away and was one of the first mountain biking facilities in Wales, with bike and helmet hire, lessons and trails for all abilities. Choose a half or full day experience.