Anglesey and North Wales Truly Beautiful in its Own Way.
Scenery That Can Take Your Breath Away.
Unless you live here the vast majority of people think that this part of the world has only craggy peaks, slate quarries and of course, the drab weather to offer people who plan on visiting. But in this article I am hoping to change all this and show there’s more to Anglesey and North Wales than anyone could ever imagine possible, with a huge array of Attractions from Hotels and Restaurants, to Family Adventures, and stunning Beaches galore. To enable people to appreciate this part of the world you have to stop thinking about it as only the land of myths and legends, of sorcery and magic with Kings and dragons battling it out for supremacy, with castles the only places of interest. Don’t get me wrong they have played a huge part in attracting visitors who enjoy the history that accompanies these buildings, and it is historical references like these that shaped us as people and our culture.
Plenty of Attractions For The Whole Family
Let us start with Anglesey itself which boasts one of the largest Ferry Ports in the UK, and as big as any Port you would find on the Continent, the surge of traffic that occurs when the Ferries are in Port would surprise many a person. On the odd days it can even affect the traffic on the Britannia Bridge which is on the opposite side of the island 25 miles away. Once off the Ferry the choice is yours, either stay in Holyhead to investigate walk along “The Breakwater” being fifty feet above the sea, and from above it’s “Z” shaped. Or you can visit “The Holyhead Country Park” with its many attractions of nesting birds, various rock formations, and of course Sublime footpaths with stunning views .
Then there is the beach resort of Trearddur Bay, which has stunning beaches, and tranquil yet beautiful sandy coves where in summer you can sunbathe in total privacy. Or head further on for a couple of miles through Trearddur Bay, and follow your nose to Rhoscolyn, this is more of a hamlet than a village with it being spread out over a small area, and follow your nose down a small picturesque winding road and you will soon reach the beach. A true gem of a coastline consisting of about 300 metres of beach front pure sand leading to the sea, curving around in a half moon shape for some 2 miles, and on a sunny day you honestly think you are in heaven and it can’t get any better than this. If all this beach hunting has made you hungry then finding somewhere to eat is a priority! But, worry not, as there are plenty of places to eat, with plenty of variety from Posh Pubs with fine dining Restaurants having received 5 stars from Trip Advisor, to grand Hotels, to coffee shops and café’s. Or taste the orient there are a variety of Chinese restaurants even Thai Takeaways to the good old McDonald’s and KFC, what more could anyone want, well Indian Restaurants which are plentiful and easy to find, to the “British” favourite “of the good old” Fish and Chips, freshly made as you wait. If you find it a struggle to decide where to go, then here are some suggestions, there are a few places at the port town of Holyhead but I would venture further and go into Trearddur Bay. Here there are a few places you can try, the Trearddur Bay Hotel has a wide ranging menu with a fantastic choice to suit everyone’s taste and wallet. Still in Trearddur Bay go the Beach Hotel here they serve more of a” Pub Grub” if you like, with a much simpler choice of menu, nothing too fancy with the majority of the ingredients being local. There is also a Chinese Restaurant “The Imperial Palace” which has just opened and serves good quality food, and “The Sea croft Hotel” they have an excellent menu, fish being a speciality, but they cater for all tastes.
If you have ventured to Rhoscolyn and found the beach then you simply can’t miss “The White Eagle” they serve great food in superb surroundings and spectacular views. They have an expansive menu serving “a la carte” or traditional pub meals, and all their ingredients are sourced and bought locally, it has gained a 5 star “Trip Advisor” recommendation. And “The White Eagle” has a brand new sister Restaurant situated about 6 to 7 miles further on called “The Oyster Catcher” and it’s situated in the beach resort of Rhosneigr, positioned a stones throw from the sea, the same principal goes here all ingredients are sourced and bought locally. Rhosneigr itself has slowly but surely become a great little beach resort with it being popular in winter as well as summer. It has one of the widest and longest beach around, it is wide with plenty of sand and runs for about 7 miles in a semicircle, and on its Northern edge running parallel just metres away is” RAF Valley Training Airfield”, truly spectacular. Be there on the right day and the beach is full of wind surfers, kite surfers each taking advantage of the length and width of what’s on offer. If you want something to eat then try the “Oyster Catcher” a brand new state of the art, and eco-friendly Restaurant being of timber framed construction, and just like it’s sister restaurant “The White Eagle” the menu is clean modern with a twist and will offer the most discerning customer complete satisfaction. Or pop to “Sandy’s Bistro” you won’t be disappointed as the food served is of a very high standard serving fish dishes, Sunday roasts to pasta and salads. Rhosneigr has a lot to offer and as time goes on it will surely get even better and will become an extremely attractive holiday destination.
The Land of Surprises.
Anglesey has a lot to offer more than we locals give her credit for, in Welsh it is called “Mon Mam Cymru” translated into English it is “Anglesey Mother of Wales”. As in times gone by Anglesey was regarded as being fertile land and a fantastic producer of food, yet also forage for all animals. It is said that people travelled from all over Wales and even beyond just to get their hands on the food, either for themselves and their animals, or to sell in shops and markets, which looking at it today is a great testament for this beautiful little island we call home.
Anglesey is more than just a pretty face, it has attractions and a long history, the village with the longest name Lanfair PG, or in full (“Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch”) . Drive through and just on the outskirts is the “Marquis of Anglesey’s Column” a 120 foot structure made of stone and the only access up to the top is via a very narrow stair case inside consisting of 115 steps. Standing proudly on top is the statue of The Original Marques of Anglesey in recognition of his contribution and bravery at “The Battle of Waterloo”, and if all the steps has made you hungry, then from here “Carreg Bran” an excellent 4 star establishment is a stones throw away. With a full compliment of an “a la carte menu” and putting Anglesey produce first so that everyone can enjoy what it has to offer, not just in beaches and scenery, but beautiful produce and food. If you are still undecided, then head on to Menai Bridge a small charming town right on the Menai Straits itself with an array of places to eat, from traditional Pubs, to Restaurants to Chinese Restaurants and an Indian Restaurant. Here I would visit “Dylan’s Restaurant Pizzeria” it’s not just pizza they serve here you can have virtually anything you want, we have visited on numerous occasions and have been treated to excellent food every time. And it’s position is simply spectacular it’s veranda is right on the Menai Straits with spectacular views. Or head to “The Anglesey Arms Hotel” which has just been refurbished to an extremely high standard, and it’s menu compliments the surroundings being of fantastic quality and variety.
A few miles from Menai Bridge you have the ancient town of “Beaumaris”, if it’s old or ancient buildings your after then this is for you. Here you’ll get an excellent mix of old historical building which date back to the 1400’s and 1500’s, to a grand Victorian Hotel “The Bulkeley Arms” which exudes grandeur. Enter from the main street up the steps between the pillared entrance and straight away you will succumb to its charms and beauty, menu is casual bar meals, or their “a la carte” menu, either way you simply will not be disappointed it is that good. Otherwise visit “The Old Bull” this building is old, and when I say old I mean parts of the building date back to around 1550 to 1600, although it has been refurbished it’s been done very sympathetically with original features everywhere you look, from exposed beams to original fireplaces. When you enter it will take you back to a bygone age, when life seemed much simpler, the menu is fresh, modern and of the highest quality, and situated opposite they have a small café with their own butcher’s shop. All ingredients are local with the meat coming from their very own farm about two miles away, what could be better. Beaumaris is full of historical buildings from The Old Jail (The Gaol) to the Castle complete with its own moat, you can comfortably spend a day here exploring not just the buildings but the food to. If you are still in the mood to explore further then head on to “Penmon” and “Puffin Island”, as for “Penmon” it’s a promontory village and an “Ecclesiastical Parish” it is positioned in and around the village of Llangoed. Here stands a “Historic Monastery” with its 12th century Church virtually opposite. It was an ideal position for the Monastery for its fresh air, and tranquillity and it has truly spectacular views. On calm days you can cross over to “Puffin Island” where there are hundreds even thousands of “Puffins” nesting and rearing their young, quite a mind blowing experience.
Tranquil Yet Beautiful.
With Huge Beaches and Fine Dining.
If you head off Anglesey you will cross the “Menai Straits” over the original “Menai Suspension Bridge” which was designed by Thomas Telford and completed in 1826 and it took 7 years to complete. Back in those days even a relatively small bridge like this was quite a feat of engineering, with all of its legs made from Penmon limestone, being hollow on the inside with cross walls internally for added strength and stability. The height of the actual deck of the bridge is 100 feet (30 metres) this was decided so that “Royal Navy” ships with their huge masts could sail under it with no problems, and it was the first modern suspension bridge in the world at the time. Once over the bridge you will enter the University City of Bangor, with its Cathedral and all its universities steeped in history, one of the main subjects in the universities here is “Marine Biology” as the Menai Straits is an ideal location for students to get first hand experience, It’s nickname being the “The City of Learning”. Bangor has a wide variety of activities , and if you are based in or near the city there is plenty for you to do. You can visit “Caernarfon” with its historic buildings and cobbled streets and the main attraction must be the Castle, as it is supremely impressive. It started life as a medieval building initially being a motte-and-bailey building from 1190 to 1289, after this time the old castle was concealed by what is there now the stone structure. From the outside it looks very impressive it is in exceptional condition, and the inside is just as impressive with the various rooms visible and the great hall, a fantastic insight in how life was 900 years ago. Though the vast majority of buildings which were supposed to be inside the Castle walls are no longer there due to the fact they were never completed, corroded over time and demolished.
Continue West through Caernarfon and you will ultimately reach the Holiday Resorts of “Pwllheli and Abersoch” both very pretty and well worth a visit . Coming back to Bangor and making your way East along the North Wales coast you will soon reach “Conwy” which is a walled market town and is a very popular destination for tourists from all over the world. Its Castle is the same age as Caernarfon Castle and was built by Edward 1 of England between 1283 and 1289. Conwy or as it is known in English (Conway) is extremely pretty with old character buildings consisting of Shops Restaurants and Café’s but the best place to stay and dine is “The Castle Hotel” it is simply sublime, exquisite food they serve the same quality in the bar as they do in the restaurant. We have dined here on numerous occasions and we have never been disappointed not once, it has been simply fantastic. It is probably one of the best venues, if not the best in North West Wales, the only comparison is its sister Hotel “Nant Hall” which is further west in Prestatyn. The Castle Hotel epitomises what first class dining is all about every detail covered however small, from the service to the meal and the drinks this is an excellent venue whatever your requirements. That is why it is so difficult to recommend any of the other various venues in Conwy, as you are spoilt in the Castle Hotel. But, there are coffee shops a plenty and an Italian Restaurant and the best Fish and Chips shop in the UK. And the Fish and Chips are sublime with the Cod always being of fantastic quality and freshly caught .A must when in Conwy (Conway) is to travel just a few miles along the Conwy Valley and visit “Bodnant Gardens” a true gem of a day out in any weather the gardens all 80-acres/ 32-hectare of flowers and shrubs, with lawned grass mysterious paths, fruit trees galore, and thousands of different variety of flowers. And add to this its supreme position with spectacular views towards Snowdonia, this will be a day to remember for a very long time.
Llandudno, what can be said about this beautiful Town, only that it is a Victorian Town built with the same vision as Paris, though hard to believe but true. All the boulevards in Paris are straight lines, the same in Llandudno this was achieved due to the town being situated on a flat “isthmus” of sand between the Great Orme Peninsula and the Welsh mainland, and it is regarded as “The Queen of Welsh Resorts”. It was mainly Lord Mostyn and his various agents at the time who pursued plans to develop Llandudno, especially that of the marsh lands which were situated just behind Llandudno Bay and essentially creating the Holiday Resort which stands there today. Llandudno has shopping, promenade live shows at “Venue Cymru” a cobbled beach and plenty of water sports. And there is no shortage of Hotels to stay either, anything and everything you want, from 5 star Hotels to 5 star B&B’s to Guest Houses, to small Hotels and Caravan Parks galore, even Camping if you really enjoy the outside. But probably the best is “St George’s Hotel” even their tearoom which serves coffee and tea, to small lunches and afternoon tea is exquisite. Their main Restaurant is “a la carte” at its finest, probably the only place that could be said to be on a par with the Castle Hotel in Conwy, St George’s Hotel you definitely will not go wrong. There are Café’s and Coffee Shops here aplenty on every corner on every street, the best in my mind if you go into “The Mostyn Precinct” and visit “Badgers”. It has been open for 20 years and always served excellent food, nothing exotic or fancy just good honest down to earth food for everyone, using top quality ingredients, and well presented and tasting fantastic. Llandudno is well worth a visit especially during the “May Bank Holiday” weekend, that is when “The Victorian Extravaganza” is there in all its glory with everybody dressed in Victorian Costumes in all the shops, and for the kids The Victorian Fairground with its Wooden Rides and Ferris Wheel this is a real enjoyment for the whole family. Or visit the “Great Orme” with its stunning views across the “Irish Sea” to Ireland on a clear day, and while you are there why not try your skills on the dry ski slope it is a fantastic way to keep your skiing up during the summer months, well worth it.
If you go further inland through the “Conwy Valley” then pass through the picturesque village of Llanrwst you will come to “Betws y Coed” deep in Snowdonia a haven for Walkers, Climbers and thrill seekers. Just outside Betws y Coed there is “Treetop Adventure” ideal for the whole family walking high on timber bridges among the tree canopies and ab-sailing down great fun. Betws y Coed you visit for its beauty and its surroundings more than anything else although there are quality shops there, especially catering for Walkers Climbers and skiers and gift shops. The “Royal Oak Hotel” is a really nice 4 star Hotel serving top class food from light lunches to afternoon teas to fine evening dining, everyone and everything catered for. Betws y Coed is probably the most picturesque location in North Wales when taking everything into account, visit in the summer and its breath taking, yet in the winter when there is snow and frost and it is even more beautiful, so you could say it is the best of both worlds.
But getting back to our journey East we must leave this beautiful mountain village and travel along the A55 expressway passing the town of “Colwyn Bay” and further on you can either turn off towards Rhyl where there are an amazing amount to do, when the fairground was there Rhyl was very similar to Blackpool, but by today though ashamed to admit it Rhyl requires some major investment although it still attracts huge amounts of visitors every year, but by today it does look a shade tired, a revamp would turn it back to its hayday. Rhyl is an acquired taste if you love Blackpool then you will love Rhyl there is no doubt about it. Through Rhyl to Prestatyn here is a small beach resort and it caters for the whole family from babies to pensioners a like, here is where the Castle Hotel Conwy’s sister Hotel is “Nant Hall” a spectacular renovated mansion turned into a Restaurant where you can eat Bar Meals or “a la carte” again it is exquisite in every way possible.
Follow the A55 Expressway east and you will come to the “Marble Church” at Bodelwyddan also “Bodelwyddan Castle”, two fantastic points of interest where you can spend hours,truly well worth the visit. Nearer to the border with “England” you get, as such the less populated it becomes with attractions much harder to find. We have always taken our part of the “World” for granted but when we think about it there is much more here than we give credit for. “The Beautiful Isle of Anglesey” or “Ynys Mon Brydferth” in Welsh attracts a huge number of visitors yearly, the summer months being by far the busiest, yet in the last few years even the winter months have seen an increase in visitor numbers. This could be said for the whole of North Wales, its history is Mythical, and legendary with Kings and Queens fighting to keep its independence, with Castles and Fortresses built to withstand any attack from foreign raiders. These days the only foreign raiders we see are people coming here on holiday, to admire and enjoy what is here surely this can only be a good thing, we should open our doors and welcome everybody in so they can enjoy what we take for granted. And we as custodians should do our best in protecting it so that future generations can come here to visit and appreciate this stunning part of the World.