Llandudno, United Kingdom

Skip from slope to surf in Llandudno, a Victorian resort town curiously mixing adventure, heritage and biodiversity. Gaze out to Anglesey with the gulls, cruise the coast along Marine Drive or ride the turn-of-the-century tram to the summit of Great Orme. Along the gracefully curving coast, you’ll find a crumbling cache of historical sites: 4,000-year-old mines (www.greatormemines.info), the remains of a 13th-century Gogarth Palace, imposing Conwy Castle (www.conwy.com) and a 19th-century lighthouse from Llandudno’s golden era. Alice Liddell – Lewis Carroll’s muse – holidayed in the town, and is now honoured by the White Rabbit memorial sculpture. You needn’t walk far to find a prize-winning flower-bed or seafront café, but beyond the quaint Victoriana lies wild terrain of staggering beauty, which begs to be explored. On the award-winning shores a bucket and spade may suffice, but kite surfing along the coast shows the landscape at its most dramatic; centres for skiing, windsurfing and snow-tubing will ensure your visit isn’t exclusively cream cakes and penny arcades.

When to go

Llandudno is at its brightest from May to October, when the typical Welsh rain eases off. However, with skiing and snowboarding available nearby, the winter months can be action-packed and the scenery takes on atmospheric hues. In May you can travel back in time with the Victorian Extravaganza Festival – a cheerfully camp two days of parades, carnival rides and costumes of dubious historical accuracy.

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Getting there

  • Planes

    Liverpool and Manchester are the closest international hubs to Llandudno, an hour and a half away. London Heathrow and Gatwick airports offer a larger selection of transatlantic and intercontinental flights, but both are a four to five-hour drive from Llandudno.
  • Trains

    Llandudno Station is at the centre of town and can be reached direct from London (three and a half hours), Liverpool (two hours), Birmingham (three hours) and Manchester (two hours). From Llandudno you can travel around scenic areas of Wales using Arriva Trains Wales, with a train service direct from Llandudno to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
  • Automobiles

    It’s a long four-hour drive from London to Llandudno, but you may be glad to have a car when you arrive; Wales’ flora and fauna make every journey jaw dropping. Liverpool and Manchester are a breezy 90-minute drive away, via the A55; driving from Birmingham via the M6 will take about two and a half hours.