Llandudno Bay and the Little Orme
Llandudno was specifically built as a holiday destination in the nineteenth century after the opening of the Chester and Holyhead Railway in 1848, and was, and remains, served by a branch railway line opened in 1858 from Llandudno Junction. In 1848, Owen Williams, an architect and surveyor from Liverpool, presented Lord Mostyn with plans to develop the marsh lands behind Llandudno Bay as a holiday resort, which were enthusiastically pursued. The Mostyn Estate and its agents led the development of Llandudno, and between 1857 and 1877 much of central Llandudno was developed under the supervision of George Felton, the estate's architect, who also built Holy Trinity Church in Mostyn Street.
Llandudno was promoted as Queen of the Welsh Resorts as early as 1864, and it is now the largest seaside resort in Wales.
The main street is Mostyn Street, leading to Mostyn Broadway and then Mostyn Avenue, all named from Lord Mostyn, the local landowner and creator of the town. Here are the main shops, banks, two churches and the public library. The "Town Trail" planned walk runs from here.
Llandudno takes its name from the ancient parish of Saint Tudno but also encompasses several neighbouring townships of the parish of Llanrhos including Craig-y-Don, Llanrhos, and Penrhyn Bay, and the small town and marina of Deganwy.
The parishes of Llandudno, Llanrhos and Llangystennin (which includes Llandudno Junction) were in the mediæval commote of Creuddyn in the Kingdom of Gwynedd, now the Creuddyn Hundred of Caernarfonshire. Deganwy and Llandudno Junction are linked to Conwy by a causeway and a bridge over the River Conwy.
Llandudno Bay and the North Shore
This wide sweep of sand, shingle and rock extends two miles in a graceful curve between the headlands of the Great Orme and the Little Orme.
For most of the distance on Llandudno's North Shore there is a wide curving Victorian promenade separated from the roadway by a strip of garden. The road, collectively known as The Parade, has a different name for each block and it is on these parades and crescents that many of Llandudno's hotels are built.
Near the centre of the bay is the North Wales Theatre and next to it The North Wales Conference Centre. The Llandudno Yacht Club and a roundabout mark the end of this section of The Parade and beyond are more hotels and guest houses but they are in the township of Craig-y-Don. At Nant-y-Gamar road, The Parade becomes Colwyn Road with the fields of Bodafon Hall Farm on the landward side but with the promenade continuing until it ends in a large paddling pool for children and finally the Craigside residential development on the lower slopes of the Little Orme.
The pier, built in 1878, stretches out 1,234 feet long from the North Shore. In 1884 a major extension was added to the pier in a landwards direction along the side of what was the Baths Hotel (now where the Grand Hotel stands) to provide a new entrance with the Llandudno Pier Pavilion Theatre at the North Parade end of the promenade. As a result, the pier is now 2,295 feet long. It is now a Grade-II listed building.
From the end of the pier looking back towards the town, on a clear day the mountains of Snowdonia can be seen rising over the town.
Attractions on the pier include a bar, a café, amusement arcades and children's fairground rides. It has a range of little shops and kiosks too.
The Great Orme is a great limestone headland punching out into the Irish Sea. The Great Orme Tramway takes tourists to the summit.
The Happy Valley, a former quarry, was given to the town by Lord Mostyn; a gift in celebration of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887. The quarry land was landscaped and developed as gardens, two miniature golf courses, a putting green, an open-air theatre (which closed in 1985) and extensive lawns.
The ceremonies connected with the Welsh National Eisteddfod were held there in 1896 and again in 1963.
In June 1969, The Great Orme Cabin Lift was opened in Happy Valley, its base station by the open air theatre, bearing passengers a mile through the air in four-seater cabins travel hanging from a single steel cable to the summit of the Great Orme. It is the longest single stage cabin lift in Britain.
In the 1980s the theatre and miniature golf courses closed and an artificial ski slope and toboggan run was installed. The gardens were extensively restored in 2000.
The Marine Drive runs around the edge of the Great Orme. It was built in 1878, replacing a footpath made in 1858.
The Maine Drive is four miles long, running from at the foot of the Happy Valley. A side road goes to St Tudno's Church, the Great Orme Bronze Age Copper Mine, and the Summit of the Great Orme.
The West Shore is the quiet beach on the estuary of the River Conwy. Quieter than Llandudno's more racy North Shore, there are few hotels and quiet residential streets.
Every year over the May Bank Holiday weekend, Llandudno has a three-day Victorian Carnival, with a funfair in Mostyn Street and a carnival parade. The Bodafon Farm fields host a Festival of Transport for the weekend.
Because it has to serve both the West Shore and the North Shore as needed, Llandudno's lifeboat station, uniquely in the British Isles, is inland. The station has active volunteer crews, who are called out more than ever with the rapidly increasing numbers of small pleasure craft sailing in coastal waters. The Llandudno Lifeboat is normally on display on the promenade every Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday from May until October.
The ancient parish church dedicated to Saint Tudno stands in a hollow near the northern point of the Great Orme and two miles from the present town. It was established as an oratory by Tudno, a 6th-century monk, but the present church dates from the 12th century and it is still used on summer Sunday mornings. The current parish church of Llandudno is now Holy Trinity Church in Mostyn Street.
- Church in Wales:
- Holy Trinity
- Saint Paul's (at Craig-y-Don)
- Assemblies of God (Pentecostal)
- Baptist: Llandudno Baptist Church,
- Coptic Orthodox Church: Saint Mary and Saint Abasikhiron
- Presbyterian: Gloddaeth United Church
- Roman Catholic: Our Lady Star of the Sea
- Methodist Church:
- Saint John’s
- St David's (at Craig-y-Don)
- Eglwys Unedig Gymraeg Llandudno (the United Welsh Church of Llandudno)
Bodysgallen Hall is a manor house nearby to the south near the village of Llanrhos. This listed historical building derives primarily from the 17th century, and has several later additions. Bodysgallen was constructed as a tower house in the Middle Ages to serve as defensive support for nearby Conwy Castle.
- Ivor Wynne Jones. Llandudno Queen of Welsh Resorts (chapter 3 page 19) referring to the Liverpool Mercury