One of our favourite places to visit outside of Snowdonia is Llandudno in the neighbouring county of Conwy. It’s a town synonymous with being a typical Victorian seaside resort. Long wide promenade, a pier, lots of hotels and a tramway. What more could you want? Here’s a list of 9 things to do on the Great Orme.
1) Great Orme Tramway
With my love of trains, top of the list has to be the closest thing I can get to a railway in Llandudno, the Great Orme Tramway! Construction began in 1901 and started carrying passengers in 1902, the Great Orme Tramway has been a stalwart of Llandudno for over a 120 years! A fine piece of Victorian engineering.
2) Summit Complex
On top of the Great Orme is the Summit Complex. Originally it was the Summit Hotel and was the 19th hole of the Great Orme Golf Course. During the Second World War it was used as a radar station – the concrete bases of which you can still see today. After the war it was bought by British boxer Randolph Turpin. Despite him selling the hotel before his bankruptcy in 1960s the Summit Complex still has a boxing themed bar called “Randy’s Bar”. In addition there’s the gift shop and cafe and a fabulous outdoor play area for children. I have spent many happy day up there as a child.
3) Great Orme Cable Cars
Another firm favourite of mine – the Great Orme Cable Cars! There’s no better way to see the views of the Great Orme than from the lofty Cable Cars. An attraction now made famous by Coronation Street of course. The lower station of the Cable Cars can be found at Happy Valley and the cable cars ascend the Great Orme to reach the Summit Complex.
4) Taboganning at Llandudno Ski and Snow
As the Cable Cars travel over the top end of Happy Valley you’ll see the ski slope and the home of Llandudno Ski and Snow. I haven’t done this for years but as a child I LOVED the tabogan run! I am pleased to say it’s still there and now that my girls are older, I can take them on it! Looking forward to that trip for sure!
5) Drive The Marine Drive
Just to the right of Happy Valley is the start of The Marine Drive. It’s a 4 mile stretch of road which circles the Great Orme. Starts at Happy Valley and ends up on West Shore – just after “Millionaires Row” (a row of verrrrry posh houses on the West Shore. In fact Cliff Richard owned one of them for a while). The first section of Marine Drive is a one way road along the cliffside. If you’re a weary traveller then you could always rest your head at the Lighthouse – a former lighthouse now B&B. I’ve never been but it does look very intriguing.
6) Great Orme Copper Mines
The mines are over 4000 years old and is a combination of an opencast mine and underground caverns. There are plenty of tunnels to explore and see the conditions faced by the miners. I’ve not visited the Great Orme Copper Mines since I was a child so I think I’m long overdue a visit.
7) Walk the Great Orme
There are so many ways to be able to walk up the Great Orme. The route we took when we walked it in August was up from West Shore along the zig zag path. It’s a bit of a climb I must admit but the views along the route is well worth the trek!
8) Bishop’s Quarry
I love the fact that people still write their names using the rocks at Bishop’s Quarry. It’s something I’ve done as a child and something I’ll do with my kids I’m sure.
9) Picnic in Happy Valley
Ahhhh another throwback to my childhood days. Picnics at Happy Valley! There’s a carpark up there and a little cafe. Plenty of greenspace for a picnic and a pavilion to shelter in if the rain happens to turn up. In fact when Pokemon Go was released a few years back there was a nice little gathering at that pavilion with all the players trying to capture Pokemons. Also you may find someone special hidden in the gardens there…. I won’t tell you who as I said I wouldn’t spoil it for you!
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