Holidaymakers have been coming to Llandudno for generations, and it's still one of the best all-round destinations for the whole family. Apart from the elegant Victorian resort itself, the area has activities and adventures for everyone from toddlers to grandparents.
Great Orme – something for everyone
Great Orme is Llandudno’s own mini-mountain which rises straight out of the sea to a height of 207m. You can walk up if you’re feeling energetic, or take the historic Great Orme Tramway which has been ferrying passengers to the summit since 1898. Alternatively, you can test your head for heights with a ride on Britain’s longest cable car. There’s plenty to do on its summit: a visitor centre, nature reserve with wild Kashmir goats, pitch ‘n’ putt golf, play area, plus stunning views all the way to the Lake District.
The sheltered grassy hollow on Great Orme’s eastern flank is called Happy Valley. There’s plenty of space for the little ones to run around, plus sculptures of characters from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland to discover. The fictional Alice was inspired by real-life Alice Liddell, who used to holiday in Llandudno, and the sculptures are part of the town’s Alice Trail. Kids will also love stroll along the Victorian pier (the longest in Wales) which is home to fairground rides, ice-cream sellers and shops packed with seaside gifts. Set just back from the seafront, Bodafon Farm Park has rare breed animals, birds of prey, an adventure area and mini-tractors for the kids.
Inspire imaginations with a trip to the medieval walled town of Conwy. The perfectly preserved 12th-century Conwy Castle and town walls, both part of a UNSECO World Heritage Site, are torn straight from the pages of a fairytale. Young knights, wizards and princesses will have a fantastical time exploring them. There’s also Plas Mawr, the finest Elizabethan townhouse in Britain. Restored to its opulent former glory, knowledgeable guides and high-tech interactive displays bring the history of this fascinating house to life. Make the most of your money by buying a special ticket that gives reduced entry to both Plas Mawr and Conwy Castle.
On the flanks of Great Orme, Llandudno Snowsports has a long, long run where adventurous teens can hone their skiing and boarding skills, or take a bouncy ride down in an inflatable sno-tube. There’s also the 750m Cresta run, the longest toboggan track in Wales. For aquatic action, head to along the coast to nearby Rhos-on-Sea, to have a go at stand up paddle boarding. Known as Hoe he’e nalu in its native Hawaii, it’s one of the world’s fastest-growing watersports. Alternatively, head to Adventure Parc Snowdonia (formerly known as Surf Snowdonia) for action and aquatic adventure in the heart of the green Conwy Valley. There's indoor climbing and caving, cycling and the famous surf lagoon, where revolutionary technology guarantees perfect swell whatever the weather.
Mum and Dad
Llandudno and Conwy have both got tons of excellent shops, bars, restaurants and art galleries (try the Oriel MOSTYN Gallery in Llandudno, and the Royal Cambrian Academy in Conwy). It’s also worth hopping on the Conwy Valley Line train down to the classy little market town of Llanrwst. Or continue to beautiful, Bohemian Betws y Coed. This mountain resort is the gateway to the Snowdonia National Park and the perfect jumping off point for just about every type of outdoor activity.
We don’t want to get into age-stereotyping here, but if you don’t fancy the paddle surfing (or you’ve already mastered it and fancy something more sedate) then Llandudno’s superb Promenade is perfect for a gentle seaside stroll. The Victorians also created the scenic Marine Drive, a four-mile private road that hugs the edge of the Great Orme, so that gentlefolk could enjoy the views from their carriages without the hassle of walking. Nowadays the best way to do it is on a vintage coach trip, an hour-long journey in a classic coach superbly narrated by a guide who’ll tell you all about shipwrecks, German submarines, and of course the resident goats.