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Ever since I was a little girl I have wanted to see Wales, England. A weekend in Wales was just the ticket to satisfy my curiosity. Mostly because I wanted to see where the Princess was from, Princess Diana, of course. Ultimately I realized she represented the isle, she really wasn’t from this part of England. In particular, I was excited to spend a weekend in Wales with my friend Frances discovering, eating, exploring authors, castles. Ultimately it made it impossible to make just one blog. So part one, here it is!
If you like Alice in Wonderland Llandundo is the town in Wales for you, then it was off to Caernarfon and Portmeirion. If you like my travel tips please comment below or even better share it!
Renting a car
After renting a car from the Stansted Airport in London, my friend Frances and I made our way on a sunny March day to the famous peninsula area of Wales. If you are making direct travel plans it would be better to fly into Manchester. Flights are much cheaper and it is only an hour and a 30-minute drive to Wales. Rental cars are also cheaper from Manchester too.
*Remember to ask for automatic transmission and a SMALL CAR. As small as you are comfortable with driving. England is left-side driving.
We decided to stay in the little coastal town of Llandudno in North Wales. I tried for three days to pronounce this town and was corrected several times and in different ways.
We stayed at the Morlea B&B within walking distance from the town and beach. This B&B is best for couples and girl trips. Debbie and Paul were very nice with clean rooms, a full breakfast they made fresh every day and our bed might have been the most comfortable bed I’ve slept in, in all of Europe!
They helped recommend sites to see, places to visit and MUST-SEEs of North Wales.
Llandudno is the famous town of Alice in Wonderland. Author Lewis Carroll was inspired by this beach town in Wales by a real Alice. Alice Lidell, who “summered” here with her family in the 1860s at the age of 8.
As you walk throughout the town, there are sculptures and dedications to the connection of the author, the girl and the incredible book. You can follow trails, just like Alice. This downloadable APP was super fun and interesting that led us around the entire town. I felt like I didn’t want to miss anything. Most of the apps run about £2.99 each. Well worth the price.
Happy Valley Botanical Gardens
One of our favorite places to stop along the trail was the Happy Valley Botanical Gardens. These gardens were a lovely walk from the promenade and led us back to our B&B.
Practically the entire town setting is stuck in the 1880s and you’ll really enjoy the architecture of summer days gone by.
Where to eat in Llandudno
As our weekend in Wales continued and we traveled throughout the United Kingdom, we became quite familiar with Pubs. I think most Americans think of Pubs like a “bar,” but that is not entirely true. Pubs in the U.K. are more like restaurants in the States. They are filled with good eats and good brews. My favorite drink was cider. Indeed, these lighter than beer, made from apples, sweeter libations were paired with the sometimes salty and rich dishes from the sea.
Several of the pubs had quaint fireplaces and decor that are reminiscent of the past. Our appetizers were really tasty and perfectly portioned for a “little” taste of regional specialties.
On our way up the hill to the pub, we passed the Great Orme Railway. This tram was not operational in March but would open in April. Of course, it is open all summer as well.
Another favorite restaurant and within walking distance of our B&B and the promenade was a converted Theatre, the Paladium. This entertainment Pub had such a great atmosphere and had live entertainment. If I was transported in time I think we would have seen parasols, beautiful hats, and elegant dresses.
This town reminded me of scenes from Somewhere in Time with Christopher Reeves and Jane Seymour.
The next stop on our Wales adventure was Caernarfon. I loved traveling through Wales and seeing all the tourist signs in both Welsh/Welch language represented. This was super cool. Caernarfon was an ancient castle, a Roman fortress and King Edward I had it rebuilt along with the surrounding city walls. You can still walk these walls around the city. I would have liked to stay longer here. But there was so much to see we just ran out of time.
Definitely keep this castle in your itinerary. Parking was easy, this is also a World Heritage Site for Wales and very well maintained. The tour was relatively inexpensive and definitely worth it. We thought maybe just 30 minutes to an hour and were there for not quite two.
This castle was also the site for Charles, Prince of Wales investiture in 1969. Its history is fascinating. A once, thriving bustling trade port, the castle fell into disrepair in recent history until the 1900’s and is now part of the UNESCO World Heritage landmark site.
This eccentric, out-of-the-ordinary village is in the Gwynedd region of North Wales. It was built in 1925 by an Englishman who loved Italy. Beyond comprehension, his design included the small details and thought to create a thorough design of a waterfront Italian village that is extraordinary.
I love Italy and Frances does too. She found out about this little town and added to our day. Definitely designed for the tourist in mind, it has accommodations, a friendly pub and restaurant, and mini-shops all throughout the park/village. It is now owned by a historical foundation and is preserved as well as brings in tourism to the area.
Additionally, you can also take boat rides on the lake if you stay over or spend the night. I wish we had more time, but alas no. Time to head back to Llandudno. Need help with writing your next itinerary? Here’s the easy button∨∨∨
Not only is there was so much to see and do in North Wales, but I also had to write about it! Definitely, be on the lookout for Part 2 which includes the famous Snowdonia National Park and Conwy. Of course, there will also be more castles, restaurants, and sites to share as well to help with your travel plans.
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