I'm a Victorian freelance writer & photographer living in the Macedon Ranges north of Melbourne.
Published April 11th 2017
Queen Of The Welsh Resorts
Less than a 2-hour drive from Liverpool visitors to this part of the United Kingdom will find the delights of picturesque North Wales and in particular its magnificent coastline.
Llandudno sits on a sweeping arc of the coast with a dominant headland at each end and The Parade, the seafront, lined by a splendid array of Victorian buildings. Llandudno Pier, the longest in Wales, juts out into the Irish Sea and the whole classic seaside resort is dominated by Creuddyn Peninsula or The Great Orme as it's more commonly known.
A narrow strip of beach separates the imposing seafront architecture from Llandudno Bay and the Irish Sea. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank
In the mid-19th Century the working class families of northern England preferred to take their holidays on the coast and seaside resorts at places like Blackpool, Southport, Morecombe and New Brighton were extremely popular.
In the latter half of that century families tended to look to destinations a little further afield and North Wales was high on the favourites list.
Try getting your tongue around some of these place names! All signposts in Wales show both the Gaelic and English wording. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank
Plans to create a seaside resort at Llandudno first appeared in 1848 and over the next 10-years architects and builders redeveloped the peninsula to the point where, by 1864, the town was bestowed the title 'Queen Of The Welsh Resorts'.
A stroll along Llandudno Pier is a popular pastime for locals and visitors alike. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank
Llandudno's popularity only increased with the construction of the Pier and the arrival of the railway.
Built in 1878 and extended in 1884 the pier, at 700 metres in length is the longest in Wales and features a bar, café, amusement arcades, shops & kiosks and a host of children's fairground rides. An annual summer attraction is Professor Codman's Punch & Judy Show, a favourite with the kids that dates back to 1860.
Built in 1878 Llandudno Pier is the longest structure of its type in Wales. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank
In 1892 the railway came to Llandudno providing unparalleled access to families from the major cities of Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham.
Today, while many ,if not most, of the UK resorts have fallen into decline Llandudno is a 21st Century survivor still attracting thousands of visitors annually, drawn to the town's history, the natural attractions of the Great Orme and the Victorian Extravaganza, held annually in May, a festival of bands, street entertainment and fairground attractions.
The Grand Hotel sits adjacent to the pier and directly beneath the Great Orme. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank
Llandudno is 58 miles (93 Kilometres) from Liverpool, about a 90-minute drive via the North Wales Expressway/A55. Alternatively it's a 2.5-hour trip by train from Liverpool's Lime Street Station.
From 1864 Llandudno was known as 'The Queen Of The Welsh Resorts'. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank