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Review: Llangollen

City/Town/Region/Island

Denbighshire, United Kingdom

Good scenery, a steam railway, canal and a music festival

  • By SilverTraveller ESW

    2468 reviews

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  • August 2020
  • On your own

9 people found this review helpful

Llangollen is an attractive market town on the banks of the River Dee, and is surrounded by the Berwyns and Clywdian mountains. It is overlooked by the ruins of the Welsh stronghold, Castell Dinas Bran.

The name comes from the C7th monk, St Collen who founded a church here. The town grew up to the north of the river, where there was more flat land. The railway and canal are on the south bank. The Dee Bridge across the river was built in 1345 and was widened in the 1960s to cope with modern traffic. There are good views of the town from it.

When I visited, it was covered with over one hundred patchwork panels. I overheard someone describing it as looking like washing day.

These were part of a new artwork ‘Bridges not Walls’ and part of the International Music Eisteddfod Quoting from the information panel on the bridge , this is a first commission in Wales for the internationally renowned Luke Jerram, known for his art installations around the world. It might have been a good idea on paper but in practice it looked tacky and distracted from the beauty of the bridge.

Llangollen was on important stopping point on the main London to Holyhead coaching route. The population grew, especially when the canal was built providing employment and a method of easy transport for raw materials and finished goods.The railway followed and this also brought visitors to the town. The tourist industry began .

It is now a popular tourist destination with festivals and activities throughout the year and in particular the world famous
Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod held in July.

The high street is thriving and retains its traditional old fashioned appeal with many privately owned speciality shops. The chain stores have yet to arrive. There are also ice cream parlous and plenty of cafes and places to eat.

The Town Hall was originally the Assembly Rooms with a market hall beneath. Tourist Information is in an old chapel.

Although the railway closed in 1964, a stretch of line has been restored and again runs trains. The canal is now popular with narrow boats. Llangollen Wharf which was once a busy transhipment point for goods, is now a thriving centre for horse drawn barge trips and also longer narrow boat trips across the
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.

There is also much to do in the surrounding area too, from the ruins of Castell Dinas Bran overlooking the town and the lovely ruined Valle Crucis Abbey. There is also the enigmatic Eliseg’s pillar.

Plas Newydd with its quirky C18th owners is a few minutes walk from the town centre.

For those wanting to be a bit more energetic, there are water pursuits as well as excellent walking .

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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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