Llangollen (meaning "church of St Collen") is a small town in Denbighshire, Wales, ten miles southwest of Wrexham. It's on A5, the historic stagecoach route, and close to the English border, so it's been a tourist destination for 200 years. It's notable for its abbey, the spectacular leaping aqueduct that carries the canal, and the fine half-timbered abode of the "Ladies of Llangollen".
The best way to arrive in Llangollen is by car or bus. The A5 (from London to Holyhead) runs through the town. On busy weekends the car parks within the town centre quickly fill (both short- and long-term), and the narrow streets slow to a crawl.
Public transport is available and there is a bus service from Oswestry, about 15 miles away and Wrexham, about 10 miles away. By train you can reach either Chirk, or Ruabon, from there check for local buses to complete the journey into Llangollen.
Llangollen is a small town and all the tourist attractions can be reached on foot. The town centre consists of one main street running between the A5 and A539, most of the other roads lead off this. There is cheap car-parking in the town centre, just off the main street, but on busy weekends and holidays, it fills quickly.
- 1 Plas Newydd, LL20 8AW, ☏ . A half-timbered black and white house in extensive grounds. This was once the home of the 'Ladies of Llangollen' from 1780 to 1831 and their tomb can be found in the grounds of St Collen's Church in Llangollen (which you will see on your right as you enter via the A5). The inside has many intricate carvings many brought by visitors (including the Duke of Wellington) to the ladies - Miss Sarah Ponsonby and Lady Eleanor Butler. The two women are amongst the most celebrated of the town's former residents. They arrived after eloping from their families in Ireland. The exact nature of their relationship is ambiguous, however they formed a lifelong partnership until they died within two years of each other in 1829 and 1831.
- 2 Pontcysyllte aqueduct. As you approach the town by either road from the east you will see the Pontcysyllte aqueduct carrying the Llangollen Canal over the River Dee, it is 126 feet high and a 1007 feet long. The aqueduct is an impressive sight, with 19 arches each of 45 feet and holds 1.5 millions litres of water. Construction was started in 1795 by Thomas Telford and it was completed in 1805. Built from local stone the aqueduct is the largest anywhere in Britain. The name Pontcysyllte is Welsh for 'bridge that connects', and is pronounced "pont-cuh-SUTH-(l)tee". You can take a walk across the aqueduct or traverse it on a boat.
- 3 Castell Dinas Brân. A ruined castle, overlooking the town from a nearby mountain top. It is an open site (i.e. no admission charge), and the view is worth the long walk and climb. Just beyond the town centre and on the far side of the canal, is the beginning of the walking path leading up, perpendicular to the canal. You will find this directly over the canal bridge and the initial part of the footpath runs alongside the school of the same name. Dinas Bran was constructed in or around 1260 AD and is on a site that is believed to have held a wooden hillfort. The site was barely occupied for 20 years before falling into disuse.
- 4 St Collen's Church. This church was founded by St Collen in the 6th century and the name 'Llangollen' (meaning 'church of Collen') was derived from this early inhabitant. The site has been developed since then from what had been a simple stone cell. Amongst the main features of the church are its stained glass windows and its 15th-century carved roof. It is claimed by some that the timbers for this roof came from nearby Valle Crucis Abbey.
- 5 Valle Crucis Abbey, Llantysilio. A ruined abbey offering tours. There is a nearby caravan park.
- 6 Llangollen Motor Museum, Pentre Felin, ☏ . A small car museum.
- 1 Llangollen Steam Railway, Abbey Road, LL20 8SN, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. The train departs from the station in the town. You can enjoy a 3-course meal on the train or just go for the ride.
- Horse-drawn canal boats. Available 50 m from the town centre at weekends and during the summer. Make sure you sit on the right side of the boat and then you'll be able to look over the side and down a 100-ft drop as you pass over the Pontcysyllte aqueduct!
- Canoeing. The fast flowing and rocky River Dee is popular with canoeists. You can bring your own canoe or use one of the many companies in the area to hire one or get tuition.
- 2 ProAdventure, The Fringe Shed, Parade Street, LL20 8RT, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. ProAdventure offers adventure holidays, skills training and qualifications in canoeing, white-water rafting, kayaking, climbing, gorge walking, bushcraft and survival skills, and archery and axe throwing.
- 3 Safe & Sound Outdoors, Chapel Street, LL20 8NW, ☏ . Safe and Sound Outdoors run activities on a day basis and for multiple days, including: hen and stag activities, white water rafting, canoeing, kayaking, gorge walking, paintball, mountain biking, high ropes, bushcraft, and first aid.
- International Eisteddfod: 1–7 July 2019. Every year since 1947 Llangollen has hosted the International Eisteddfod where people from all over the world take part in musical and dancing competitions. This is one of Llangollen's biggest tourist attractions bringing up to 50,000 visitors to the small town each year. It has also hosted an array of world famous performers. Traditionally the Eisteddfod takes place in early July running from Tuesday till Sunday. (date needs updating)
The town has the usual selection of gift shops that you'd expect to find in Wales.
The town has a wide selection of restaurant types, including Indian, Italian and Chinese.
- 1 The Gallery, 15 Chapel Street, LL20 8NN, ☏ . The oak-beamed Gallery Restaurant opened in 2002 and remains a family-owned and family-run business. The Gallery is at first floor level and caters for up to 40 visitors. Booking is recommended, especially during peak season. £10-25.
- 2 The Cornmill, Dee Lane, LL20 8PN, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. The Cornmill is a pub/restaurant in an old mill on the river Dee in Llangollen, overlooking the Llangollen Railway. Food is served M-Sa noon to 9:30PM and Su to 9PM. Booking is recommended, especially during peak season. £10+.
- Gales Wine Bar, 18 Bridge Street, Llangollen, Denbighshire, LL20 8PF, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Family-run wine bar and restaurant, in the premises of the one time Lion Inn.
Most of the pubs are worth a visit. The Bridge End Hotel is popular with decent food and drinks offers.
- 1 The Cornmill, Dee Lane, LL20 8PN, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa noon to 11PM, Su to 10:30PM. The Cornmill is a pub/restaurant in an old mill on the river Dee in Llangollen, overlooking the Llangollen Railway.
- 2 The Ponsonby Arms ('The Pon'), Mill Street, LL20 8RY (on the road towards Wrexham towards the Health Centre), ☏ . Serving large selection of real ales.
There are a number of Bed & Breakfasts in the town.
- 1 Geufron Hall B&B, Geufron Hall, LL20 8DY (Please see website for directions), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Geufron Hall is a five-star contemporary country house B&B high above Llangollen, nestling in the shadow of Castell Dinas Bran. There are four en suite bedrooms offering free internet access, a sitting room, dining room and the use of the paved terraces and access to the extensive gardens. Geufron Hall has been featured in Tatler, Country Living, The Week, and many other regional and national magazines and newspapers. £50-130.
- The Wynnstay, Bridge Street, ☏ . Bed & Breakfast.
- 2 Royal Hotels, 7 Bridge St., ☏ .
- 3 Bridge End Hotel, Mill St., ☏ .
- 4 Chainbridge Hotel, Berwyn Rd., ☏ . Just outside the town are more up-market.
- 5 Wild Pheasant Hotel, Berwyn Road, ☏ . Just outside the town are more up-market.
- 6 Bryn Meirion B&B (Gwely a Brecwast Bryn Meirion), Abbey Road, ☏ . Large Edwardian house overlooking the canal. Self-catering and B & B. £50 to £350.
- 7 Tan-Y-Ddol - Self-catering, Tan Y Ddol, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Awarded best B&B in Britain by Period Living Magazine.
Carry on westwards along the A539 and you will end up going through the scenic Horseshoe Pass and at the peak is the Ponderosa Cafe Complex, though avoid this if you don't like heights! Stop off on your journey towards 'The Pass' and you will find Valle Crucis Abbey on your right, as well as nearby 'Elliseg's Pillar'.
|Routes through Llangollen|
|Snowdonia ← Corwen ←||W SE||→ Chirk → Oswestry/Wrexham|