After two lockdown birthdays, both of which would usually be celebrated with a trip away, my urge to escape for a while has grown exponentially with each month that’s passed by. I haven’t taken much leave this year so booked four days off after the bank holiday weekend, for no particular reason other than to make sure I use them before 2022 creeps up on us.
I realised that Lucie and Adam were both free that week too, so leapt online at a frankly embarrassing speed and booked rooms for us all to spend few nights in Llandudno. It’s somewhere that I’ve visited twice and each time, I’ve set off home with a sense that I hadn’t quite experienced everything that this beautiful part of Wales has to offer.
I did a little bit of research and decided that I’d like to ride on the Great Orme tramway this time. Lucie saw a TikTok video featuring a toboggan at Llandudno Snowsports Centre that she was desperate to visit, and Adam had his eye on Hickory’s Smokehouse.
With a vague itinerary to hand and a cat sitter in place, we were ready to go. Our hotel was located on the seafront and the Great Orme Tramway Victoria Station was a five min walk away. It had attracted a queue by the time we arrived around 1pm. Not surprising though, given its impressive heritage. This is Britain’s only funicular tramway that still uses public roads, is more than 100 years old, and the views from the summit are worth the wait.
At the Halfway Station, you can see into the engine house; this is where the magic happens. Safe to say that Adam and Lucie weren’t quite as interested in this as I was, being
far more into locomotives than I should ever publicly admit a self-confessed transport enthusiast, and urged me to hurry up as I gawped through the glass. Predictably, we missed our connecting tram thanks to my dithering but we didn’t have to wait too long for the next one so all was well.
At the summit, there’s a park, restaurant, gift shop, mini-golf, coffee shop, and small botanical garden. We didn’t see any mountain goats this time but did enjoy a brew and the opportunity to slow down for a couple of hours. Lucie also got to stroke a 13/10 rated dog during our ride back down; simple things and that.
The rest of our trip was mostly spent wandering charity shops, eating fish and chips, buying plants from Botanical Babe (who I discovered via TikTok in lockdown so couldn’t resist the opportunity to pop in and say hello in person) playing in the arcades, strolling down the impressive Victorian Pier, and skimming stones into the sea on the rocky beach.
The Home Front Experience is a small heritage museum showcasing civilian life during WW2. I had been before, but Adam and Lucie hadn’t. It’s a proper little hidden gem, and we spent an hour or so browsing the various privately-owned collections on display. Not only interesting but informative too; Lucie learned all about morse code and air raid shelters via the interactive exhibitions, and it sparked some thought-provoking conversations between us afterward about rationing, evacuees, blackouts, mask-wearing (albeit of a different kind than we’ve been used to lately), and the challenges faced during that period.
Llandudno Snowsports Centre didn’t disappoint either. Close to the seafront, the resort was unexpectedly picturesque. We bought tickets for the toboggan and queued for about an hour and a half for our session, which was again, worth the wait. I thought I was being a speed demon, and really pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Then Adam showed me a video he’d taken of me on the toboggan as I passed under the bridge he was on, and let’s just say that I could have walked faster.
Still, it did the trick. We all benefitted from the change of scenery and sea air. One thing we did miss during our trip was the Alice in Wonderland sculpture trail so will no doubt be visiting again at some point for that. Have you been to Llandudno before?