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North Wales Coast and Borderlands

Castles, country houses, coastline and pastoral scenery all add up to make this part of Wales full of attractions. Bronze Age remains and Iron Age hillforts dot the landscape. Some towns date back to the 14th century.

Llyn Brenig by Barbara Ballard Llyn Brenig is a great countryside experience. The visitor centre sits in an 1800 acre estate with nature trails, cycling paths, and hides for observing wildlife. There are exhibits on the natural history, geology, and archaeology of the area. Fly fishing is on offer.

View from Denbigh Castle by Barbara Ballard Denbigh is an old market town with steep streets. Henry Stanley of Stanley and Livingston fame-"Dr. Livingstone, I presume"-came from here. Interesting buildings in the town include the ruins of two churches: an early 14th century church, St Hilary's and "Leicester's Folly," (Queen Elizabeth I's favourite man about town). A Carmelite friary, remnants of town walls, and an ancient market add to Denbigh's atmosphere. Henry de Lacy, the English commander erected the town walls.

Denbigh Castle by Barbara Ballard Denbigh Castle crowns a steep hill overlooking the town and the countryside. It was built as part of Edward I's 13th century campaigns against the Welsh. Due to a Welsh uprising in 1294, the triple-towered Great Gatehouse was added to the castle.

Rhuddlan Castle courtesy Cadw Rhuddlan Castle was another of Edward I's iron ring of fortresses built in the late 13th century. The first view is of its massive twin-towered gatehouse. Set within are concentric wall-within-wall defenses. Although the castle is 3 miles (5km) from the sea, the River Clwyd was dug out in order to give ships access to the castle.

Erdigg House by Barbara Ballard Erddig House, built in the 1680's, was known for the close relationship between the servants and family, and photographs of the servants line the hallway "downstairs". Upstairs are 18th century furniture, porcelain, and glass. The rooms both up and downstairs are much as they would be in the late 1800's. The estate outbuildings include a blacksmith shop, saw mill, stable yard, carriages, laundry, bakehouse, and kitchen. The 18th century walled garden is considered important historically.

Chirk Castle by Barbara Ballard Chirk Castle, set in 18th century parkland, began life as a border fortress around 1295 and was completed in 1310. It was remodeled in the late 16th century; then rebuilt following damage in the English Civil War. Neo-classical state rooms are on show.

River Dee at Llangollen by Barbara Ballard Llangollen town from the hillside by Barbara Ballard Llangollen, clustered around the River Dee, nestled in the Vale of Llangollen, and surrounded by hills is as scenic as it gets. It is best known today as the home of the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod. For one week in July this village comes alive with dancers, singers, choirs and musicians from all over the world and the village of 3000 people swells to 120,000 as cultural competitions and celebrations dominate the scene.

Shropshire Union Canal at Llangollen by Barbara Ballard A trip on the Shropshire Union Canal canal makes for a relaxing time. The canal boat, boarded at the village wharf, offers views of green hills and valleys as it follows the Vale of Llangollen. The journey ends after traversing the famous Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, supported by four iron arches and standing 121 feet in the sky. It's a World Heritage Site.

Plas Newydd by Barbara Ballard Plas Newydd sits high on a hill overlooking Llangollen. This black and white timbered house was the home of two eccentric Irish ladies, known as the Ladies of Llangollen. Lady Eleanor Butler and Miss Sarah Ponsoby, who always dressed as men, lived in the house for 50 years, entertaining famous literary and political figures, including Sir Walter Scott and William Wordsworth. The beautiful grounds surrounding the home are now a public park.

Castell Dinas Bran courtesy Visit Wales Hill climbers might almost believe the crumbling ruins of the medieval Castell Dinas Bran, perched on another hilltop high above the town, were designed with a challenge in mind. Breathtaking views are the reward for the steep 750-foot climb. The 13th century castle, named for a Celtic god, is partly surrounded by the remnants of an Iron Age hill-fort and ditch. In the 18th century its status grew when it was considered a "romantic ruin", and it became the most famous landmark in the Vale.

Valle Crucis Abbey by Barbara Ballard A stone's throw from Llangollen, in a setting both romantic and stunning, the Gothic stone ruins of 13th century Valle Crucis Abbey beckon. This Cistercian abbey, founded by a Welsh prince, boasts an almost intact chapter house. One of the enterprising abbots was accused of minting his own money.

Bodelwyddan Castle ladies drawing room courtesy Visit Wales Bodelwyddan Castle may look medieval but it's a fake 19th century mock castle complete with turrets and battlements, built on and around an earlier original house. The architect responsible for the castle, Joseph Hansom, invented the Hansom cab that bears his name. The National Portrait Gallery has a collection of 19th century paintings displayed here.

Bodnant Gardes Deep Dell by Barbara Ballard Bodnant Gardens, situated above the River Conwy, look across to the mountains of Snowdonia. These late 19th century gardens are in two parts, the first a series of Italianate terraces; the second is the real treat-the Deep Dell, cut through by the River Hiraethlyn.

Holy Well of St Winefride by Barbara Ballard The holy well of St Winefride gave its name to the town that grew up around it. It is the only shrine in Britain with an unbroken history of pilgrimage. A chapel above the well has a camberbeam roof and carved corbels. Its waters are supposed to have healing properties.

View of Llandudno from the hilltop by Barbara Ballard Llandudno, a seaside resort, lies between the Great Orme and Little Orme, two limestone headlands. There are two beaches: North Shore with three miles of sand and a 120 year old pier, and West Shore, a area of sand dunes.

Llandudno train ride to the top by Barbara Ballard Llandudno owes its popularity to the Victorian custom of seaside holidays. There is a seafront promenade and a pier. A cable car goes to the summit of Great Orme where there is a visitor centre.

Conwy by Barbara Ballard One of Europe's most perfectly preserved walled towns, Conwy, lies in the green, fertile Vale of Conwy, reached by a bridge. The most dramatic bridge is that of Thomas Telford. The 1826 suspension bridge - now preserved by the National Trust - leads to the castle. Nearby Gwydir Forest and Coed y Brenin Forest provide walks.

 Conwy Castle by Barbara Ballard The town is dominated by Conwy Castle, built by Edward I and considered one of the greatest of European fortresses, and the town walls, ĺ mile (1.2 km) long with 21 towers and three gates.

Plas Mawr by Barbara Balard Aberconwy House, a medieval merchant's house, features an exhibition on life in Conwy from Roman times to the present. Also in the town is a supposedly haunted architectural gem of an Elizabethan townhouse, Plas Mawr. The "smallest house in Britain" at 6-ft (1.8m.) wide and 10ft (3m.) high is also open for a peek inside.

Rug Chapel by Barbara Ballard Rug Chapel is an experience not to be missed. This medieval treasure exudes atmosphere. Its architectural features are fascinating. Go out of your way to visit it.

North Wales Coast and Borderlands Attractions

For opening times and full details of attractions see the Attractions section of our website.

Aberconwy Abbey
Conwy, Caernarfonshire; on the A55

All Saints Church
Gresford, on B5445; 3 miles north of Wrexham

Alwen Reservoir and Forest
Between the B4501 and A543
North of the A5 from Cerrigydrudion

Argoed Hall
Froncysyllte, Denbighshire
Near Llangollen on the A5

Basingwerk Church
Access via the A548 and B5121 and Greenfield Valley Heritage Park
Near Flint, Flintshire

Bersham Ironworks and Heritage Centre
Clywedog Heritage Valley; two miles from Wrexham
Follow signs for Bersham from the A483

Bodelwyddan Castle, Gardens, and Museum
Off the A55 between St. Asaph and Abergele, Denbighshire
Tel. 0 1745 584 060
Web: Bodelwyddan Castle Museum

Bodnant Gardens
Tal-y-Cafn, Colwyn Bay
Conwy, Caernarfonshire; off the A470
Tel. 0 1492 650 460; Fax 0 1492 650 448

Bodrhyddan Hall and Gardens
On the A5151 between Dyserth and Rhuddlan, Denbighshire
Tel. 0 1745 590 155
Web: Bodrhyddan Hall

Bodysgallen Hall
Llandudno, Denbighshire; off the A470
Tel. 0492 584 466

Bryn Eisteddfod
Llansanffraid Glan
Conwy, Denbighshire; on the A470

Llanfairfechan, Denbighshire
On the A55

Brynbella Park and Garden
Tremeirchion; off the A55
Southeast of St Asaph, Flintshire

Brynkinalt Landscaped Park
Chirk, Denbighshire; on A5

North Wales Coast and Borderlands
In the Cambrian Mountains by Pen y Crocbren, Llangurig, Powys
Off the A44/A470

Caerau Roman Site
Esgairperfedd, Powys

Caergwrle Castle
Caergwrle, Flintshire; on the A550

Caersws Roman Forts
Caersws, Powys; on the A470

Castell Collen Fort
Between Llandrindod and Rhayader, Powys;
One mile north-west of Llandrindod

Castell Dinas Bran
Llangollen, Denbighshire
On the A539

Chirk Castle and parkland
Chirk, Denbighshire, off the A5
Tel. 0 1691 777 701

Circle 275
On A55 near Penmaenmawr, Conwy

Conwy Castle
Conwy, Caernarfonshire; on the A547
Tel. 0492 592 358
For more on Wales castles see our article Castle Country

Clyro Roman Fort
Near Hay-on-Wye (B4350), Powys

Denbigh Castle and Town Walls
Denbigh, via the A525
Tel. 0 1443 336 000
For photos and more details see our article Denbigh Castle

Denbigh Friary
Denbigh, Denbighshire; on the A543

Derwen Churchyard Cross
Minor roads from B5105 or A494 south of Ruthin

Doctor Who Experience and Model Railway World
Lower Dee Exhibition Centre, Llangollen, Denbighshire, on the A 539
Tel. 0 1978 860 584

Druid's Circle
On A55 near Penmaenmawr
Conwy, Caernarfonshire

Erdigg House and Gardens
Two miles south of Wrexham, on the A525/A5152
Tel. 0 1978 355 314

Ewloe Castle
Two miles north-west of Hawarden, Flintshire, on the A55

Eyarth Hall
Llanfair Dyffryn, Clwyd
On the A525; uust south of Ruthin, Denbighshire

Flint Castle
Flint, Flintshire; on the A548

Fferm Gardens
Leeswood, near Mold, Denbighshire
On the A5104

Forden Gaer Roman Fort
At conflux of Severn River and Afon Rhiw, Powys, off the A483

Garthewin Buildings and Garden
Llanfair-Talhaiarn, Denbighshire
On A544

Garthgynan Walled Garden
Llanfair Dyffryn, Clwyd, Denbighshire
On the A525

Gloddaeth Gardens
St Davidís College
Off the A55 at Llandudno, Denbighshire

Great Orme Copper Mines
Llandudno, Denbighshire,
In the Great Orme Country Park
Access from A55 via A470
Tel. 0 1492 870447

Greenfield Valley Heritage Park
Greenfield, Holywell, Flintshire
Tel. 0 1352 714 172
Web: Greenfield Valley Heritage Park

Gwaenynog Park and Garden
2 miles west of Denbigh, Denbighshire
Off the A543

Gwernyfed Park
Just south of Three Cocks, Powys
On the A438

Gwrych Castle and Park
Near Abergele, Denbighshire
Off the A548

Gwysaney Deer Park and Garden
Mold, Denbighshire; on A494

Gyrn Castle
Llanasa, Holywell, Flintshire; off the A55
Tel. 0 1745 853 500

Hartsheath House and Garden
Off the A5104 southeast of Mold, Flintshire
Tel. 0 1352 770 217

Happy Valley Gardens
Llandudno, Denbighshire; off the A55

Hawarden Old Castle
In a park south-east of town centre of Hawarden; Flintshire, on the B5126

Hendre Waelod Burial Chamber
Near Glan Conwy, Caernarfonshire, on the A470

Hindwell Farm, Radnor Valley, Powys
On the B4357

Llandudno Museum and Art Gallery
17-19 Gloddaeth Street, Llandudno
On the A456
Tel. 0 1492 876 517

Llandudno Pier
Great Orme, Llandudno
Tel. 0 1492 876 258
Web: Llandudno Pier

Llangar Church
Off B4401 southwest of Corwen
Tel. 0 1490 412 025 to view

Llangollen Motor Museum
Pentre Felin, on the A542
One mile from Llangollen, Denbighshire
Tel. 0 1978 860 324

Llangollen Postal Museum
41 Castle St, Llangollen, Denbighshire
On the A539
Tel. 0 1978 860 230

Llangollen Railway
Between the bridge over the River Dee and Abbey Rd (A542)
Tel. 0 1978 860 979
Web: Llangollen Railway

Llangollen Victorian School and School Museum
Parade St, Llangollen, Denbighshire
On the A539
Tel. 0 1978 860 794

Llannerch Hall Historic Gardens
St Asaph, Denbighshire; on the A55

On the A487 coastal road

Llyn Aled Reservoir and Moorland
Off the A543
South-west of Bylchau on the A544

Llyn Brenig Visitor Centre
Cerrigydrudion, Denbighshire; on the A5
Tel. 0 1490 420 463
Web: Llyn Brenig Visitor Centre

Maen y Bardd (Stone of the Bard)
From B5106 to Rowen, Caernarfonshire
On minor road; from car park in the village along a path

Moel Arthur and Pen y Cloddiau iron age hillfort
Nannerch, Denbighshire

Moel Ty Uchaf cairn circle
From B4401 near Llandrillo, Denbighshire

Moel y Gaer
Llangollen, Denbighshire

Mold Castle
Mold, (A541) Flintshire

Mostyn Hall
Mostyn, Denbighshire; on A548

Nantclwyd y Dre House
Castle St, Ruthin
Tel. 0 1824 709 822

On the B5106, Powys
Fort abandoned circa AD120; farm now lies in the centre of the site

Pen-y-lan Park
Ruabon, just south of Wrexham; on the A483

Penbedw Monument and Park
Nannerch, Flintshire; on the A541

Plas Newydd House and Gardens
Hill St, Llangollen, on the A5
Tel. 0 1978 861 314

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
Web: Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Prestatyn Castle
Prestatyn, on the A548

Rhuddlan Castle
Rhuddlan, Flintshire, on the river Clwyd
On the A525/ A547
Tel. 0 1745 590 777

Rug Chapel
Near Corwen, off the A494
Tel. 0 1490 412 025
For photos and more details see our article Rug Chapel

Ruthin Castle
Ruthin town centre, on the A494

Ruthin Gaol
Ruthin, Denbighshire
Tel. 0 1824 708 281

Ruthin Roman Fort
On the A494, Denbighshire

Soughton Hall
Northop, Flintshire; north of Mold on A5119

St Asaph Cathedral
St Asaph, Denbighshire, on the A55

St Deinol Church
Hawarden, Flintshire on the A550

St Dyfnog Church
Llanrhaeadr; 3 miles south-east of Denbigh on the A525

St Giles Church
Wrexham on the A534/483

St Marcella Church
On minor road, one mile east from Denbigh
On the A525

St Margaret Church
Bodelwyddan, Denbighshire, on the A55

St Mary Church
Mold, Flintshire on the A541/494

St Winefrideís Well
Holywell, off the A55, B5121
Tel. 0 1352 713 054
For photos and more details see our article St Winefrideís Well
Web: St Winefride's Well

Tomen-y-Rhodwydd castle ruins
On the A525/B5431; six miles southeast of Ruthin

Nercwys, one mile south of Mold, Flintshire
Tel. 0 1352 700 220
Web: Tower

Tyfos (Ring of Tyfos)
From B4401 near Llandrillo, Denbighshire

Valle Crucis Abbey
On the B5103 from the A5 west of Llangollen or A542 from Ruthin, Denbighshire

Welsh Mountain Zoo
Colwyn Bay, Conwy
Off old highway from west end of Colwyn Bay
Tel. 0 1492 532 938
Web: Welsh Mountain Zoo

Wern Isaf house
Penmaen Park, Llanfairfechan, on the A55
Tel. 0 1248 680 437

Wrexham County Borough Museum
Regent St, Wrexham, on the A525
Tel. 0 1978 317 970

Photos of Castell Dinas Bran and Bodelwyddan Castle ladiesí drawing room courtesy of Visit Wales
Photo of Rhuddlan Castle courtesy Cadw
Other photos by Barbara Ballard

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Our North Wales Coast and Borderlands Articles
Holy Well of St Winefride
Rug Chapel
Plas Newydd
Wildlife on the Great Orme
Llyn Brenig Reservoir and Visitor Centre
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