Llandudno is a Victorian seaside town located in North Wales. North Shore Beach is large with a wide pedestrianised promenade. But there’s so much to do in Llandudno aside from the beach! A major geographical feature is the Great Orme headland, a limestone land formation which was once mined for copper (you can still visit the disused mine/cave). It’s also home to a herd of wild goats!
Things To Do In Llandudno
The Great Orme Country Park
1. Great Orme Tramway
So of course one of the things to do in Llandudno is to explore the Great Orme Country Park. This can be done by car (there’s a car park at the top), but a fun experience is to take a trip on the Great Orme Tramway. The tramway first opened in 1902 and is Britain’s only funicular railway. The cars are attached to a cable which is set into the road and are powered and controlled by a large motor located at the Halfway Station.
Return tickets are quite expensive but it’s a fun ride. Adults are £8.10 and Children (3-16yrs) £5.60. To get to the summit, you’ll actually have to switch trams at the Halfway Station as the tracks are split in two. This can be a little stressful if you want to continue sitting together as it’s a bit of a free for all, especially when it’s busy and running at full capacity.
The journey is at a leisurely pace, the trams top speed is 4mph. The cars also have no windows, it’s all open air! I suggest travelling backwards on the journey up the Great Orme, as you get great views of Llandudno town and the beach. The Tramway is open between March and October.
Another way to get to the summit is via the Llandudno Cable Car, which is slightly more expensive (£11 Adult, £9 Child). This is an aerial gondola style cable ride which is the longest passenger system in Britain, at just over 1 mile in length. Unfortunately I couldn’t go on it during my visit as it can’t operate in high winds.
2. The Captains Table Cafe – Summit Complex
Once you reach the top of the Great Orme, visiting The Captains Table Cafe in the Summit Complex is well worth a stop. They have a wide selection of giant cakes and especially on a cold and windy day a warm drink is a welcomed treat!
3. Rocky Pines Adventure Golf
While at the summit, there’s a large children’s playground and several hiking routes to enjoy the views of the surrounding area. There’s also the Rocky Pines Adventure Golf course where you can enjoy 18 holes of mini golf! Entrance is £3 (for both adults and children).
4. Llandudno Pier
Back down at sea level, a stroll down Llandudno Pier is a nice activity. The first part of the pier has various little gift shops, arcades and several little fairground type attractions for children. Bibbins Rolled Ice Cream makes for a different version of a favourite seaside treat, you can choose a topping and watch as it gets mashed into an ice cream pancake and then rolled and served up in a bowl. The main section of the pier has some benches and then once you get right to the end it opens up into a larger area with another arcade, a cafe and a bar.
5. Alpine Toboggan at Llandudno Snowsports Centre
The Llandudno Snowsports Centre is an artificial ski slope which of course offers skiing and snowboarding. However, for those that lack that physical ability (such as myself), can enjoy several other activities. There’s a 9 hole mini golf course, sno-tubing (where you sit in an inflatable ring and slide down the hill) and my favourite, an alpine toboggan run.
This is slightly different from the alpine coaster at Zipworld Fforest, it’s a cresta run which is more like a bobsleigh track, where the tray that you ride on isn’t attached to the track. You still have full control of braking, it just means you have to slow down a bit more on the corners so you don’t go flying off the edge!
Two runs cost £7. During my visit, despite there being a bit of a line, once you get to the bottom you take the second run straight away and just go round again. It is worth doing two runs because on the first you can get a feel for the track and on the second you can pick up a bit more speed once you’re comfortable with the sled.
My only complaint is the strips of plastic that are there to slow you down before reaching the end. Even when going slow they do give you a bit of a slap in the face, so it’s worth tipping your head down to avoid them. Due to the style of brakes, it doesn’t operate in the rain or while the track is wet, so this is something to keep in mind.
6. Happy Valley Botanical Gardens
One way to reach the Llandudno Snowsports Centre, is to go through the Happy Valley Botanical Gardens. It is a VERY steep road though, making it a bit of a trek if you’re walking! The top part of the gardens is where the Botanical Gardens section is located and is free to wander around.
The bottom section is a large open grass area with lots of benches, where you can sit and people watch. We enjoyed sitting and looking out across the sea and Llandudno Pier.
Llandudno has an Alice in Wonderland Town Trail, which is a walking tour/scavenger hunt that looks for Alice in Wonderland statues and characters dotted around the town. Even without doing the trail, you can enjoy many of the statues that are located in the Happy Valley gardens. If you wanted to follow the trail, maps can be purchased from tourist information, or you can now download the ‘White Rabbit’ app and use your smartphone instead.
There’s also a Camera Obscura (£2 Adults, £1 Child). It’s a type of large pinhole camera, where a lens projects a clear image or a view onto a flat surface of a darkened room.
7. Great Orme Toll Road
The Great Orme Toll Road aka Marine Drive is a 5 mile scenic drive around the edge of the Great Orme. Cars cost £3.50 and the fee is paid at the toll booth, which is near the pier, in front of the Happy Valley Botanical Gardens. The toll road fee also includes parking at the summit if you wanted to detour up to that, but we just stayed on the coast road.
The first part of the toll road is one way, there are plenty of places to pull over and stop to take photos etc. I wanted to see the Great Orme Lighthouse (which is now a B&B) as it looks like a little castle, but it’s really hard to see from the road and I wasn’t sure if the driveway was private property/for guests.
Marine Drive ends at West Shore Beach on the opposite side of town, which is actually less than a mile in a straight line from North Shore Beach (15 min walk or a 3 min drive).