The Complete Guide to Llandudno, North Wales

A few years ago I spent some time in Penrhyn Bay, a small town in North Wales and Llandudno was our closest neighbour, just a 5 minute drive away. Llandudno is the largest seaside resort in the UK, it’s teeming with charm and just the right amount of kitsch.

View of Llandudno from Great Orme Atlas Introspective

Welsh

English is the predominant language, but travellers will still encounter the Welsh language daily, whether on street signs, over-heard Celtic conversation at a nearby table at the pub or in the pronunciation of place names.

In Wales the double ‘ll’ sound is a cross between a ‘ch’ and a ‘th’. Llandudno is pronounced phonically as ‘hclan-DID-no’. If you can’t master this unique Welsh sound, ‘clan-DID-no’ will get you over the line.

What to See

Llandudno Promenade and Pier

Llandudno pier is the longest in Wales (670m) and features an arcade, fun-fair and Punch and Judy show. Five generations of the Codman family have performed the show since 1860, making it Britains oldest Punch & Judy show. They still use the original hand-carved puppets, made from local driftwood.

The architecture overlooking the promenade is beautifully preserved in the ‘Wedding cake style’ and is almost exclusively owned by hotels and bed & breakfasts.

Great Orme

Llandudno is bookended by two headlands: Great Orme and it’s modest counterpart, Little Orme in Penrhyn Bay. Great Orme is 207m high and there are 4 ways to reach the summit: cable car, tram, drive or hike. Cable car offers incredible views but those with wheels, are treated to a scenic drive. Regardless of how you reach the peak, make sure to pack a picnic or visit the summit cafe and take in panoramic views of Llandudno and Mount Snowdon.

Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland trail, LLandudno

I’ve loved Lewis Carroll since I first read ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ as a child. Alice Liddell, family friend of Lewis Carroll and inspiration behind the title character, spent her holidays in Llandudno during the 1860’s. The families’ holiday home, ‘Penmorfa’ is on Llandudno’s West Shore and is now a popular hotel.

The town of Llandudno celebrates it’s literary connections with commissioned statues of Alice and her Wonderland pals. Locating all the characters on the Alice in Wonderland trail throughout the town is a pleasant way to spend a sunny day with small children.

While you’re on the hunt, look for two large rocks on the Llandudno West Shore who inspired the characters, the Walrus and the Carpenter in ‘Through the Looking Glass.’

Shopping

If retail therapy is your thing, Llandudno has more high street stores than neighbouring towns.

Mostyn main street llandudno

Art

Mostyn Contemporary Art Gallery is a breath of fresh air. In a town that celebrates everything Victorian, it’s one of the few places that manages to merge the old with the new. Mostyn’s 6 galleries host exhibitions for both Welsh and international artists and changes collections seasonally so there’s always something new on offer. Entrance is free and kids are welcome.

Once you’ve finished viewing the artwork head upstairs to the Gallery Cafe. It’s my favourite cafe in Llandudno and one of the few places in town that serve more than cream teas.

Where to Eat in Llandudno

Mostyn Cafe offer great coffee, cakes and lunches. But those after something more substantial, here are my top picks:

llandudno pier Atlas Introspective

The Cottage Loaf

An inviting Welsh Inn that’s kept up with the times but lost none of its charm. The Cottage Loaf features seasonal, locally sourced food. Grab a table in the beer garden on a sunny day or cosy up by the fireplace in Winter.

Fish Tram Chips

Llandudno is not short on options for fish & chips, but if you want the best, don’t look past Fish Tram Chips. Situated at the base of the Orme next to the tram, it’s the locals’ choice.

The Seahorse Restaurant & Bistro

Llandudno’s most popular restaurant, The Seahorse was originally run by husband and wife team Don and Gill Hadwin but new owners took over in 2023. A trip to The Seahorse wouldn’t be complete without sampling their locally caught seafood.

Where to Eat- Around Llandudno

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a few great restaurants just outside of Llandudno.

Day Trips from Llandudno

  • Mount Snowdon & Snowdonia National Park
  • Conwy Castle, Conwy
  • Swallow Falls, Betws-y-Coed
  • Bodnant Garden, Betws-y-Coed
  • Chester. Highlights: Roman ruins & Chester Zoo
  • Liverpool. Highlights: Royal Albert Dock, buskers & street entertainers & Beatles sightseeing
  • Anglesey
  • The Ty Coch Inn

Family Outings

There’s plenty in and around Llandudno to keep children entertained.

When to Visit

It’s a no-brainer that a seaside resort is at its peak in the height of Summer. But I enjoyed Llandudno just as much in the dark, short days of December. The Winter coastline is under-rated & nothing awakens the senses more than a rain-coat clad walk alongside the stormy sea. Best of all, there’s no crowds to spoil the view.

Nightlife

Llandudno has a few decent pubs but they’re more geared towards meals. Those seeking night life, will find the bars and pubs in nearby Conwy, have a livelier atmosphere.

Great Orme Atlas Introspective

Llandudno is best enjoyed for what it is: a charming seaside resort with throw-backs to the Victorian era. Immerse yourself in the history and take pleasure in the delights.

Where is your favourite destination in North Wales?