Cycle or walk part of the Wales Coast Path, taking in the picturesque and historic surroundings of Conwy Castle and the Victorian seaside town of Llandudno.
This is a long route (18 miles) and it is perfect for cyclists and long distance hikers. As it's a little extreme for many walkers why not try smaller sections by just heading to one of the highlights below and exploring the area. You can also use the transport links to hop between some of the locations or to get up Great Orme.
The route has one of the finest backdrops in the country with Great Orme’s Head in the north, Little Orme in the east and in the southwest the peaks of Snowdonia seem to rise straight out of Conwy Bay. Llandudno offers a glimpse back in time with its Victorian architectural features including its pier. Conwy takes you even further back with its castle and city walls.
Conwy is one of the best-preserved medieval fortified towns in Britain. There are over 200 listed buildings in the town dating from the 14th to the 19th centuries. The most famous of these is of course Conwy Castle which was built by King Edward I between 1283 and 1289 - estimated to have cost £15,000. It is, deservedly, a World Heritage Site. Also not to be missed is Plas Mawr Elizabethan Town House, possibly the best preserved Elizabethan townhouse in Great Britain, home of the Wyn family in the 16th century.
On the other side of the Conwy Estuary and at the foot the Great Orme sits Llanudno, the Victorian seaside resort developed by the Mostyn family in the 1840s. The town is named after the 6th century Saint Tudno whose church on the Great Orme was originally built in the 6th century and later replaced in the 11th century. Take a detour to the remains of Deganwy Castle much of whose stonework was used by Edward 1st to build Conwy castle in the 13th century and then check out some of the eateries overlooking the marina.
The dramatic limestone outcrop of Great Orme’s Head is a habitat for many species of nesting birds as well as an excellent area for climbing and walking. Take a rest at the Visitor Centre where excellent displays describe and illustratethe Great Orme's history, geology and wildlife. A camera link to the cliffs provides live footage of the seabirds during the breeding season. And of course remember the Countryside Code. There is so much to do on the Great Orme that you could spend a whole day up there. Take a break in your journey with the old Victorian tramway from Llandudno or experience the rocky outcrops from the dizzy heights of the cable car from Happy Valley. Or cycling or walk up to the top of the Orme and reward yourself at the aptly named Rest and Be Thankful café or with a trip through the Bronze age in the ancient copper mine.
The Resource Section below contains a straightforward map of the area. Print it out, mark up your highlights and itinery for the day and head off for an adventure!
For help getting here or to hop around using public transport, Traveline Cymru's journey planner is an invaluable aid. If you have a smartphone or tablet you can download the app from: iPhone or Android. Their journey planner is also available online at Traveline Cymru. Or you can call them on 0871 200 22 33 (calls cost 10p per minute plus 6p connection fee from a BT land line, other networks may differ and mobiles may be significantly higher).
If you want to explore the area further both Conwy and Llandudno offer a perfect base with their welcoming hotels, bed and breakfasts, hostels and homely self catering cottages. There are beautifully situated caravan and camping sites in the surrounding countryside too.
The area is also known for its Welsh black beef, salt marsh lamb and fine seafood which means its restaurants and independent food shops are well supplied with quality local produce.
"This is a grand circuit which follows the Wales Coast Path up the Conwy River estuary and around the Great Orme - giving magnificent views along the north Wales coastline, across to the island of Anglesey and inland to the rugged Carneddau mountains.
It's one of the many highlights along the path and offers something of appeal for all the family. Admiteddly, it is a long walk (or a challenging cycle circuit) but you can just choose smaller sections to explore. For example both Conwy and Llandudno towns have plenty to see and do or you can just explore the many paths on Great Orme."
Quentin Grimley, Coast Path Policy Officer, Natural Resources Wales.