What to do in Llandudno & Conwy in 48 hours?
In the midst of chaos in the lead up to our summer expedition to the Balkans, we head off to the North Wales coast for a family weekend in Llandudno and Conwy. I know what you’re thinking. It’s not like we need a holiday. And as we are barely coping with all the planning required for the Balkans, why introduce the extra logistics of a last minute trip to the seaside?
Ah but this is a trip with a difference. We aren’t in the driving seat. We’re part of a blogger initiative by Visit Wales to cover different parts of the country and profile what the visitor can do. In 48 hours we pack in adrenaline sports, culture, history, architecture and literature; all suggested by Visit Wales Facebook fans…
A flurry of activity
One moment I am high above a quarry flying like a SuperMum. The next I appear to have fallen down a rabbit hole and am being guided out by a childhood icon. Nothing is as it seems on our family weekend in Llandudno and Conwy. But then, this isn’t a very normal weekend.
They lead and we follow
We are the first of five bloggers being sent out on a mission to explore Wales, and we are going North, to see what there is for a family to do in, around, and within driving distance of LLandudno and Conwy. Suggestions pour in the week before from all corners of the UK and beyond, via a post on the Visit Wales Facebook page. They range from an eco-rollercoaster in the vast Greenwood Forest Park to a waterfall in Betwys-y-Coed. They include castles, sustainable restaurants, tree top walks, shops, American diners, open top buses, trams, cable cars and galleries.
All we have to do is pitch up, and have a blast.
Literally. A 70mph blast
There’s no gentle start to this weekend. We touch down in our family suite in the Imperial Hotel late on Friday night, and before we know it we are on a tram, in gentle rain, heading to the top of the Orme; an activity suggested by Colin Roberts and several others.
Henk Den Hartog advises a pit stop in the Captain’s Table café at the top so we duly oblige, but it’s a rush for the tram back, as we have an appointment for a much faster, more adrenaline filled ride.
I am flying, I am SuperMum
Zip World is the longest zip wire in Europe and according to the guy driving our truck up the slate quarry in Bethesda, it’s the fastest zip wire in the world. I don’t doubt it, as I shoot above a sheer rock face down towards a deep lake before curving uphill to land. I don’t doubt it as the wind takes away my breath and the adrenaline rush takes away any fear of flying. I don’t doubt it as I watch my kids bolt towards me like bullets, a bird-like blur of red jumpsuit and beating heart. Can’t imagine what that’s like? You don’t need to. You can see 7 year old Hannah riding the Little Zipper here. And if you want to know what it’s like to ride the big one, watch this.
Staying high and fast
The rush doesn’t end there. Helen Payton-Jones has suggested the Llandudno Ski Slope and Snowboard Centre on the Great Orme for skiing, tubing and tobogganing. We book a family lesson and I watch Hannah, emboldened by her zip ride, take flight once again. This time on two planks.
Her Dad and brothers are down before her, of course. They can’t let a seven year old sister beat them.
But you have to get up early to get ahead in Llandudno. It’s only 11am on a Sunday morning and we are already late. For a very important date with a rabbit and a hatter.
The barmy duo have just begun leading Down The Rabbit Hole tours around the seaside; to draw attention to the town’s connection with Alice Liddell; Lewis Caroll’s muse and the inspiration for Alice in Wonderland. People on the prom look on bemused as the fluffy bunny and his daffy friend lead a crowd over the zebra crossing on the main street, past two hotels where Alice stayed with her family and Lewis Caroll wrote his epic book.
Fear the Jabberwocky
The remnants of a weekend triathlon are being cleared away as we begin a marathon round of ‘Oh I do like to be beside the seaside.’ (Check out our video clip on Instagram). And we all pause to fear the Jabberwocky; the moody Great Orme that watches over everything you do in this traditional seaside town.
The White Rabbit and the Hatter lead us out of the rabbit hole without any time passing on their giant stopwatch, and yet we are once again late for our date? How is that?
To Conwy, the place where time stopped
Thankfully elements of time have definitely stood still in Conwy, where the castle is a reassuring national treasure. And what a treasure. (Thank you to Angela Francis for suggesting it!) With its tall turrets and castellated walls it is an unmissable attraction. The kids enthusiastically fill in a trail based on the castle’s royal and military history, while Stuart walks the impressive walls and I stand in a turret imagining I’m a princess.
Time for an ice cream castle
Quite a few people suggest we do some cultural activities during our time at the coast. We try and fail to fit in the You exhibition at Mostyn Gallery, (sorry Lin Cummins) and the longstanding Punch and Judy show that Tourist Information points us towards in their Facebook entry. We also fail to squeeze in an attractive looking Vintage Bus Tour suggested by Tracy Kennedy. But we do stumble across some extra treats that no one predicted, like a national triathlon and Britain’s Smallest House, complete with Welsh lady in national dress. Fancy a quick tour? Check this Instagram video out.
During our appeal for foodie ideas, people suggest fish and chips and ice creams and pints of beer in various scenic locations. We take them up on all of their suggestions and at Conwy Castle, we create our own food sculpture out of ice cream in their honour. Amanda Louiseweezy Jopson and Dan Green this pic is for you. Can you spot the second Conwy castle in mint choc chip?
And of course some fish and chips
We round the weekend off with a Visit Wales idea to eat the most sustainable fish and chips in Wales at the delightful Enoch’s at Llandudno Junction. And as we head home I turn round to ask Hannah what she thought of her trip. But after two days spent following the bidding of Facebook fans up a turret, down a rabbit hole, round a Jabberwocky shaped Orme and to the end of a pier and back, my daughter is taking a little nap.
I don’t wake her. For the first time in 48 hours, we are no longer late on our very special date with Llandudno and Conwy.
But thanks to social media, I think we may have fallen in love.
Information on #blogwales
You can follow the rest of the bloggers on their #blogwales challenges by keeping an eye on the Visit Wales Facebook page. This coming weekend Paul and Angie who blog as My PostcardFrom are off to Brecon on behalf of Budget Traveller.org. Read their preview here. If you’re looking for more ideas for short breaks check out the Visit Wales website.
Disclosure Note: Our thanks go to the Facebook Fans from Visit Wales and anyone who left suggestions on our Facebook page. And to Visit Wales for their assistance in getting us there. The opinions, views and experience are, as ever, entirely our own.