What Is There To Do In Llangollen?

If you look at Llangollen’s tourist website, this small town describes itself as ‘the festival capital of Wales.’ With so much history condensed into one beautiful area, we think Llangollen is definitely a place to celebrate.  Its International Musical Eisteddfod is a six day long folk carnival which attracts performers from around the world. Llangollen is no one-trick pony though. If you’re looking for a less hectic visit, here are some other attractions to tempt you:

Valle Crucis Abbey

An exemplary medieval abbey, Valle Crucis was founded in the 13th century, and has done well to stay in such a preserved state over the years. Located in what would’ve once been a secluded spot, Cistercian monks practiced their quiet and austere religion within these grand walls. So much of the original building has survived, including a fantastic rib-vaulted roof and a lovely rose window.

[Image source: castlewales.com]

Castell Dinas Bran

Looking formidably over Llangollen, Castell Dinas Bran is a commanding ruin which is open to the public. Bring your walking shoes, as climbing this breath-taking hill is a bit of a challenge. This stunning fort belonged to the ancient Kingdom of Powys, and was probably built in 1260, but the foundations stand on top of an Iron Age embankment, meaning this has been a defensive site for centuries. According to legend, Castell Dinas Bran is a potential resting place for the Holy Grail and the area is protected by fairies!

Plas Newydd

Not to be confused with the National Trust property in Anglesey, Plas Newydd is a Gothic house, once owned by the famous Ladies of Llangollen. Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby were both born into Irish nobility and scandalised polite society by running away together to the small, Welsh town of Llangollen.

Wanting only a peaceful life, this couple didn’t care about the gossip surrounding their cohabitation. They spent 50 years together, reading, studying, learning languages, and tending their garden.

Although the Ladies of Llangollen lived a fairly mundane life, they still attracted the attention of many famous artists and writers across the country, including Byron, Wordsworth, and Shelley. The house itself is magnificent, and the gardens offer a great opportunity for a picnic with the family.

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Completed in 1805, Pontcysyllte Aqueduct was the innovative creation of Thomas Telford, and still remains the longest and highest aqueduct in Britain. Hundreds of canal boats still pass across the bridge every year, but at 126 feet above the ground, you need a good head for heights. In today’s money the aqueduct cost £2,930,000 to put together, and was at the forefront of cutting technology in the 19th century.

 Horseshoe Falls

This man-made waterfall on the River Dee is an idyllic spot to relax. Again, Thomas Telford had a hand in the making of this weir and it supplies water to the canal system of Llangollen. Until railways really revolutionized the Welsh countryside, canals were the main mode of transport for slate transportation. Located approximately 3 miles outside of Llangollen, it’s the perfect rest-point after a gentle walk.

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From the aqueduct in Pontcysyllte.

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