Llangollen, the lovely little town and community in Denbighshire in North Wales, is a great place to visit for a day or two, or as a base to explore the wider area. You will find it on the banks of the beautiful River Dee, seated at the foot of the Berwyn mountain range.
With a population totalling below 4000, the area is a quiet one, making it the perfect destination to get away from the hustle and bustle and catch your breath for once.
Llangollen is Welsh for “Collen’s Church” – Saint Collen being a monk who arrived in the area by coracle, and who founded a church beside the Dee. History is infused in the town: above Llangollen stand the imposing ruins of the medieval fortress, Castell Dinas Brân.
Originally an Iron Age hill fort, Dinas Brân as it now stands was constructed in the 1260s by Gruffydd II ap Madog, but soon fell to Edward and his invading English armies. The ruins are well worth exploring, offering up some great views down onto Llangollen. The climb is a fairly long one, but it never becomes overly steep. Take a picnic and recharge at the top.
You will also find the beautiful Valle Crucis Abbey just two miles down the road, in the tiny community of Llantysilio. The Abbey dates back to the 13th century, and was dissolved during Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries, unfortunately falling into disrepair. The building is technically a ruin now, although major sections of the original still stand. The detailing on the architecture is impressive, and parts of the first floor can be visited, including the monks’ dormitory.
Home to the Ladies of Llangollen, the 18th-century Plas Newydd (“New Mansion”) is found on the edges of the town. This historic house is now run as a museum, with the Ladies’ additions of stained glass windows and Gothic oak carvings remaining wonderfully intact.
Llangollen is probably most well-known for its numerous festivals. Most famously of all, Llangollen plays host to the annual International Musical Eisteddfod, which features more than 20 competitions pitting singers, dancers and musicians from all over the globe against each other. The event lasts for a week, and attracts audiences in excess of 50,000 people, as well as some fantastically talented competitors: notable past performers include Pavarotti, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Katherine Jenkins.
Each July sees the Llangollen Fringe Festival, a celebration of independent arts, in the town hall. Similar to the more famous Fringe in Edinburgh, there’s always a wide variety of acts, covering everything from drama and comedy to music and dance. Famous artists from previous years include Cerys Matthews, The Damned, Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. And if rock music is more your cup of tea, visit Llangollen in May, when Dee Rocks takes place.
Llangollen has a little bit of everything, meaning that any visitor is sure to leave satisfied. Within a short drive of the town are a great deal of other attractions, including Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and the one and only Snowdonia National Park, making it the perfect place from which to begin a more in-depth exploration of North Wales and all its beauty. Click here to find out about our offerings of accommodation in and around this lovely town.
Llangollen is situated on the A5 near the towns of Wrexham and Oswerstry.
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Built by civil engineer Thomas Telford in 1805 to carry the canal across the River Dee, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct stands at an impressive 38 metres (126 feet) high, making it the highest canal aqueduct ever built.
The county of Denbighshire in North Wales is a beautiful one, filled with a wide variety of natural wonders, as well as plenty of man-made attractions to boot. Denbighshire sits right at the top of Wales, bordering the Irish Sea, and is so easterly as to come as close as twenty miles to the English border.
Built in 1277 by King Edward I, Rhuddlan Castle was erected as a part of the English Conquest of Wales. It is actually an important location for the history of Great Britain: the Statute of Rhuddlan was signed here in 1284, bringing Wales officially under the rule of the English once and for all.
Take a holiday in the beautiful surroundings of Llangollen on the edge of the Berwyn Mountain and next to the River Dee. Enjoy everything the town has to offer including the Llangollen Steam Railway, Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Vale Crucis with Snowdonia easily reached by car.
Find a cottage in the North East of Wales. Home to the Clwydian Range, Llangollen, Ruthin and Denbigh. Find a base to explore this hidden gem of North Wales.
All of these cottages accept pets so all the family can come on holiday together. North Wales is a great place for dogs with plenty of open space if needed. There's no extra charge either!