Wales - Llangollen vs. Aberystwyth

Old Aug 14th, 2007, 09:54 AM
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Wales - Llangollen vs. Aberystwyth

As part of my upcoming trip, I'm looking to base myself in northern Wales for 3 days or so. Which town would you recommend as a base, Llangollen or Aberystwyth? Which has a better variety of restaurants, pref. with a good range of vegetarian? Which has more to do in the evening? (e.g., pubs with live music) Which is less touristy? Which is more likely to have "cheap and cheerful" B&B/guest houses?

TIA
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Old Aug 15th, 2007, 01:22 PM
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Forgot to say in my original post: suggestions for 3rd options also welcome!
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Old Aug 15th, 2007, 02:36 PM
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I don't know Llangollen, so can't comment on that. It's a while since I've been to Aberystwyth, but AFAIR: it's a university town, so it should have a good range of vegetarian and other cheap places to eat and stay (but avoid the beginning and end of term), and so on. It's a seaside resort, fairly busy but not unpleasant. BUT it's not in north Wales, it's more sort of central west Wales - I don't think it's really suitable as a base for north wales.
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Old Aug 15th, 2007, 09:08 PM
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Poo, I can't find my itinerary for Wales from last year.

Here is an old thread where I received help planning my trip:


http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34787982

I think further north would be a better base, somewhere by Snowdonia where you can also see Carnaerfon, Bettws-y-Coed, Portmeirion.

I think our base for this portion of the trip was Llandudno. It is also near Conwy castle.

I was in Llangollen prior about 6 years ago but unfortunately I don't remember much about it except we went to the home of the Ladies of Llangollen.
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Old Aug 15th, 2007, 10:40 PM
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Travel in the northern half of Wales can be slow, and Aberystwyth really isn't an easy place to use a base for Snowdonia, Anglesey or anywhere else north.

However, north of there, there really isn't anywhere that isn't touristy. My deep knowledge of Llangollen is a few decades old: it used to specialise in catering to coach parties of the Manchester and Birmingham elderly, mostly grateful to find anywhere where sugar wasn't on ration, and it normally closed about 4.30 in the afternoon.

The old-style resorts like Llandudno and (God help us) Rhyl still have lots of cheapish B+Bs ("cheerful" isn't the first word that comes to mind when talking about North Wales landladies). Again, some time since I surveyed it in detail, and in those days vegetarian meant choosing between potato scallops or beans with your chips. But you can always manipulate the menu at any Indian or Chinese retaurant in Britain to avoid meat, veg options are universal everywhere in Britain (I didn't say good veg options) and there's no shortage of egg'n'chips places in the resorts. The resorts have lots of pubs, though the live entertainment might be no more than punchups between the locals and the the Liverpool toughs.

With all its faults, though, Llandudno's good as a base and prettily (going on stunningly) located. Conway (the English for the town concerned, though there's a PC nonsense about describing it in Welsh. The Welsh don't reciprocate, insisting on their own words even for English places as obscure as Birkenhead. So if the Welsh want to speak Welsh, we'll stick to English on this board) has some nice buildings, though it's less lively. Rhyl is a hellhole - though better than Prestatyn.

All in all, I'd do Llandudno.
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Old Aug 15th, 2007, 11:18 PM
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http://images.wtb.lon.world.net/WTB_...easofwales.gif

This site might help you.
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Old Aug 15th, 2007, 11:25 PM
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www.visitwales.co.uk
sorry wrong url in last reply
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Old Aug 15th, 2007, 11:44 PM
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Try Llangollen. I have spent many happy days there. The river is often host to kayak/canoe races. Song fests occur. Local restaurants are inexpensive-or were. Sad change, because it is close to Manchester and Chester, many Brits have bought second homes there. Some Brits live there and commute to work. The scenery is awesome. Canal trips start there and descend. The trip across the aqueduct is 'awesome'. Bus access to other local areas is good. Snowdon is nearby.
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Old Aug 15th, 2007, 11:45 PM
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AS has been said, Aberystwyth is west Wales not north, but is a good base for central Wales. For North Wales have a look at Bangor maybe, it is also a university town, so should have some veggie restaurants and maybe some nightlife, but otherwise it is not so very exciting, certainly less touristy than other towns in the area, and well placed for Snowdonia and Anglesey.
Llangollen is too far east for those, but fine if you want the Denbigh moors for instance.
The Northern Welsh do not (or didn't) go in for live music in pubs in the way the Scots and Irish do.
What are you aiming to do/see in your time there. If you like outdoor pursuits more consider Bala or Capel Curig as a base.
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Old Aug 16th, 2007, 12:02 AM
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Just out of interest - you don't say when you are visiting. This could have a bearing as Llangollen is quite "high up" with the Horseshoe Pass very near, and it tends to get cut off quite quickly in the snow. I assume you're not coming in the middle of winter, though.

As others have said, Aberystwyth is a non-starter for visiting North Wales, but if you're only there for a few days and wish to visit places such as Conwy and Caernarfon then Llangollen is also quite out of the way, being nearer to Wrexham and the English border. Have you looked at Barmouth as an alternative if you don't like the suggestions of Llandudno?

BTW, Travelinwifey - how did your trip go last year? I remember your threads
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Old Aug 16th, 2007, 12:04 AM
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Just out of interest - you don't say when you are visiting. This could have a bearing as Llangollen is quite "high up" with the Horseshoe Pass very near, and it tends to get cut off quite quickly in the snow. I assume you're not coming in the middle of winter, though.

As others have said, Aberystwyth is a non-starter for visiting North Wales, but if you're only there for a few days and wish to visit places such as Conwy and Caernarfon then Llangollen is also quite out of the way, being nearer to Wrexham and the English border. Have you looked at Barmouth as an alternative if you don't like the suggestions of Llandudno?

BTW, Travelinwifey - how did your trip go last year? I remember your threads.
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Old Aug 16th, 2007, 12:05 AM
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If it's worth saying...........it's worth saying twice!! Sorry.
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Old Aug 16th, 2007, 01:05 AM
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many Brits have bought second homes there.

My goodness, I live near the Welsh border.
I shall have to check to see if a fault-line has suddenly appeared and Wales has drifted away from Britain.
I think that you mean that many English people have bought houses there.
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Old Aug 16th, 2007, 10:18 AM
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I'll be there the very end of September/beginning of October.

I will be driving, and coming from Canada I'm not concerned about driving distances, though of course I want to do more sights than driving.

My main interests are castles & abbeys, plus of course scenery, but I also really like canals & canal boats which is why I thought of Llangollen.

I'll check out Llandudno and Bangor.

Thanks all, and keep the suggestions coming!
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Old Aug 16th, 2007, 11:15 AM
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For a base in a lovely small town with some good restaurants (but no specific vegetarian restaurant) you couldn't do better than Beaumaris.It is on the south east corner of Anglesey and has one of the famous castles. It has a number of tourist attractions to include the prison and the old court house.
The location is lovely with views across the Straits to the mountains with Penrhyn castle in the foreground.
About 5 miles from Beaumaris you pick up the A5/55 and are then on dual carriageway east until you leave Wales. This makes getting around in that direction very easy. It is roughly 1.5 hours to Chester.
It is also well placed to travel down the Lleyn and to Portmeirion, Bala, Blaenau and Betws and Caernarfon-oh and Anglesey of course.
Look at www.cleifiogbandb.co.uk.
Avoid Rhyl, it has a serious drug problem and this is aparent from the numerous properties which house DSS clients and run down apartments
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Old Aug 16th, 2007, 03:09 PM
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AR, the trip was absolutely amazing. I procastinated writing my trip report too long and never got around to it. We followed a lot of your suggestions and got to see the Red Kites! Honestly it was one of the highlights of our trip, we felt so lucky to see a bird at the brink of extinction coming back. We saw some at our hotel and went to a viewing center where the birds were fed. Two weeks wasn't enough, I feel as we only scratched the surface. You really were a tremendous help AR You give terrific advice!

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Old Aug 16th, 2007, 04:12 PM
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Artemis: "coming from Canada I'm not concerned about driving distances" That is a misconception many from North America have about trips to the UK. Distances may not bother you in the wide open spaces of Can. hwy 1 across the country - or US hwy 5 from Seattle all the way to San Diego.

But in rural parts of the UK you will be lucky to average 35-40 mph. You simply can't cover long distances on 2 lane roads through the spectacular scenery/castles/coastline etc. You want to base yourself as close to where you want to explore as possible.

You've received some terrific advice so far.
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Old Aug 16th, 2007, 06:44 PM
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I'll throw in one of my favorite castles: Harlech. If you want to get away from the "big" cities and be out i the country, this is it. Good restaurants, but I'm not a vegetarian, so can't make any recommendations.

I love Wales. Some of my best travel memories are of Wales.

Get a small car. When the road is narrow with a cliff on one side and a stone wall on the other, you'll wonder how in heck's name you are going to get by that big bus coming at you from the other direction.

Yes, driving can be slow. If there's road repair, two lane becomes one lane.

Have a great trip!
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