The twin limestone hummocks of the 680ft Great Orme and its southern cousin the Little Orme provide a dramatic frame for the gently curving Victorian frontage of LLANDUDNO, four miles north of Conwy. Despite the arrival of more rumbustious fun-seekers to its seaside resort, Llandudno retains an undeniably dignified air, bolstered by its ever-improving selection of chic hotels and quality restaurants.

Llandudno’s early history revolves around the Great Orme, where St Tudno, who brought Christianity to the region in the sixth century, built the monastic cell that gives the town its name. In the mid-nineteenth century, local landowner Edward Mostyn exploited the growing craze for sea-bathing and built a town for the upper-middle classes which quickly became synonymous with the Victorian ideal of a respectable seaside resort..

The Great Orme

The view from the top of the Great Orme (Pen y Gogarth) ranks with those from the far loftier summits in Snowdonia, combining the seascapes east towards Rhyl and west over the sands of the Conwy Estuary with the brooding, quarry-chewed northern limit of the Carneddau range where Snowdonia crashes into the sea. This huge lump of carboniferous limestone was subject to some of the same stresses that folded Snowdonia, producing fissures filled by molten mineral-bearing rock.

Great Orme Tramway

The base of the Great Orme is traditionally circumnavigated on Marine Drive, a five-mile anticlockwise circuit from just near Llandudno’s pier. The best way to get to the copper mines and the grasslands on top of the Orme is by the San Francisco-style Great Orme Tramway, which creaks up from the bottom of Old Road, much as it has done since 1902.

Great Orme Ancient Mines

A Bronze Age settlement developed around what are now the Great Orme Copper Mines, accessed via the tramway. Hard hats and miners’ lamps are provided for the self-guided tour through just a small portion of the tunnels, enough to give you a feel for the cramped working conditions and the dangers of falling rock.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Wales features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

8 alternative UK winter breaks

8 alternative UK winter breaks

The UK gets pretty grim during the winter, with its dark, early nights and splutteringly cold weather. But if you can’t wait until spring to start having fun …

07 Nov 2016 • Greg Dickinson insert_drive_file Article
On the Roald Dahl trail in Wales

On the Roald Dahl trail in Wales

Hailed as one of the world's greatest storytellers, Roald Dahl’s tales have been translated into 59 languages and he has sold more than 200 million books wor…

13 Sep 2016 • David Atkinson insert_drive_file Article
8 great alternative UK city breaks

8 great alternative UK city breaks

London, Edinburgh, Cardiff… These are the usual suspects when visitors are thinking about UK city breaks. But there are actually 66 other cities to be explore…

15 Aug 2016 • Greg Dickinson insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month