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 Wales > Walks in Wales  >   Walking in North Wales, a walk from Llandudno Pier around the Great Orme

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Where is it ? Llandudno, North Wales.
Allow : 3 hours, Distance 6 miles / 9 km
Why ? : panoramic views without the need to climb a mountain ; estuary views ; cliff views ; victorian pier ; alice in wonderland ; punch and judy show.
Essentials : A few pounds to buy cups of tea at the "rest and be thankful" cafe on the top of the Orme.
Rating : This is an easy walk on tarmac roads. The walk includes several steep sections. The walk is suitable for families with relatively fit children. Although the ground is suitable for wheelchairs I could not recommend it for wheelchair users because of the steepness of the hill sections.
Car Parking : The Great Orme Walk starts at the entrance to Llandudno Pier on Llandudno's north shore promenade. Parking can be difficult in Llandudno but there is a multi storey car park behind Mostyn Street. Why not let the train take the strain?

Directions :  [ Map of Great Orme Walk location ]                                                                                           Map opens in a new window
Take the A55 north wales expressway to the junction with the A470 at Llandudno Junction. Follow the signs to Llandudno. Continue to the promenade.

Lets Go !
To start the walk we enter the pier at the main entrance and enjoy the short walk along this magnificent Start the walk at Llandudno's Victorian  Pier Victorian pier, walk past the amusement arcades, the Grand Hotel and the kiddies fairground. At this point we exit the pier at the half way stage, leaving via the Happy Valley gateway.

Turn right on leaving the pier and the Marine Drive Toll Gate is before you. Ignore the ticket collector as the charges only apply to motor vehicles. The Marine Drive is a metalled road with pavements so walking boots are not required, a good pair of trainers are adequate. The road climbs gradually but persistently to the first headland, Pen-trwyn. This section of the Orme is popular with rock climbers and the road affords a good view of their efforts.

At the headland the road bears left and continues slightly downhill before levelling off and then rising steeply to the high point of the walk at Pen-y-gogarth. There are fantastic views of the limestone cliffs along this section, and if you have the time and the inclination you may add to the route by branching off left up another hill to the old church of St Tudno's.

Back to the route and you will pass the entrance to the now defunct lighthouse on the edge of the cliff Marine Drive Great Orme Llandudnoface, and after a further climb you may "rest and be thankful" that you have reached the top of the hill by taking refreshments at the cafe of the same name.

From here it's all down hill, and the scenery changes to afford views of the Isle of Anglesey, the estuary of the Conwy River, and the north west Wales coastline with the hills of Snowdonia as a glorious backdrop.

As you descend the hill the ancient walled town and medieval Castle of Conwy come into view as do the modern marinas of Deganwy and Conwy, and the beautiful Conwy valley.

After passing "millionaire's row", an expensive group of houses on the lower slopes of the Great Orme, we arrive at Llandudno's west shore beach and the shoreline of the River Conwy estuary. Keep your eyes open for the Gogarth Abbey hotel. This was the original summer home for Alice Liddel, who was the Pen-trwyn headland on Marine Drive Great Orme Llandudnoinspiration for 'Alice in Wonderland', and where she spent many childhood holidays.

The estuary itself, though beautiful, can be deadly. And, as with all tidal estuaries, great care must be taken venturing out on to the sands as there have been a number of tragic accidents over the years.

We will pass on the estuary walk and, sticking to the road, we continue on to the second turning on the left after leaving the Marine Drive. Gloddaeth Street is a typical Victorian Llandudno street, long and straight. Continue to the Cenotaph that is not only at the end of Gloddaeth Street but is also the end of our walk.

Refreshments are available in local cafes or what about an ice cream and a deck chair to watch Professor Codman's original Punch and Judy on the promenade?

P.S. 2008 It seems that local "developers" Anwyl Construction are about to demolish the historic Alice in Wonderland Hotel, the former Gogarth Abbey Hotel. ...................  Well that's progress!  No doubt the local council will insist on the "developers" placing an expensive information board nearby to show visitors pictures of the fine old building that has been demolished. Talk about "rubbing our noses in it" !

Buy the Ordnance Survey Map:
Outdoor Leisure OL17 (1:25,000) or the Landranger Sheet 115 (1:50,000)

Please -- click on the pictures -- for enlarged pictures of the Walk on the Great Orme Llandudno, Wales, UK.

Cliffs on the Great Orme Llandudno Views from the top of the Conwy estuary and the hills of Snowdonia
Cliffs on the Great Orme Llandudno
Views of the Conwy estuary and the hills of Snowdonia
Mud flats in the Conwy estuary
Return to Llandudno north shore promenade
Mud flats in the Conwy estuary
Return to Llandudno north shore promenade
    Professor Codman's Punch and Judy Llandudno promenade
Professor Codman's Punch and Judy Llandudno promenade

All pictures copyright Bernard Wellings

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