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
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?
of Great Orme Walk location
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 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 face, 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
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 inspiration
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
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)