St Kilda Hotel on the Esplanade, Llandudno
The society has returned from its annual June break. This year the venue was Llandudno, North Wales and the hotel was the St Kilda (photo above).The hotel has been run by Margaret and Ken Jones since 1988 and together with a staff of 40 go the extra mile to make your stay a memorable one.
The break began on a Sunday with a drive and stop over the Horseshoe Pass with arrival at about 2pm for the holiday to begin. Iris and I were fortunate as organisers to be given one of the Bay rooms on the front; in fact ours was the one just above the car in the middle of the photo. The management, chefs and waiters/waitresses and housekeepers are brilliant and the evening entertainment is first class, no dance floor but that didn’t stop our line dancers who strut their stuff in the reception/foyer area. On arrival the group settled in or went for a walk up the prom, Iris and I went for a stroll up the pier, a bit blustery but well worth it for the views over the two Orme’s, Snowdonia and Happy Valley.
Monday was free-time for the group so several of us travelled on the Tramway to the Great Orme. It was quite windy that day and I think the word “bracing” could be used in the correct context but nevertheless-no rain!
The Tramway and the Great Orme
After our visit there and a spot of lunch we visited the Home Front Experience, a wonderful museum that evoked many memories for most of the party.
Tuesday was an organised trip to Conwy followed by a visit to the Trefwr Woollen Mill. Conwy is a wonderful town with a magnificent castle (featured below), and also features the smallest house in Britain, Aberconwy House and Plas Mawr.
(Photos on the next page)
The superb Conwy Castle
The smallest house in Britain and Plas Mawr
Wednesday was a full day organised tour around Snowdonia with an initial visit to the Llanberis slate mine, followed by a tour around Snowdon by the Llanberis Pass, through Capel Curig, which is reputed to be the wettest place in Wales, to the picturesque Betws-y-Coed then back to Llandudno via Llanrwyst.
Thursday was more free-time for the group, Iris and I spent the whole day around Happy Valley and the wonderful pier. The pier was opened on August 1st 1877; it was constructed by John Dixon. The original pier office survives today, originally the people were charged 4 old pence to enter. The charge was meant to keep the ‘riff-raff’ out; at the end of the pier visitors might enjoy music in the Pier Pavilion or opt for a steamer trip. The Pier Pavilion, opened in 1886 but was sadly destroyed by fire on the evening of Sunday 13th February 1994, it is believed that the cause was an unsolved act of arson.
Constructed of stone, iron and glass, it was an elegant and ambitious building. Famous people appeared there, Adelina Patti, George Formby, Paul Robeson, Oswald Moseley, Arthur Askey and Margaret Thatcher, to name but a few.
Llandudno Pier with the Little Orme in the distance
Pier from Happy Valley
Happy Valley was first coined to promote the attractive dell in 1855 with a range of organised outdoor entertainments e.g. musical, religious, bardic and theatrical all on offer since 1872. The main building was rebuilt after a fire in 1933; it remained a well-known attraction until the late 1970s when it became a refreshment kiosk.
The Memorial Fountain (above) featuring a bust of Queen Victoria was unveiled in August 1890.
In 1860 one of Llandudno’s first postmen, Lot Williams (1841-1919). Erected a periscope device on a hill above Happy Valley. Williams entertained paying entrants to his “magic shed” with living panoramas of the town below. A moving image of Llandudno life was cast on to a circular screen inside the building by a mirror and lens mounted on the roof. In 1966, the original device was burnt down by vandals but was rebuilt a couple of years later by local taxi driver and enthusiast Jackie Shields. With only seven surviving examples in Britain, Llandudno’s camera obscura is a rare and historic attraction. From Happy Valley Iris and I boarded a 1962 London Bus (photo next Page) for a one hour tour of the area. The tour went from the Pier along the Esplanade and behind the Little Orme to Penryn Bay and on to Rhos-on-Sea where we had a short stay at the smallest church in Britain, it has just 6 seats but holds weekly services and is quite beautiful inside (photo below).
Llandudno is named as the “Queen of the Welsh Resorts” and is the largest seaside resort in Wales. It lies on a flat isthmus of sand between the Welsh mainland and the Great Orme. Its Victorian architecture, Edwardian hotels and splendid Promenade gives this splendid resort a classic feel. The streets are clean and with a very flat aspect, Llandudno is a perfect place for young and old.
The town has even kept a Victorian toilet in the main parade, in full working order and kept immaculately by the Council. (Photo next page)
The society will return in 2019 to this “Naples of the North”, as it is referred to in some guidebooks. Again the St Kilda will look after the group as only they know how.
Deposits are being taken to reserve a place on the trip, if you were interested and hadn’t experienced a QLHS holiday before, just contact Bernard on 0121-422-1792 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
You will not be disappointed.
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