Nestled within the surrounding Berwyn Hill Range, Clwydian Hill Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with the River Dee flowing at its heart, Llangollen has it all – a beautiful setting combined with exciting things to do. It may be a small town but Llangollen has so much to offer every type of visitor.
A Brief History of Llangollen
Llangollen’s origins lie with a monk in the 6th or 7th century building a church beside the River Dee. This church, named St. Collen after him, combined with the word ‘llan’ meaning ‘religious settlement’, gives Llangollen its name now. Another notable build was the Valle Crucis Abbey in 1201 by the Cistercian monks which did very well for itself with farmland and water mills nearby. There has been a bridge over the River Dee in Llangollen since the 12th century proving hugely important for town development on either side of it. It has since been rebuilt and is now a Grade I listed stone bridge, with Scheduled Ancient Monument recognition and listed as one of the 7 Wonders of Wales.
Top 5 Attractions of Llangollen
Shopping in Llangollen
You can easily while away the day browsing Llangollen’s independent shops and boutiques. Whether you’re outdoorsy, a foodie, bookworm, souvenir lover or fashionista, there is something to match your style. The shops are housed in well preserved old buildings, thereby adding to the charm of Llangollen.
You will find the traditional Welsh lovespoons, iconic Welsh slate products, ceramics and more in the gifts and souvenirs shops. The Memorial Hall on Market Street houses the Llangollen Country Market every Friday from 9.45am-12.45pm, March to Christmas, except Good Friday. Look out for crafts, delicious food, fresh produce and gifts here.
Llangollen International Music Festival (Eisteddfod)
This unique global event occurs annually in the first week of July, kicking off summer perfectly. Performers from all over the world come together to showcase live cultural music and dance whilst wearing stunning traditional costumes. Promoting and celebrating international peace and friendship since the post-war years, the International Music Festival now welcomes around 4,000 performers from over 100 nationalities and 35,000 visitors from all over the world.
You can find out more about the Llangollen International Music Festival Eisteddfod here: https://international-eisteddfod.co.uk/
The Llangollen Canal is 46 miles long running from Llangollen town, through the Welsh Hills and across the Dee Valley. Visitors have flocked to the canal since 1884 not only for its relaxing, easy walks along the towpath but also for its famous horse drawn boats from Llangollen Wharf which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Llangollen Wharf offers traditional horse drawn boat trips for either 45 minutes from mid-March to November or 2 hours mainly on weekends in the summer season. Alternatively, you could hire a narrowboat for the day, be taken on a scenic tour or even turn your ride into a 4 hour afternoon tea cruise whilst taking in the breath-taking landscape. Whatever you decide, time by the canal would be well spent, perfect for all the family and loved ones.
If you want to experience railway scenes of times gone by, then look no further than Llangollen Railway. A beautifully conserved heritage railway line, Llangollen runs for 10 miles through the Dee Valley to Corwen.
The journey on a steam train, through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and passing Victorian style train stations, is not to be missed. You can even visit one of the station’s tea rooms for a refreshing stop along the way and then browse the gift shop at Llangollen Station to take some memories home.
No trip to Llangollen would be complete without a visit to the Horseshoe Falls. Just under 2 miles away from Llangollen, this weir was designed by Thomas Telford Engineering to take water from the River Dee into the canal.
Sitting at the bottom of a steep grassy slope, its half circular design inspires the horseshoe reference. If you want a quiet, secluded spot for a picnic watching the waterfall, then this is it.
The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Telford’s first significant work of art, is where the canal crosses six miles further downstream. In 2009, the aqueduct and its canal were designated as a World Heritage Site in honour of its incredibly creative civil engineering. It was constructed between 1793 and 1808 during a period of intense interest in building canals to transport large merchandise. The Industrial Revolution was substantially advanced by this new transportation system, which also turned the region into an industrial powerhouse.
Follow in the footsteps of visitors from the 19th century as you go along the riverbank path to Llantysilio’s charming small church. A memorial to Lady Martin, better known as the actress Helen Faucit, is located within Llantysilio Church. Lady Martin was a friend of the poet Robert Browning, who resided at Bryntysilio Hall.
There is a car park with public toilets and picnic benches on hand to make your visit more comfortable.
How to Get to Horseshoe Falls by Car
The car park closest to the Horseshoe Falls is Llantysilio Green Car Park and the postcode for the SatNav is LL20 8BT. There are public toilets in the car park and picnic benches dotted around.
How to Get to Llangollen
How to Get to Llangollen by Car
The A5 leads all the way to Llangollen and the main car park is on Market Street. The address is Market Street, Llangollen, LL20 8RB.
The car park is open 24 hours a day, charging from 8am – 5pm. A 30 minute stay is 30p, 1 hour is £1.00, 3 hours is £2.50 and all day is £7.00. You can use the pay & display machine or pay using the PaybyPhone app with the location 804268.
There is also a public toilet in the car park.
How to Get to Llangollen by Train and Bus
The nearest mainline train station to Llangollen is Ruabon. From there you can take the hourly number 5E or 5 bus to the Llangollen War Memorial which takes 16 minutes.
Chirk train station is also close by, just a 15 minute drive away or you can take the bus number 64 from there to Llangollen.
Please note: Llangollen is in rural North Wales so it may be easier to drive there if possible. Buses may not be as regular or as frequent as larger towns/cities.