Site Logo  Llandudno
  
I was expecting rubbish, in many of its various guises, and vermin, however many legs propelled it. I was expecting run down streets strewn with litter and graffitti, teenagers openly drinking and taking drugs in the streets. I was expecting a depressed and depressing town with nothing for anybody between the ages of seven and seventy. I was expecting a dirty street version of Butlinís with semi-inflated totally kitsch bouncy castles and fat kids scowling at you through their candyfloss. I was even expecting boarded-up B&Bs, shops and amusement arcades, even during high season on the promenade.
I was wrong.

Probably the last time I went to Llandudno it resembled Morecambe around the same time, only I know how the latter fared up to the phenomenon of overseas holidays available to those on lower incomes. See the intro paragraph for an apt description of how it ended up. But on arriving in Llandudno last week my ignorance was blown away by the coastal breezes as I walked along the pier and remarked to myself that the place had plenty of life left in it yet. I guess they weathered the storm and sat nicely poised as vacations in Spain became, once again, staycations in the UK. Those choosing the town nestled between the two Ormes really did make a decent choice.
OK, there are some elements worth avoiding and there can be trouble at night in the night club quarter as there is wont to be in any town which serves booze. The cheaper holidays can act as a magnet for career UB40s and the pikeys depressingly prevalent in a society still at a loss as to how it can get them into work, and as a consequence the resort does live up to the billing in some quarters, but what the hell, you donít bother them and they wonít bother you. Cheap and cheerful, thatís what this town is, and very cheerful I found it too.


Not so cheap, however, if you actually want to move there. Some of the property is stunning and the proximity to not only the coast but the enchanting Great Orme, with its quaint trams and amazing views, has added a few noughts to house prices in the better to do areas. Older couples still knockiní on having retired here decades ago have seen their investment pay off in kind, and those of them who can still get out and about have a choice of beaches and gardens to amble along, or through, whenever they choose.

The young, well, those of a mind to look after themselves have the coast path and the hills for running and I seriously regretted not taking my trainers. There is a run round the Great Orme of about seven miles which gives options for shorter routes but with considerable variation in gradient. Outdoor sports seem popular as does simple walking, with very many places to go.

Night life is probably the domain of the incoming tourists of whatever age. The town itself only has a population of about 20,000, amazingly low considering it has the facilities and retail outlets of somewhere three times its size. Yet we should not be surprised. During high season the population grows by a third or more as it has done for over a hundred years. Originally created to be what it always has been, thousands, if not hundreds of thousands have visited it by now and left with more than sticks of rock. Yes, they take home awful stuffed toys and CDs of the most awful pipe organ music there is, key rings with the most common traditional given names indiscreetly marked on the front (and back). Or, more tastefully, they take home Welsh flags and tea towels with the Welsh alphabet on. They also take home piles of two pence pieces (provided they got lucky in the amusement arcade) and wonder why they bothered.
I was expecting to wonder why I bothered as I arrived and got off the train last week. But like I said, I was wrong.