My first impression of Llandudno was how wonderfully, traditionally British it was. The beautiful buildings along the whole length of the promenade immediately take you back to Victorian times. You can easily imagine what it was like; a thriving, luxurious location on the coast; a short carriage journey from Liverpool, only for the most wealthy. I would have loved to have been there to see the ladies walking arm in arm with their tailored dresses holding parasols to avoid the occasional rays. Maybe they would enjoy high tea in one of the many grand hotels taking time to reflect or read.
Take a giant leap forward and you are in the heart of a busy seaside town in the early 1950’s with young men and women exchanging glances and wearing outfits like the latest rock ‘n’ roll stars in the hit parade. Excited groups of girls and boys enjoying their freedom and sharing hope of a future without war in this bustling and growing town.
In fact, even now in 2011 many of the hotels, shops and amusements look like they’ve not changed much since the 50’s. It was encouraging to see the more contemporary bistros and delis opening up in some areas of town, but there was also a large number of derelict buildings boarded, up or just abandoned. Places that made you say, “wow, imagine what you could do with that place!” Saddest of all were the run down, tired looking dance halls and kiosks on the pier, which made me wonder how on earth they stay open and attract people; with their one-trick-pony resident entertainer and cringworthy, tacky souvenirs of Welsh dragons.
However, I fell in love with Llandudno, for someone who isn’t keen on shops and shopping, I was almost excited by the number and variety of high street shops and independent boutiques around, the pubs and restaurants poured out onto the pavements with their tables and chairs which made you want to try each one in turn. We enjoyed some of the best fish and chips (from George’s Plaice) sitting on the promenade, watching the weird and wonderful people go by jogging, playing, hobbling and arguing, in true British fashion. After eating our chippies and escaping the seagulls (who rudely invaded our privacy and were slightly scary), we ventured down onto the beach and explored rock pools discovering sea creatures and coloured pebbles; much to the children’s delight.
I felt a huge spiritual battle between good and evil in Llandudno, there was a glorious presence of God with numerous well attended churches of every denomination on every road offering prayers for healing one day, prayers for the world the next. There were youth and tourist centres, busy coffee shops and elegant guest houses run by people serving the Lord. My favourite outreach activity was held by a church who met to worship at 8pm every night by the pier entrance. Song and hymn sheets were handed out to passers-by, many joined in and were given an opportunity to listen to a short talk about Jesus, although the delivery was somewhat ‘rehearsed’ it was wonderful to see the outreach well attended by people of all ages wanting to serve and share. However, where there are people working for the Lord the devil will try to destroy and this was evident with the number of places offering holistic healing, tarot card reading, crystal and guardian angel shops, booths on the pier selling ‘mood’ bracelets and incense sticks to promote ‘happiness’ and an array of books on witchcraft and the like. There was plenty to pray about and against, I give thanks to God for this beautiful, place and for the apostolic work of the people living here.
Llandudno is a great place for children of all ages, I found in particular charlotte really loved the beach, pier and amusements while William (having started walking a few days ago), loved the opportunity to walk along the promenade without the worry of a kerb or road to negotiate. The highlight for the children, and Jez, was The Great Orme Tramway.
The Great Orme itself offers hours of coastal walks with beautiful scenery along with the chance to ride in a cable car from the summit to Happy Valley. Both the tramway and cable car are quite expensive but a memorable activity for both young and old.