The stone-based structure of Conwy castle.
Not a great title, but it is the best I could manage when attempting to put together a report on the northern coast of Wales and the Wirral in western England, conducted in immediate succession from the flash tour of southern Wales. The first port of call was the rural island of Anglesey, which is largely overlooked by tourists, as it is best described as a Welsh outpost with a few key reference points which put the island on the map. Separated from mainland Wales by the Menai Straits, the trunk road which leads to Holyhead, the island's chief town, is the quickest way to traverse the full length of the island, but not, might I add the prettiest route.
Typical seafront guesthouses at Llandudno.
Nor is the town itself, in my view, anything too worthy of picture-postcard material, but the sea links to nearby Ireland ensure that the town it at very least itinerant. The town with the UK's longest place name 'Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch', to be precise, is also located on the island, and it worth stopping off at the station there, just to see how many walls are adorned with plaques bearing this very place name! Moving onto the northern coast of Wales, Conwy proved to be an all-round winner, a castle town of relative note, with enough souvenir shops and restaurants to make the place an ideal and unmissable stop-off point, or even a day trip for anyone holidaying in the region. Nearby Llandudno could well be classed as Wales' premiermost seaside spot, and a glut of easily-digestible attractions make it worthy of its 'family resort' tag, yet neighbouring Rhyl has not been blessed with the same level of praise, perhaps due to the fact that it lacks the multitude of tourist draw cards, its leisure pool 'The Sun Centre' replete with indoor pool overhead monorail (!), being one of the town's healthier achievements.
Brilliantly artistic shop window display in Prestatyn.
Following a brief dinner stop in nearby Prestatyn, Wales was then just a fading image in my rear view mirror, as I headed towards the Wirral to check out the signs of life there. Monday morning in Birkenhead
did not appear upon first glance to be the sprightliest way to spend the dying days of Easter, but after a brief stroll around town, it revealed itself to have more substance than was originally deemed. Two more stop-off points in the Wirral, namely New Brighton (and its famed promenade) and Hoylake completed the set, and from then on, it was homeward bound, with the memories of Wales being a recent addition to my travel-drenched mindset. I am often asked why destinations so close to home such as Wales are left until the later stages of my travel experiences, and the best answer I can offer is that the whole lifestyle choice is ongoing, and it is assumed that no stone shall be left unturned, and the order of ticking destinations off the list should not reflect where priorities and preferences lie.
Redbrick architecture of Birkenhead.
Besides, once a traveller puts plans of this ilk on the back burner, who could dispute there is every prospect that, with the continued growth in status of their dream destinations, they could quite easily mature in the vaults like a fine whisky?