From Leicester to Llangollen was quite a change. The only thing that remained constant was the letter L and even so, Llangollen isn't pronounced Llangollen. As my good friend said, it's more "Khan-goth-en." Every day I grow closer to understanding the Welsh language and its wonderful sounds, but in the meantime, I'm enjoying the much more universal world of Wales' great green outdoors. Holeeeeey cow, when I say Wales has great green outdoors, I'm talking forests, bridges, rivers, waterfalls and castles. I'm pretty sure this is heaven.
Not that Leicester didn't have these things, but Kirby Muxloe's castle and Rothley's Great Central Railway (see previous post about the GCR) were a bit far apart. In Llangollen, if you turn your head to the right, there's a steam train, and behind you are water rapids on the River Dee. Across the street are horse-drawn boat rides along the canal and a little further up the road is a secret garden created by the Ladies of Llangollen 200 years ago.
It's called Plas Newydd and you can pay to enter the historical home and take a look at how the Ladies lived and leisured. The price is £6 (as of Oct '21) and tickets can be bought in the tearooms just to the right after you enter the grounds. The winding garden is behind the house and that is free to enter and wonder.
Llangollen is a place like no other and I began gravitating towards it in late summer. I'm now immersed in it through the best and most beautiful season of all; Autumn.
In the short time I've been here, I've cycled down the Llangollen canal at every chance I got. In between the benches and spectacular views are canoeists and canal boaters who pop a friendly nod, some even wanting portraits as they spot me and my camera. The cows are just as friendly.
The horse-drawn boat rides last from 45 minutes to 2 hours depending how leisurely you'd like to spend your afternoon. Our boat was pulled by Dakota who liked to stop and eat grass along the way. I really do recommend this relaxing trip, especially in the summer months and even creeping into autumn. You'll be able to spot the fishies in the crystal clear waters and simply enjoy the world as it happens.
If you happen to walk, cycle or even boat your way towards Trevor, you will find yourself at Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. An impressive World Heritage Site and for good reason too - it's the tallest aqueduct in the world standing at 120 feet above the River Dee it arches over.
The whole area is breathtaking and photographs hardly do it justice. I suggest you pop down and cross it yourselves, it is particularly beautiful at sunset, especially when the crowds have settled down.
There are so many places to explore and not enough time in the day, but I hope I've helped and pinpointed some standout locations for you to explore if ever you find yourself in Llangollen. I'll let you know what it's like in winter time too, if you're a hardcore camper there are several campsites in the area that'll accommodate you.
As much as I miss Leicester, Llangollen is where the new adventure begins and I look forward to collaborating with you very soon.