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Northern Wales

Posted by Heliocentrism on December 20, 2017

Saturday, August 26th, 2017

Without a car, Mark and I had to use public transportation to get around. None of the towns in the coastal area of Wales seemed interesting enough to justify all the time and effort it would take to get there and stay only a few days. Moving around in Wales is a pain when taking the train or bus. Many of the routes we looked at took 7 or 8 hours because to go from point A in Wales to point B in Wales, one would have to go through Manchester, England. The equivalent would be… going from Miami, Florida to Atlanta, Georgia, by way of Austin, Texas.

To see northern Wales, first Mark and I found accommodations in a Welch town, very near to the English border, called Shotton. At Shotton we bought return (round-trip) tickets to Holyhead. With these tickets we could get off and on as many times as we liked on the way to Holyhead and back.

The only restriction was that the tickets could only be used on off-peak trains. I searched the Arriva website for when exactly the off-peak hours were. I looked through forums and even a few Reddit pages. No one had any clue as to when the train’s off-peak hours were. On the train I asked the conductor who checked my ticket, “When is off-peak anyway?” He looked at Mark’s and my tickets and said, “Well, it’s Saturday. You shouldn’t have a problem using these anytime today.” Everyone knows that the whole weekend is considered off-peak for traveling in most places. So, I got the feeling that the train guy didn’t know the actual off-peak hours either.

I do love a good obelisk

The first stop was at Holyhead. We had a little over one hour in the town before it was time to get on the next train out. It was just enough time for us to see an obelisk near the station, cross the Celtic Gateway Bridge, and see a church near the remnants of an old Roman fort. In fact, we even stopped to grab a bite to eat from a small grocery store in town. Had we had a car that day, we would have driven to the west coast of Holyhead to see the South Stack Lighthouse.

The next stop was at the town with the really long name. Here we had exactly one hour. In that time we bought a bunch of post cards from James Pringle Weavers, wrote on them, ran to the post office to mail them, and then ran back to the station with 3 minutes to spare to get on the next train out.

At the store James Pringle Weavers, there is a translation of the town’s name in English. It still doesn’t fully make sense, but I love this sort of thing.

The next stop was in the town of Llandudno at Llandudno Station. Initially, we were going to stay here for 2 hours, but stayed for 4 because it was so nice. We walked around looking for Alice in Wonderland characters. We soaked up the sunshine along both the shores and on the walk down the pier.

This was actually my second time in Llandudno. I came here years ago when I lived in Manchester and was a grad student. It was a nice little break in my bleak student life. It was wonderful then and it is still just as lovely now.

Our last stop was in the town of Flint to see Flint Castle. But we actually stopped here because Mark lived near Flint, Michigan. The two Flints are a drastic contrast of each other.

That ended our tour of Wales.

The United Kingdom

How to get there:

You can enter this country by land via an underwater tunnel, air, or sea.

Check with your local UK embassy for visa information.


  • Use 112 or 999 for the police, fire department, or to get an ambulance






  • If you’re going to do a lot of travel by train or bus, looking for a Rail card or bus pass before you buy your first ticket.
    • Railway Cards
    • Oyster Card
    • Even getting a day pass on a bus could be cheaper than getting 3 single passes, or a return ticket and a single pass.
  • If you’re going to travel around the United Kingdom, you might want to get membership at one of the following:
    •  English Heritage – £54 / year for 1 person
    • National Trust England – £64.80 / year for 1 person
    • Scottish Heritage –  £49 / year for 1 person
      • All of these are a little cheaper when getting a group or family membership.
      • Many come with discounts for other things, like:
        • The Scottish Heritage gives you 20% off at all of their gift shops and cafes.
        • English Heritage gives you free parking at many of their sights.
      • As a bonus, it helps you when planning what to do and see in the country.
  • If you are going to stay in hostels, join Hosteling International, or any of its subsidiaries.
    • YHA – England & Wales
    • SYHA – Scotland
      • Membership at any of these will get you the discounted rate at any of the other hosteling organizations.
      • These hostels tend to be better than most hostels.


Basic Information


  • Everything at this stop is free


  • all the sights here are available 24hrs a day



  • The town’s name is pronounced “Holly-head”.

Llanfair PG

Basic Information


  • I think we got 6 post cards for 2 pounds.
  • It cost about 80p each to mail the post cards, I think.



  • There isn’t really much to do in this town.
  • This town is a requested stop.
    • The train will not stop at this station unless there are people waiting for the train at the station, or someone on the train has asked for the train to stop there so they can get off.


Basic Information



  • Everything but the items in the shops and parking are free.



  • There are many characters from Alice in Wonderland in statute-form around the town.


Basic Information


  • Free


  • 24hrs


  • You cannot enter the castle.
  • The grounds around the castle is basically a park.


Posted in Flint, Holyhead, Llandudno, Llanfair PG, Shotton, United Kingdom, The, Wales | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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