Llangollen has long been one of Wales’ most popular inland resorts. Its setting, guarded by mountains and the ruins of a 13th century Castell Dinas Bran, is uniquely picturesque and tourists have been drawn here since Georgian times. They still come today for the history, the architecture, the shops, the wonderful food and drink. And since Llangollen in one huge outdoor adventure playground, they also fish the Dee, canoe the rapids and walk the wide open spaces.
As with so many ancient Welsh towns, it takes its name from its founding Saint; Collen, a seventh century monk. Llangollen was established when the saint was instructed to find a valley by riding a horse for one day and then stop and mark out a “parish”. This was a place to build his hermitage or cell, in the custom of the times, with a tiny church, hospice and outhouses all enclosed within a wall.
The construction of the Llangollen Canal and Pontcysyllte Aqueduct at the turn of the 19th Century brought new business and visitors to the area. Its prominent position for visitors was strengthened by Thomas Telford’s improvements to the main London to Holyhead coaching road, and by the construction of the railway in the 1860s.
You can learn more about the history of the area for free in the Llangollen Museum
Today, Llangollen is best known for hosting the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod every July which brings in some thousands of visitors and turns the town into a vibrant international stage. The Pavilion also hosts numerous events and festivals through the year.
There are also many interesting walks in and around the town, and leaflet for trails such as the Llangollen Town Trail, Castell Dinas Bran, and the History Trail can be picked up from the Tourist Information Centre.
Llangollen town trail