The allure of Llandudno Pier, often dubbed the “Queen of Welsh Piers,” extends far beyond its Victorian architecture. This magnificent landmark stands proudly on the coastline, revered by locals and tourists alike. Its rich history, impressive structure, and captivating charm make it a must-visit tourist attraction.
Construction of the Marvel
Designed by the ingenious team of Brunlees and McKerrow, the construction of Llandudno Pier was a remarkable feat, taking two years to complete. The work began in the year 1876, culminating in a grand unveiling in 1878. The pier’s impressive design combines wrought iron structured beams resting on sturdy cast-iron columns, and traditional wooden decking graces its surface.
Stretching an impressive 2295ft in length, the pier extends 1234ft into the tranquil waters of the Irish Sea, creating a beautiful spectacle for all visitors. This architectural marvel is a testament to the brilliance of its creators and the era in which it was built.
A Glimpse into the Past
The management of Llandudno pier was initially under the Llandudno Pier Company. As time passed, ownership changed hands; the Trust House Forte Group, a renowned British hotel and restaurant company, acquired it in 1968, and it subsequently became part of the First Leisure Corporation in 1983. Today, it’s proudly owned by local entrepreneur Adam Williams, who appreciates the rarity of such an opportunity for an individual, as it’s “usually corporate done.”
The Pier Pavilion, part of this magnificent structure, was once an iconic concert venue, hosting performances from renowned artists like George Formby, Ted Ray, The Beverley Sisters, and Cliff Richard during 1926-1927. Unfortunately, a devastating fire in 1994 ravaged the Pier Pavilion, leaving only the decorative wrought iron supports standing. Today, the site remains vacant, though developers have suggested refurbishment.
Former councillor David Hawkins expressed concerns over potential disruptions to the tourism industry, especially the pier, caused by any such development. The National Piers Society, a non-profit registered charity, further emphasized the importance of preserving these coastal structures as reminders of the triumphs of Victorian engineers and entrepreneurs.
A Stroll along the Pier
A visit to Llandudno Pier offers an array of delights from the traditional to the nostalgic. As you step onto the pier, you’re greeted by the enticing aroma of freshly made dinky doughnuts, followed by the promise of a hot beverage from a nearby kiosk— the perfect accompaniment for a leisurely stroll along the pier.
Further along, you’ll discover two amusement arcades, brimming with entertaining games and open from 10 am to 5 pm in the off-season, and 10 am to 10.30 pm during the vibrant summer season. These arcades, owned by Tir Prince Leisure Group, are an enduring favorite among visitors.
For a unique shopping experience, visit the Shell Shop, one of the many charming kiosks dotting the pier. This family-run business, boasting 30 years of history, offers a wide range of products from original artwork to shell and driftwood crafts. Sourced primarily from Thailand, these one-of-a-kind keepsakes make the perfect gift. The Shell Shop awaits your visit from Tuesday to Sunday, 11 am-5 pm, from Easter weekend until the October half-term.
Whether you’re a history buff, an architecture enthusiast, or simply looking for a charming day out, Llandudno Pier offers something for everyone. Its rich history, beautiful setting, and delightful offerings make it a must-visit destination on the Welsh coastline. Come and experience the grandeur and charm.