Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Batteries Recharged at Lovely Llangollen

My wife Anne and I had a lovely, battery-recharging, short break recently in the charming little town of Llangollen in North Wales.

We have managed a few of these short breaks over the last year or two, without finding the time for what most people would think of as a proper holiday. The fact is, we are both very busy, in different ways, and it doesn`t happen very often that we are both free at the same time.

On this occasion, we spent two nights at the Wild Pheasant Hotel, on the outskirts of Llangollen but just a few minutes walk from the town centre, with a very enjoyable footpath beside the River Dee.

We left Leicester by train, and changed at Birmingham onto a delightful line running through the border country, alighting at Chirk. Then after a cup of coffee we continued to Llangollen by bus.

The hotel was very nice indeed, with well cared for rooms, good food and friendly and helpful staff.

On the first afternoon, having got settled in the hotel, we visited the picturesque black and white house named Plas Newydd, run now by the National Trust. Before going into the house itself, we sat at a table outside the tea room, with coffee and the most delicious piece of cake ever. If we go there again, I certainly want another slice.

On entering the house, we were given the self guiding audio sets, so that we could walk around at our leisure. Plas Newydd was the home of the "eccentric" Ladies of Llangollen, who eloped there in the late 18th century, much to the displeasure of their families, and subsequently became something of a tourist attraction.

The next morning, we made our way across the ancient town bridge to Llangollen Station and after having coffee in the refreshment room had a ride on the Llangollen Railway. This splendid steam railway runs for several miles along the Dee Valley, to the village of Carrog. There are apparently plans to extend the line to Corwen.

From there we walked up to the Canal Basin, and sampled the tea shop`s coffee of course, before taking a trip over the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. This involved catching a bus to Froncysyllte and then boarding a boat, which took us over the famous aqueduct, built by the great Thomas Telford. Unfortunately, it was pouring with rain at the time, so we couldn`t see much, but it was still a great experience, and we indulged in coffee and scones afterwards.

The next morning, it was back to the Canal Basin again, for a ride in the other direction on a horse drawn boat. What a lovely magical experience this was. Normally on a boat there is the sound of the engine constantly in the background, but on this ride the only sound was the slow clip cop of our horse`s hooves.

In the afternoon it was time for us to return to Leicester, so we went back to Chirk by bus, this time having a look at another aqueduct, and then catching the train home, changing at Shrewsbury and Birmingham.

We had a really nice time, and I would like to thank Hayley Davies of Llangollen Hotels very much for arranging the break for us. We would be very amenable to staying there again.