Essential Manchester: Day Three
Three days in any place is basically a holiday, so why not do as the British do on their holidays and spend it by the seaside. Hop on a train from Piccadilly and travel two hours beyond the city (and the country) and explore the elegant resort town of Llandudno in rugged north Wales.
See the Great Orme
While the buildings may be handsome and the promenade may be excitingly windblown, the real jewel in Llandudno’s crown is the Great Orme, a limestone hill that gives stunning views across Wales and out to the Irish Sea. You can walk the steep paths in around half an hour if you’re fit, but there’s also an exceptionally cute 100-year-old funicular tram that’ll transport you for around $10. If you have a head for heights then there’s also a cable car, which will swing you high above the landscape for closer to $15.
When you’re done admiring the views and looking for the wild herd of Kashmiri goats that populate the territory, there’s a cafe for respite and a couple of other surprises, too. Worth visiting while you’re at the summit is the Bronze Age copper mine. At 4,000 years old it may be the largest prehistoric mine in the world. There’s also a sedate walk down to the 12th century St. Tudno’s church, named for the patron saint of Llandudno.
Handily, opposite the tram station at the bottom of the Orme is Fish Tram Chips, a fish and chip shop that isn’t just the best chippy in town but possibly the best restaurant of any kind. It’s the type of place that doesn’t need (or have) a social media presence because the queues of happy customers spread the word without being asked. Don’t mess about with the menu, fish and chips is all you need.
Peer along the pier
Another part of Llandudno’s charm is the walk along the Victorian pier and the fun distractions it offers. Whether it’s slot machines or bumper cars, there’s always some lively event to entertain visitors, but even when it quietens down, the views back across the town and up to the Orme from 1,234 feet out at sea are striking.
A good way to see the rest of Llandudno is to follow the Alice in Wonderland town trail, a series of steps and statues that celebrate the fantastical adventures of the girl who met the Mad Hatter, and of the real life Alice Liddell who lived in the resort town and was the book’s inspiration. You can buy a map from the Tourist Information Center for $5. Make sure you finish on the beach for a well-deserved rest and ice cream.
Jump on the train and when safely back in Manchester for a final hurrah, it’s time to embrace the party side of the city at YES. Make your way to this four-floor venue for live music, club nights, bars and food — YES has it all and it goes on late. On the ground floor are food darlings Pepperoni Playboy and Firebird Hope, who will have your pizza and fried chicken (and vegan) needs fully covered. You can check the music listings in advance to see who you know, but your best bet may be to put yourself in YES’s curatorial hands and just go and enjoy some music you’ve never even heard before.