Llangollen's hills are alive
12:03 17 October 2011
It's famous for the International Musical Eisteddfod but this Dee Valley town captivates visitors on many levels. Oggies are just one example WORDS BY RACHAEL HOGG<br/>PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN COCKS
Llangollen is home to the longest and highest aqueduct in the UK. The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is 307 metres long and 38 metres high and as well as being Grade I listed, is also a World Heritage Site. It was built by Thomas Telford and William Jessop. You can take a boat trip along it or walk the towpath for some stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
If you want a challenge, clamber up to the top of Castell Dinas Bran. These intriguing ruins, which date back to the 12th century, are the subject of many legends and myths including the existence of fairies, the Holy Grail, and King Arthur retrieving a head from the castle grounds.
Try an Oggie. Before you ask, its a Llangollen speciality resembling an oversized pasty. Youll find this huge savoury treat at Piersons Delicatessen in Castle Street. Challenge yourself to eat it all at once, although its probably best eaten a bit at a time to sustain you as you discover all of the towns attractions.
Plas Newydd was once the home of the Ladies of Llangollen. Eleanor Charlotte Butler and Sarah Ponsonby, who caused scandal when they ran away together and set up home in Llangollen, were known throughout Britain and were visited by people including William Wordsworth, Lord Byron, Josiah Wedgwood and the Duke of Wellington. Today, Plas Newydd is a museum with an exhibition containing some of their possessions. There are also beautiful gardens and a riverside walk.
If you have ever fancied learning to drive a steam engine, you can in Llangollen. As well as taking trips on their 7.5 mile steam railway to experience the scenery, you can sign up, don the cap, and take to the tracks yourself at Llangollen Railway, a heritage railway line.
Play at being Lord and Lady for a weekend with a stay at the beautiful Trevor Hall. This Grade I listed private hire stately property was once home to some of the most distinguished and powerful families in Llangollen.
Visit the medieval ruins of Valle Crucis Abbey, at the foothills of the mountains surrounding Llangollen. Surprisingly well preserved and maintaining many of its original features, the building still has the majority of the West front. As well as being able to soak up the atmosphere, you can also learn about the lives of the Cistercian Monks.
This month sees a food extravaganza as the annual Llangollen Food and Drink Festival comes to town. There are more than 80 different producers to discover at the event, which takes place on October 15th and 16th at The Royal International Pavilion in Abbey Road. The festival has grown, since it was first started 14 years ago, and there are now foods available from European countries as well as ones from the local area.
Maybe you fancy being a little more daring? If so, experience the thrill of white water rafting with Whitewater Active in Berwyn Road. Also offering a host of other activities like gorge walking, quad biking and abseiling, this could add more adventure to a trip to the town.
The town is renowned for its Eisteddfod but there is also another event that pulls in the crowds. The Llangollen Fringe Festival, held every July, includes everything from music, theatre and dance to comedy and workshops. Previous artists have included Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst as well as Welsh singer Cerys Matthews.