6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Cheshire Life today click here

The cosmopolitan connections of Llandudno

PUBLISHED: 17:46 15 September 2015 | UPDATED: 09:02 22 June 2017

Llandudno promenade and the beach

Llandudno promenade and the beach


Before Llandudno acquired its epithet ‘Queen of North Wales Resorts’, the Victorians called it ‘The Naples of the North’ in their guidebooks. The name stemmed from the majestic sweep of the bay between the Headlands of Great and Little Ormes; Llandudno boasts the beautiful mountains of Snowdonia nearby though thankfully, no Vesuvius.

By coincidence, Llandudno’s small but fascinating museum, owes its existence to a bequest from one of the resort’s major benefactors, Francis Edouard Chardon, son of a wealthy indigo planter. His mother was the daughter of a rich and influential Italian. Chardon spent several years in Naples where he studied pastel drawing and watercolour painting under the guidance of the Neapolitan artist Joseph Casciaro.

He died at Rapallo House in Craig y Don in 1925 and bequeathed his home and his landscapes and collection of objets d’arts from all around the world to the town of Llandudno. Rapallo House was converted into a public museum and an art gallery opened in 1927. In 1995 the museum moved to its current location in Gloddaeth Street in 1995.

Museum trustee John Lawson-Reay, vice-chairman of the Llandudno and Colwyn Bay History Society, said: ‘The new home gave us greater scope to merge Chardon’s collection with that of the local Field Club so that the emphasis became much more on local history through our fabulous archeological artifacts.

‘We are seeking Heritage Lottery funding to expand so that we can better cater for school parties from all over the country that come here.’

Great Orme Tramway Great Orme Tramway

The lure of The Lighthouse

Fiona Kilpatrick was having a very busy morning. The telephone in the guesthouse she has run with her husband Ray for the last 12 years hadn’t stopped ringing.

‘We were on television again last night. Griff Rhys-Jones’s A Great Welsh Adventure is being repeated. Episode six begins here,’ she said. The B&B has been a magnet for television producers and presenters. The Cabinet minister turned traveller Michael Portillo stayed there after making his railway journey to Llandudno. Indeed Mr and Mrs Kilpatrick’s home is a magnet for visitors from all over the world...despite having only three guestrooms.

The Lighthouse B&B The Lighthouse B&B

Ah but what rooms! And what views! For the B&B is housed in Llandudno’s former lighthouse, perched at the top of the cliffs on Great Orme’s Head - a dizzying 100m (328ft) above sea level. It was built in 1862 for the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board to provide a warning to ships passing one of the UK’s most dangerous stretches of coastline. Among the worst losses were the brig Hornby, dashed to pieces on new year’s day 1824 on the final leg of its voyage from Rio to Liverpool and the paddle steamer Rothesay Castle on a pleasure trip from Liverpool to Beaumaris on the 17th August 1831. The former wreck cost 14 lives and in the latter disaster, only 29 of the 150 on board survived.

The castellated Llandudno lighthouse was taken over by Trinity House in 1873 and throughout its working life used the original specially made lantern. After the light was switched off in 1985 the light was taken to Liverpool but returned to the resort in 1993 and is now on display in the visitor centre near Great Orme’s summit.

The lighthouse was bought at auction by local businessman John Callin who turned it into a B&B and 18 years later Mr and Mrs Kilpatrick bought it from him.

Mrs Kilpatrick said: ‘We had always intended to run a B&B when my husband retired and thought about a property in the Lake District or perhaps Yorkshire. Then my parents, who lived in Rhos-on-Sea, told us this place was up for sale. It was nine years too early for us really - my husband commuted to London for all that time - but the lighthouse was just so unique it had to be.’

The Lighthouse, reached from scenic Marine Drive, boasts the Keeper’s Hall with superb Canadian pitch pine panelling leading to the north-facing Victorian dining room where guests can look down the 100m vertical drop while enjoying breakfast. The four-poster Victorian-style Principal Keeper’s Suite offers impressive coastal views to the east; the original glass-panelled Lamp Room gives guests 280 degree panoramic sea views and the portholed Telegraph Room above it offers a similar spectacle via a ladder to the roof of the lighthouse.

More from Out & About

Friday, June 15, 2018

Looking for somewhere new to explore this weekend? Why not follow Mike Smith to the unspoiled villages of the Dane Valley.

Read more
Peak District
Wednesday, June 13, 2018

One great plus point of this walk in the Wirral is that there are no nasty hills to climb.

Read more
Monday, June 11, 2018

The Royal Cheshire Show is one of the best summer events in the North West and always draws a great crowd. This year, we’ll be there showcasing our fantastic range of motorhomes – come and meet us on Stand B5 Plot 15.

Read more
Monday, June 4, 2018

Run by cyclists .. for everyone

Read more
Monday, June 4, 2018

Community spirit and hard work create a transport day, an 11-day festival and a host of local groups in Lymm.

Read more
Wednesday, May 30, 2018

We’ve teamed up with The Greenbank Hotel in Falmouth, Cornwall to offer one lucky prize winner a luxury stay for two people

Read more
Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Cheshire Wildlife Trust supporters Sue and Tom Makin have created a wildlife friendly garden at Clemley House, near Tarporley. Sue explains their passion

Read more
Wednesday, May 23, 2018

There are few finer thing than exploring the countryside surrounding the many rivers situated across the county.

Read more
Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Settle into a spacious seat, sit back in luxury and enjoy the ride before landing in the grounds of the stunning Goodwood estate - travel doesn’t get much better than that!

Read more
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Cheshire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Property Search