WALES

HOLYHEAD

Day 5 of the Dave Koz and Friends at Sea Cruise

Located on Holy Island, Holyhead is a major ferry port with settlements in the area dating back to prehistoric times. Archaeological evidence suggests people having been sailing between Ireland and Holyhead for more than 4,000 years. History buffs will enjoy exploring the town’s many historic sites. The island’s picturesque scenery and dramatic cliffs provide numerous opportunities for outdoor activities and wildlife spottings.

HOLYHEAD WALES IMAGE GALLERY
WHAT TO SEE

While in Dover, be sure to take in some of its exhilarating sights!

Approaching Holyhead from the sea, your first image is of towering sea cliffs rearing above the waves. Natural beauty abounds on the island of Anglesey, the northernmost part of Wales. Angelsey has a long and turbulent history, it was the last stronghold of Druids resisting the Roman invasion, and it was the last refuge of the Welsh princes who resisted English conquest and dominion. Today, Holyhead and Anglesey are your gateway to Wales, a land with a strong and proud Celtic tradition and with some of the most beautiful countryside in the British Isles.

Castles

Majestic Caernarfon, Beaumarais and Conwy Castles were all built for King Edward I during England’s 13th century conquest of Wales, and are impressive examples of British medieval military architecture.

Ffestiniog Railway

North Wales’ most popular inland resort is located in lovely Snowdonia National Park. This charming Victorian village boasts cascading waterfalls, hill-top lakes, river pools and ancient bridges.

Shopping

Head to the streets lining the Old Harbour or take the drive to nearby Anglesey to find independent boutiques stocked with unique souvenirs and giftware. Seek out distinctive finds at vintage furniture stores. Pick up locally made decorations for your home or kitchen as many cruise ship visitors do. There’s even a traditional watch and clock shop if you’re looking to upgrade your timepiece.

Llechwedd Slate Caverns

A Miners’ Tramway tour travels underground via the dramatic “Cathedral Chambers” to reveal the Welsh Slate Miner’s world during the reign of Queen Victoria. See the Slate Mill and souvenir shop.

Bodnant Garden

This narrow gauge rack and pinion railway travels to the summit of Snowdon, the highest peak in England and Wales. It inspired a series of books and the Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends tv show.

Welsh Railway

This narrow gauge rack and pinion railway travels to the summit of Snowdon, the highest peak in England and Wales.

Betws-y-Coed

North Wales’ most popular inland resort is located in lovely Snowdonia National Park. This charming Victorian village boasts cascading waterfalls, hill-top lakes, river pools and ancient bridges.

Porthmadog

This small coastal town in the Eifionydd area of Gwynedd is known locally as “Port.” The terminus of the Ffestiniog Raiway and the gateway to Snowdonia National Park, it is a destination in itself.

Portmeirion

Portmeirion is a popular tourist village in Gwynedd, North Wales. It was designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1975 in the style of an Italian village.

HOLYHEAD, WALES VIDEOS
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Travel Information

What to know before you go to Holyhead, Wales.

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Language
While fully half the locals in Anglesey and Snowdonia speak Welsh (Cymraeg), everyone also speaks English. Signs are bilingual. If you travel ashore independently, it is a good idea to know the destination names in both languages. Expect to hear Welsh spoken in shops and pubs.

How to Pay
ATM’s are available in Holyhead’s combined ferry and railway terminal and along Victoria Street, the town’s main shopping district. The currency is the British pound sterling. It is a good idea to have some local currency for small purchases, such as snacks, souvenirs and local transit.

Tipping
Up to 10% for good service at restaurants, cafes and bars with table service. If you order at the bar or counter, you’re not expected to tip. Taxis Fares are often rounded up.

How to Get Around

Although the town center is close, it is not advisable to walk into Holyhead, as the one-lane road is very narrow. Shuttle buses provide transfers to the port’s combined ferry and railway terminal, to the town center along Victoria Street and to the maritime museum at Newry Beach, less than a mile from the shopping district. For local sightseeing in the town center, the main shopping street has been pedestrianized, though it does not have a very exciting range of stores.

For independent sightseeing in Anglesey and across the Menai Strait in Northwest Wales, local transit is frequent, efficient and inexpensive. Hourly rail service by Arriva Train Wales connects Holyhead directly with Conwy, a walled medieval castle town; the trip takes less than an hour along the scenic coastal North Wales Line. For the castle towns of Beaumaris and Caernarfon, take one of the hourly trains from Holyhead to Bangor, and connect to a bus that stops on the street outside the station for both destinations, a journey of an hour each way.

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Arrival Information

Ships dock at a former industrial pier inside the harbor main breakwater and not far from the ferry and railway terminal.

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Port Facilities

Facilities at the pier include a small gift shop and Internet center. It’s a short distance to Holyhead’s town center. From there, historic St. Cybi’s Church, with its 13th- and 15th-century stone carvings and fine stained-glass windows, is a few minutes’ walk. It’s situated within the impressive walls of a rectangular Roman fort. The site overlooks the harbor that the battlements once protected. The seafront, promenade, beach and maritime museum (documentation and artifacts from some 100 shipwrecks) are between 15 and 25 minutes’ walk from the town center. A foot bridge links the ferry and railway terminal with the town center, so one could walk back from the maritime museum in about 30 minutes.

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Driving is the best way to reach South Stack and Holyhead Golf Club.
Be prepared with extra layers — Britain’s coastline is known for being windy and a bit chilly year-round.