Our next big day trip to Wales was when we headed for the city of Bangor on the North Coast before then taking the train over onto the Island of Anglesey and further onto Holy Island to reach the popular port of Holyhead. Our journey begins in Bangor…
Status: Gwynedd, City, Wales
Travel: Merseyrail (Southport – Chester, Via Liverpool Moorfields), Arriva Trains Wales (Chester – Holyhead, Stopping At Bangor)
Eating & Sleeping: Costa Coffee Chester Train Station, Greggs
Attractions: Cathedral, University, Clock Tower, Beach, Puffin Island, Town Hall, Tourist Information, Gwynedd Museum and Art Gallery, Cathedral Gardens, Main Square, War Memorial, Garth Pier etc
Bangor is home to the University of Bangor, founded in 1884. This impressive building is part of the university and dominates the skyline from nearly everywhere in the city, and is one of the most impressive University building’s we have encountered. The University is in the top 15 UK Universities category.
This is the main square in the middle of the city, only a minutes walk from the Cathedral and from there onto the shopping streets. The square contains two War Memorials, and a small tower keep at one end. There are small houses at the back of the picture, and being so small they don’t spoil the square and add something to it. There is a good view of the main University building from here.
Bangor is an ancient city, and as such has its own Cathedral, dedicated to St Deiniol. It was founded by him as a monastery in 525 AD, however this building was lost and none of it survives today. It was not until somewhere between 1120 and 1139 when the present building was constructed. It has two towers, one at the front known as the West Tower and one at the back called the Central Tower.
During an invasion of Gwynedd in 1211 by King John from England, the cathedral was destroyed and restored again later in the 13th century only for it to be badly damaged in yet another invasion by King Edward I of England in 1282, and again it was rebuilt, before an extensive reconstruction during the 15th century.
This Clock Tower stands in the middle of the main pedestrianised shopping streets and was built in 1887, hence the Victorian brickwork, next to the main shopping centre, Deiniol Centre.
There are two bridges that cross the Menai Strait that seperate the Isle of Anglesey from the Welsh Mainland:
Menai Suspension Bridge:
This is the bridge pictured above and carries the A5 from near Bangor over to the town of Menai Bridge. It was designed by Thomas Telford (Famous Scottish Engineer 1757 – 1834) and when it was completed in 1826 it was the first modern suspension bridge in the world.
This bridge is a combined road and rail bridge and has two levels with the North Wales Coastline track running on the lower section of the bridge and the main A55 from Chester to Holyhead runs on the top deck. I got the photograph of the previous bridge as we crossed this one.
This is a newer bridge, with the first bridge on the site starting construction in 1846 and opening in 1850. A devastating fire damaged the bridge beyond repair in 1970 and a new bridge was constructed, using arches and continues with the same upper level road and lower level railway. Two lions flank the bridge at either end but they aren’t visible from either of the levels as you cross.
Bangor is a beautiful city in a very scenic location, not far from the Snowdonia National Park which contains the tallest Welsh mountain, Mount Snowdon. This is visible from the area on a clear day. Also visible is Puffin Island out to sea from Bangor and the train line to the city, and when you get to the two bridges to Anglesey the view is unspoilt and they add a special something to the surroundings. Bangor is full of great architecture and is the 3rd smallest Welsh City, and the final of the two cities in North Wales, the other being St Asaph, the other four cities being clustered close together in South Wales. Further along the city at the coast there are beaches, ports and Garth Pier, the second longest in Wales. It was opened in 1896 and has proved a popular attraction ever since.
There are great train connections with direct trains to Chester, Holyhead and London as well as the main road towards Chester passing next to the city. Going the other way towards Holyhead the port there has regular ferries over to Ireland.
North Wales is noted for its coastline and Bangor is one of the best places to enjoy this.