LLangollen North Wales
Llangollen is steeped in myth and legend. In many ways, it is best known for hosting the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod every July which brings in approximately 120,000 visitors and turns the town into a vibrant international stage.
As with so many ancient Welsh towns, it takes its name from its founding Saint; Collen, a seventh-century saint. Llangollen, was established in the 7th Century when The monk St. Collen was instructed to find a valley by riding a horse for one day and then stop and mark out a “parish” a place to build his hermitage or cell in the custom of the times, with tiny church, hospice and outhouses all enclosed within a wall.
Lady Eleanor Butler and the Honourable Sarah Ponsonby, known as the ‘Ladies of Llangollen’ lived at Plas Newydd, that was visited by many of the famous and distinguished of the time for “mysterious” reasons, with only the favoured were allowed admission.
Valle Crucis Abbey dating from the 13th century shows the sheer scale of buildings in the 14th century. It was largely destroyed during the reign of Henry VIII.
The remains of Castell Dinas Bran (Crow Castle) can be seen high on an isolated hill above Llangollen and reached by a steep climb. This was said to be the possible burial site of the Holy Grail of the Arthurian legends and was known to have been the 13th Century home of Madoc ap Gruffydd Maelor, the founder of Valle Crucis Abbey and it was possibly a stronghold for Eliseg, Prince of Powys in the 6th Century.
Llangollen is home to the longest full-gauge steam railway in Wales, now open to ride upon by visitors. Opened in 1862 the Ruabon to Barmouth railway steamed its way through the Welsh countryside. At one time it was possible to board at Llangollen Station and travel to London without a single change.