Another Sunday, another segment in our family road trip in Wales. Today, it’s all about Ynys Môn, better known as Isle of Anglesey. (If you’re wondering why Cat looks a tad younger, it’s because this is from our first road trip in Wales, when she was seven.)
Immediately after you’ve crossed Pont Britannia from the mainland to Anglesey, you’ll notice a sign for Llanfair. It might even say Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. I wondered if it was the longest place name in the world, but it seems there is a Maori name that’s even longer. And the official name for Bangkok is even longer than that.
But there’s of course more to Anglesey than long place names. There’s Kate and William, for example – and now also Baby George. The Cambridges live on the island since Wills works at RAF Valley as a helicopter rescue pilot.
I expect this has brought more visitors to Anglesey the last few years. When we were there, in 2008, it was relatively quiet. The locals I spoke with – all very fond of their island – indicated they preferred it that way.
We spent one day on Anglesey and it wasn’t nearly enough time. The time we did have, we spent mostly in the town of Beaumaris (pronounced Biwmaris locally).
Beaumaris was a Viking settlement, always dear to a Norwegian heart. No remnants of that can be seen, however. My ancestors weren’t too concerned with leaving their footprints, it seems. Not physical footprints, anyway.
In Beaumaris, we visited the interesting old courthouse and the suitably thrilling Beaumaris Gaol. We stopped by the 500-year-old Tudor Rose, and marvelled at the tiny door.
But first we wandered around Beaumaris Castle in the rain. This is one of four medieval strongholds dotted around Northern Wales built by King Edward in the 13th century. I like how many of the ancient castles have easily accessible playgrounds immediately outside. Playing against this backdrop, perhaps an interest in history will seep into the young minds while sliding down the slippery dip. One can always hope…
The 400-year-old courthouse is still in use today, albeit only once a year. It’s possible to get a bit theatrical here – and my kids enjoyed both the courthouse and the gaol. Like being in a Dickens novel.
Walking through this slightly spooky building, you get a certain feel for how it might have been to be a prisoner almost 200 years ago. Despite chains and beatings, this was quite a humane institution for its time. My favourite feature is the cradle in the photo above. Notice the rope going into the hole in the floor? Women prisoners worked in the room directly below and could easily reach the end of the rope to rock their babies to sleep.
The Tudor Rose
The Tudor Rose is an old timber-frame house. Looks a bit odd among the tall modern buildings. It’s interesting to think about how this street might have looked in 1480 when the Tudor Rose was built. Presently, this fabulous building houses the offices of an estate agent. Must be a very atmospheric and inspiring place to work. Can’t help wishing it was a tea house, though.
What we would like to see and do next time on Anglesey:
- Sail around the island. The entire coastline of Anglesey is designated an area of outstanding natural beauty.
- Hang about the beach a bit, at Rhosneigr, Red Wharf Bay or numerous others.
- Visit the Skerries light house, the windmill at Llanddeusant and the Church in the sea at Cribinau.
- We’ve followed King Arthur in Cornwall, so I’d like to see King Arthur’s Seat.
We need about a week, I reckon.
- Beaumaris is a short drive from Pont Britannia (Britannia Bridge) which spans the Menai Strait separating Anglesey from the Welsh mainland.
- Entrance to Beaumaris Castle is £4.50, reduced rate is £3.40. A family ticket costs £13.50 and admits 2 adults and up to 3 children. A 3- or 7-day explorer pass gives free admission. Opening hours: 10 – 16 in winter, longer hours in summer.
- Entrance to Beaumaris Courthouse and Gaol: joint ticket is £7.50, £6 for children and seniors. Opening hours: 10 – 17 between Easter and September.
Here’s our family road trip in Wales:
- Isle of Anglesey
- Portmeirion-Blaenau Ffestiniog
- Aberystwyth – Abereiddi Blue Lagoon
Other curious and beautiful destinations in underrated, fascinating Wales, include an intriguing book town, a magical fantasy village, that place with the long name, a Welsh garden (just as lovely as an English garden), and many more. In fact, here’s the whole shebang: Wales on Sophie’s World.
Beaumaris Castle is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd. Here are more UNESCO World Heritage sites around the world.
Although quiet, seems there are few historic places to see here. Sailing around the island sounds like fun, and a great way to enjoy the natural beauty of Anglesey.
It was a quiet, interesting and beautiful island.
Sounds like you’ve been having a great time travelling through Wales, Sophie! Another place to put on my “To Do” list.
I think you’d like it, Christine 🙂
It’s a lovely island indeed.
That’s interesting about the female prisoners being able to rock their babies to sleep from the floor below. Kinda sad and depressing too. But I hope you make it back to the Isle to explore it more in depth. I hope to make it to Wales someday as well!
I hope you do, too 🙂
I am in love with The Tudor Rose, it is beautiful. I would like to get more information about the island
The Tudor Rose is pretty. More information on Anglesey is easily available on the web 🙂
“A great post! We are a big fan of road trips. We recently returned from an amazing and an utterly adventurous road trip to Scotland. We would surely like to add this road trip to Wales in our bucket list. The historical places seem real fun. “
I had a fabulous road trip in Scotland, too – many years ago. Perhaps time for another one…
“Sail around the island.” Judging from the last shot you took that looks like it would be an amazing trip.
I really think it would be. Thanks for stopping by, Gabe 🙂
I remember some of your Wales post and lovely to see this again. It’s so scenic. Great to know there are many things to entertain the kids there. Love that picture of your girls in the courthouse. The Tudor Rose looks beautiful and you’re right it looks more like a tea house or even a quaint boutique.
I really do recommend Wales as a great family distination.
Who knew there was so much to do on such a small island? Also interesting that Beaumaris Castle is a UNESCO site, that alone would make it worth visiting in my opinion.
Beaumaris Castle is one of the many highlights on this island 🙂
Not unlike other locales that you have detailed in Wales, Anglesey looks incredibly beautiful and serene. I love that you also managed to find yet another charming Welsh miniature!
Wales is a green destination, too 🙂
Interesting piece. We’re going to Anglesey very soon, staying in Beaumaris. By the way, Kate and William recently said goodbye to Anglesey as his time there has come to an end.
Thanks for the update, Viv – and have fun in Beaumaris 🙂
I’m really getting in the mood for visiting Wales. Can’t believe we just looked at the Severn Bridge without crossing when I was there.
I’ve had a few misses like that in the past, too.
Anglesey is an interesting place, for sure.
Haha Love the court house photograph. I have never been to Wales sadly, but I want to go! The place name is crazy long, cant believe there is a Maori one that is longer.
Wales is very underrated. It’s a gorgeous country.
Awesome! I had no idea Wales had so many interesting things. (Shhh I have finds there who would kill me if they found out I thought that)
Wales is full of treasures 🙂
Wow, seems such a place that that building is an estate agent. With you when you say you wish it was a tea house – maybe even a pub. 😉 Used to go to Anglesey all the time as a kid, staying with my friend’s family in a caravan. Lots of happy memories of beautiful beaches. 🙂
Must have been a wonderful place to collect childhood memories.