Llangollen has long been one of Wales’s most popular inland resorts – and no wonder. Its setting, guarded by mountains and the ruins of 13th century Castell Dinas Brân, is uniquely picturesque. Four great highways meet here: the River Dee, the Canal, the preserved steam railway and Telford’s monumental A5 coach road. This circular walk allows you to explore them all and take an architectural tour through the town’s bustling streets. You could easily find yourself on a canal boat or riding a steam train. And with plenty of shops, pubs, restaurants and cafés to explore as well, you might very well be tempted to make a day of it.
The town is part of an iconic landscape. The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal World Heritage Site stretches for 11 spectacular miles from Shropshire to the Horseshoe Falls, taking in Llangollen Wharf along the way. All around you is the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, one of just five in Wales. Tourists have been drawn here since Georgian times. They still come today for the history, the architecture, the shops, the wonderful food and drink. And since Llangollen is one huge outdoor adventure playground, they also fish the Dee, canoe the rapids and walk the wide open spaces.
Every summer since 1947 Llangollen has staged one of the world’s most inspirational cultural festivals. Each year around 4,000 performers and as many as 50,000 visitors converge on this beautiful small Welsh town and its International Pavilion; to sing and dance in a unique combination of competition, performance, and international peace and friendship.
Its competitions climax with the prestigious ‘Choir of the World’, which determines the best overall choir of the event. In 2005 Luciano Pavarotti added his name to the competition in recognition of his appreciation of the festival and its influence on his career.
The International Musical Eisteddfod is more than a renowned choral music festival. It is a celebration of music, dance, costume and culture from nations around the world. Each year around 4,000 performers come to the International Pavilion to compete and perform in international friendship. The festival began in 1947 as a device for healing the wounds of the second world war, and has continued to grow from strength to strength ever since.