How much do you know about North Wales? As one of the most beautiful regions of the UK, there is much history and mystery surrounding it. Whether you’ve lived here all your life, are new to the area or are planning a trip sometime soon, here are some facts you may not know.
10 Historical Facts About North Wales
Ask anyone who lives here, and they’ll tell you that North Wales is a region with a rich history, full of hidden gems. From Holyhead to Portmerion, there are thousands of miles of areas to be explored, each with their own interesting facts.
Llandudno Has Inspired Some of The Most Famous Stories
The world-famous author Lewis Carroll who penned children’s classic Alice in Wonderland said that he was inspired to write the book while staying in the coastal town of Llandudno. The family of Alice Liddell, who served as the inspiration for the fictional Alice, built a home on Llandudno’s west shore in 1862. Historian John Lawson-Reay claimed that the features of the town inspired Carroll to write his sequel Through The Looking Glass. Similarly, author Philip Pullman settled here with his family after finding it an area of inspiration.
Each of Wales’ Seven Wonders Is Located Here
Wales has its very own seven wonders, and while they may not be as grand as the Egyptian Pyramids they continue to bring visitors from far and wide. The seven wonders are Pistyll Rhaedr, St Giles’ Church Steeple, Overton yew trees, St Winefride’s Well, Llangollen Bridge, Gresford Bells and, of course, Snowdon. There’s no doubt that you’ll be able to see them all during a long North Wales weekend.
The World’s Oldest Organism Lives Here…
In Conwy you’ll find a tree that’s estimated to be between 4,000 and 5,000 years old. This dates it to the Bronze Age, long before Christians arrived in the British Isles, and makes it one of the oldest trees still standing in Great Britain today. In Welsh mythology, the tree is associated with a spirit called Angelystor. This spirit appears every Halloween and tells the names of those destined to die before next Halloween. Those who were among the list would gather beneath the east window of the nearby church and listen carefully.
…And So Does The UK’s Largest Dolphin Pod!
The UK’s largest pod of bottlenose dolphins are incredibly common to Cardigan Bay. Here you’ll see their fins in the water all year round, especially in the summer months when many people flock to the area to catch a glimpse of these friendly creatures.
There Are More Castles Per Square Mile Than Any Other Place In Europe
Wales as a whole has more castles per square mile than any other country in Europe. Its rich history means that it is a country scattered with Iron Age forts, Roman ruins and Medieval Castles. With over 600 castles in total, you’re bound to come across a few of them during your next trip. How about staying in one?
You’ll Find One of A Kind Fish In Bala Lake
Bala Lake is home to an incredibly rare species of fish called Gwyniad. This is a species that was left behind at the end of the last Ice Age, living in the depths of the Lake for over 10,000 years. Unfortunately, due to 20th century farming methods, a suffocating algae has been produced that means the Gwyniad’s numbers are in vast decline. The fish have a weird characteristic in that their flesh bear a faint smell of cucumber…
The Area Has A Distinct Regional Identity
In certain ways, the North Wales dialect of the Welsh language differs to other regions. A person from North Wales is known as a North Walian or a Gog – this comes from the Welsh ‘gogledd’ meaning, of course, ‘north’.
There Are A Few Record-Breaking Buildings
Not only is the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct the tallest aqueduct in the UK, but Rhos-on-sea has the world’s smallest chapel (with space for only 6 people) and the Menai Bridge in Angelsey was the world’s largest bridge when it was built in 1826.
You Can See Punch and Judy’s Longest Running Show
Head to Llandudno promenade and you’ll be able to see the longest running Punch and Judy show. The shows have been performed by the Codman family for 150 years, since Richard Codman came to the area in 1860. When walking on the beach, Richard discovered some driftwood and carved the traditional Punch and Judy puppets we know and love today. In the past, visitors to the show included Queen Victoria, Queen Alexandra and the Duke of Westminster.
Lawn Tennis Was Discovered Here
If you’re a tennis fan you have a gentleman called Major Walter Wingfield to thank. It is said that in 1873 the Major devised the rules that we now know and use for the modern game of tennis. Rubber balls were a relatively new invention, and after the Major played a game in Nantclwyd Hall (only a few miles from Ruthin), he decided to turn it into a proper sport. In 1874 he patented the rules of ‘sphairistike’ which means ‘ball game’ in Greek. The first tennis match was played in 1877 at Wimbledon.
And Finally…Can You Pronounce This?
The longest place name in the whole of the UK can be found in North Wales. There is a village called Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch which translates to “St Mary’s church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the fierce whirlpool of St Tysilio of the red cave.” Can you pronounce it?