The Great Orme is the limestone headland on the west side of Llandudno. It’s name means sea monster and was aptly named by the Vikings as it was the first thing they saw rising from the waters when they first approached Llandudno from the sea. Steeped in the most incredible history and home to rare and wonderful wildlife. There is a surprising amount to do on The Great Orme and unless you are staying in Llandudno or surrounding areas, you might miss this incredible place to visit. Here is our guide to The Great Orme Llandudno…
Re-discovered in 1987, the mines on the Great Orme are over 4000 years old, dating back to the Bronze Age. It is the largest prehistoric mine in the world. During your visit, you will walk through the tunnels showing how prehistoric ancestors searched for copper. It is a very educational experience and thought provoking when considering the age of the mines.
Walking up and around the Great Orme is a great experience and offers some incredible views and scenery to take in on the way. If you like walking but not up for tackling some of the bigger peaks in Snowdonia, then this is perfect. Ranging from 1- 4 miles, there are lots of options to choose from and there is always tea and cake waiting at the summit cafe!
Great Orme Summit Trails
The direct routes range between 1-1.5miles and there are three to choose from: The Haulfre Garden (1 mile), Happy Valley (1.5 miles) or Zig Zig Trail (1mile).
Great Orme Nature Trail
This circular trail takes you around the headland. Starting and finishing at the summit centre, you can choose between the 3.5 mile walk or the slightly longer 4 miles.
Great Orme Historic Trail
There are 2 options here covering either 4.2 miles of 3.2 miles which between them give you incredible views of the Liverpool bay, Carneddau range, Menai Straits and Anglesey.
The Great Orme Tramway is a funicular that takes you from Victoria Station in Llandudno to the summit of the Great Orme. You can get off at the midway point to see visit the Bronze age mines, the Iron Age Fort or the 6th Century St Tudno’s Church. It takes approx 20 mins to get to the top as you change at the mid way point. You can always walk down which you should allow approx 45 mins.
The longest cable car in Great Britain, you take the cable car from Llandudno Pier up for just over 1 mile to the summit. The cars seat 4 and are a great way to see the area.
There is lots on offer at the summit centre including a cafe and restaurant. Bizarrely, the bar is boxing themed for the simple reason it was owned by Randolph Turpin, the champion boxer and in the past used to draw big crowds for sparring matches! Now however, you can enjoy beautiful views out to sea and the Snowdonia mountains – truly awe inspiring. There is a a great gift shop and a play area with crazy golf to keep everyone entertained once at the summit.
Great Orme Country Park
The Great Orme itself is a country park, special area of conservation, Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Heritage Coast!!! Along with all the incredible history and things to do, there is some great wildlife to be seen too. They have their own butterfly; The Silver Studded Blue and their most famous inhabitants are the wild Kashmir goats that you will seen roaming around.
The Bishops Quarry
Is located just under the summit and where you’ll find ancient fossils. You are not allowed to climb in the quarry, but there are lots of fossils easily seen from quarry debris around the quarry itself.
St Tudno’s Church
St Tudno’s Church is a 12th Century church which was built on a site which actually dates back to the 6th Century. It still holds services and during the summer months, they hold services outside on the hillside by the church.