Seaside architecture is one of my things. I love looking around resorts that still have signs of Victorian splendour, things like pavilions, piers and lidos where summer’s past were once spent. Although our British seaside is having a resurgence due to the summer of staycations, many of our wonderful coastal resorts are in states of almost glorious decay, with signs all around of what was once a glorious heyday.
Llandudno is just one of those places. I had last visited Llandudno in 1985 as a young girl. It was a favourite place when I was a child, a counterpoint to the more earthy Rhyl where we spent lots of summer holidays. Llandudno was a day trip to a posher resort, one where we would eat chips in the splendid pier pavilion and then take a promenade along the pier. I loved Llandudno then, but hadn’t visited it in over 30 years, would it still be a special place?
The answer was an overwhelming yes. The sad news is that the Pier Pavilion is now long gone, the victim of an arson attack in 1994. All that remains are some of the wrought iron pillars and a staircase to nowhere, one that still retains an eerie beauty, but faces an uncertain future as the site looks towards redevelopment. The site is a bit of an eyesore, it has to be said, but looking at the plans for the apartments that may replace it, I’d personally still prefer the staircase and pillars of the pavilion – they at least tell a story.
Whilst the Pier Pavilion is no more, the Pier itself is in far better shape. Built in 1878, our Victorian forbearers had to pay to enjoy their promenade, but we can now walk for free. The Pier is in lovely condition, with the blue and white metalwork making a wonderful statement, especially on a sunny day. Many of the little huts are home to small businesses, whilst the larger pavilion at the end of the pier is home to an amusement arcade.
From the Pier you can enjoy stunning views across the sea, with the Great Orme in one direction and the Little Orme and Llandudno sea front in the other.
For lovers of architecture, the Pier is a feast for the eyes, with beautiful glasswork dating from the Victorian and Edwardian era, as well as the already mentioned wrought iron work. And there are cute souvenirs to pick up as you make your way along the pier, as well as some fresh and reasonably priced seafood, or that seaside favourite, fish and chips.