North Wales: A journey through time

Castle ruins near our holiday parks in North Wales Although North Wales might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of the history of the UK, but many of the names you will encounter during a stay at our holiday parks in North Wales will come from Norse visitors. Read on for a quick journey through time and learn about what happened in this beautiful region all those years ago, from Viking invasions to Victorian holiday resorts! Viking roots Whilst on holiday in North Wales you are likely to plan a trip to the infamous Anglesey, an unspoilt island with stunning coastlines, spectacular landscapes and picturesque towns and villages. According to records, the first raid on Wales occurred in 852 and both Anglesey and Gwynedd were attacked from 854 onwards. RhodriMawr, the ruler of Gwynedd at the time, led resistance to these early invasions and successfully killed the Danish leader Gorm in 855. They were unable to secure a foothold in Anglesey and so sailed on the Chester, but were back with a vengeance in 918. This haven is thought to take its name from an unknown Viking, as the “sey” ending means “island”. Another destination with likely Viking roots is the Great Orme. This chunk of limestone rises 207m out of the sea, and is host to an array of activities and fun for all the family as well as being the destination of choice for goat enthusiasts. The name is thought to mean worm or serpent, a comparison that was perhaps made by its invaders during less idyllic times.These attacks may not have been quite so brutal as the records show, with archaeological evidence showing them as peaceful settlers, taking up jobs such as colonisers, merchants, and skilled craftsmen. The Middle Ages During the Middle Ages, Wales as a country experienced many invasions from the English, the Welsh didn’t go down without a fight though! If you wander the spectacular trails around Snowdonia, you will soon see how the mountainous terrain and versatile conditions of the mountain created stubborn defences that would have been difficult to break. After the death of William the Conqueror, the invasion of Wales was ramped up a gear by his predecessors and eventually the battle was won against the self-declared King Llywellyn at some point between 1277 and 1283. People in Wales had to be aware of the dangers posed by life in the middle ages, in the same way that the English had to be careful. Violence in society, travelling, starvation and unpopular beliefs were all likely to put you in compromising circumstances during that time. Illness and disease was also rife, with smallpox, whooping cough, measles, TB, plague and flu all leaving devastation in their wake across the country. As a result of this, infant mortality was high and anyone living past the age of 60 was an exception. The Industrial Revolution in North Wales Wales remained as a remarkably rural country with a thriving agriculture economy, which was expanded due to the adoption of crop rotation, lime in farming and the enclosure of wasteland. Many of the fields you will see during your time in North Wales will probably first and foremost be filled with sheep, but will also have a rich and complex history of the generations before us. By 1851, Wales was the second leading industrial nation in the world, behind England.In the same year, two thirds of families in Wales were supported by activities other than farming, which was partly fuelled by wars. North-east Wales was particularly prominent in developing industries, and by the late 18th century there were 19 metal works at Holywell and 14 potteries at Buckley and an array of lead and coal mines were apparent across the region. A Welsh Prime Minister The village of Llanystumdwy is a small village not far from our Rhyl caravan parks and has a population of less than 2,000. However, this small settling is of upmost importance to Welsh history, as it is home to David Lloyd George, the first and only Welsh Prime Minister who led Britain to Victory in the First World War. There is lots to do in and around this peaceful village, with most opting to visit the David Lloyd George’s grave set deep in a wooded valley. The area is mainly Welsh-speaking and some of the houses date back over 250 years, making it a great place to indulge yourself into the cultures and lifestyles of Wales. Victorian promenades The notion of going on holiday became increasingly popular throughout this time, and due to the outstanding natural beauty of the region, North Wales seemed an obvious destination for resorts. At the very doorstep of our Lyons holiday parks you can follow the footsteps of our Victorian fun-loving, holiday goers as the resort became extremely popular in the mid 19th century. The nearby destination of Prestatyn is host to the famous castle built by Henry II in 1157, where you can still visit the remains. For the musically-oriented, we recommend a day trip to Dolgellau, where you can discover the story of Welsh folk music and experience the sounds of ancient Wales.  Today, North Wales is one of the most popular places to visit for Brits looking for a staycation and many industries still thrive in the setting. Come and experience the country that is so rich in history for yourself, with a Lyons holiday in 2017!

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