Back to School Special: History Lessons With a Twist!
The kids may have gone back to school, but here in North Wales, there’s always something to learn! Find out more about local history & culture.
North Wales is home to a wealth of history and culture, from manmade wonders to natural phenomenons. Make the adjustment back to school that much easier knowing there’s an unexplored world waiting for you when you stay with us again in the winter, or even next year!
We believe there’s something for the whole family to enjoy, wherever you go in this beautiful region. For the adults, a trip down memory lane may spark some fond thoughts of past holidays in years gone by. For the kids, there’s a plethora of museums, cool castles, railways and even natural habitats to explore.
This month, our back to school special hopes to shed some light on our celebrated local history and memories. Make our wonderful past part of your family’s future and get planning your next trip to these must-see places!
1. National Slate Museum, Llanberis
Kick-off this special history lesson with a visit to a disused slate mine that was abandoned in 1969. Forged in the shadow of Elidir mountain, the Dinorwig quarry, this family-friendly museum offers visitors the chance to carve their own experience as a miner, quarryman or engineer in the depths of the mines. Back to school doesn’t have to be boring when you know you can visit places like this soon!
Fun fact: North Wales’ dense landscape has provided quarrying opportunities to workers for the past 1,800 years!
2. Erddig, Wrexham
The closest thing you’ll get to Bridgerton in North Wales, Erddig is a Grade II listed National Trust House that was built around three centuries ago. This all started with Thomas Webb, a freemason from Middlewich in Cheshire, who agreed to take care of this stately home and turn it into a place where nuns lived. Find out more about Erddig’s history here.
Fun fact: the state bedroom at Erddig has a bed’s with a back panel consisting of wholly embroidered Chinese silk dating back to 1720!
3. Dee Bridge, Llangollen
Arching over a river with such a wealth of wildlife that it’s now protected by scientists (SSSI), the Dee Bridge is one cool mound of mortar. Reconstructed in the 16th Century, historians think this old bridge was probably built around 1340 – that’s almost 800 years! This old bridge was once the only crossing for packhorses carrying shipments and loads to get over from the north to the south side of the River Dee at Llangollen.
Fun fact: this bridge is one of the Seven Wonders of Wales!
4. St Peter’s Square, Ruthin
We know kids love all things Harry Potter, and this market town square is one of the closest things to Diagon Alley in North Wales! Visitors can enjoy the mildly steep walk up to this quaint quarter, where there are loads of things to treat the eyes, nose and taste buds. Take a look at all the different styles of buildings, or sample some local delicacies in the many coffee shops and parlours. Go at the right time and you may even hear the church bells ringing after they were refurbished by the Diocese of St Asaph a few years ago.
Fun fact: St Peter’s Square is home to more listed buildings (buildings that historians want to preserve and protect) than any other market town in North Wales.
5. Roman Baths, Prestatyn
One of the coolest and by far the oldest sites on this list is the Bath House in Prestatyn, which historians believe dates back to AD 120. That’s before the World Wars, before Henry the 8th, and before the Black Plague – way, way before! It’s thought among the experts that this Bath House was used by the Romans as there are loads of ancient settlement sites nearby such as the legionary Deva fortress in Chester, the silver mines at Pentre in Flint, the realm of the Ordovices in the Berwyn Mountains.
Fun fact: look out for some of the bath tiles that are stamped with an icon of a wild boar!
6. Llanberis Lake Railway
This historic landmark and attraction is the perfect pit stop for any train or engine enthusiasts out there! The well-known steam train has been ferrying passengers up and around Snowdon for the past century and a quarter, and still does just that today. On a 60 minute tour to this day, passengers can see stunning views of Mount Snowdon, the 13th Century Dolbadarn Castle, and a handful of lakes on this five-mile round trip.
Fun fact: the old trains at the turn of the 20th century were carved and crafted in Switzerland before being imported over here to North Wales!
7. Rhuddlan Castle
Like any castle, real royalty of the land lived here as far back as the 13th Century. King Edward 1st, in fact, and it’s here that Prince Llywelyn (Llewelyn ein Llyw Olaf) eventually surrendered in battle to King Edward in 1282.) This was a poignant date in Welsh history and culture, as this defeat in the wintry winds of December 1282 marked not just the end of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd (c.1223-1282), or Llywelyn the Last – but the end of an independent Wales. Read more about this tragic battle here.
Fun fact: back in its occupancy, the castle had a moat surrounding it at three sides, and the River Clwyd protecting its fourth side.
8. Point of Ayr
There are plenty of cool treasures and troves to find at Talacre Beach! Firstly, the lighthouse is flanked by the sea and mountains at the northernmost point in mainland Wales. Secondly, the special nature reserve is home during parts of the year to wheatears, wagtails and warblers, pale-bellied brent geese and skuas! Thirdly, the Point of Ayr colliery is the last working deep mine sites in Wales.
Back in the classroom and dreaming of your favourite historical place? Let us know in the comments below, or share your travel pics of your North Wales outings with us on Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #mylyonsparks!