The disabled cruiser visiting Holyhead will discover that like much of England, in Holyhead public transportation is disabled-friendly; most buses have accessible seating and entrances, However, whenever possible it is best to call ahead to confirm availability of access ramps and special seating. There are plenty of places to go and things to do in Holyhead and on the Isle of Anglesey for the Disabled Cruiser. Hence most of the trains in the area are wheelchair accessible.
There are quite a few reliable and accessible taxi services in Holyhead and the Anglesey area. Furthermore, there are extremely dependable and competitively priced coaches with wheelchair access. With a private coach hire, your journey will be as hassle-free as possible.
Holyhead is the largest town in the county of Anglesey, Wales in the United Kingdom.
St Cybi’s Church is situated within the walls of a rectangular Roman fort and has nice stained glass windows, 13th and 15th century stone carvings and overlooks the harbour area.
The seafront, promenade, beach and maritime museum are between 15-25 minutes walk from the town center.
The castle towns of Beaumaris and Caernarfon, are around an hour away by train/bus.
Conwy, around an hour away, is a medieval walled village with an outstanding late 13th century castle sited on a rocky headland overlooking the town. Climb up one of the towers for views of the town and surrounding area. The seafront is lined with fisherman’s cottages. The main road enters the town via one of several stone gates connected by stone battlements and 22 towers.
There are several historic buildings here including Pas Mawr and the National Trust’s 15th century Aberconwy House. St Mary’s, a 13th century Anglican church, is tucked in behind Castle and High streets. There are many shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs here.
Also around an hour’s drive away is Caernarfon Castle, completed in the late 13th century. The castle dominates a large town square, where stalls can be found selling souvenirs, antiques and produce. Nearby is the terminal for the narrow-gauge, steam-powered Welsh Highland Railway.
Llandudno, around 1 hour 15 minutes drive away, is Wales’ premier seaside resort. A good photo opportunity is posing in front of the longest place name in Europe at the local railway station.
Where You’re Docked
Cruise ships dock at the port of Holyhead. Free shuttle buses are available to the town center, around ½ a mile away.
Facilities at the pier include a small gift shop and Internet center. It’s a short distance to Holyhead’s town center. From there, historic St. Cybi’s Church, with its 13th- and 15th-century stone carvings and fine stained-glass windows, is a few minutes’ walk. It’s situated within the impressive walls of a rectangular Roman fort. The site overlooks the harbor that the battlements once protected. The seafront, promenade, beach and maritime museum (documentation and artifacts from some 100 shipwrecks) are between 15 and 25 minutes’ walk from the town center.
Good to Know
As Holyhead is a busy ferry port for ships to and from Ireland, the town experiences a lot of vehicular traffic, including cars, camper vans and trucks. The Welsh drive on the left side as in the rest of Great Britain. Some narrow streets are one way, others two ways, so be aware of the direction of traffic when crossing the road.
Although the town center is close, it is not advisable to walk into Holyhead, as the one-lane road is very narrow. Shuttle buses provide transfers to the port’s combined ferry and railway terminal, to the town center along Victoria Street and to the maritime museum at Newry Beach, less than a mile from the shopping district. For local sightseeing in the town center, the main shopping street has been pedestrianized, though it does not have a very exciting range of stores.
For independent sightseeing in Anglesey and across the Menai Strait in Northwest Wales, local transit is frequent, efficient and inexpensive. Hourly rail service by Arriva Train Wales connects Holyhead directly with Conwy, a walled medieval castle town; the trip takes less than an hour along the scenic coastal North Wales Line. For the castle towns of Beaumaris and Caernarfon, take one of the hourly trains from Holyhead to Bangor, and connect to a bus that stops on the street outside the station for both destinations, a journey of an hour each way.
The currency is the British pound sterling. ATM’s are available in Holyhead’s combined ferry and railway terminal and along Victoria Street, the town’s main shopping district.
While fully half the locals in Anglesey and Snowdonia speak Welsh (Cymraeg), everyone also speaks English. Signs are bilingual. If you travel ashore independently, it is a good idea to know the destination names in both languages. Expect to hear Welsh spoken in shops and pubs. And it’s not just the old-timers speaking their mother tongue; since 2000, the teaching of Welsh is compulsory in schools until pupils reach the age of 16.
Popular purchases include Welsh made knitted caps and scarves, handmade silver pendants, earrings and ornaments and items featuring Wales’ Red Dragon. Welsh mountain sheep are also popular design features. It’s not surprising as the 11 million four-leggers in Wales outnumber human residents almost four to one.
Lamb dishes are very popular as is fresh seafood and fish, especially cod and mussels. The local pasty, the Welsh Oggie contains Welsh beef, leeks, potato, onions & gravy.
Points of Interest
- Castles – Majestic Caernarfon, Beaumarais and Conwy Castles were all built for King Edward I during England’s 13th century conquest of Wales, and are impressive examples of British medieval military architecture. For the Disabled Cruiser visiting Caernarfon Castle you will find entry into the castle is easy with a nice long ramp and also a ramp into the museum. Unfortunately, with a wheelchair you can only visit the internal courtyard. There are ramps around the site, and most impressive is an outdoor lift suitable for wheelchairs which enabled you to access the upper terrace area. At Beaumarais Castle, the entrance is level and accessible for wheelchair users at ground level. At Conwy Castle do be warned that the castle is not particularly suited to those requiring a wheelchair. There’s a lot of uneven ground and the stone staircases are steep, narrow and unlit.
- Ffestiniog Railway – The Rheilffordd Ffestiniog is the oldest railway company in the world. Celebrating almost 200 years of history, this classic company still uses the 150-year-old original locomotives and antique carriages. The Disabled Cruiser will discover that the Vintage trains unfortunately do not have wheelchair access, although guards have a small step helping passengers with mobility problems climb into the coaches. Normal train services have at least one coach with extra wide doors suitable for a wheelchair user and with space for a wheelchair. Access is by a portable ramp. Wheelchair user are recommended to contact the booking office before travelling to discuss their needs and make a reservation, as space is limited.
- Betws-y-Coed – North Wales’ most popular inland resort is located in lovely Snowdonia National Park. This charming Victorian village boasts cascading waterfalls, hill-top lakes, river pools and ancient bridges.
- Llechwedd Slate Caverns – A Miners’ Tramway tour travels underground via the dramatic “Cathedral Chambers” to reveal the Welsh Slate Miner’s world during the reign of Queen Victoria. See the Slate Mill and souvenir shop. The Disabled Cruiser will discover that the normal underground tour has a wide opening car to help disabled guests, however you need to be able to transfer in and out of car 3 times during tour, so wheelchair bound guests will not cope. The deep mine tour requires visitors to be able to climb up to 72 stairs up and down.
- Bodnant Garden – A beautiful garden set on the slopes above the river Conwy, this is a garden for all seasons. There are formal gardens with flower beds, grassland with mature trees and along the bottom of the River Hiraethlyn is a wilderness garden. The Disabled Cruiser will be enjoy that there is disabled parking about 150m from the entrance. Paths around the gardens vary from gravel to grassy paths. There is a way marked route around the gardens suitable for wheelchair users. Although there is access to the lower parts of the garden, wheelchair users do have to consider the uphill return.
- Welsh Highland Railway – The Welsh Highland is Snowdonia’s newest railway. Trains start their spectacular 25 mile scenic journey from beneath the historic castle walls at Caernarfon. The Disabled Cruiser will be happy that most of the site is level, and there’s a wheelchair accessible carriage on every train.
- Porthmadog – This small coastal town in the Eifionydd area of Gwynedd is known locally as “Port.” The terminus of the Ffestiniog Raiway and the gateway to Snowdonia National Park, it is a destination in itself.
- Portmeirion – Portmeirion is a popular tourist village in Gwynedd, North Wales. It was designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1975 in the style of an Italian village. For the Disabled Cruiser there are disabled spaces in the main car park which is a short walk from the village. Most of the footpaths around the village are level, although there are a few steps which can be avoided. The path up from the beach is quite steep. A map shows disabled access. Cafe and shops are all accessible.
Holyhead Accessible Excursions
Holyhead is a port and resort on the Welsh Holy Island. Visitors to the town can still see much evidence of early Celtic and Roman cultures. Places of interest in the Holyhead area include Holy Mountain and the South Stack Lighthouse. Visitors can also go fishing, golfing, and sailing.
Easy Countryside Drive & Welsh Tea (Wheelchair Accessible)
This 4 hour accessible tour begins with boarding on specialized lift-equipped motorcoach. On your countryside drive you will gaze upon the ever-changing scenery as you travel alongside the tree-lined roadway bordering the Menai Strait, the 15-mile waterway that separates Anglesey from the mainland. As you continue along the east coast, you’ll view long, sandy stretches of beach and small harbors along the way. Journey into the countryside for idyllic vistas of gently rolling hills, flower-filled meadows and lush farmland. You will stop For Welsh Tea at a Local Hotel.
Baking lies at the heart of traditional Welsh cooking, and a traditional afternoon tea is the perfect way to indulge a sweet tooth when in Wales. Enjoy a taste of bygone days spent around the hearth of the Welsh country cottage with delicious homemade Welsh cakes hot from the griddle and traditional bara brith, the famous ‘speckled bread’ of Wales that is made from an old family recipe, sweetened with sugar, raisins and currants. When served alongside a pot of steaming tea, it’s the perfect afternoon treat.