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image for Town item typeHolyhead

Town

Holyhead

Holyhead

Details

Holyhead is the largest town on the island of Anglesey and is perhaps known best for being a busy ferry port. Attractions in Holyhead include the Holyhead Maritime Museum, the Ucheldre Centre, Penrhos Coastal Park, Breakwater Country Park and South Stack RSPB Centre and lighthouse. Holyhead's leisure centre has a swimming pool and sports centre.

Holyhead's arts centre, the Ucheldre Centre, is located in the chapel of an old convent belonging to the order of the Bon Sauveur. It holds regular arts exhibitions, performances, workshops and film screenings. The Holyhead Maritime Museum is housed in what is claimed to be Wales's oldest lifeboat house.

The town centre is built around St. Cybi's Church, which is built inside one of Europe's few three-walled Roman forts (the fourth wall being the sea, which used to come up to the fort). The Romans also built a watchtower on the top of Holyhead Mountain inside Mynydd y Twr, a prehistoric hillfort. Settlements in the area date from prehistoric times, with circular huts, burial chambers and standing stones featuring in the highest concentration in Britain. The current lighthouse is on South Stack on the other side of Holyhead Mountain and is open to the public. The area is also popular with birdwatchers.

There is archaeological evidence that people have been sailing between Holyhead and Ireland for 4,000 years. Holyhead's maritime importance was at its height in the 19th century with a 1.7 mile (3 km) long sea breakwater. Holyhead Breakwater is the longest in the UK and was built to create a safe harbour for vessels caught in stormy waters on their way to Liverpool and the industrial ports of Lancashire. Holyhead's sea heritage is remembered in a maritime museum.

The post road built by Thomas Telford from London strengthened Holyhead's position as the port from which the Royal Mail was dispatched to and from Dublin on the Mail coach. The A5 terminates at Admiralty Arch (1822-24), which was designed by Thomas Harrison to commemorate a visit by King George IV in 1821 en route to Ireland and marks the zenith of Irish Mail coach operations.

In 2001, work was completed on the extension of the A55 North Wales Expressway from the Britannia Bridge to Holyhead, giving the town a dual carriageway connection to North Wales and the main British motorway network.

With the opening of the railway from London to Liverpool, Holyhead lost the London to Dublin Mail contract in 1839 to the Port of Liverpool. Only after the completion of the Chester and Holyhead Railway in 1850 and the building of Holyhead railway station did the Irish Mail return to Holyhead, operated from London Euston by the London and North Western Railway.

Also at this Venue

Contact

Caernarfon Tourist Information Centre

Address

Holyhead,
Isle of Anglesey,
LL65 1BG

Location

Directions

Plan route to Holyhead using Google mapsPlan route using Google maps

Map reference: SH 240830  Lat: 53.31487 Long: -4.64203

Holyhead is served by the A55 and A5 road networks.

Parking: free

Parking: with charge

Accessible by Public Transport: 0 miles from Holyhead station