The Welsh village of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch has the second-longest place name in the world. Brought to light recently by a viral video clip of a weatherman pronouncing the entire name flawlessly, this small community on North Wales’ Isle of Anglesey was actually renamed in the 1860s in what was an early form of a publicity stunt. Of course, the name’s the biggest draw, but there’s more to Llanfair PG and the surrounding area than that. Here are a few things to see and do in – don’t make me type it out again!
1. Photograph the Town’s Name
Although the title for longest place name in the world belongs to a hill in New Zealand with an absurd 85 letters, Llanfair PG holds second place and first place in Europe with its mouthful of 58 letters. Unsurprisingly, the most obvious reason to visit is to snap a photo of the full place name proudly displayed at the railway station. For those set on trying to pronounce it, an English approximation accompanies the original Welsh name. Good luck with that.
2. Visit Beaumaris Castle
Located in a town of the same name, the Beaumaris Castle is a convenient day trip from Llanfair PG. Construction of the magnificent and well-preserved castle began in 1295, and it played an important role in the English Civil War of the 17th century. The castle presents a perfect exemple of concentric design, and although it was never completely finished, visitors can see the moated walls and gatehouses while exploring the extensive network of passageways.
3. Climb the Anglesey Column
The Marquess of Anglesey’s Column is a grey marble construction standing 100 feet high. One of the most important landmarks in the Isle of Anglesey, the Doric column features an enclosed platform at the top and a statue of the marquess. Completed in 1815, two years after the Battle of Waterloo, the column features a surrounding garden and a rather steep climb up 115 steps to reach the viewing platform.
4. Visit the Anglesey Sea Zoo
One of the top family attractions in the region, the Anglesey Sea Zoo is an independent marine education and research center, and the largest aquarium in Wales. It displays more than 150 native species of sea-life, including kelp, sharks, eels, seahorses and more. It is also home to a lobster hatchery and a restaurant that exclusively serves locally sourced produce.
5. Discover the Neolithic Burial Mounds
Anglesey is famous for its many Neolithic burial mounds, many of which are well-preserved. Among the most famous is the Barclodiad and Gawres Burial Chamber, a round barrier consisting of a domed roof and several chambers excavated in 1952. Among the various other prehistoric sites are Din Dryfol, the cairn of Mynydd Bach and the standing stones of Werthyr.
6. Buy Souvenirs at James Pringle Weavers
Located on Holyhead Road, James Pringle Weavers is a famous store and tourist hotspot which also has shops in various other parts of the country. Having recently reopened after an extensive revamp, the department store sells clothes, food and a multitude of souvenirs. There’s also a restaurant and tea room. Be sure to buy some postcards featuring the town’s legendary name.
7. Visit the Plas Newydd Country House and Gardens
Now property of the national trust, the Plas Newydd House and Gardens are set on the shores of the Menai Strait, facing the mainland of Wales. Another convenient day trip from Llanfair PG, the elegant country house was built in the 18th century and features a perfectly preserved 1930s interior and a military museum focusing on the Battle of Waterloo. Visitors can also explore the extensive gardens while enjoying views of Snowdonia’s mountains.
8. Try Learning Some Welsh
Although almost everyone still speaks English there, Anglesey remains one of the strongholds of the Welsh language, and you’re more likely to hear it more than English across the island. Spoken by some 430,000 people, Welsh is by far the most prolific of the few remaining Celtic languages, and it holds official status in Wales. If you’re up for a challenge, Anglesey is a perfect place to try and pick up some of this unique language.