City Guide to Bangor, Wales

Situated on the north coast of Wales along the Menai Straits, Bangor is blessed with a wonderful setting. With views of the Isle of Anglesey and the Menai Suspension Bridge in one direction, and Snowdonia’s towering peaks in the other, this friendly coastal city packs a powerful scenic punch.

The largest city in the Welsh county of Gwynedd, Bangor also ranks as one of Britain’s smallest cities, making it ideal for exploring by foot.

A walk is all that’s needed to take in Bangor’s highlights, from Bangor Cathedral to its charming, Victorian-era Garth Pier, and a traditional centre of pedestrianised streets, pastel-painted townhouses and Victorian villas. Add to these the pull of nearby Snowdonia National Park and the energy of students at Bangor University — another of the city’s claims to fame — and Bangor has something for everyone.

Best of Bangor

Whether you’re here to relax or explore, Bangor will oblige.  Stroll along the photogenic pier — the second longest in Wales — and take your time to soaking up Bangor’s stunning views over Anglesey. The great Edwardian buildings of Bangor University are admirable and you can drop into Gwynedd Museum and Art Gallery to uncover Bangor’s past. Then, if you swap your sightseeing for shopping, there are plenty of quirky independent shops in Bangor centre to potter around in and the longest high street in Wales to explore.

Afterwards, perhaps you could get all cosy in the welcoming pubs and cafes, enjoy fresh local produce in the restaurants and bistros, and sample Bangor’s lively evening scene, with its regular live music, folk music and classical concerts.

History of Bangor

Bangor’s origins lie in the early 6th century, when Saint Deiniol founded a monastery on the city’s present-day site. It’s believed the name Bangor, an ancient Welsh word meaning ‘wall’, may have originated from the wattle-style enclosure that ringed the monastery.

However, It wasn’t until the 17th century that Bangor began to take on the trappings of today’s city, with the arrival of local slate mining and shipbuilding industries; and in the 19th century, the advent of the railway and pleasure steamers from Liverpool.

Outdoor Attractions in and Around Bangor

Bangor has plenty to attract activity lovers. Golfers will be eager to play the city’s St. Deiniol Golf Club, with its lovely 18-hole course designed by five-time Open champion James Braid.

Seafarers will love boat trips on the Menai Strait, and walkers and outdoor fans will adore nearby Snowdonia National Park with its hiking trails, outdoor activities, waterfalls such as the magical Aber Falls, and the famous Snowdonia Mountain Railway.

Alternatively, there is the opportunity to roam the nature reserves around Bangor’s River Ogwen and Menai Strait shores, relax on the nearby sandy beaches, or stride out on the dramatic North Wales Path that traces the coast between Bangor and Prestatyn.


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