Take a trip back to the 1800s at the Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza 2020, a vintage-themed carnival celebrating all things Victorian. The largest free annual family event in Wales returns for its 35th instalment this year, with a packed calendar of old-time fair rides, chugging steam engines, colourful period costumes, and jubilant daily parades.
Here's everything you need to know about Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza 2020.
What to Expect from Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza 2020
With a 19th-century seafront of elegant, whitewashed town houses and a Grade II listed pier built in 1878, Llandudno is the perfect place for a Victorian carnival.
The North Wales town rose to prominence as a popular seaside resort during the Victorian era, a transformation made possible by the English architect Owen Williams (of Spaghetti Junction fame). Besides the vintage pier, Llandudno's Victorian heritage can be seen today in its grandest hotels, shopping arcades and train station.
A fun-packed weekend of entertainment, parades and fairs celebrating Llandudno's rich Victorian heritage, this event is ideal for a cheap family day out. For three days, there'll be stalls selling Victorian-style sweets and treats, exciting exhibitions of hulking traction engines, popular games and rides from the 1800s, and much more.
Entrance into the event, the exhibitions and the parades are all free, but some of the fair-ground attractions require a fee. Generally, rides start at around £2.
The carnival takes over the centre town, running along most of Mostyn Street and The Parade, Llandudno's beautiful promenade.
For more vintage fun, the event takes place at the same time as the Llandudno Transport Festival, which is held to the east of Mostyn Street at the sea front showground. Many of the vehicles on show date back to the Victorian era, particularly the early steam engines. Both events are linked by a free shuttle bus - sadly, it's not powered by steam.
The Best Things to Do at Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza 2020
March in a Victorian Parade
Not to be missed, this daily spectacle shows off the Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza at its vintage best. Expect everything from steam-powered omnibuses and horse-drawn delivery wagons to classic marching bands and Victorian-era costumed actors. The parade kicks off at midday, making a loop of the town before finishing along Llandudno's classic seaside promenade.
Enter a Fantastic Fancy Dress Competition
Raid the fancy dress box for your finest vintage glad rags and take part in the Best Victorian Dress Competition. Entrants get to strut their stuff in the daily parade, before heading to the main stage for the judges' verdict. There are four categories to enter (ladies, gentleman, children and family category). Chimney sweep chic not your thing? Go along for the fun anyway!
Learn Your Lesson at a Victorian School
Find out what is was like to go to school back in Queen Victoria's day with this fun, interactive 'lesson' in an 1800s classroom. One for the whole family, there'll be fancy dress, and interesting history taught by a teacher straight out of the 19th century - it's old school in every sense. The school will be open across the weekend, and it's free to take part.
How to Get to Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza in 2020
As the biggest free event in Wales, Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza 2020 is likely to be very busy, so plan your travel well in advance.
Regional train services will run as normal to Llandudno train station. For those travelling from England, there are direct services from Manchester Piccadilly throughout the weekend. For the full vintage experience, it's also possible to travel by steam train on Saturday 9 May with Vintage Trains.
For drivers, the event shouldn't disrupt the roads around Llandudno, although access to the main streets in centre will be restricted. For parking in the centre options include The Parade, Victoria car park, Llandudno Station, the Retail Park and Trinity Square.
Further out of town, there is parking on York Road heading south out of town, and Marine Drive, close to the cable car station.
When Does Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza 2020 Take Place?
The event takes place over the early May Bank Holiday weekend (8-10 May 2020), Friday-Sunday. The action starts at 10am every day, and starts to wind down by 5pm.
Note that the bank holiday will run from Friday to Sunday this year, in honour of the 75th anniversary of VE Day.
If you're planning to spend the weekend at Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza, check out our Llandudno hotels.