"Bangor, aye!" Top 5 Page for this destination Bangor by leics
Bangor Travel Guide: 90 reviews and 234 photos
The title's a bit of an in-joke for those who have associations with Bangor. It has a very distinctive accent, and 'aye' seems to be added to the end of many a sentence (a bit like 'innit' is nowadays, amongst the young ones in the UK).
I suppose it's what would be termed my 'alma mater'; I went to university there. Actually, I went to Coleg Prifysgol Gogledd Cymru (University College of North Wales; UCNW) which was 'built with the miners' pennies'. At the time North Wales (especially Gwynedd) was the centre of Welsh-speaking Wales; the renaissance of Welsh language and independence started when I was there, with the very first Plaid Cymru (Welsh Nationalist) MP being elected (Dafydd Wigley, a very nice man) in 1974.
Gwynedd has always been very Welsh, though Bangor (having such a large population of students) always seemed to be that little bit more cosmopolitan. Nevertheless, it's really just a small town pretending to be a city (and none the worse for that, imo).
You'll certainly hear Welsh spoken in Bangor. In fact, Welsh is the first language of the majority of the population and schools teach through the medium of Welsh (that's why I had to leave the area). So it's a good example of Welsh small town life and culture, if nothing else.
Although not officially in Snowdonia, Bangor makes a good base for exploring the area (and for exploring Anglesey, as the Menai Bridge is only a couple of miles away). There are more than enough shops (rather a lot more than there were when I was a student there) and some pleasant wanderings to be made. There's a new pier, with excellent views of the Menai Straits and the mountains which lie behind Bangor. There are hotels, and b&bs, and pubs enough. Bangor has a railway station and a reasonably wide-ranging bus service which will get you out and about if you have no car.
But I can't pretend it's pretty, or that it is stuffed with interesting things to see and do. The cathedral is worth a (short) visit; it's interesting but really tiny. Wandering around the university (many buildings, spread around Upper Bangor) will give you a good idea of Victorian Welsh vernacular architecture. Oh, and Bangor does have it's own little mountain (Bangor Mountain...Mynedd Bangor. Obviously.)
The Romans had a camp here, though there is nothing to show for it now; the troops very nearly mutinied when they saw the wailing, screaming Druids and their women standing on the the shores of Anglesey, but stood firm and subdued the island in the end.
The pier was built in the 1890's and was, rather amazingly, restored to its former glory in the 1990's. So you can wander along it (for free, in the evenings) and look at the birds, and Anglesey, and the mountains behind you. It's quite a stroll from the city centre though, a good 20 minutes plus.
I'm very fond of Bangor because it was an important place in my life, and it's certainly not a bad place to live. But from a visitor's point of view, it's really only worth a morning or afternoon of your time (unless you use it as a base). Anything more would quickly become tedious.
- Pros:Cathedral, good base for Snowdonia and castles
- Cons:None really
- In a nutshell:University city on the Menai Straits
I'm repeating this tip in a number of locations, because people simply don't seem to realise. The mountains of... more travel advice
Piers were very much in fashion in Victorian times. Wandering along, eating the new 'hokey-pokeys' (ice-creams) etc etc.... more travel advice
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