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The small town of Llangollen in Denbighshire, north-east Wales, enjoys a picturesque location beside the River Dee, surrounded by rolling heather-clad hills which lead to the Berwyn Mountains beyond. These naturally beautiful surroundings ensure Llangollen's popularity with walkers, climbers and adventure sports enthusiasts but this charming town also boasts many sites of historic interest.

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Llangollen began as a religious community (a 'llan') founded in the seventh century by Saint Collen. In the thirteenth century a castle was built atop Dinas Brân, a high hill overlooking Llangollen which was also the site of a fort in the Iron Age. Today, the ruined walls and arches of the medieval castle can be reached via a track which ascends the hill. From the top, panoramic views of Denbighshire's countryside are attained.

One of Llangollen's greatest historic treasures, however, is its canal and particularly the stunning Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, engineered by Thomas Telford. Grade I listed and a UNESCO World Heritage site, this magnificent structure stands 125 feet high and carries the Llangollen Canal over the River Dee. Crossing the aqueduct by narrow boat or on foot is an experience that no visitor should miss.

Llangollen itself, meanwhile, is delightful to explore on foot and offers gift and antique shops, fine bars and restaurants and a selection of attractions including a motor museum, canal boat trips and a Victorian promenade.

Plas Newydd

This magnificent half-timbered house set in landscaped gardens, belonged to Lady Eleanor Butler and Miss Sarah Ponsonby who moved in during the eighteenth century and set about transforming what was a humble cottage into a Gothic masterpiece. Today Plas Newydd is a museum which recounts the fascinating story of these two friends who famously became known as 'the Ladies of Llangollen'.

Valle Crucis Abbey

The last Cistercian monastery to be built in Wales, the ruined Valle Crucis Abbey is a two-mile walk north of Llangollen. Dating from 1201, the abbey was built upon the site of an earlier wooden church and housed round a hundred monks. Although it fell into disrepair following the dissolution of the monasteries by King Henry VIII in 1537, Valle Crucis Abbey remains substantially intact and is a fascinating and impressive site to explore.

Llangollen Bridge

Llangollen's historic stone bridge dates from 1345, and was intended to provide a permanent replacement for earlier wooden structures that were frequently washed away by the raging River Dee. Extensively rebuilt in 1656 at a cost of £250 (a fortune by today's standards), this iconic bridge was doubled in width in the late eighteenth century.

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