A55 Wales
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Category Archives: Landmarks

Hotel 70 Degrees, Old Colwyn

October 14, 2015   

On our way home from family holidays we would often be on the road at night. One of the landmarks we’d look for was a hotel on top of the hill.

The hotel was called Hotel 70 Degrees although it later became Colwyn Bay Hotel. It sits above the A55 at the top of a cliff called Penmaen Head. It was built in 1972.

hotel 70 degrees

It was called Hotel 70 Degrees because of the unusual angles used in the construction of the hotel.

hotel 70 degrees 2

Once a popular destination, unfortunately it closed in 2002 and was demolished in 2007 to make way for houses.





Rainbow Bridge, Penmaen Rhos, Colwyn Bay

September 14, 2015   

The footbridge at Colwyn Bay has become known locally as the Rainbow Bridge due to its shape.

rainbow bridge 2







Footbridge over the A55, Penmaen Rhosby N Chadwick is licensed under CC BY 2.0

rainbow bridge








Looking towards Penmaen Head and “Rainbow Bridge”” by Bryn Roberts is licensed under CC BY 2.0

More pictures can be found be visiting the links underneath the pictures.

Port at Holyhead

August 14, 2015   

The A55 runs right the way into the Port of Holyhead.

Bodelwyddan Castle

September 11, 2014   

Bodelwyddan Castle and Park, close to the village of Bodelwyddan, near Rhyl, Denbighshire, was built around 1460 by the Humphreys family of Anglesey as a manor house. Its most important association was with the Williams-Wynn family, which extended for around 200 years from 1690. It is now a Grade II Listed Building.


The castle was bought from the Humphreys by Sir William Williams, the House of Commons Speaker from 1680 to 1681. The castle was reconstructed between 1830 and 1832 by Sir John Hay Williams. Further refurbishment work was carried out in the 1880s by Sir Herbert, 7th Baronet, who inherited Bodelwyddan Castle from his heirless cousin.By the First World War the house had become a recuperation hospital for wounded soldiers.

By 1920, the cost of maintaining the castle and estate had grown too burdensome, and the Williams-Wynn family leased Bodelwyddlan to Lowther College, a girls private school. The school is thought to be one of the first private schools for girls to have its own swimming pool. It also had a private golf course. The Lowther College Tableaux were well regarded within the community for their musical excellence. Boys were admitted from 1977. The school closed in 1982 due to financial problems.

In the 1980s, the site was bought by Clywd County Council with the aim of developing the castle as a visitor attraction. Partnerships were formed with several prominent museums and art galleries, such as the National Portrait Gallery, so that the castle could be used to display objects from these collections. In order to house these items, the interior of the castle was restored.

Part of the site was leased in 1994 for development into a luxury hotel, Bodelwyddan Castle Hotel, and this use remains today. The historic house and grounds are not part of the hotel but are managed by an independent trust and are open to the public.

The castle has legends of several ghosts and the site has featured on the Most Haunted TV show.

The castle is available to hire for weddings!

The castle is virtually opposite the Marble Church on the A55.


Ynys Gored Goch – the house in the Menai Straits

August 25, 2014   

Ynys Gored Goch is a small island in the Menai Strait which can be clearly seen from the Britannia Bridge which crosses the water from the mainland to Anglesey. On the island you will see a white house and a converted smoke house where fish (whitebait) were smoked. Access to the island is only by boat.


Due to its location between the two Menai bridges, the house and island frequently appear on photographs of the Menai Strait.







Bodysgallen Obelisk

August 11, 2014   

As you pass the exits for Llandudno you will see an obelisk on the top of the hill.

bodysgallen obelisk© Copyright Paul Brooker and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.


The 64-foot obelisk was built as a folly in 1993 by the owners of the Bodysgallen Hall hotel. It is located in a meadow on a limestone ridge above a former quarry on Pydew mountain. The meadow has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest on account of its grassland and flowering plants. Initially the folly met with fierce local opposition but it is now an accepted landmark.






Gwrych Castle

July 7, 2014   

As you pass Abergele on the left you’ll see the desperately sad Gwrych Castle stood all on its own. It’s a beautiful building but it has fallen into neglect during the last 40 years.


It was built between 1819 and 1825 at the behest of Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Hesketh. It has had various owners over the years but it was last open to the public in 1985 when it was used as restaurants and special events.

It is believed that the castle is haunted.

There are great plans to turn the castle into a luxury hotel and clearing the site began in 2014.

The Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust has been founded to raise awareness of Gwrych’s plight and also to establish a solution for the conservation and preservation of the castle.

There are some amazing photos of the castle taken in 2012 here.

This is an interesting video.






Penryhn Castle

June 7, 2014   

As you come towards Bangor on the A55 you’ll see an imposing building on the right. This is Penrhyn Castle.

It was built between about 1822 and 1837. It was built in a medieval-style with Norman-style furniture inside. Queen Victoria visited in 1859.

The castle now belongs to the National Trust and is open to the public.

Penrhyn’s attractions include a formal walled garden, extensive informal gardens, a railway museum, a model railway museum and an adventure playground. Hanging on its walls is one of the finest art collections in North Wales, with works by artists including Rembrant. The castle has views over the Snowdonia mountains. In 2008/09 it was the National Trust’s thirteenth most visited paid-entry property, with 156,575 visitors.

penrhyn castle







© Copyright Ian Taylor and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Raynes Quarry & Jetty

April 17, 2014   

As you pass Llanddulas you can’t miss the quarry  and jetty. These are called the Raynes Quarry and Jetty.

There are two jetties both used for loading crushed limestone (that is quarried in the Llanddulas Quarries) onto boats for export to various destinations. The North Wales Coastal Path and the A55 expressway pass close to the jetties. The large concrete anchor like structures, Dolos, in the foreground of the picture (of which there are 20,000 with each one weighing some 5 Tons) were put in place to protect the A55 from coastal erosion.

Llanddulas Quarries have a history dating back to at least 1284 AD when the Bishop of Bangor was awarded the right to quarry the limestone from Llanddulas as a fee for christening the young King Edward 1 of England. Once upon at ime, limestone was transported to the shore by horse and cart. In 1842 the first jetty was constructed to afford maritime logistics and in 1849 the quarry was perfectly situated to enjoy the advent of railways and the “north coast line”. Today (2010) the western jetty, known as Raynes Jetty, is owned by Cemex. It is used to export limestone aggregates directly from Raynes Quarry

jetty quarry Quarry_pier_at_Llanddulas_-_geograph.org.uk_-_27670






North Hoyle Wind Farm

March 17, 2014   

North Hoyle is located 4-5 miles off the coast between Rhyl and Prestatyn and comprises of 30 wind turbines. It is situated in Liverpool Bay.


It is the UK’s first major offshore wind farm and represents a major milestone in the UK’s drive towards cleaner sources of power.

Built in 2003, the project is now fully operational and produces enough clean, green electricity each year to meet the needs of approximately 40,000 homes. This clean generation will offset the release of about 160,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (the main greenhouse gas contributing to global warming and climate change) every year.