Undiscovered Britain: Wales On the Trail of Alice
To celebrate the launch of the 2016 Best Loved Hotel & Travel Guide, we are pleased to bring you a series of stories on Undiscovered Britain by leading travel writers.
On the Trail of Alice
by David Atkinson
I am following the footprints of a White Rabbit around
Llandudno. The tiny pairs of paws are leading me, map in
hand, through this popular seaside resort on the North
Wales coast on the trail of Alice Liddell.
All the well-loved characters are here, as statues.
The Mad Hatter is busily inspecting the salty-aired
promenade, while a giant Alice, pinafore dress flapping
in the sea breeze, towers over the train station. Wherever
I look, the characters from my favourite childhood story
are coming alive around me.
Llandudno recently marked the 150th anniversary of
the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by the
Cheshire-born author Lewis Carroll. I’m trying out a new
walking trail around the town to find out more about the
little girl behind the classic children’s story.
Carroll was a family friend of the Liddell family and
regularly visited them at their holiday home, Penmorfa,
on Llandudno’s West Shore in the 1860s. He delighted
in the company of the then eight-year-old Alice Liddell
and, soon afterwards, completed his manuscript for
the story that would go on to be translated into 97
The ‘Follow the White Rabbit Trail’ links 55 bronzecast
pawprints along the promenade, past the kiss-mequick
pier with its historic Punch and Judy show, and
up towards the manicured gardens of the Happy Valley.
There’s a carved throne fit for the Queen of Hearts and a
grinning Cheshire Cat for kids to clamber over.
After lunch at a local cafe, I pick up the trail back into
town. For this I’ve downloaded the two new ‘Alice Town
Trail’ audio-visual apps to my tablet. The White Rabbit
app documents places around town associated with the
story of Alice while the Looking Glass app presents clues
in a game-style format. They each use the tablet’s builtin
camera to bring a street scene to life with animated
Llandudno sees itself as the natural home to the
Alice story. Alice Day, including the election of a Miss
Alice, is now staged every May and there are plans to
resurrect the Alice museum and develop more events
around the Alice theme.
“We want to make Llandudno Alice’s permanent
home,” says Barry Mortlock, co-director Alice in
Wonderland Ltd. “It will be a focal point for Alice
enthusiasts from all over the world.”
For me, however, a day on the Alice trail is simply a
way to see Llandudno in a new way — a bit like going
through the looking glass.
Alice Town Trails’ White
Rabbit and Looking Glass
apps, £2.99 each.
For a selection of hotels in Wales, including the latest special offers, visit Best Loved Hotels in Wales.
David Atkinson (www.atkinsondavid.com) is a Chester-based award-winning travel writer and blogger.