Last weekend, May 4th, was a bank holiday in Ireland, so we decided to visit our friends in Liverpool, see Wales, and take the ferry over to Great Britain. The Irish Ferry was pretty easy to book and it traveled from Dublin Port to Holyhead Wales. We took the fast ferry, which does the trip in just under 2 hours. On board is pretty comfortable. They have free wifi, but don't expect to do too much with it.
Once we arrived in Holyhead, we started immediately to our first town, Beaumaris. We needed pounds immediately to pay for parking, and we didn't have any yet, but luckily a welsh woman paid for our parking. The castle here was decent, and you can walk on top, but it doesn't have many towers or hidden rooms. The town here is a very cute little town, and we were lucky to have picked this place for lunch (well, the guide book said it would work out well).
Next we headed to Conwy. By the time we got there, both kids were asleep, so I quickly went in by myself. This castle is larger and has more towers and some hidden rooms. Good views of the town from the towers. But next we headed to Llandudno. We read that this town was actually having a large festival, evident by all the cars parked, but we drove the scenic road around the Great Orme Park. We were able to drive up to the summit as well, where the tram and cable car end up. There were some great views of the hills and towns from the drive. Llandudno looks like a real cute little town, but due to the congestion of the carnival, we decided to just skip it.
On our way to Liverpool, we decided to drive by one more castle. Rhuddlan Castle isn't far from the main road and located in a little town. By the time we got here, they would have been closing soon. So Kacey let Nolan run around a little while taking a few pictures. This castle looked to be a little more in ruins than the first ones we had seen, so by this time, we were ready to go see our friends!
We got to Wirral just in time for dinner. Nolan and Braeden became instant friends! They were running around and holding hands before we even got to dinner. On Sunday we visited their church in Hoylake and really enjoyed their service. I kinda needed some time in worship after the stress we had endured trying to find a place to live. After church we took the train in to Liverpool and walked around the Mersey. The weather was fantastic! We visited the free Museum of Liverpool and the kids had fun in the "Little Liverpool" kids area. After some ice cream and walking around Albert Docks, we headed back home for some dinner.
On Monday (bank holiday), we decided to go to Chester Zoo. Well, so did about 10,000 other people. The 5 mile line inched in and we gave up after about 30 minutes. Even if we had gotten in, it would have been extremely crowded. So we bailed and went to the Blue Planet Aquarium. It was pretty empty, and the kids had a great time running around. Afterward, we headed in to Chester to check out the cathedral and walk around. The Chester Cathedral was nice and we relaxed in the central gardens for a bit. We next walked down to the river and walked along a bit. It was a nice place for a lazy walk. But, it was dinner time and worried things might close, we started looking. We ended up at the Ristorante Sergio for dinner, and it was great. I always love good Italian eateries where you can speak Italian to the folks there.
The next day we drove back in to Liverpool to take in the Anglican Cathedral. This church is pretty massive and the view from the top is incredible. The bell tower on the way up and hard to put in to words its size. We were also able to grab a quick snack here before getting on the road back to Wales. We had scheduled enough time to visit the Caernarfon Castle. This was a pretty neat castle and some of the tall towers could be scaled by Nolan. There is also a nice vantage point of the town square from the castle. We grabbed some food before heading to catch the ferry.
We really lucked out. The weather the entire trip was really great, we saw a lot of fun castles, some grand cathedrals, and saw some great friends.
Pictures from this trip can be found here.