Station Spotlight: Deganwy
Have you ever thought about taking a trip on the 31 mile long Conwy Valley Railway?
Your journey begins in the seaside resort of Llandudno and ends at Blaenau Ffestiniog, slate capital of Wales, before returning up the valley. All ten stops on the line have fascinating stories to tell plus lots to see and do. If you like the sound of this, we recommend you park the car and let the train take the strain.
Next stop in our station spotlight series is Deganwy, a small coastal village a few miles outside Llandudno, which featured in our first station spotlight.
You can get off the train at any of the stops along the Conwy Valley Line but be prepared to spend a few hours at your destination. The line is a single track so you’ll need to wait for the train to make its return before you can continue your journey. With this in mind, our station spotlight blogs also recommend things to see and do near to the stations, just in case you get the urge to explore.
Deganwy Station – the history
Deganwy lies on the opposite side of the River Conwy to Conwy town, and there has been some sort of landing stage or dock here since the 12th century. There was a railway line built between the dock at Deganwy and Blaenau Ffestiniog in an attempt to transport slate quarried at Blaenau to the rest of Great Britain during the Industrial Revolution in the 19th Century; however, it never really took off or lived up to expectations.
In 1858, the branch line to Llandudno was built but there was little need for trains to stop in what we now know as Deganwy – the only thing in the area at that time was a small homestead. The farmer, John Lloyd Jones insisted the railway went near to his house. In 1866, trains began to stop at a very basic station – on Farmer Jones’ farmstead!
The station that we see now was built in 1873 as a response to the growth in population and tourism to Llandudno. The London and North Western Railway converted the Llandudno branch from a single to a double line, which brought in many more tourists to Deganwy.
- Request stop only;
- Free car park with 20 spaces – 1 accessible space;
- Step-free access;
- No toilets;
- No waiting room;
- Passengers must buy tickets prior to travel or on the train.
Deganwy through the years
Deganwy village grew in popularity on the back of Llandudno as a seaside resort. A row of shops was built along Station Road and stylish ‘villas’ were built for the wealthy on the hillside behind.
Farmer Jones’ farmstead, the site of the first Deganwy station, was developed into a hotel, home to TV presenter Jess Yates in the 1960s. Deganwy was the site of a prestigious lido, popular with locals and tourists, that hosted many bathing beauty pageants. It closed down in the 1950s but is still remembered fondly by many of the locals.
In 2007, a complex of luxury houses and apartments was completed, along with a 5 star hotel, spa and marina on the site of the old Deganwy Docks. You will pass alongside the development as you depart Deganwy for Llandudno Junction.
In and around Deganwy
Deganwy is a small and quiet town, but it certainly isn’t short of things to do and see whilst you are visiting the area.
It’s most remarkable landmark is Deganwy Castle, situated at the top of the Vardre (a steep, rocky outcrop rising behind the town). This fortress predates its famous neighbour, Conwy, by at least two centuries and there has been a settlement on the site since the 5th century. There’s not a great deal left of the castle but what remains gives a fascinating insight into the medieval military mind.
The views from the Vardre are breathtaking and it’s worth the walk (a two and a half hour round trip from Deganwy) to take in the almost 360 degree panorama of Llandudno Bay, the Conwy Estuary, the Conwy Valley, Anglesey, the Carneddau Mountains and the peaks of Snowdonia.
We think Deganwy Castle is a very well-kept secret from the tourists – one of those hidden gems North Wales is so famous for. Go see for yourself!
If you love the outdoors but hiking’s not really your thing, there are, not one, but two excellent golf courses a short taxi ride from the station.
Wildlife lovers should follow the cycle path from the station towards Llandudno Junction to pay a visit to the wonderfully wild RSPB Conwy Nature Reserve, a beautiful little reserve bursting with birdlife all year round – and a very good cafe too!
Speaking of food, if all that fresh air’s made you hungry, make the short journey across Station Road from the station platform and try the multiple award-winning Paysanne French Restaurant.
Opened in 1988 by Barbara and Bob Ross, this family-run restaurant serves simple French food made with local ingredients and wine sourced from small, independent French vineyards.
It was rated one of the top five Mediterranean restaurants in Great Britain by Olive Magazine, and was winner of the Destination Conwy Tourism Award for Food and Drink at the Conwy Business Awards 2016 – those are some accolades!
Small in size, big in character. That’s how we sum up Deganwy. It’s a vibrant little place with lots to offer and you’ll have no problem whiling away the time before the Conwy Valley Railway chugs back into town.
Next time we alight at the only mainline station on the Conwy Valley Railway: Llandudno Junction.