I have a golden opportunity to visit North Wales for the day on a Monday next month, so I’m going to use it to try and leap into the beautiful Welsh language. I’ll be coming by train from Manchester and my plan is to find a cafe/restaurant/pub/anywhere where I can strike up a real Welsh conversation. My Welsh is truly, truly at a beginner’s level.
My question is: can anyone recommend somewhere? It would need to be within comfortable distance of a station on the Chester-Holyhead line, and somewhere where I’d likely be welcome, or tolerated, imposing my amateur Welsh on the locals.
Just pop into a local cafe and when you hear welsh spoken just enter into a conversation with them whether its about the weather or just to inform them that you are learning. Once you have broken this mind barrier they will be no stopping you!!
This is not a recommendation because I’ve never been there…but I recently saw an interesting online news article about a pub in Caernarfon being on the shortlist for the “Welshest pub in the world”. Here’s the article:
Unfortunately, Caernarfon is not connected to the national railway system. However, it’s a fairly short bus ride from Bangor, on the North Wales line.
Hi Baruch . I would say that you are unlikely to hear any Welsh spoken on the North Wales coast . If you wanted to stick to the towns on the railway line then your best chance would be to stop off somewhere on Anglesey like Llanfairpwllgwyngyll but I agree with Gavin , if you are willing to get off the train at Bangor and take a short bus ride to Caernarfon then you will hear Welsh being spoken pretty much everywhere you go .
Pob lwc . Have a good trip
Based on those answers and my very limited time, I think that I’ll go for Conwy…quite a number of cafes and the like in a compact area. And if I’m out of luck, it’s still a lovely area to visit for a few hours! Diolch yn fawr.
Thanks very much for the suggestion; but I think I’ll go for Conwy because my time will be very limited and it’s considerably closer when one is coming by public transport. (The first time I remember actually hearing Welsh on the street was in Caernarfon actually.)
These people may have just been lucky (at least regarding Welsh), but:
According to Wikipedia, it looks like you have about a 1 in 3 chance of meeting people who have some knowledge of Welsh, and about a 1 in 4 chance of meeting someone who says they can speak Welsh. Statistically speaking, it’s not the best area, but it’s by no means the worst, either.
That’s some good research there Gavin I am in Conwy quite regularly and very rarely hear any Welsh spoken there. Unfortunately it lost it’s Welsh spoken as a community language a generation or two ago along with rest of the North Wales coast but you will still hear it spoken from time to time. I find that it starts to get more Welsh when you get past Penmaenmawr and in to Gwynedd. I was in the Café Hen Felin in Abergwyngregyn the other day and everyone was speaking Welsh in there .
This is so, so kind of everyone. I still have a couple of weeks to decide, so it’s great to read these suggestions.
I see that Abergwyngregyn is a small place: would that limit my options?
Maybe I’ll go for Caernarfon after all.
Diolch yn fawr iawn i chi pawb eto.
Abergwyngregyn is only a small village and there is just the one cafe there I think but it doesn’t have a train station . The nearest train station is in Llanfairfechan a couple of miles away . If you could get to Llangefni on Anglesey that is another town where the majority of people speak Welsh
If the being on the coast is going to restrict you opportunities, there’s always the option of a short train (or bus or even taxi) ride down the Conwy valley to Llanrwst where you’ll find street Welsh in abundance. Lovely town, picturesque market square and bridge, Welsh book shop (Bys a Bawd), Welsh spoken everywhere.
So kind of everyone to help. This is marvellous. And I hope that it may help other people who wish to just “drop in” on spoken Welsh on the street.
We stayed in Betws-y-Coed a couple of years ago (and heard Welsh!), and we went through Llanrwst a few times: good suggestion.
“Syniad da”, to show that I’ve learned something from my SSiW lessons!
Yes, it’s quite possible to reach Llanwrst by train along the lovely Conwy Valley Line/ Rheilffordd Dyffryn Conwy. But you’ll need to choose your train times fairly carefully @Baruch, because it’s only a branch line and the trains are not all that frequent. Here’s the timetable: