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The largest town in the Welsh county of Anglesey, Holyhead is a busy sea port which serves as a gateway to Ireland for much sea traffic, including passenger ferries. As far as luxury cruise ships go however, Holyhead serves a different purpose and is a featured port of call on a number of round-the-UK and European itineraries. As visitors will realise when they set to exploring, it has a number of its own historical attractions as well as playing host to many of Wales' better-known tourist sights.
The area around Holyhead is home to many prehistoric settlements and indeed, you'll find more standing stones and burial chambers here mile-for-mile than you will anywhere else in Britain. It truly came into historical prominence however during Roman times, when it became a key lookout post, with a watchtower being built atop Holyhead Mountain, within an existing prehistoric hill fort. These days, most visitors from the UK reach Holyhead by crossing from the Welsh mainland onto the Isle of Anglesey and though the town lies in the county of Anglesey, it's not part of the island itself, rather it sits on Holy Island. This smaller island is connected to the larger Anglesey by both road and rail, making it easy for visitors to explore.
Visitors arriving in Holyhead will have the opportunity to experience some attractions of real historical importance, including St Cybil's Church. More than just the town's oldest place of worship, this is the very building which the town was built around, which itself sits inside one of the only remaining three-walled forts in Europe. In this instance, the fourth wall was the sea, which, hundreds of years ago, used to come right up to the fort, which is an attraction in itself, dating back to the fourth century. One of the rounded bastions is still largely intact and after years of silently standing watch, the fort still enjoys a commanding view of the modern port of Holyhead.
Perhaps Holyhead's most immediately visible attraction, and with good reason, is South Stack Lighthouse. It's a bit of a trek to get there and will take you a while but it's situated in one of the most beautiful areas of Holyhead, which offers plenty of photo opportunities. Once there, you'll learn about the history of the building and how it works and also be able to climb to the top to enjoy the ultimate view of Holyhead and the Irish Sea. It's no surprise that, owing to its location, Holyhead enjoys a distinguished maritime tradition and after you've seen how seafarers were safely guided in to port, you could take a trip to the Maritime Museum to find out more about its naval history. A guided tour is available and enhances the experience greatly.
Holyhead is not known for its retail appeal, but the truth is like any other relatively large town, it has more than its fair share of high street shops, should you feel the need to go on a spree while in port. It's also safe to say you'll be able to find a Welsh dragon-themed souvenir or two in the town centre, if you require a memento of your visit.
There are plenty of places to eat in Holyhead, whether you fancy an Indian meal, Mexican food or some more traditional pub food. However, when it comes to the best view as well as good food, the Harbourfront Bistro takes some beating and is somewhat of a tourist attraction in itself.
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