Sunday, 31 May 2015

2015 - Day Out 04: Llandudno

Date: Saturday 23 May 2015

Its time for another coach trip, but instead of our usual operator, we are giving Greenline Coaches, based in Stourbridge a trial and book a trip back to Wales and to the seaside resort of Llandudno.

I make my way into Wollaston, so that I can catch National Express West Midlands service 276 into Stourbridge, picking up Mr UKBuses along the way. The bus arrives at 07.05am and makes it way into Stourbridge where we arrive at Stourbridge Interchange at 07.19am, which means we have about twenty minutes before we have to catch our coach. We make the short walk from the Interchange to the bus stop in Birmingham Street, where just after 07.30am, a Greenline coach pulls up. Mr UKBuses tries to board, but it is not our coach and the one he was trying to catch was going on a mystery tour. Not long after, our coach turns up and we board and make ourselves comfortable for the journey ahead. We do have some pick ups first before going on the motorway and after nearly an hour and a half and picking up in Halesowen, Blackheath, Bilston and Dudley (plus a few more inbetween!), we finally make our way on the open road, where our coach driver Mark informs us that there is an air show taking place in Llandudno today.

Our Greenline Coach
After travelling through Wolverhampton, we make our way onto the M6 heading north to our destination. Along the way we do stop off at the Sandbach Services (along with the Mystery Coach Tour vehicle), so we have chance to get a bite to eat. Mr UKBuses decides on a McDonalds breakfast, but seeing the queue, I decide to get a sandwich from next door, which was a nice Chicken, Bacon and stuffing affair. Mr UKBuses finally joins me as I'm halfway through my food. With our bellies filled, we head outside where I get a "Fresh Air" break before we board our coach (not the mystery tour one again!) and continue on our journey to Llandudno. We do get off to a good start from the services and after we pass Chester, disaster strikes, there is a traffic jam on the road ahead. We put this down to Bank Holiday Weekend traffic, but I do think the air show at Llandudno has something to do with it. After a couple of hours in the traffic jam, we finally arrive in Llandudno just shy of 01.30pm, see picture right. The driver does give us an extra half an hour in Llandudno to make up for our late arrival, but due to driving laws, he couldn't give us any more time after that. We alight the coach at the coach park and whilst Mr UKBuses gets a few photographs, I opt for an overdue "Fresh Air" break.

JD Wetherspoons - The Paladium
We take to the streets of Llandudno now, and due to the Air Show taking place, the streets are very very busy. We make our way down Moyston Street, passing Gerrard's The Bakers which impressed Mr UKBuses and turn left into Market Street, where we decide to get some refreshments at J D Wetherspoons, "The Palladium", see picture left,. Mr UKBuses decides to get the first round in (Ah yes, it's a Wetherspoons!), so whilst he was waiting to get served at the bar, I try to find a table. Because the Air Show is on the pub is jam packed and after doing a couple of laps, I do eventually find a table. Mr UKBuses returns with the drinks and he must have been thirsty as it only takes one big gulp and about 5 - 10 seconds for him to finish. Before I get a sip of mine I have to go back to the bar to get another round in and whilst waiting at the bar, the couple next to me were ordering food and the barman informed them that there is a 45 minute wait for food to be served. Once I return to the table and inform Mr UKBuses about the wait we decide to look for food elsewhere. With drinks finished we make our way back into the main street of Llandudno and we look for a Fish and Chip Shop.

The Red Arrows

Mr UKBuses enjoys his ice cream!
After passing a few with big queues, we do find the "Pebbles" Fish and Chip Shop and decide to wait in the queue, that is until we find out that they do a restaurant service and we take a seat and get served straight away and tuck into our food whilst the people in the queue are still waiting. We tuck in and the fish and chips were beautiful. Once consumed, we decide to stay a while to let our dinners go down properly, that is until we look at the time and find out that the Red Arrows are coming on in a couple of minutes. We quickly jump out of our seats and make our way out of the restaurant and onto the sea front, just in time to see the aerial display being put on by the pilots of The Red Arrows, see picture above. With the display over, Mr UKBuses fancies a trip to The Great Orme. Considering that the crowds are making there way towards us, we decide not to go with the flow and walk in the opposite direction, so after about ten minutes of jostling with the oncoming crowds, we reach the North Parade and The Grand Hotel, where we have a walk up the hill to where the cable cars are. We make our way to the back of the queue, and seeing how slow the cable car queue is moving and realise that when we get to The Great Orme, we will have to wait roughly the same time when we want to get back down. We decide not to pursue the cable cars, so we head back down by the cliff, where Mr UKBuses has an ice cream, see picture right, and we take a seat and admire the views.

After having a break and overlooking the pier, we decide to make our way back downhill and we get by The Grand Hotel and Mr UKBuses decides to use his map allowance (well it his phone), and we decide to look for a pub that was recommended by Phil Tonks. With the phone giving us orders about where to go, we do eventually end up in Madoc Street and arrive at our destination, "The Albert". Mr UKBuses dodges the round, even though it is his turn and takes a seat outside. Whilst I wait inside at the bar, I do eventually get served and once the drinks have been poured, I join Mr UKBuses outside and soak up the sun and sea air and enjoy a rest whilst having a sup. With the pints finished, we still have a bit of time to kill before we have to get our coach back, so we decide to have a walk a few streets away and head back into "The Palladium".

Inside The Paladium
We arrive back and "The Palladium" , see picture left, is still as busy as it was when we first arrived. Mr UKBuses says he will get this round (Now I know why he skipped that last round!), and I do a couple of circuits of the pub again and spot someone leaving their table so quickly go in for the kill and grab the seats. Mr UKBuses does eventually return and we have a slow drink to pass the time, and it is nearly our pick up time, so we make our way out of "The Palladium" and back onto the main street of Llandudno, where after ten minutes we arrive back at the Coach Park. We still have a few minutes left so I grab some "Fresh Air", whilst Mr UKBuses takes the opportunity to take some more photographs of the coaches parked up. We board and with everyone on board we set off back to the Midlands. About five minutes into the journey, Mr UKBuses does have to make use of the facilities on board after realising that he must have loaned the use of Mr D9's bladder that day!

The traffic isn't so bad now and we are moving along at more than a snails pace. We head back along the same route as we came and we do get a break again at Sandbach Services before carrying on along our way and Mr UKBuses having a snooze. We do arrive back in the Midlands and as we are heading towards Dudley we realise that we will have to go on a tour of the Black Country to drop every one else off first. That is until we arrive back in Dudley when a few of us are told to alight and get on the Greenline coach in front of us, which enabled those who were picked up first thing this morning to be dropped off quicker. So we are greeted by our driver Andy, who takes us to back to Stourbridge and we are dropped off in Birmingham Street. We walk back up to Stourbridge Interchange, where upon discovering that we have just missed a National Express West Midlands Service 276, we decide to pop over the road and get a taxi back home. I get dropped off at "The Gigmill" where I say my goodbyes to Mr UKBuses as he decides to stay aboard and get a lift straight to his door. I do have a nightcap in "The Gigmill" before heading home and resting my feet.

Another good day out was had with thanks to Mark, Andy and Greenline Coaches (especially splitting the drop offs on the return journey) and also Mr UKBuses for the company, speaking of Mr UKBuses, here are his bald spots:

Bald Spot 1

Bald Spot 1: The Bald Spot enjoys the Red Arrows!

Bald Spot 2

Bald Spot 2: The Bald Spot makes his way back to The Paladium.