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“Please visit the copper mines”

Great Orme Copper Mine
Ranked #4 of 92 things to do in Llandudno
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
St Albans
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Please visit the copper mines”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 September 2006

We've just returned from a 4 day break in Llandudno and I want to tell people about the bronze age copper mines on the Great Orme.

These have been open to the public for a long time but I have never visited before because I mistakenly thought it would be very difficult to get about underground, but it's OK. The mines are tremendously interesting and don't get any support from public funds - they just depend on what they can raise from the shop and the admission charge.

They date back nearly 4000 years - based on radiocarbon dating evidence - yes 4000 years old and archaeologists are still excavating them, they are on nine levels, from above ground (ie prehistoric opencast mining) down to sea level - but the public only get to visit two of the levels.

I have to say right away that they are not able to provide disabled access into the mines underground but you can see the surface workings from a wheelchair plus the information films and the shop.

However, an able-bodied person will have no trouble getting round the self-guided tour underground - I am a not particularly fit 62 year old lady and I found it easy but you do need to know that there are slopes up and down and steps to negotiate, you must wear a hard hat (provided) and the passages are quite narrow. Also I would personally recommend wearing sensible shoes, particularly if it is raining on the surface, because the water percolates through and the passages get a bit wet underfoot. Again, if it is raining, you need waterproofs/umbrella because there is quite a lot to see above ground as well as underground.

The public tour includes an amazing enormous underground cavern which was hollowed out by miners as they dug out the malachite from which they extracted copper ore.

Small children we saw were enjoying the experience but do be careful because there are some big drops and deep cavities in there. The same goes for dogs - they allow dogs to go in, but be careful if you do take a dog because I don't know how they would rescue a dog that fell down a hole in there.

The shop has some good stuff including lovely fossils and there is a wonderful second-hand book section as well - people donate books and the proceeds support the archaeological work. There's a do-it-yourself coffee/tea machine, you are allowed to eat your own sandwiches (great bonus for families) and excellent loos. And you can either walk or come by car or come up from Llandudno on the Great Orme Victorian Tramway - the mines are near the changeover point where the summit tram sets off. There's a free museum about the tramway at the changeover point so you can look at that while you are there as well.

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