Llangollen is famous for its International Musical Eisteddfod (July 9-14), but the area offers enough outdoors fun to have the whole family dancing for joy.

Those of us with a head for heights are standing outside with the skipper, peering over the edge of the boat at the 126ft (38m) drop.

The fainter-hearted are inside, enjoying a cuppa with an infinity pool-like view. We’re gliding across the Poncysyllte Aqueduct in the narrowboat, Thomas Telford. It’s named for the engineer who built this ‘stream in the sky’ on the Llangollen Canal.

The dizzying experience soon mellows into a surreal sense of floating across the landscape. All that seems to be between us and the bottom of the Dee valley is the edge of this giant iron trough.

Later we watch daylight melt among the ruins of a 13th century castle that was abandoned within a couple of decades of being built; Castell Dinas Bran, castle of the crows. We’re towering over Llangollen.

Tucked below us is luxurious Geufron Hall Boo-tique B&B. Rooms have such wonderful views that to close the curtains seems like sacrilege. And yes, I was wondering about the ‘Boo’ too.

It’s the nickname of Beth, one of the owners, whose childhood home this once was. Family-friendliness comes with a row of wellies, spare coats and umbrellas in the hall and dressing-up clothes and games in the guests’ sitting room. Guests have the use of the south-facing gardens.

Children are amused by wobbly pigs known as the Two Fat Ladies and collecting eggs from the chickens.

It’s 10 minutes’ walk from here to Llangollen Wharf where carthorses pull boats along a stretch of the canal where no other vessels can go.

In the little town, with its riverside gardens and play area, the big attraction is the mostly steam-hauled Llangollen Railway. We edge, torch in hand, through the quarter-mile ‘Darkie’, the blackest of narrow tunnels beyond Telford’s Chirk Aqueduct.

We play hide and seek in gardens of wild flowers, wandering past pigs and ponies, at Chirk Castle. We drive up the ear-popping Horseshoe Pass on our way to Moel Famau, where energetic children beat us to the top of the highest point of the Clwydian Range AONB to clamber up on what’s left of the Jubilee Tower.

We watch the last rays of the sun glint off Valle Crucis Abbey at Abbey Farm and Ty Canol Caravan Park.

Here you can stay in your own tent, caravan or motorhome or rent a cottage or camping pod. A pair of first-time young tent-campers so enjoy splashing in the stream and playing on the rope swings that they don’t want to leave. Wern Isaf Farm also lies in the shadows of Dinas Brân. It’s a 20 minute walk up a zig-zagging path to the castle.

You can turn up in your own unit or hire a static caravan. Wern Isafs’s website rightly enthuses “almost everything you could possibly want to do from a camp site can be done from here”. There’s also loads of inspiration for places to explore in Geufron Hall’s sitting room.

That’s if you can tear your eyes away from that view.




Caravan Park. abbeyfarmcaravans.co.uk
Wern Isaf Farm. www.wernisaf.co.uk
Geufron Hall Boo-tique B&B prices per room per night from £50 in low season (September–March) and £60 in high season (April–August). Helen stayed in Eglwyseg, a superior double room priced at £120 per night, including breakfast. Children can be accommodated in Eglwyseg or, in the main house in an adjoining room. geufronhall.co.uk/
01978 860676.
For information see northwalesborderlands.co.uk