Saracen’s Head Hotel, Cerrigydrudion
This building is a forerunner of the motels and service stations that are familiar along today’s motorways, because it was developed to exploit one of Britain’s first bypass roads for vehicular traffic.
When Thomas Telford designed the London to Holyhead coach road, now the A5, in 1815, traffic on the old route climbed the hill into the centre of Cerrigydrudion and descended the other side. To avoid the climb – tiring for the horses which drew the vehicles – Telford created a new road alignment west of the village.
The Saracen’s Head was developed beside this new section of road. It provided food and drink for passengers, drivers and horses near the summit of the road between the Conwy and Dee valleys. By the late Victorian era, the business also had coaches for hire. In 1900, the landlord, Mr Parry, was thanked for his generous terms after his coaches took a party of 40 children and teachers from a local Sunday school on a day trip to Rhyl.
The Saracen’s Head gradually eclipsed the established coaching inn at Cernioge, west of Cerrigydrudion, where Princess Victoria (later Queen Victoria) stopped for tea in 1832. That inn had fallen into obscurity by the early 20th century but “Cernioge” still appears on the historic mileposts along the A5 – baffling generations of travellers! You can see one of those mileposts on the opposite side of the road from the Saracen’s Head.
Postcode: LL21 9SY View Location Map
Website of Saracen’s Head Hotel (Facebook)