The social, commercial and shopping capital of North West Wales, Bangor is an ancient city with a thoroughly modern outlook.
The word 'Bangor', in old Welsh, refers to a wattled enclosure, such as the one that would at one time have surrounded the monastery founded by St Deiniol in the 6th century that would eventually become the site of Bangor's St Deiniol Cathedral.
One of only six Welsh places classed as cities, Bangor is actually one of the smallest cities in the UK. With a population of just 17,575 (2011 census) - which swells by 10,000 during university term-time - Bangor is by no means a large place; though what it lacks in size, it certainly makes up for in character and enthusiasm.
'Bangor Aye', as it's often referred to by locals, is a great place to live, work and socialise. It's easy to get to, thanks to excellent road links (the A5 and A55 expressway) and the main line railway station serving the city and surrounding areas (London is just over three hours by train). And with a number of developments taking place in the city, Bangor boasts a mixture of period and thoroughly modern buildings which ensure it appeals to all manner of tastes.
With the forthcoming opening of the university's brand new Pontio building (scheduled for September 2014), the city will soon once again have a performing arts centre and 200-seat cinema. The building will also be able to accommodate standing-only concerts for up to 600 people - a boon for music lovers - and will also house a bar and restaurant, a variety of different sized performance spaces, a lecture theatre and office space.
Commercially, Bangor and its surrounding areas have much to offer. The Parc Menai Business Park, just a few miles from the city centre, offers plenty of modern office space in beautiful surroundings; the park has several lakes and ponds, peaceful spots for strolling and picnic lunches, and a nursery where workers' children can be cared for while their parents work.
Shop space is also plentiful, both in the heart of the city and on its outskirts. In the city centre, the long high street - the main shopping hub of Bangor - is home to an eclectic mix of nationwide chains and small independents, and is served well by most major banks and building societies. Major names in Bangor's high street include Debenhams, Boots, New Look, H&M, Clarks and Top Shop, while in the out-of-town retail parks there are large branches of Next, Matalan and The Range, to name but a few.
For socialising, as a university city Bangor offers plenty of choice in pubs, clubs and eateries; from fast food to gastro pubs, via excellent wholefood cafes and trendy noodle bars, Bangor offers something to please every palate.
Being close to the Snowdonia National Park, Bangor has plenty to offer in the way of outdoor activities and family attractions. There is good walking galore, and with the National Outdoor Centre offering all manner of watersports activities at Plas Menai, just a few short miles down the coast, water babies are well catered for too. The aforementioned historic cathedral, the Gwynedd Museum and Art Gallery and the Victorian pier are a delight for history enthusiasts, while a little further afield Penrhyn Castle, Conwy Castle and Caernarfon Castle - all just a short drive from the city centre - are ideal venues for family outings.
Where to live in Bangor?
If you want to be in the heart of the action, but enjoy a peaceful retreat with a bit of character, consider Lon Pobty where a beautiful period four bedroomed detached house of character is currently on sale at £249,950.
Or, if you'd prefer something newly built, consider the Watkin Jones developments at Penrhosgarnedd, Hirael Bay or Y Felinheli, which include a range of property types including semi-detached and detached homes and townhouses.
Bangor fact file
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