Holyhead is one of the UK's busiest ferry ports. There are about 8,000 conventional and fast ferry movements a year and over 500 calls from bulk carriers, cruise liners, coasters and large fishing vessels. Countless numbers of small fishing vessels and leisure craft call at the port. The 2.4 kilometre breakwater shelters an area of 260 hectares comprising the Inner, Outer and New Harbours.
The Port of Holyhead is located close to Holyhead town centre. The port is accessible via the A5 from the Midlands or A55 from Chester. The Port of Holyhead ferry terminals are split into a passenger terminal and a vehicle terminal. Irish Sea Ferries and Stena Line, offering services to Ireland, operate from both of those terminals. The facilities at the port of Holyhead include a selection of cafés, a bureaux de change, some cash points, disabled toilets, lifts and baby changing facilities, a free short-term car park and a fee-based long-term car park.
Holyhead Port History. The Act of 1847 gave powers for a new pier to be built as part of government proposals for a much needed large refuge harbour. The Admiralty Pier at the northern end of the harbour, near the entrance from which the railway and City of Dublin steamers embarked and disembarked their passengers, was very heavily used. Ship passengers arriving at Holyhead were taken through the town by Robert's horse bus to Admiralty Pier. In those days the harbour was exposed to bad weather and needed frequent dredging. Construction of the Holyhead Harbour began in January 1848. With the expectation of more traffic coming to the Port when Britannia Bridge was opened, plans were made for a railway extension between the station and Admiralty Pier. By 1850 it was decided there should be a permanent station at Holyhead and the new building was described as "commodious and extensive".
By 1850, LNWR developed the inner harbour with a large goods shed and berthing facilities on the west shore. This was opened on 1st January 1866 and enlarged in 1870. The platforms were divided by the harbour angle, which meant that passengers could transfer from train to ship with greater ease and each quay could berth two ships. The Prince of Wales opened the station and a large clock was built to mark the occasion.
From 1902 the LNWR to Dun Laoghaire service continually improved in comfort and speed and now had a rival for Irish traffic from the Fishguard to Rosslare Irish Sea crossing route. By the mid 1970's the port provided all year-round car ferry services. A new terminal was built and improvements were made to the Customs hall, mail and baggage facilities, which were extended to motor vehicles, paving the way for a new modern port.
Holyhead Attractions. Holyhead is the largest town on the island of Anglesey in North Wales and is best known for being a busy ferry port serving routes to Ireland. Holyhead is also a town with many attractions and a busy shopping centre. The town offers a number of good places to eat, a theatre and a cinema. Holyhead is often used as an overnight stop on the way to, or from, holidaying in Ireland or as a centre for touring the island of Anglesey.
Around Holyhead there is excellent fishing, golfing and sailing facilities. This, together with the wonderful scenery, walks and beaches, makes Holyhead an idea place to visit. The maritime museum in Holyhead is well worth a visit where you can learn more about over 100 shipwrecks that have taken place in the vicinity of the port. If you are feeling fit or want to walk off lunch, stroll down to South Stack Lighthouse. History lovers will be interested to know Anglesey has a number of historic and prehistoric sites close at hand: Llys Rhosyr, the site of one of the most powerful and charismatic Welsh mediaeval princes has been discovered near the village of Newborough, on the South Western corner of the island. There are also burial chambers at Barcloddiad Yr Gawres and a church in the sea at Porth Cwyfan.
Holyhead Access: The A55 expressway to Anglesey cuts journey times across the island by up to 30 minutes. The A55 ends approximately 100 metres from the port, which is well signposted.