Bordering England to the west, Flintshire is a fascinating county in northern Wales. It is home to possibly the oldest pilgrim site in the country – St Winefride’s Well. Many other medieval sites are dotted across the beautiful countryside, with some highlights being the 12th century Basingwerk Abbey and the Plantagenet Flint Castle. Possibly the most unique landmark is the abandoned ship TSS Duke of Lancaster, which is slowly withering away near Mostyn Docks.
Here are 5 of the best historic sites in Flintshire.
1. St Winefride's Well
This holy place has been the site of pilgrimage for almost 1,300 years, claimed by some to be the oldest continually visited pilgrimage site in Great Britain. Reports of miracles caused by the well stem as far back as the early medieval period. A chapel was built on the site in the 15th century, with some more additions being added during the reign of King Henry VII.
The well has attracted many famous visitors throughout the ages, even some royal ones – King James II and Queen Victoria. St Winefride’s Well is fully open to the public and can be found in the town of Holywell.
2. Gladstone's Library
One of the finest residential libraries in Great Britain can be found in the village of Hawarden. The complex was built on the request of William Ewart Gladston, former Prime Minister during the Victorian Era. Construction was completed in 1902. The building not only houses thousands of books, but it also includes 26 bedrooms and a restaurant.
3. Flint Castle
Built in the late 13th century, Flint Castle was constructed by English King Edward I, during his campaigns to conquer Wales. In later centuries the site has seen many historic events, with one noteworthy instance being King Richard II being held captive at the formerly impressive stone castle. The fortification fell into its current state following the English Civil War (1642–1651).
Flint Castle is located in the town of the same name and is open to the general public.
4. Basingwerk Abbey
This Cistercian abbey has a long history stretching as far back as the early 12th century. The religious site operated for almost 400 years, becoming an economic and cultural centre of the region. The abbey was disbanded and fell into ruin following King Henry VIII’s religious reforms in the mid 16th century.
The stunning remains of the once formidable Basingwerk Abbey are open to the public.
5. TSS Duke of Lancaster
The TSS Duke of Lancaster operated from 1956 to 1979. It was one of the last passenger-only steamers built for British Railways. For a brief period it became an arcade before being abandoned near Mostyn Docks. In 2012 graffiti artists from around Europe created unique artworks on the vessel, which unfortunately were lost in 2017, when the ship was painted black.